Here are the highlights of what I have been reading over the last couple of weeks:
A couple of the books I had to read because I was asked to review them. I read Ghosts of the Titanic by Julie Lawson. I can't reveal what I thought until the review is published in Library Media Connection, but I am always looking for titles to recommend to middle school students. This one is for the Titanic fanatic who also likes the paranormal. The other book I had to review was for School Library Journal. It is called The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert. This is the sequel to last year's, Momento Nora. I was not going to review the second in the series without reading the first one. I really wanted to know if you needed to read the first one to enjoy the second. So I pulled Momento Nora off the shelf of the library and read it. This is a small book with some pretty heavy themes. A great choice for the high school reluctant reader who will read science fiction. I really liked Memento Nora, but you will have to read my review of the sequel in an upcoming SLJ.
The next book that I read was Marie Lu's Legend. During ALA Annual in Anaheim later this week, I am going to a Penguin dinner with authors Ally Condie, Marie Lu and Jessica Khoury. I love Condie's Matched series, so I was good there. I had bought Legend because it is on the 25 nominated books for YALSA's Teen's Top Ten. If I was a teen, I would definitely nominate it. I loved the two points of view from the characters June and Day. Yes, it is another dystopian story set in the United States, but with the wonderfully complex characters and the intriguing setting in Los Angeles, I think this a real winner. I didn't have new author Khoury's book in my library, so I will have to wait until Anaheim to grab a copy.
One of the books that I have been waiting so patiently for was the sequel to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, called Bitterblue. I was a big fan when Graceling was published in 2008, about the same time as the Hunger Games. I was pushing both of them to my kids at school. The strong female characters really spoke to me. You know what happened to Hunger Games, but I believe that Cashore's works are equally as compelling. Queen Bitterblue is 17 and ruling her land the best way that she can, but she is frustrated by the lies and cover ups that her advisers seem to be harboring. Some of the characters from Graceling appear at her court and help her untangle some of the puzzle pieces that surround the tyrannic rule of her long dead father. There is even a character's appearance from the companion book, Fire, who makes an appearance. I was hesitant to read any comments or reviews that anyone made about the book, but it is so tempting on Good Reads to see what others had to say. Not everyone was a fan, but I treasured every word.
I also read the book Wonder by RJ Palicio. There was so much buzz about this middle grade title that I wanted to read it to see if I agreed with the other readers. As I started the book, I really didn't think Auggie Pullman rang true. A fifth grader with such an understanding of the world just didn't seem possible to me. As the book progressed with the multiple points of view from the various characters, I gained an appreciation of the premise. I felt that the multiple points of view really gave an insight to the reader about Auggie's facial deformity and how others perceived him. Maybe students won't pick up this title, but I think that it would make a good class read aloud where the teacher can have some focused discussions on tolerance/intolerance.
More later and happy reading.