Books, BoOkS, BOOKS!

Just Read..

*** I can’t keep this page updated- I am reading too much, too fast and don’t take the time to sit down and log my books. I’m working on something new… stay tuned….


Adult book: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

I do read some adult books 🙂 , and I just recently read The Last Song. I loved this story. The main character is  17 year-old, Veronica Miller’s. She is a character with a lot of teen angst when we first meet her. Her  life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, until her mother sends her to spend the summer with him. There we see the true Veronica and the powerful relationship she has with her father. I LOVED this story, and cried at the end. There is a movie coming out on this book and I heard that the main character, Veronica, will be played by  Miley Cyrus.

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Tessa is dying of cancer. She knows she doesn’t have much time left so she makes a list of the things she wants to do before she dies. I love the relationship of her best friend as she helps her complete her list before her life ends. I loved how fearless (obviously) Tessa was. It made me think about my life list, and what would I do if I know I only had a certain amount of time left. This has won many awards including:

“A “Publishers Weekly “Best Children’s Book of the Year
A “Booklist “Editors’ Choice
A Book Sense Children’s Pick
A “Kirkus Reviews “Editors’ Choice
A “Publishers Weekly “Flying Start Author
An ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults”

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

A 17 year old girl, Mia gets into a car accident with her family. In a single moment, “everything” changes. She can only recall riding along the  road with her family. Then,she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck… I fell in love with Mia and loved her stories that she told throughout. This was a powerful book, as I read I continually wondered if she would decide to stay on earth.

I have heard that this is supposed to be a movie- would definitely be a good one (reminds me a little of Lovely Bones).

Spud  by John Van De Ruit

A teen boy, nicknamed Spud takes the reader on a journey of his first year at boarding school. The story is full of boys getting into mischief and trying to survive boarding school. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I felt like it took me a while to get through it, and I was waiting for all the events to lead up to something more climactic. Overall I think that many young adults will laugh with the adventures that the boys partake in, but it isn’t a great, or must read!

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson


This is the young adult version of Swanson’s bestselling Manhunt, this is a story of Lincoln’s assassination and the 12-day search for his killer.  As President Lincoln delivers his victory speech in April 1865, an enraged John Wilkes Booth vows death: “Now, by God, I’ll put him through.” The dialogue is supposedly from original sources, adding a chill to the already disturbing conspiracy that Swanson unfolds in detail as Booth persuades friends and sympathizers to join his plot and later, to give him shelter. I can tell that this is definitely the abbreviated version of Manhunt- there is so much more that I wanted to know. This is good for young adults who want a  taste of what happened to Booth. This is also a fresh book that students can use for historical fiction reports. This is a book that the teens who are interested in history will devour. The book has some great pictures in it.

shooting stars Shooting Stars by Lebron James and Buzz Bissinger

I read this book, because I am an LBJ fan and I live close to Akron.  I  LOVED reading about local places that James explains throughout his book. My student’s who I have talked to about this book, also love that he is OUR local star! There are several books out there about LeBron James, but I find the best way to get a grasp on someone is to hear what they have to say. Shooting Stars is the book you want if you’re looking to see what the NBA phenom experienced firsthand, and it’s his first book as an author (Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, is on board as well).This is an easy, breezy read. He describes his childhood, his school days, and his basketball life before reaching the NBA. There isn’t any fluff – just what happened and how he got through high school. I blew through this book and you will too, especially with any basketball interest. I think many students who are interested in Lebron and his crew from high school will enjoy reading about how he came to the NBA.  If you are interested in basketball at all- you will love the movie, More Than a Game– I read the book first ( you have to, right!) then went to the movie, and didn’t want it to end!! 🙂

I just finished this, and I couldn’t put it down.  I am recommending this book to many teens and adults who love a good young adult read. So much to discuss!!

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade–a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.  Just like Thomas, the Gladers (the other kids there)  don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. Every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.  Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up–the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

This is part of a trilogy… so I have a feeling this will be a popular book among teens!

rat life Rat Life by Tedd Arnold

Todd is a likable main character and the book will draw teens in with its  thrilling climax. Readers will sympathize with Todd, a creative, sensitive boy who likes writing (bonus for language arts teacher!:) ). He helps his parents run a motel in upstate New York and dreams of becoming a writer. When he crosses paths with Rat, a moody young Vietnam veteran, he gets a job at the drive-in theater where Rat works, and finds himself fascinated by the young man, who is compelling but possibly dangerous. Todd begins to wonder if his new friend might have something to do with the unidentified body pulled out of the river. The mystery builds quietly as other elements take precedence, including Todd’s encounter with an abandoned puppy and the subsequent rabies shots he must endure, his resentment over chores at the motel, his struggles to write a story for English class, and his grandmother’s deteriorating mental condition. The river floods and both Todd and Rat are caught up in the disaster, and the truth about the mystery comes out at last.

This is a little slow to start, but it is a short story and will appeal to students, especially boys who like mystery. This is the winner of the Edgar Award for Young Adult Literature in 2008.

Side effectsSide Effectsby Koss.

I read this book in a few hours-  I really loved getting to know the main character, Izzy and wanted to see how things would turn out with her. The book is about Izzy, a high school student who finds out she has cancer. What I loved about this book was that the main character was so witty, true to life and sarcastic throughout the book. The book portrays the  pain, fear, and unlikely comedy of Izzy’s journey, told in her own powerful and authentic voice. Although this is about a tough topic, I beleive students will fall in love with Izzy and enjoy experiencing her ride with cancer.

Marcelo in the real world

Marcelo In The Real World by Fransico Stork

This is a young adult book about a boy, Marcello,  who has a form of autism. He has always attended a school for his special needs.Marcelo’s father does not like to believe that his son is different that other kids. He forces his son to work at his law firm for the summer. I have fallen in love with Marcello as a character! I want to meet him for lunch someday and really talk to him. The author takes the reader inside the mind of a person with a form of autism and shows that although autistic people may act different than everyone else, many times they are wise beyond his years! Through his summer work, Marcelo learned to stand up for what he believes is right no matter the consequences. I enjoyed reading this book, but feel that not many students will. It is a book that I don’t think will capture student’s attention.

For the concerned teacher: It does use the F word a few times.

These are some of my top Teen reads:

Popular books that many have read (also ones to suggest):

If you liked Twilight try

The House of Night series -the first book in the series is Marked by P.C. Cast and Kritsin Cast

If you liked The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants try

Three Willows The sisterhood grows by Ann Brashares

If you liked Speak try

Wintergirls by Laurie Anderson

If you liked Hoot try

Scat by Hiaasen

If you liked Stargirl try

Schooled by Korman

If you liked the Private Series try

The It Girl series by Abbott

The Clique Series by Harrison

The A-List series by Dean

If you liked Among the Hidden try..

Found by Haddix

Sent by Haddix

If you liked Stormbreaker by Horwitz try

Maximum Ride by Paterson

Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

If you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney  try

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Choldenk

Lawn Boy by Paulsen

Surviving the Applewhites by Tolan


Books Young adults MUST READ!- going to be a big one this year!!

Hunger Games by Sizanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Books for Everyone

Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by Lubar

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Sonnenblick

Notes from a Midnight Driver by Sonnenblick

Zen and the Art of Faking it by Sonnenblick

Schooled- Korman

Juvie 3- Korman

Tears of a Tiger- Draper ( has 2 other Companion Books)

Jack’s Run by Roland ( 2nd book- Zach’s Lie)

Flipped by Van Draanen

Stand Tall by Bauer

Tears of a Tiger- Draper

Son of the Mob – Gordon Korman

Hidden Talents – David Lubar

Monster – Walter Dean Meyers

Stuck in Neutral – Terry Trueman

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.

Science Fiction/ Answering the What if:

Life as We Knew It by Pfeffer

Elsewhere by Zevin

Uglies- Scott Westerfiled

The Giver by  Lowry

Bar Code Tattoo-by Weyn

True Stories/ based on true events:

Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

Child Called It- by Pelzer

Chinese Cinderella Adeline Yen Mah

3 Cups of Tea Young Adult Version by Greg Mortenson

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

Adventure/ Mystery:

Down the Rabbit Hole- Abrams (mystery/ adventure)

Peak by Rowland Smith (adventure)

Adventure- Gary  Paulsen books

Chasing Vermeer by Balliett ( mystery)

Ghost story

Jade Green- by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor



Book that appeal to girls:

Define Normal- Julie Ann Peters

The True Meaning of Cleavage- Fresericks

My Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things- by Carolyn Mackler

First Part Last by Angela  Johnson

Heaven- Angela Johnson

Romiette and Julio by Draper

Perfect by Friend

Freak by Pixley

My Sister’s Keeper by Picoult ( Adult book)

Sarah Dessen books are popular

Cut by Patricia Mccormick

Unraveling by Michelle Baldini and Lynn Biederman

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

Dairy Queen by Murdock

What My Mother Doesn’t Know- Sones

Intense page turner:

Acceleration by McNamee

(intense, but for mature readers)

Burn by Hopkins

Crank by Hopkins

Identical by Hopkins

Glass by Hopkins



Slam! By Myers

Hoops- Myers

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor (soccer)

Long Shot By Mike Lupoca (basketball)

Hot Hand By Mike Lupoca ( basketball)

Safe at Home By Mike Lupoca (baseball)

Two-Minute Drill By Mike Lupoca (football)


Historical Fiction

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Chodenko

Ann Rinaldi books

Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle

Chains by Anderson

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper



  1. Thank you for all your great tips so far about writing workshop. I work in a small Catholic school and am the Language Arts teacher for 6-7-8. My main struggle is jamming reading, writing, English, and vocab/spelling into 6 44 minute periods per week. Any advice about this would be appreciated. I taught 5th grade for 8 years and then moved up to middle school last year. Since we’ve had to cut back on staff, Language Arts got cut to one period per day. This year, they’ve given me each class 6 periods a week instead of 5 which has helped.

    Also, I have to be careful with the novels I choose to put on my shelves being at a Catholic school. I think there are great books for teens, but I can’t really put out anything involving sex, pregnancy, homosexuality, etc. Yes, that certainly limits their selections ( and I personally think that they should read about this stuff), but there is that select few parents who would not be happy if these books were around. Most parents probably aren’t overly aware of what the content is, but there are those……

    Thanks again for your efforts and willingness to share with us! I look forward to reading future posts.

    • Hi- I haven’t forgotten about you! I have just been busy…. I have to teach language arts and english into 55 minutes, so I understand the time crunch. To do this, I balance my “warm up” time between reading and writing. For example on a few days a week I read aloud a picture book- that might review vocab words we are focusing on (theme, character types, setting, climax etc..), I also use these as writing prompts that get them writing creatively for a few min. On another day I may start by giving the student’s an idea to write about in their writing notebooks ( I will post more about this soon), I also may start by Mining for Gold (I posted about this a few days ago). This way the kids hear me reading, get a story in ( even if it is a picture book), we look at writing and talk about it, and they also have some time to free write. I try to blend my reading and writing instruction so that I can get a lot of content in. So- we read stories about certain elements, then we write things that relate to the elements etc.. Hope this makes sense, I will try to answer you in more detail later- maybe through my posts you can see how I run my room.
      As for books- there are still many you can have your kids read… I will have to think about and go through my lists and get back to you…. so many books are running through my head! Keep checking back for more 🙂

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