Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fives! Must Reads

Happy Friday, peeps! I'm taking a short break between half-day at school and bracing for Irene (boo). What do my hurricane preparations look like? Um...stocking up on good reads for when the power goes out. And games to play with my children. And Twizzlers. LOTS of Twizzlers. Hopefully the storm will just veer a majorly sharp right, spare the east coast of damage, and well, I hope everyone weathers this storm mucho safely.

And speaking of stocking up on good reads, it's Friday Fives over at Paper Hangover! This week they want to know

Back to school books? Here are five six (and their Good Reads blurbs) that should be required reading in every high school.(yes, I know that will never happen, but wouldn't it be cool?)

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers

(and adult ones too)

When Melinda Sordino's friends discover she called the police to quiet a party, they ostracize her, turning her into an outcast -- even among kids she barely knows. But even worse than the harsh conformity of high-school cliques is a secret that you have to hide.

Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

This last one will debut in September, but thanks to fabulous friends, I received an ARC on my doorstep and read it in two sittings. Two words: MUST READ

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

PS - why these books? Their authors just get it. They get teens. They write REAL books about REAL teen issues and totally capture the awkward essence of adolescence. And they do it EXTREMELY well.

So? If YOU could add some modern fabulosities to the Language Arts curriculum, what would YOU recommend?

Have a great wind and rain free weekend! Stay safe!


  1. Aahhh I loved The Duff! I'm not sure which YA I'd add to a new Language Arts reading list, the personality of the class would be a bigger factor in my choices than just a good book.

  2. 13 Reasons and Speak are super high on my TBR list. Totally agree the required reading front. Makes you think they need a modern literature class separate from the traditional lit offered in most schools. So little time, though, and I'm not sure how many kids would take it as an elective. (I would have!)

  3. I hope you stay safe!

    I am really trying to figure out a way to be able to teach 13 Reasons Why in my class. I'm hoping to at least use it as a readaloud this year with my freshmen. They can be so cruel to each other and I think that book does a good job of showing the impact that cruelty can have.

    Good choices!

  4. Great choices! Would you believe I haven't read SPEAK or BEFORE I FALL? Sort of embarrassing to admit, but they're both on my To-Read list.

    Stay safe during all this crazy weather, and hopefully have a good weekend. :)

  5. Yes, Yes, Yes to PERFECT CHEMISTRY. I just finished the last book in the series and I still want more!

  6. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x

  7. Hi Alison.
    I'm a fellow campaigner and think all of those books look interesting. As the mother of an 11 year old as well as a 13 year old I wish schools would give them something current to read.

  8. Great list -- I'm sort of embarrassed to most of these are still on my to-read list. Need to get on that!

  9. Hope you're staying safe as Irene hits!
    I LOVE Lauren Oliver - Delirious is one of my two fav YAs this year - but haven't read Before I Fall yet. Looking fwd to it!


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