Thursday, July 3, 2014
Forget Me Not is written in verse, and it focuses on two main characters: Ally and Elijah. The book opens with Ally in a dark hallway in an abandoned wing of her high school. She is hiding out because a scandalous photo of her has gone viral and her reputation has taken a major nose-dive. With the single click of a "send" button, she has gone from an up and coming freshman girl on the cusp of major popularity, to a whore--a girl that "wants to sleep with the entire football team." Everything is so convoluted and upside-down that she can't imagine ever facing anyone again. So she hides....or at least, that's what it seems like she'd doing...until things get very weird in that hallway, and she realizes that she's not hiding there--she's there for an entirely different reason
Elijah has also spent some time in that same dark hallway in the same abandoned wing of the high school, after trying to kill himself by overdosing on pills. His mission has a singular focus: Get Ally out of that hallway at any cost.
Ally finds herself with the biggest decision of her mortal--and immortal, life. She has to decide whether she lives. Or dies. And her time to make that decision is limited.
Fans of If I Stay, by Gayle Forman will undoubtedly be drawn to this one, as the main premise is similar. (Think comatose patient forced to make a choice)
I have to be honest and say that I was far more impressed with the quality of writing than I was with the storyline. I especially enjoyed reading the author's notes at the end, describing the different poetry styles used in different parts of the book. That being said, I would definitely recommend this book to many of my students--especially fans of (paranormal) novels in verse.
Set in 1986, this one took me back to high school, with the characters bonding over mixed tapes of The Smiths and The Cure, among other iconic 80's bands.
Eleanor is a "big" girl with red hair. At 16, she's the oldest of five kids being raised by their mother and an abusive, alcoholic stepfather named Richie. She shares an overcrowded room with all four of her siblings, and they are incredibly poor and neglected. They are quite literally, the "red-headed stepchildren."
Park is a comic book reading, punk music listening half Korean/American boy that Eleanor meets on morning school bus. Park has one foot in popularity and one foot in the land of the misfits. He and Eleanor form a friendship over comic books and music shared on a Walkman. That friendship blossoms into a first love that's intense and complicated.
I loved this book. The characters are so fully and wonderfully developed that I felt like I knew them personally. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but I know this will be an incredibly popular read during the upcoming school year.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Koertege depicts a Jesus that is exactly what Walker needs at this juncture in his life. Koertge's Jesus is witty and irreverent, while at the same time being deeply profound in that irreverence. Within the first few lines of Jesus's dialogue I was immediately reminded of the Jesus depicted by Christopher Moore in Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. In fact, I would say Coaltown Jesus could almost be the "junior" version of Moore's book.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Jesus: "I'm sorry, but I can't just giggle. I'm God."
Walker: "You look like Jesus."
Jesus: "John 10:30: I and my Father are one.'"
Walker: "I don't think I understand that."
Jesus: "You're not the only one."
Jesus: "I'll be back. Relax. Or as they say in the Bible, 'Fear not.'"
Jesus: "I love being called the Great Spirit. Some of the other names not so much. The Anointed One, for instance. Makes me feel greasy."
Walker: "You're mad at kids for wanting a pony?"
Jesus: "Little kids I don't mind. Every kid want a pony. It's grown-ups that get my robe in a knot. Stop with the begging, okay? Adore me for a change. Or give thanks. I like gratitude. Or ask for guidance. But oh, no. It's always the pony."
Jesus: "All of a sudden I'm in this body. I've got a heart and hands and feet. I can see and feel. That's why babies cry so much. All of a sudden having a body is a lot to deal with."
Jesus: "I knew what was coming down the pike so I'd practice. Like making one hot dog feed six kids and running on water."
Walker: "In the Bible, you just walked."
Jesus: "Yeah, but I was so bad at it that I'd run so I wouldn't sink so fast. Didn't help Went right down like a stone. Faith is like anything else: you have to work at it, I wasn't that good at first."
Jesus: "Ah, there it is. Signs of your holiness."
Walker: "I just smiled. You made a dumb joke and I smiled."
Jesus: "And that isn't holy?"
Jesus: "Confusion is good."
Walker: "Everything's good to you."
Jesus: "And that's a bad thing?"
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Interest Level: 6th Grade and Up
Reviewed by Mrs. Schauer
I first got this book as an ARC at Net Galley. I started reading it, but only read the first few pages before life got in my way and I never finished it. I have this problem where I have a hard time putting a book down once I pick it up. I have to read the entire thing in one sitting, and nothing else in my life gets any attention. For the past week, I've done nothing but read....and last night, I finally read this wonderful book...yep, in one sitting. :)
I fell in love with the characters immediately. How could I not? Four children, ages 3-18, who are named after some of my favorite book characters:
Sara, the oldest: She's named after Sara Crewe, from The Little Princess. She longs to have been born in the age of dead-heads. She couldn't get into any good colleges, so she's taking a year off to work in her parents' restaurant. She's blunt and honest at all times, and has dreadlocks.
Holden: He's the second child, aptly named in honor of Salinger's angst-filled protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is fourteen years old , and the reader is allowed the privilege of growing with him, championing his strength and bravery as he comes to terms with his sexuality.
Fern: Her mom named her after Fern Arable from Charlotte's Web, because she knew, from the moment she was born, that she had a special soul. In her own words, she knew Fern would be a good friend....a hero. The story is told from Fern's point of view, and she is indeed, possessed of an incredibly special soul.
Charlie: Ah, Charlie...perfectly named after Charlie Bucket, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie is three years old, a "surprise" addition to the family fold, and he is the light of their lives. Charlie is full of life and finds joy in everything around him.
I will not give away too much of this family's story, because it's just something that readers need to experience for themselves. I will only say that I fell in love with this quirky family, as they dealt with running a family business and the joys and sorrows of life. I laughed, I cried, my heart soared, as well as broke into a hundred pieces. By the end of the book, I was a blubbering mess of tears and snot....but in a very good way....a way that does the heart good.
Jo Knowles is one of my favorite authors because she writes about subjects that are tough...and she does it in a way that is just so REAL. She writes important books for teens and young adults...books that bring healing and hope. I applaud her!
For my review of Knowles' Lessons from a Dead Girl, click here.
To view a trailer, created by Kaycee, one of our Pettus middle school students,for Jumping Off Swings, click here.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
1-Your favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
2-Least Favorite Book: Anything by Charles Dickens. Blech!
3-A Book that completely surprised you: (bad/good) The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. I didn’t know anything about the premise and the title made it sound like a self-help Book
4. - A Book that made you laugh out loud: Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christoper Moore
5- A Non-fiction book that you actually enjoyed: It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, by Robie Harris
6- A Book that makes you cry: Far From You, by Lisa Schroeder
7- A Book that’s hard to read: The Host, by Stephenie Meyer
8- A Book you want to read, but never have: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
9- A Book you’ve read more than once: The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
10- The first novel you remember reading: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
11- The Book that made you fall in love with reading: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
12- A book so emotionally draining you couldn’t complete it or had to set aside for a bit: Living Dead Girl, by Elizabeth Scott
13- Favorite childhood Book: Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
14- Book that should be on hs/college required reading list: Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
15- Favorite book dealing with foreign culture: A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
16- Favorite book turned movie: Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
17- Book turned movie and completely desecrated: My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Piccolt
18- A Book You can’t find on shelves anymore that you love: Little Dream, by Cynthia Leonetti
19- A Book that changed your mind about a particular subject: Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Piccolt
20-A Book you would recommend to an ignorant/racist/closed minded person: Dinner With a Perfect Stranger, by David Greggory
21-A guilty pleasure book: Does the Noise In My Head Bother You? By Stephen Tyler
22-Favorite Series: Left Behind by LaHaye, Jenkins
23- Favorite Romance Novel: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
24 - A Book you later found out the Author lied about: Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
26-A Book you wish would be written: The Gospel According to Mary Magdelene
27- A Book you would write if you had all the resources: Teresa Schauer: A Memoir J
28- A Book you wish you never read: I can’t think of one
29- An Author that you completely avoid/hate wont read: I don’t have one of these…
30 - An Author that you will read whatever they put out: Patricia Polacco