Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Top Ten Reads of Last School Year (Late, Of Course)

Last school year I finished 49 books...woohoo! I read A LOT first semester, but for some reason my pace really dropped off during the second half of the year (probably something to do with coaching soccer and being pregnant). This year, I'm off to a SUPER slow start (babies really slow down the reading). I enjoyed almost all of the books last year - there were a few duds in there - but I really loved the following ten. I had a hard time narrowing it down, but these are my top ten reads of last school year, in order of favorites (I know this is a weird time to post this, but I just discovered the draft never published):

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - I cannot wait for the last book in this trilogy; I am in serious need of some more Noah Shaw! I had a hard time getting students to pick this book up, but once they did, they were as hooked as me. There’s just something so different about it, and again, did I mention Noah Shaw (one of the greatest fictional boys of all time).

2. Winger by Andrew Smith - A funny book with one of the most poignant, meaningful endings I’ve read in a long time. Ryan Dean is a character that will stick with you - I haven’t let him go in the 8 months since I read the book.

3. Reality Boy by A.S. King - A book similar to Winger, in that it has a funny (yet, very angry) male protagonist with a super powerful message. I loved the twist on our reality tv-laden culture and what it’s actually doing to people. Plus, I find that it appeals to a lot of my angry boy students - their anger isn’t something to be ignored and this book clearly shows that.


4. Wonder by R. J. Palacio - I read this aloud with one of my more difficult reading classes this year - there was anger, there was compassion, and there was a newfound sense of kindness about them after finishing this book. I shared excerpts of Palacio’s story every chance I got, because really what’s more important than choosing kindness. This should be on the top of every single person’s reading list.

5. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga - As a fan of the TV show Dexter, this novel could not have been more perfect. I have a sick infatuation with murder stories (Snapped is one of my favorite guilty pleasures), and this book featured just the right combination of grisly details, great characters and an intriguing storyline.  

6. Champion by Marie Lu - I hesitated putting this book on my list since it’s a conclusion to a series, but it’s one of the absolute best concluding books I’ve ever read. Oftentimes, trilogies get worse with each book (in my opinion), but the Legend series only got better. Lu could not have chosen a better ending - loved it!


7. Pivot Point by Kasie West - I enjoy a great romance as much as the next person, and when an author throws in a bit of the supernatural, even better. I picked this novel up intending it to be a fluff read, and instead I became completely engrossed in the story. And, as a sidenote the sequel, Split Second, is just as great.

8. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black - I know it’s not Halloween season yet, but if you want a creepy read, check this one out. It’s a vampire story, but I promise it is the farthest thing from Twilight. It features great characters, a great storyline, and plenty of action to keep the reader turning the pages as quickly as possible.

9. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - besides the unfortunate title (stupid 50 Shades of Grey), this is a fantastic tale of historical fiction. It made me wish all history classes were taught through novels like this. The imagery used helped portray an entirely different side to WWII than most people are familiar with, but definitely a side that should not be forgotten.

10. One for the Murphy's by Lynda Mullaly Hunt - the tearjerker on my list of books this year. I don’t know if it’s my growing maternal instincts, but my heart just gave out for the main character, Carley. Months after finishing this book, I’m still angry about the ending; I understand it, but I’m not happy about it.

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