This book was one of those really fun roller coasters. At times I was upset and cried. At other times I was flying high with Junior and laughing. Juni...moreThis book was one of those really fun roller coasters. At times I was upset and cried. At other times I was flying high with Junior and laughing. Junior (or Arnold, his white name) is one of the funniest protagonists I have ever had the pleasure to meet. However, Junior's life is also one of the roughest I've ever encountered in a book. It is filled with poverty, despair, and conflict. This book not only dealt with multicultural issues such as culture and identity, it also dealt with normal teenage issues like bullying, friendship, dating, and dreams. (less)
Summary: Hannah Baker committed suicide two weeks ago, so why did Clay Jenkins receive a box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah? Because he is one of 13 reasons why Hannah Baker committed suicide and she is going to tell each of them how they contributed to her death.
What I Think: When a book really means something to me, really touches my soul, I have a really hard time writing the review. This book is one of those. I didn't want to stop reading to write down notes or mark favorite parts- I just wanted to keep reading.
This is an important book. One of those books that will be around for a long time. It deals with themes that are constant- bullying, depression, suicide, love. I feel that anyone who reads this book will relate to something. To Hannah's hurt or Clay's love or one of the other characters- in good ways and bad. This book really makes you consider how your actions are truly affecting those around you. Some of Hannah's reasons were not because the person was a bad person. It was because they didn't care or made a bad choice. Little things in our own life may be very large things in other lives. As Hannah says, "No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes we have no clue." So true.
Now, I had heard that some people find Hannah whiny or nit-picking, but I think what happens to her is one of the most realistic translations of isolation in high school that exists in young adult literature. Although one of the 13 reasons may not stand alone as a devastating event (though some do), it is the snowball effect of all of the reasons combining over a short period of time. It is their sum that kills the mean. Those that do not understand are either thinking too much like an adult or had a very easy time in high school, because the experiences that Hannah has are what makes her feel obsolete so they are devastating to her.
Random thoughts- *I felt bad for Clay. He is such a sweetheart and really didn't deserve to be on the tapes- he is one of the few that tried. But maybe he didn't try hard enought. *I will NEVER view the phrase "Relax" in the same way after this novel. It creeps me out just thinking about it. *I think this book would be awesome to listen to as an audio book! I hope they do the dual narratives justice. (less)
This is a coming of age novel about a loveable 15 year old entering his first year of H.S. He has had a rough life and he slowly shares it throughout...moreThis is a coming of age novel about a loveable 15 year old entering his first year of H.S. He has had a rough life and he slowly shares it throughout the novel, even realizing some of it for the first time himself. He is a wallflower that slowly blooms and starts to find out who he really is and how he fits in the world.
This book is very controversial and rightly so. Although I will never believe in banning books, this book is very much more appropriate for teenagers in high school, not students I teach. Although not appropriate for my classroom, it is a book that quickly became an instant classic for me.
It is so interesting reading all the different reviews for this book. I can see why some would not like it, but the hatred of such an epic book is discouraging. Although the subject matter may be controversial and not liked by all, that does not restitute putting the book down. Give it low stars, but do you really have to attack the book? (less)
I listen to audiobooks in my car. Every once in a while my audiobook is so good that I have to bring my MP3 player inside to listen to it- this is one...moreI listen to audiobooks in my car. Every once in a while my audiobook is so good that I have to bring my MP3 player inside to listen to it- this is one of those books. I didn't ever want to stop listening to it.
At the beginning, you wonder what happened to Annabel. then you wonder what she is going to do about it, and you root for her the entire time. Sometimes you are mad at her. Sometimes you cry with her. This book is a roller coaster ride that I didn't want to get off. This is a real book that deals with real issues and does the issues justice. (less)
What a fun middle grade graphic novel filled with King Arthur allusions. We have Arthur King, Merlyn, Ladies of the Lunch, Percival, Camelot School, G...moreWhat a fun middle grade graphic novel filled with King Arthur allusions. We have Arthur King, Merlyn, Ladies of the Lunch, Percival, Camelot School, Gwen, and a magical locker only the chosen one can open and gives him what he wishes for- clever! Would be such a fun way to teach allusions and the Legend of King Arthur.
Originally read: June 11, 2009 Reread: July 21, 2012(less)
This collection of short stories are often found on the ALA challenged book list. It has been challenged because it has a story that has an 18 year ol...moreThis collection of short stories are often found on the ALA challenged book list. It has been challenged because it has a story that has an 18 year old boy befriending a man with AIDS, because it discusses homosexuality and because of its language. Chris Crutcher, though, is an expert at what he does-writing about reality. He said, "They think kids should not be exposed in print to what they are exposed in their lives. But I believe what I believe, so I write my stories." (Crutcher even has a whole section on censorship on his website: http://www.chriscrutcher.com/content/blo... ) I, personally, find it spectacular that such a contemporary set of short stories was published in 1991!
Throughout these 6 stories we follow 6 different young adult males that are facing some daunting situations. Angus doesn't fit in and neither does his family, Johnny has a tough father, Petey was forced into facing a girl at a wrestling match, Lionel lost his family in a boating accident and is now an orphan, Telephone Man is a racist that may have found the light, and Louie is a boy faced with his own prejudice. Crutcher, through these fantastic short stories, takes us through these situations with grace and realism.
Discussion questions I made for a book challenge I competed in:
Basic book questions *Some of the short stories had characters from some of Crutcher's other novels, did you feel that made it hard to connect to the characters and understand their stories? *Did you feel the prefaces at the beginning of each story were helpful or hurtful? *Crutcher often intertwines sports into his stories- do you think that is an effective way of introducing these hard topics? Do you think girls would find this novel as friendly as boys would?
Thought Provoking Hard Questions *Crutcher says, "We are all bigots. All of us prejudge people on some basis, be it race, sexual preference, height, age or any scores of categories we use to make ourselves seem superior when we are, in fact, feeling inferior." Do you agree? *Do you agree with parents in Iowa who did not want their 8th graders exposed to this novel? What age do you feel it is appropriate for? *This book was published in 1991, way before there was mainstream LGBT young adult literature. Now this book is not purely LBGT, but includes stories that could be categorized as such. How do you think it was accepted at the time of publication? (less)
WHOA! This was an intense, heart wrenching, well-written, tragic novel! As soon as I began it, I could not even fathom putting it down. I truly felt f...moreWHOA! This was an intense, heart wrenching, well-written, tragic novel! As soon as I began it, I could not even fathom putting it down. I truly felt for the main character in this novel. She is a misunderstood, confused teenage girl just like many of us have been. Watching her go through the journey she does in this book is tremendous. (less)
The best way to describe this book is as a combination of "Mean Girls" and "Groundhog Day", but it is so much more beautiful and meaningful than that...moreThe best way to describe this book is as a combination of "Mean Girls" and "Groundhog Day", but it is so much more beautiful and meaningful than that makes it sound.
Sam Kingston loves Cupid Day. She is pretty, popular, dating a jock and cupid day is the day she gets to flaunt it. It is also the day that she is going to die. But before she falls, she has to live the day over and over. While her day is on repeat, Sam begins to reflect on her life and realize that all that she has may not be worth the consequences.
There are some amazingly beautifully written moments in this book which is what pushes it from a 4 to a 5. The way that Lauren Oliver writes some moments were some of the best descriptive language I have ever read (see pg. 418 for an example).
(view spoiler)[I would like to say that I didn't like that on Sam's real last day that she never confronted Lindsay about Juliet. I know she wanted it to be perfect and I do like most of the choices she made, but I think that though Sam sacrificed herself, her friends may not understand or change and everything will just be the same the next day. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wow. This book is almost too good for normal words. First, I cannot believe that it did not win any awards!! It should have won the Schneider or the N...moreWow. This book is almost too good for normal words. First, I cannot believe that it did not win any awards!! It should have won the Schneider or the Newbery or something- it is such a special book!
Melody has cerebral palsy and cannot speak or move too well or share all of the greatness in her mind. This is Melody's story. She is so smart and funny and her story is one you shouldn't miss!(less)