My oldest son asked me to read The Maze Runner on numerous occasions years ago. I tried back then, I really did. But it fell to my abandoned shelf for...moreMy oldest son asked me to read The Maze Runner on numerous occasions years ago. I tried back then, I really did. But it fell to my abandoned shelf for reasons I don't even recall. After having seen the previews of the movie soon to be arriving in theaters, I picked it back up again with bigger hopes this time. I was sadly disappointed.
The premise was appealing enough. A shifting maze, teens and tweens stuck together trying to escape a maddened world, one girl who might hold the key...but it fell apart for me. Telepathy? Nah. A maze that really didn't even matter in the end? No thank you. "Monsters" that (in my mind, at least), don't appear as scary as they intend to be-only silly blobs with cutting contraptions? Hmmm.
Halfway through the book thoughts of chucking it aside kept entering my mind, but still I soldiered on simply because I wanted to know how it ended. And it didn't. Sure, it's a trilogy. I get that (although why stand alones can't exist in YA lit. I'll never know). But even The Hunger Games ended with more satisfaction.
I give three stars only because I read it one sitting. My oldest son, on the other hand, has read this one twice and we've met the author on two different occasions.
You just never know what will resonate with a reader. This one didn't do it for me. But then again, I'm not a (ahem) "young adult."(less)
I'll admit that I was weary when I picked up Libba Bray's Going Bovine. After having read quick reads for my fourth grade library, this nearly 500 pag...moreI'll admit that I was weary when I picked up Libba Bray's Going Bovine. After having read quick reads for my fourth grade library, this nearly 500 page tome gave me reason to pause. I had also tried Bray's Beauty Queen but reluctantly abandoned it mid-read. But after YEARS of my oldest son's constant nagging to give it a chance (this one's one of the few he has reread), I decided to give it a shot during Spring Break. I'm glad I did, too, because I gobbled it up in two days leaving me plenty of time for my (ahem) junk food reading.
Written with a surprising mix of both dry wit and unabashed love for the written word, Going Bovine is a cautionary tale to the youth of America to "seize the day." Yet, somehow, this description seems simplistic. The Prinz Award Winner is a fantastical tale about how living quietly on the outer bounds of life hoping NOT to be noticed can actually make for some of the most interesting and complicated people we have on our planet. Here's to the loner underachievers...they will inherit the world-or die from Mad Cow Disease, whichever comes first.
One of my students ordered this from Scholastic, devoured it, and begged me to read it. Bowers' book about prejudice in America is a highly engaging,...moreOne of my students ordered this from Scholastic, devoured it, and begged me to read it. Bowers' book about prejudice in America is a highly engaging, quick read for any middle schooler-particularly the reluctant boy reader. Highly enjoyed.(less)
Ah, John Green. No one perfectly captures the angst-ridden lives of teenagers better than him, except for perhaps John Hughes. Except that he is best...moreAh, John Green. No one perfectly captures the angst-ridden lives of teenagers better than him, except for perhaps John Hughes. Except that he is best known for directing angst-ridden teen films in the 80's (films that somehow still speak to us thirty odd years later) and John Green is master of the pen in the twenty tens (books that will certainly still speak to us thirty odd years from now). But I digress. Don't hold it against me. It's late. Thanks, John Green, for writing a book that I cannot put down until the wee hours of a school night. Surely I will live to regret this decision when I am faced with a classroom full of squirrely students and am armed only with a deficit of sleep coupled with a short supply of patience.
Recommended to me by my oldest son, whom I am proud to say I pointed in the right John Green direction first, Paper Towns is the author's usual fare. Long on smart-yet-awkward male central characters who pine for the just-out-of-reach popular chick, this mystery/realistic fiction yarn made me laugh out loud on several occasions and audibly say, "hmmm" too frequently to quote. This ELAR teacher especially appreciated the nods to several of our most beloved classic literature references tucked cleverly into the book.
My one annoyance was Q's graduation present (not shared here so as to avoid the dreaded *spoiler alert* designation). I found it implausible that his tuned-in, psycho analyzing parents would deem their gift befitting. It did, however, fit neatly into the last third of the book's plot...too much so. But I quibble. That last third of the book, along with the first thirty pages, were the most clever.
And finally, I have to give a shout out to Green's many references to mirrors vs. windows when viewing people as it highlights my auto-signature on my school email: "The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." -Sydney J. Harris
A thorough mix of poetic styles and elements showcasing some of our greatest poets. Compiled for children, Knock at a Star would make an excellent tea...moreA thorough mix of poetic styles and elements showcasing some of our greatest poets. Compiled for children, Knock at a Star would make an excellent teacher's companion.(less)