Sunday, December 27, 2009

the best books I read in 2009

I DID IT! I reached my goal of reading 100 books this year and I read a lot of really good ones this year. Here is a list of the ones I gave 5 stars to on I liked them for different reasons. All of them are young adult, some are fantasy, some are for older teens, some have language not appropriate in some circles, but all, in my opinion, were really really good.

In no particular order with a quick, one sentence summary of sorts:

The 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison (a fairy book. a girl goes to stay with her grandmother and discovers she is connected to the fairy world. well written)

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (a fantastic story. a girl's grandmother leaves her a package with 13 blue envelopes and sends her on a trip around the globe that she will never forget-one of my faves!)

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown (a story about a school shooting and the road to forgiveness)

Paper Towns by John Green (a night with Margo Roth Speigelman a boy will never forget -its not what you think-leads to a search for her later-one of my faves!)

Looking for Alaska by John Green (a boy's life is changed when he meets a girl named Alaska, then changed again when tragedy strikes- I *heart* John Green)

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (a girl leaves audio recordings detailing the 13 reasons that led to her suicide- probably my fave of the year)

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (a girl goes to her mom's childhood vacation home one summer and meets an intriguing and mysterious boy named Leo, who has a very cool secret-my book-boy crush of the year)

Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass) by Cassandra Clare (a mixture of warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and shadow hunters- I think boys and girls alike will enjoy these)

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (in this society, children are selected to fight to the death with other children. a match that is televised for the whole country to see. )

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headly (a girl was born with a facial birthmark and her mother has spent her entire live trying to get rid of it. a story of love and loving who you are)

The Astonishing Adventures of Fan boy & Goth Girl by Barry Lyga (nerdy guy meets goth girl. girl tries to give boy confidence in his comic book work while hiding secrets of her own)

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga (set 6 months or so after astonishing adv. of fanboy & goth girl. Focuses more on goth girl as she deals with coming back to school)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (a new girl comes to town to live with her reclusive uncle, but there is more to this family that meets the eye. boy meets girl and they realize their lives are connected in many ways)

Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalstier (a girl deals with the fact that if she uses magic, she'll die at a younger age, but if she does not use magic, she'll go mad like her mother has)

Sabriel by Garth Nix (a girl has become a necromancer as a birthright to banish demons and save her father)

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga (a story of a boy who was manipulated into a relationship by a teacher and deals with her getting out of jail)

Angus, Thongs & Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (a fictional diary of a British teen dealing with her cat, her sister, her parents and her friends at school- hilarious!)

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (twin sisters realize that they are destined to be at war with one another- one on the side of good and one on the side of evil. Can they find a way to break the curse?)

The Earth, my Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (a plus size teen in a family of skinny people feels like an outcast until she decides to take charge of her own life)

Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson (kids try to save Disney World from the evil Disney characters that are trying to take over)

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon & Dean Hale (a girl-power graphic novel featuring Rapunzel and her hair)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Scarlette Fever by Maureen Johnson

Scarlett Fever Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Scarlett Fever picks up very soon after Suite Scarlett. Without giving too much away, we learn more about Spencer's job prospects, Scarlett's love interests, Lola's angst, & Marlene's secret agenda. (curious now? good)

It really left me hanging though! I can only assume there will be another book in this series...there has to be.

Cute story, quick read.

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Religious discourse

As a rule, I don't engage in religious or political discussion with people. One reason is that is always seems to turn personal. Why can't we have conversations about things and still walk away as friends.

Right, because people don't seem to know what those are.

I broke my rule today and got into a religious discussion on someone's Facebook page. It turned personal for me when I said I didn't think that it was the public school's responsibility to teach Christian heritage, traditions or beliefs, as one poster said they should. He then proceeded to say he was glad that his children weren't in my class. Wow. Since he has never had a conversation with me other than my post me I find it amazing he can pass that kind of judgment. (Edited to add- upon further reflection and conversation, turns out that we DID have a conversation once before.)

But I don't think public schools should. What would they teach? Each denomination thinks what they do is correct. Can you imagine the fights over what goes in the curriculum?
Personally, I don't think there should public led prayer at school. Prayer, unless you are in an intercessory group, should, in my opinion, be a private thing. What if I don't agree with what the person is praying out loud? If I am standing there aren't I essentially saying that I am in agreement?

I hear all the time that God has been kicked out of public schools. No, he hasn't. At my school and probably most schools kids still have every right to pray on their own, wear a cross or Star of David, etc. They can wear shirts with bible scriptures. They just can't distract from instruction (bc ya know, that's what they are going to school for, to learn) And as a public school teacher, I cannot teach MY beliefs. I am quite ok with that. I wouldn't want someone whose beliefs I disagree with teaching my nephew that theirs was the correct way. I think it is the parents' responsibility to guide their children. In my classroom I do my best to be fair, to show my students that I love and care for their well being and that I want them to be the best person they can be. My hope is that they know my heart and what kind of person I am through my actions.

Am I perfect? Of course not. I screw up all the time. Do I have all of the answers? Oh Heck no. I am still trying to figure stuff out. I struggle with & question things all the time. I think that's how we learn though. And conversations, without destroying the person, are key.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mortal Instruments books 1-3 by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass (Mortal Instruments, #3) City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I waited until I finished the last in the Mortal Instruments series before giving my thoughts.

This series includes City of Bones, City of Ashes & City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. These books are fabulous! I was completely hooked from the first page. So many twists and turns. And it has a little of everything- vampires, werewolves, warlocks, shadowhunters, almost-epic battles, and a little love and heartache thrown in.

I will confess that I began to suspect something in book I flipped to the back of book three before I started it. I HAD TOO! I was dying to know! But how it all comes together is great. I would love to know more about the characters, though, after the last book.

Read this series!!

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The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The unwritten rule of friendship is that you don't steal your best friends boyfriend. But what if she always takes the boys you like?

I'm 35, but as I read this book I saw my 15 year old self and heard the things that my "best friend" at the time said to me. Have we all had those "friends" that put us down with a compliment?


I understand Sarah wanting to try to fix her relationship with Brianna even though it was toxic. You invest in something that long and you hate to see it gone.
I enjoyed this book as an adult and would have loved it as a teen. I can't wait to read more by Elizabeth Scott!

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

November books

Tempted~PC & Kristen Cast This one is ok, I love this series but the books tend to drag at times

Beautiful Creatures~Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl Loved this one! and I just found out that there will be five books in this series AND there is going to be a movie!

Hunger Games~Suzanne Collins you must read this book. Reality tv taken to an all new level.

13 Reasons Why~Jay Asher This one is a great story. Must read

Will Grayson, Will Grayson~David Levithan & John Green I love John Green

I am at 83. Behind on my goal!!