A Box of Books

box_of_booksI recently mailed a package to the school I worked at for four years. Inside the box was a stack of books that I had picked up at the Half Price Bookstore, read, and wanted to share. Mind you, I bought these books months ago, but I couldn’t bear to part with them! I almost decided not to mail them at all. Then I looked around at our apartment (which is bursting at the seams already) and decided that since I had read the books, I could live without the physical proof. Here’s what I sent and a review in fifteen words or less, plus some notes to help you decide whether or not you should add it to your summer reading list:

  • Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson: Average teen pulls prank, earning a reputation. He then deals with rumors and ruined reputations.
    • Read Twisted if you like realistic characters and situations, and topics that are relevant to today’s teens. Also read if you liked Anderson’s other novels, like Speak.
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Accident lands a girl in a coma. She must decide to live or let go.
    • Read If I Stay if you saw the movie preview and thought it looked interesting, or if you like teenagers put in difficult situations that they must overcome. This one’s a bit of a tearjerker.
  • The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler: 1996 teens access their future Facebook pages through AOL CD. Their choices affect their futures.
    • Read The Future of Us if you enjoyed Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, or if you are interested in how technology has changed our lives in a relatively short time, thanks to the internet and Facebook.
  • Starters by Lissa Price: Elderly rent out teenagers’ bodies for fun, but teens soon become mindless weapons.
    • Read Starters if you like YA dystopian novels with strong female leads like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched. This novel has a sequel titled Enders, which I picked up from the library this week, but haven’t started yet.
  • Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian: Lillia, Kat, and Mary help one another seek revenge, but maybe they go too far…
    • Read Burn for Burn if you are tired of YA dystopian novels! This novel has three girls from different social cliques working together on revenge plots. There is also a bit of the supernatural involved. This book is followed by Fire with Fire, which I also read and enjoyed, and I’m interested to see what will happen in the third book in the series.
  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer: Meteor pushes moon closer to earth and family must survive with stockpiled food and wood-stove.
    • Read Life As We Knew It if you’re interested in finding out what life would be like if a global natural disaster really happened and you were forced to survive without grocery stores, water, heat, electricity, cell phones, and the internet. The novel is written as a series of journal entries. It is followed up by three other books in the series (which I have not read, and I’m not sure that I will).
  • The Kill Order by James Dashner: Prequel to Maze Runner series. How it all started. Mutating disease released on innocent people.
    • Read The Kill Order if you read the Maze Runner series and are still confused! While this novel still didn’t answer all of my questions, it did help explain how the disease started in the first place. It also shows what life was like right at the time of the sun flares, which are discussed in the Maze Runner books.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Kid leaves reservation school to attend a white school for hope of a better future.
    • Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian if you have ever felt like you didn’t belong in your family, community, or school. Read this book if you’ve felt like there was more to you and your potential than everyone around you imagined. As the main character is a teenage boy, I feel like boys would be drawn to this book more than girls would. Read this book if you disagree with book banning/challenging and you want to see what all the fuss is about.
  • Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen: Author of Hatchet and Brian’s Winter returns with more of Brian’s story.
    • This is the only book out of the bunch that I didn’t read. I just know that kids always like Gary Paulsen’s books. Students are captivated by Brian’s ability to survive in the wild on his own. I remember reading Hatchet and Brian’s Winter in elementary school and really enjoying them. I think I remember this unit in particular because we even got to build our own forts in the school forest. How cool is that?!

How did I do?  Do you think my box of books will be a hit with teenagers looking for something new to read?

3 Film Adaptations I’m Excited About


If I Stay– Written by Gayle Forman, If I Stay is a 2009 novel about a teenager named Mia who has an out-of-body experience after her family is involved in a tragic car accident. Throughout the book, Mia thinks back to special moments with her family, her surprising relationship with Adam, and her future as a classical musician. Family and friends visit her in the hospital—some urging her to fight and live, and others telling her that it’s okay to let go. Ultimately, Mia must decide whether to wake up or not.

I read this book fairly recently, so it is still fresh in my mind.  I caught the trailer while watching the season premiere of Awkward on MTV. The first time I saw the trailer, it gave me chills. It looks like the film has been beautifully and lovingly adapted for the screen. Bring the Kleenex to the theater when you go see this film in August.



Gone Girl – This is the first book by author Gillian Flynn to be brought to the big screen, but others are already on their way. Flynn’s psychological thriller was one of my favorite reads this past year. It kept me guessing all the way through, and I can’t wait to see it brought to life.

Early on in the novel, Nick Dunne discovers that his wife, Amy Dunne, has gone missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick becomes the prime suspect in the case. Doubts begin to pile up as to whether Nick is innocent or not. Amy’s diary documents the couple’s declining relationship. Flynn twists the novel upside-down in the second half of the novel when it’s revealed that Amy may not have been as innocent or as honest as she once appeared. If you haven’t read this book yet, put it on your TBR list. You have until the beginning of October to get it read!



The Maze Runner – James Dashner’s YA Lit Maze Runner series was on a lot of people’s reading lists this year. The books (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order) are a bit frustrating as Dashner builds suspense by giving the reader only teeny, tiny bits of information. The book starts with Thomas arriving in a place called the Glade, but he has no memory of how he got there, or memories of life before the Glade. An organized community of boys live in the Glade. Some of the boys venture out into a giant maze each day in order to find an escape route from wherever they are—but they must return before nightfall. Massive doors keep the Glade protected from disgusting, mechanical slug creatures called Grievers that would kill the boys. Their structured way of life is soon interrupted when a girl shows up in the Glade.

You’ll be scratching your head as you read this novel. While I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of the series, I did read all four books because I had to know what on earth was going on! I was, however, impressed with the trailer of the film adaptation. I might even go so far as to say that this may be one of those rare occasions when the film is better than the book!  Check this movie out mid-September.

Which book to film adaptations are you looking forward to in 2014?