Better late than never. Here’s what I read in October.
Speak – Laurie Anderson | This YA novel was moving and sad. I loved the subplot with the art teacher– I am, for obvious reasons, a huge sucker for any plotline that involves teachers helping kids. I would only recommend this book for older teens, due to some mature themes.
The Beginning of Everything – Robin Schnider | This was pretty meh. I liked the speech and debate plotline (again, obvious reasons), but I felt like a lot of the characters weren’t very likable and there was a bit too much drama for my tastes. But such is high school, I suppose.
The Wright Three – Blue Balliett | I want to like Blue Balliett so bad (and ok, I did genuinely love Hold Fast. Balliett weaves such awesome themes through her books… art history! architecture! etc! But I have the same complaint about this one as I did about Chasing Vermeer–the plot lags for most of the book and then ties up in a tidy bow right at the very end. Unsatisfying as an adult, but maybe ok for a middle grade reader, which is of course the intended audience. Definitely a fun, interesting way for kids to learn about Frank Lloyd Wright and the Robie house.
Notes From a Blue Bike – Tsh Oxenreider | I love good memoirs. This one was a little slow and at times felt unrelatable… she writes about living more simply, yet she and her husband both work (somewhat part time) from home. But she addresses those questions and overall, it was a lovely book that was certainly inspiring.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler | This was one of those books that was good enough to overcome my aversion of a genre. Quick recap… genres I love: books about books, YA books about kids going through tough stuff at home or school (essentially: every YA book ever written), memoirs about faith or food or outdoor activities or family, books told through letters, books where a main character has a mental illness, and books about making children better citizens/more successful. Genres I (mostly) avoid: period fiction set before 1920, chick lit, any series with more than 7 volumes, super political government spy thrillers, and any book in which an animal plays a significant role. The premise of this book (“girl is raised with chimpanzee”) completely flies in the face of the latter category, however it had a good dose of “kid dealing with the aftermath of tough family stuff” so I gave it a shot. It was strong and compelling.
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith | This was one of those books that I got obsessed with and thought about all the time when I wasn’t reading it. Plot is a huge strength of J. K. Rowling’s and you can see it here, for sure–but she gives you lovable characters, too. I couldn’t put this one down, Gone Girl style. (Although it’s definitely not for anyone with an aversion to language.)
The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith | Of course I immediately got the sequel, which was equally suspenseful, but I didn’t enjoy nearly as much. It’s about a pretty grisly murder and the details got to be a bit much for me. Supposedly J.K. is writing a third one, though, and I have high hopes for it.
p.s. I’m working towards diversifying our classroom library, and your help would be so welcome. (use the code SPARK at checkout and DonorsChoose will match your donation!)