Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was an honorable mention for the 2013 Prinze Award. When the nominees came out I grabbed all of the winners and made a to-read-list for myself. I had this book sitting on my desk and a student asked to check it out. The student brought it back the very next day and said that it was the best book in the Library. I immediately started reading to see if she was correct.

I enjoyed this book and thought the main character was very interesting. I think the students at LPHS will enjoy this read.

Booklist Review
When Aristotle and Dante meet, in the summer of 1987, they are 15-year-olds existing in “the universe between boys and men.” The two are opposites in most ways: Dante is sure of his place in the world, while Ari feels he may never know who he is or what he wants. But both are thoughtful about their feelings and interactions with others, and this title is primarily focused on the back-and-forth in their relationship over the course of a year. Family issues take center stage, as well as issues of Mexican identity, but the heart of the novel is Dante’s openness about his homosexuality and Ari’s suppression of his. Sáenz (Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, 2004) writes toward the end of the novel that “to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing.” And that’s exactly what Sáenz does—he treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other. This moves at a slower pace than many YA novels, but patient readers, and those struggling with their own sexuality, may find it to be a thought-provoking read. Grades 9-12.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dark Song by Gail Giles

Dark Song is on the 2013 Abe List. I have been slacking in reading all 22 titles so when this book came in, I grabbed it and finished it overnight. Gail Giles book, Left Behind was on the Abe List last year so I was familiar with the author. The book starts off following Ames and her perfect life, her perfect family and her perfect house. However, nothing can stay perfect for long and soon Ames world begins unraveling. This was a quick and compelling read and I will start recommending it to the students during my Book Talks.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reached by Ally Condie (Book 3 in the Matched Trilogy)

 I love the Matched series and have been dying to read the final installment of the Trilogy. Ally Condie did not disappoint. I truly enjoyed the series following Cassia, Xander and Ky. My only complaint is the author did not spend anytime reviewing where we left off and I found myself struggling to remember what happened in the Carving and the Mountains.

Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

The wait is over.

One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion.

With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international–bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long, the power to choose.

We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

This book was recommended to me a while ago. After reading "Defending Jacob" a second person recommended "We need to talk about Kevin". The premise of this book is about a child who has committed a crime against their school mates told from the Mother's point of view. With the increasing school shootings, I felt this was a very topical read and was interested to read a novel from the mother of the killers perspective. From the first page, this book grabs the reader and doesn't let go. I highly recommed this book but caution any parent as I believe it could be a difficult read for a parent.

Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage, in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.