Ah, Mondays. I have a love/hate thing with Mondays. I really look forward to reading other people’s blog posts about what they’ve been reading, I’ve learned about so many amazing books through these connections. But, it also means getting up at 5:00 am, which can be hard on any given Monday, though now that we are in the middle of May, a new Monday means a new week closer to the end of the school year. Is it okay to be really psyched about that? I think so. I’m not going to feel too guilty about that.
Anyway, if you are here reading this you probably found me through the weekly meme, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts. It’s pretty much the only reason I blog anymore. I need to change that. Maybe in the summer.
Take note, the books I’m talking about this week all publish in the summer. I got my advanced copies through NetGalley, which has been awesome about sharing books with me. I highly recommend them!
Wackiness abounds in this easy-to-read mystery chapter book. Our sleuth is a Venus Flytrap stuck in his pot who loves solving BIG DEAL mysteries. His sidekick/assistant is Nina the Goat; she eats everything in sight, pushes Inspector Flytrap around on a skateboard and responds to most things with a shrug and a “big deal”. The mysteries come into the office in a fast and furious pace, from missing pickle paperweights to unidentifiable yellow blobs on expensive paintings. The writing is pretty straightforward and the general quirkiness of everyone and everything will appeal to most young readers. Angleberger’s fast-paced dialogue paired with Bell’s familiar illustrations make for a winning combination here. The 2nd graders at my school will appreciate the humor and find it all right at their level.
Inspired by her own experience of trying to leave Manhattan on 9/11 and get back to her home in New Jersey, Gassman writes a beautiful and moving tribute to the many boats of all shapes and sizes that responded to a call to action to help evacuate the city on that fateful day. She describes how boat captains of all sorts mobilized their crews and sailed into a city under attack in order to help those trying to escape the destruction that was unfolding. Just as powerful, the artwork beautifully complements the spare story, with nearly monochromatic digital illustrations that often feature one bright color as a counterpoint. Often, that color is the bright blue of the sky, harkening back to the crystal clear day, but sometimes it is the red of a life ring or the black smoke oozing from the towers. Truly, a gorgeous and creative work with an intriguing focus about a terrible day.
The voices of conjoined twins Clara and Hailey alternate in this new teen novel filled with all the angst, joy, and frustration that goes with being teenagers. The girls are soon to graduate high school, forcing them to think about their future and the possibility of leaving their insulated small town in California that has protected them from some of the harsher realities of being conjoined. Outgoing, artistic Hailey wants to go to art school and see the world, or at least some of it, but Clara, who’s passion is astronomy, wants only to stay safely anonymous, keeping close to home where everyone knows them and there are no prying eyes. But, as is often the case, a new boy in town opens Clara’s eyes to what could be, and for the first time allows herself to dream about being a normal teen and some of the things that entails, such as falling in love or traveling to San Francisco. For the first time, they really think about what life could be if they separated, an idea that both horrifies and intrigues them. This is an authentic story, and their emotions and responses are spot on. The girls have to find compromises in order to both get what they want, which feels about right for any teenager. The writing was very compelling here and I couldn’t put the story down until I had finished, which I haven’t done in quite some time. I’ll be recommending this one to my older students who love a good realistic fiction with a side of romance thrown in. The ones who love Sarah Dessen and John Green will not be disappointed.
On to the social media…
I’m on Litsy. Anyone heard of it? I think it’s pretty damn new. I heard about it through a blog post from BookRiot and I’ve linked it here, she does a much better job of explaining it than I ever could. Her nutshell is that it is a combination of Instagram and GoodReads, or if they had a baby, or something like that. The premise intrigued me, so I joined. It’s only on Apple devices so far, I can’t even log in through the website, so purely mobile right now. But, if you, too, are intrigued and end up signing up, find me. My username is Runawaylibrarian. If it entices you more, my litfluence score is a whopping 42. It was 24 just for signing up. I need more friends. If you have already joined, comment here with your username and I will find you.
Have a happy Reading Week!