Book Forty-Four: Dear Martin

dear martinSo this one is cheating a little bit… Summer is officially over, but I started listening to this book before it ended, so I’m going to count it as part of my Summer Read Challenge. And what an awesome, powerful, emotional book to end on. Definitely a last but not least situation.

This book is an incredibly timely story, speaking to the racism that so many young people experience every day. The conversations felt so real to me, as did the pain and frustration the main character felt throughout the book. I wanted to reach through the pages and hug some characters and throttle others.

I would recommend this book to all of my high school students, as well as my faculty. You should go read it too.

Book Forty-Three: Want

WANTfinalcover1.jpgThis was a great sci-fi read. Fast-moving, but with underlying ethical issues that feel all too plausible.  I really liked the main character, as well as the supporting cast.  All in all, a very entertaining and interesting read.

I’d recommend this to students in the 8th grade and up who enjoy science fiction and/or action.

Book Forty-Two: Five Worlds, The Sand Warrior

5 worldsI thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel.  The art was great, the plot was intriguing, and the action moved you right along. I’m looking forward to reading the next book because this one leaves you with a lot of questions.

I’d recommend this to students in the 6th grade and up who enjoy fantasy/adventure and graphic novels.


Book Forty-One: Black Enough

black enoughThis collection of stories was recommended to me by one of my students who saw it on display and said her parents had gotten in for her and she LOVED it. Any time a student has that reaction to a book, I know I need to pick it up.  And it was good! I loved the variety of perspectives and stories, from differences in gender and sexuality to differences in socioeconomic status to differences in family structure and ethnic background.

I’d recommend this to high school students who enjoy realistic fiction.

Book Forty: Midas

midasWhat would have happened to the Earth if King Midas’s golden touch spread across the planet?  This graphic novel takes on that question in a totally unique storyline, set far in the future from Midas’s time. It’s like someone mashed up Star Wars with Greek Mythology with Science. All in all, a good read.

I’d recommend this to high school students who like science fiction and graphic novels.

Book Thirty-Nine: Pandora’s Legacy

pandora.jpgI have mixed feelings about this graphic novel.  On the one hand, I love the idea behind it, the depiction of mythological elements, and the adorable talking cat.  On the other hand, it felt a little disjointed and sometimes I had a hard time following the changes in location/time/scenes. Also, there was so much action packed into a short novel that character development was very minimal.

My recommendations for this book would be fairly limited to students who really enjoy Greek/Roman Mythology and who don’t mind stories without much substance other than the action scenes.

Book Thirty-Eight: Lumberjanes, The Infernal Compass

infernal compass.jpgSo first, if you haven’t been reading Lumberjanes, you need to.  Go get Beware the Kitten Holy, and get started.  This installment in the Lumberjanes universe is the first original graphic novel, and it focuses mainly on the evolving relationship between two of the ‘Janes. Of course, there is also a supernatural adventure going on for the campers, in this case, it involves a possessed compass.

I’d recommend this book, as well as the whole series of comics, to my students in 6-9 grades, although I think my older students would like it as well. Anyone who enjoys comics, slightly off the wall capers, and hardcore lady-types will find a lot to like.

Book Thirty-Seven: The Gallery

The-Gallery-678x1024The author of Under the Egg is back with another intriguing mystery.  This story, which takes the form of a present-day elderly woman writing about a pivotal time in her life as a young girl, mostly takes place during 1928/1929 and mixes historical fiction with mystery. It also brings in works of art as a key part of the story’s development.

I’d recommend this to middle school students who like mystery and historical fiction.

Book Thirty-Six: Brave Face

brave faceThis memoir is honest, relatable and engaging. It tells one honest story of a teenage boy coming to accept his sexuality while also dealing with undiagnosed depression.  It’s an important story and one that I think a lot of people, both adults and teens, would benefit form reading.

I would recommend this to my high school students who enjoy realistic fiction, memoir, and/or who are interested in mental illness or LGBTQ+ experiences.

Book Thirty-Five: Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

sal & gabiI know I really like a book when I give it a hug after I finish, and this book got a hug. What I like the most is that Sal, the narrator and a middle school boy, is not a jerk to people and the one time he takes something too far, he immediately apologizes and regrets his action.  He is in touch with his feelings, knows that people might judge him for that, and doesn’t care.  It was so refreshing; I kept waiting for him to get angsty or drawn into middle school drama, and it just never happened. Yay!

Beyond that, the book is full of Latinx culture, dialogue in Spanish, and great family relationships. Also, the titular character of Gabi is a strong, smart, thoughtful, powerhouse of a girl. I loved seeing how Sal and her relate to one another and become friends.

I’d recommend this to middle school students who like a variety of genres: realistic fiction, science fiction, humor, adventure.  It has broad appeal.