Look Both Ways- Jason Reynolds
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this wonderful book by Jason Reynolds. A series of interrelated stories told over 10 blocks. We get to meet a handful of really interesting characters. This book will be making its way into book clubs this year wen it is released in October. Wonderful story with diverse characters that all have their own stories.
Damsel- Elana K. Arnold
I bought this book thinking I would love it because I read the entire B.A.T series. That should not be your reason to buy this book haha. This fantasy story with twists and turns and a kick butt lead in Ama is a big course change for a reader with BAT in mind. Sinister characters, and for sure mature themes this is for sure one I would reserve for High School and older because of some content but Ama might be one of the cooler characters I have read in a long time.
House Arrest- K.A Holt
Sometimes we do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Timothy is sentenced to House Arrest for stealing and using a credit card to get needed medicine for his brother Levi. This story that explores their family dynamic after being abandoned by his father and a mother doing everything she can to keep her family afloat. This story written in verse will touch your heart. I loved it.
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager- Ben Philippe
If there was ever a book I thought could be an amazing comedy film this is it. Norris a Black French Canadian and his mother move to Austin Texas and he is forced to navigate the challenges of friendship, dating, bullies and the prom. This is a hilarious story at times with some touching moments. The realistic way Philippe represents these teenagers really comes across in the story. With some Mean Girls Burn Book moments this story is a definite book talk and guaranteed popular title for this upcoming school year.
Endling: The Last- Katherine Applegate
This one came highly recommended by my students this year. I tweeted Katherine Applegate when one student proclaimed, “There better be a sequel” she informed us it would be out soon and then luckily she was visiting Lethbridge and I was able to get it early and signed and the sequel moved through my class as fast as this first story of Byx. Byx the seemingly last of their species is out to find if that is the case. As the story goes allies are gathered and adventures of life and death are had. I love the fantasy world Applegate has created and highly recommend this and so do my students.
The Benefits of Being an Octopus- Ann Braden
This beautiful story introduces us to Zoey. A middle grade student who lives in poverty and helps her mom take care of her siblings all while trying to do her school work and just survive. This story really made me think about representation beyond race in my classroom library as topics like extreme poverty are not touched on as much. Zoey is an incredibly likeable character who is strong, feisty and determined to help her mom and siblings out of their situation. This one is going into book clubs for sure.
All of Me-Chris Baron
Without question my favourite story of the summer, perhaps the year. Ari has a lot of issues to deal with. His parents relationship, bullies, managing friendships and body image. Ari is over weight and has issues with food. He ends up spending the summer with his mom away from home, makes new friends and works on a diet plan. Ari changes throughout the story but struggles along the way. This story had so many connections with my life. I couldn’t put it down. A story written in verse that will be added to my library and likely book clubs.
Why They Can’t Write: Killing the 5 paragraph Essay -John Warner
I tweeted out about this one as I read it but Mr.Warner makes the case in this book that writing instruction must change to fit the writing students are required to do outside high school rather than preparing them for a test. With a focus on authentic writing tasks this book will come in handy as I work to improve my writing practice. Highly recommend.
Patron Saints of Nothing- Randy Ribay
I don’t have the words to describe how much I enjoyed the story of self discovery and family that is told in Patron Saints of Nothing. Jay, a high school student, receives news his cousin has been killed in the Philippines. A once close relationship had grown apart and now Jay decides to go an investigate amidst rumours of drugs and receiving social media messages implying the story is not what he is being told. This is a heart wrenching story of self discovery that will keep you guessing until the end. Finished this afternoon and can’t wait to share with students.