Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes- Chris Crutcher


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Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes was a great read.  The story is told from the perspective of a teenage boy who is overweight.  He tells about his friendship with a girl named Sarah Byrnes, whose face is horribly disfigured due to burns suffered when she was three.  Along with issues of appearance and friendship,  the book also touches on religion, abuse, and trust.  There is mystery and action in the story that keeps you interested till the end.  I rooted for the characters the entire time.  I think this book is definitely classroom appropriate for high school.  It is an easy read, but is great for discussing theme and other elements of literature.  I would recommend this book to any student.  It will appeal to both both teen boys and girls.

Awards:

ALA Best Book for YA
SLJ Best Book for YA
American Booksellers Pick of the List
California Young Reader Medalist
1995 Joan Fassler Memorial Book Award
ALA Best of the Best Books for YA
Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review
1994 South Dakota YARP Best Books
Nominee 1995-1996 Iowa Teen Award
Nominee 1995-1996 SC YA Book Award
Nominee 1996 Young Reader’s Choice Award
Nominee 1996-1997 ILF Rosie

So Not the Drama- Paula Chase


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So Not the Drama is a light easy read that still talks about some serious issues.  Mina is entering high school along with 3 best friends (1 girl, 2 boys) and is very concerned with becoming one of the “popular” crowd.  Throughout the novel Mina deals with keeping up her friendships, forming new ones, popularity, race issues, and more.  I enjoyed reading about Mina and her friends, and thought that the issues presented were done in a light interesting way.  There are a few swear words but I don’t think that they’re over done or too explicit.  I’d say this book is appropriate for students in grades 8-10.  I do not see this book appealing to teenage boys or being used in a classroom, though there are discussion questions at the end of the book.  This is book 1 of a 5 book series, and I hope to read the rest within the next 2 months.  

Question of the week #1

I couldn’t think of a good poll, so I’m going with a question of the week.  Please post your response in the comments below.  

 

If you could be any character in any book and live their life who would you choose and why?

 

I’ll post my response in a few days.  I’m really curious to see who people pick.

The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins


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The Hunger Games had been on my reserve list at the library for several weeks before it finally came.  It was worth the wait.  I would not classify myself as being a lover of sci-fi or fantasy, but I really liked this book.  In this book 24 teens are forced to compete to the death for the entertainment of the capital city.  It follows one girl in particular and her experiences within the game.  While one might think the book would be overly violent it isn’t, and focuses more on relationships and human nature than the killing of other people.  I wish that in addition to the perspective of the girl we also got more information about how the citizens watching the games reacted.  It can be seen as commenting on what our society views as “entertainment.”  The characters were interesting and easy to relate to.  I didn’t know while reading that there is a second book coming out, but by the end I definitely wanted to read more.  (The sequel is set to release September 1, 2009)

This book could be used in a classroom.  I would say that it is appropriate for grades 8-10 based off of reading level.  But could be used for older grades as well, and for some 6th/7th graders depending on their maturity.  I believe this book would appeal to both male and female students even with a female protagonist.

AWARDS:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: CHILDREN’S FICTION
NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF 2008
AN AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION TOP TEN BEST BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS SELECTION
AN ALA NOTABLE CHILDREN’S BOOK
#1 ON CHILDREN’S INDIE NEXT LIST
KIRKUS REVIEWS EDITOR’S CHOICE, 2008
A HORN BOOK FANFARE
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOKS Of 2008
A BOOKLIST EDITORS’ CHOICE
LA TIMES FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOKS, 2008
BARNES & NOBLE BEST BOOKS OF 2008 FOR TEENS AND KIDS
BORDERS BEST BOOKS OF 2008: TEENS
AMAZON BEST BOOKS OF 2008: 
    TOP 100 EDITORS’ PICK
    TOP 10 BOOKS: TEENS

Ultimate YA Bookshelf

YALSA has come out with their “Ultimate YA Bookshelf” which has 50 books, 5 magazines, and 5 audiobooks.  The premise behind it and a link to the pdf can be found here.

Here are the 50 books-  I am interested in how many of them I’ve read- and whether most of them are specifically YA lit or just books that Young Adults might enjoy…

Just so I can keep it straight I will BOLD the ones I’ve read and UNDERLINE the one’s I’ve never heard of- as, I’m afraid to admit there are many!

  1. Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  2. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  3. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
  4. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  5. Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  6. Beauty by Robin McKinley
  7. Black and White by Paul Volponi
  8. Blizzard! The Storm that Changed America by Jim Murphy
  9. Bone series by Jeff Smith
  10. The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
  11. Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  12. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  13. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank
  14. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  15. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  16. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going
  17. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  18. Fruits Basket series by Natsuki Takaya
  19. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
  20. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  21. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  22. The Guinness Book of World Records
  23. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  24. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  25. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  26. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  27. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
  28. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  29. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
  30. The Killer’s Cousin by Nancy Werlin
  31. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
  32. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  33. Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
  34. My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  35. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  36. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  37. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  38. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  39. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  40. Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
  41. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
  42. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
  43. Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman
  44. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  45. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
  46. Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
  47. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  48. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  49. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
  50. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

Wow, I’ve read only 16 out of the 50.  Oh, and I’ve gone through The Guinness Book of World Records, but have not read it cover to cover… has anyone?  That’d put me at 17.  I’m glad that several of the books are already on my to read list!

I’ve never heard of 22 of the books.  I have heard of many of those authors though.

updated: 8/13/09