Winter Town- Stephen Edmond

Winter Town


Winter Town was one of the ARCs I received at NCTE11 in November.  Finally, while on winter break, I got a few free hours together to read it.  I have to say I enjoyed it.  The story has two main characters, a teen boy and a teen girl and follows their friendship as they navigate their own teenage problems.  What I thought was unique and interesting is that throughout the story are little comic strips or images that coincide with the story as illustrations, or are part of the story as examples of what the characters are writing.  It is not the type of story that I would use in my classroom to teach but I would feel comfortable recommending it to students and having it on my shelf.  There is some mention of drinking (and throwing up because of it) and casual mentions of sex but nothing is explicit nor does it come across as encouraged.  I think that this book is very timely and modern discussing texts, emails and even mentioning Glee.  That, actually, might be one of my concerns for the book that it will become dated quickly but only time will tell with that.

The Lowdown: 

Interest Level:  High School

This book was published on December 5th, and as of now I have not found any information regarding the reading level or awards that it has won.  If I come across any in the future I will update this post!

Failed Review: Fade to Blue- Sean Beaudoin

This is my first Failed Review, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I started reading Fade to Blue months ago.  I was immediately drawn to it’s graphic cover and the fact that it included a comic in the middle.  Unfortunately as I read I became more and more confused.  With alternate realities and interwoven plots/characters I just couldn’t keep up.  Maybe this isn’t the book for me to read before bed, but try as I might I just couldn’t figure it out.  And finally I had to do something I almost never do.  I quit.  I stopped reading it.  I’m not sure if I think it is a bad book, I just think its not the right book for me.  I have seen positive reviews on other blogs about the book, so I don’t want to discourage others from reading it.  But if you are like me and are not normally a sci-fi or fantasy lover, and have a difficult time following complex interwoven plots then perhaps this isn’t the book for you.  I do see it as having a lot of cover appeal to teens, and I am sure many will enjoy it’s contents as well.

Poll #6- What is your favorite genre?

Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi

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This was my second foray into graphic novels, and I think I’m becoming a fan.  While completely different than American Born Chinese, this graphic novel still held my attention.  I feel like “recent” history isn’t taught or talked about enough, so reading about the revolution in Iran was extremely interesting and informative.  I liked that though the book deals with serious issues there was still a bit of humor intertwined in the story.  I think this could be used easily in a high school English class, or in a world history course.  I’d be interested in hearing how teachers have used it, as I know many have.  



 2004 ALA Alex Award
 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
Booklist Editor’s Choice for Young Adults
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
 School Library Journal Adult Books for Young Adults
A New York Times Notable Book
A Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year”
A San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Best-seller 


American Born Chinese- Gene Luen Yang

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American Born Chinese might be my favorite book of 2009.  It was so much FUN to read.  I laughed out loud several times, from the dialogue and the illustrations.  Written in the format of a graphic novel it follows three story lines that come together at the end.  It took me a minute to figure out the connection at the end, but it worked.  Though I’m not an immigrant or the child of immigrants, I have several friends who are- and the references to what life is like in a new country seem to be spot on.  There is nothing preachy in the story- but it does touch on the issues of racism, fitting in, crushes, and general teenage angst.  I am definitely going to be buying a copy of this book to keep in my future classroom.  This book would be appropriate for middle and high school students.  I’d be interested to hear if other people love it as much as I did!



2007 Printz Award Winner
National Book Award finalist
American Library Association best Book for Young Adults, Top Ten List
Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Booklist Editors’ Choice Book
San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
NPR Holiday Pick Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the Year