Rivals- Daisy Whitney

Review:  I received an advance reader’s copy of Rivals by Daisy Whitney at the NCTE Convention this fall.  This is the sequel to The Mockingbirds and continues to look at the darker side of boarding school.  This book is a little less intense focusing on prescription drug abuse rather than date rape but does not ignore that Alex is still coping with the events that transpired the year before.  This was a great read and was much more of a mystery than The Mockingbirds.

Like its predecessor this is definitely a book written for high school students.  I think it would attract more females than males, but males could get into it as well.  This isn’t a book I’d teach, but I would/will have it in my classroom library.

The Lowdown:

RL: My guess is about 4th grade
Interest Level: High School

Look for this book to hit shelves in early February!!!

Paper Towns- John Green

Paper Towns


I have been looking forward to reading Paper Towns by John Green since it came out but never got around to it.  While I was at NCTE 2011 in Chicago I had the opportunity to stand in line and have John Green sign a book.  They were selling Paper Towns at a discounted price so I jumped at the opportunity!  I’m so glad I did.  I’ve read other books by Green, An Abundance of Katherines  and Looking for Alaska and enjoyed both so I wasn’t surprised that I liked Paper Towns as well.  I really enjoyed that there was a male protagonist that seemed relatable and that there were significant characters that were male and female which should make this a book that can appeal to all teens.  The book follows one boys quest to find his neighbor, a beautiful girl, whom he has admired for years.  There is quite a bit of mystery and suspense in the novel which appealed to me.  This was not an easily predictable book.  One other thing that I really liked about this book was the including of poetry from Walt Whitman- I like to think that perhaps it will not only expose teens to another form of writing but spark an interest in it as well.

I do not see myself using this book as a classroom read in the future but I would put it on my classroom book shelf.  There is some talk of sex and drinking but in a frank and realistic way that does not glorify it or condemn it.  You will find some “inappropriate” language in the book but again it’s well places and not gratuitous in  nature.  Scholastic labels this book as being a 9-12th grade interest level and I agree.  The characters are seniors in high school and I think the content makes it a high school level book despite it’s lower reading level.

The Lowdown (Via Scholastic)

Interest Level: Grade 9 – Grade 12 (I agree with this)

Grade Level Equivalent: 5.5

Lexile® measure: 850L

Educational Materials Available: SRC! Quiz, AR Quiz


2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

Dead is the New Black- Marlene Perez

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I do not usually pick up books about vampires, but this one jumped out at me from the shelf in the library and I figured I’d give it a try. It is the first in a newer series, and is relatively light with some dark moments, and looks at a different type of vampire that does not suck blood.  I found the main character, Daisy, who is in high school to be a likeable character.  Her family is unique, and her interactions with her crush are realistic and common to most teens I would think.  Overall this was an enjoyable read.  It is not a book that was written to be used in a classroom, but would be an appropriate book to recommend to readers grades 7-12, though reading level is probably more middle grades oriented.


Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers: 2009

Being Nikki- Meg Cabot (ARC)

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Being Nikki is being released today!  The second book in Cabot’s “Airhead” series, Being Nikki continues the story of Em/Nikki and her friends.  As this is an ARC that was sent to be by Cabot and her publisher, I had not already read the first book in the series, Airhead.  I would highly recommend reading the first one first- because it was a little difficult to understand what was happening in the second.  The book has mystery and suspense in it and is a fun light read for teen girls.  I’ll be watching out for the next book in the series, because the ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger, and I want to know what happens next!   I enjoyed reading it.  This is not a book for use in the classroom, but it isn’t inappropriate.