Code Name Verity- Elizabeth Wein

I really enjoy historical fiction.  Not only do I get to read a great story but I get to learn in the process.  I also love books with strong female protagonists.  This book truly delivered on both counts.  Told from the viewpoints of two different girls during WWII this book has action, intrigue, female bonding and so much more.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

TONS of literary and historical allusions.  This book is for smart people!

A new take on WWII.  I’ve read lots of books focusing on the plight of the Jewish population- which of course is very important, but this takes a different angle.

Young women in positions of importance.  This is definitely a book that proves can be/do anything.  Even pilot planes during war time!

I truly think this would be a great book to use in the classroom.  Check out this novel guide on Teachers Pay Teachers that helps students with the vocabulary, allusions, and general comprehension.

The Lowdown: (via Scholastic)

Interest Level: Grade 10

Reading Level: Grade 6  (While this may be technically true, the dual narrator, and the allusions, along with some of the content make this book appropriate for high school.

Awards: 

Michael L. Printz Honor Book

Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Novel

Golden Kite Honor

There is somewhat of a sequel available too which I have yet to read.

I’m a Winner!

A month ago today Heidi Ayarbe decided to host a “Lame Duck” writer contest to show her appreciation for authors who take risks with their writing.  I entered on a whim and, along with two other lucky people, was chosen as a winner.  I was very excited today when I returned to my apartment to find a copy of Going Bovine by Libba Bray waiting for me!  The book is one I haven’t read, sounds interesting, and will help me with my quest to win all the Printz winners!

So thanks, Heidi, for hosting the contest.  I am excited to read this book, and a few others that you mentioned in the post!

 

What’s next on your reading list?

Postcards From No Man’s Land- Aidan Chambers


Shop Indie Bookstores

I had started this book in the Spring of 2008 and for some reason I never finished it.  In the hopes of checking off another book on my Printz challenge and because I found a super cheap copy at a dollar store I decided to try again.  I’m glad I did.

Postcards From No Man’s Land weaves together two stories separated by decades.  One story describes the impact of WWII on Holland and its citizens while the other is a modern day story of a teen boy visiting Holland on his own.  In both stories issues of sexuality are discussed, though I was not always sure as to why they were pertinent to the teen boys story.  The book was very descriptive and it definitely held my interest. There are interesting family dynamics explored in the book as well.

This is a book for high school students.  The content and the vocabulary make it appropriate for grades 9-12.  I would consider using in a classroom but would probably send a note home outlining to parents the controversial topics it discusses.  It may be a useful book for history teachers as well.

I was glad to finally read another book with a male protagonist!

Awards:

1999 Carnegie Award

2003 Printz Award

Those of you who have read it, what did you think?

Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson


Shop Indie Bookstores

This book is so well known that I feel silly that I didn’t read it till now.  Speak is a great novel that follows its main character, Melinda, through her freshman year of high school.  Melinda faces a lot of issues throughout the book all stemming from an event that occurred the summer before the book starts.  I felt like this book opens up important topics for discussion.  As usual Anderson captures the voice of American teens with great accuracy.

I know there are school districts that have all of their freshmen read this book.  I would not hesitate to use it in my classroom or to recommend it as independent reading to a student.  I think that this book is appropriate for grades 8-12.

Awards:

A 2000 Printz Honor Book
A 1999 National Book Award Finalist
An Edgar Allan Poe Award Finalist
Winner of the Golden Kite Award
An ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
An ALA Quick Pick
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Top Ten First Novel of 1999
A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
An SLJ Best Book of the year
A Horn Book Fanfare Title
2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award (for this and other novels)

What I’m Reading: How I Live Now- Meg Rosoff

The next book I will be reading this summer is Printz winner- How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.  This will help me work on my Printz challenge.  I bought this book months ago and forgot about it in the back of my car, so now that I have it back in my hands I will get to it.  I hope to finish it by next Monday.  I will keep you posted as usual!

Jellicoe Road- Melina Marchetta


Shop Indie Bookstores

This Printz winner took me a while to get into. I’d say I was a third, to half of the way into it before I really became intrigued, but then I didn’t put it down.  There are numerous interesting characters whom I loved, but at the same time had some difficulty keeping everything straight.  There is mystery involved in the story- and I reached the end I felt like I needed to go back and re-read because I had to have missed some things along the way.  The main character, Taylor, is finishing up her Junior year and attends a boarding school in rural Australia.  There are two mentions of sexual activity within the book but they are not overly explicit.  There is a bit of violence at times in the novel as well.  I think this book could be used potentially in a classroom.  I would recommend it to teen girls and boys as there are strong characters from each gender.   I think this book is appropriate for high school students.

 

Awards:

ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Michael L. Printz Award
Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book 

 
 

From the Library

Today I went to pick up The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party at the library and lo and beholdJellicoe Road was also waiting for me. I’m going to try to read them both relatively quickly because I have a feeling there are waiting lists for both and therefore I will not be able to renew them. I am very excited for both of these books, so stay tuned for my reactions!

What have you gotten out of the library recently?