Happy summer y'all! I hope everyone has been having an absolutely fantastic summer. I have been having a wonderful time relaxing, hanging out with my one year old daughter, cleaning, and, of course, reading like a maniac! Every summer I try to read as much as humanly possible so I can come into the new school year with many new exciting books to push. After all, who wants to recommend the same tried-and-true books over and over and over again?! Some of my books have been audiobooks (thanks audiobooksync.com!) while others have been on my Kindle and others in traditional book form. I've devoured them all, and here is what I've read so far. . . . .
The Wrath and the Dawn
What an absolutely wonderful book! I wish I had read this book during the school year because it definitely would have been my second favorite book of the year. The world Renee Ahdieh creates in this book is so vivid in every sense. . . .literally. I could see it, smell it, feel it, taste it. I was drawn into her world, the characters, the relationships. . . .everything. I'm usually not one that buys into the romance of YA novels. Yeah, yeah. Students will swoon over Hazel and Gus, Tris and Four, so on and so forth, but me? Well, as a 35 year old woman, not so much. But this book? I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I'm invested in it. I have to read The Rose and the Dagger soon! Not since Katniss and Peeta have I been so hooked into a YA relationship. I loved loved loved this book, and I can't WAIT to promote it in book talks next year.
by Libba Bray
2 out of 5 stars
What happens when you mash every cliche of ghost stories, the 1920's, and small girl in the big city? You get The Diviners. Man, I really hated Evie in this book. And how! First of all, okay....so she's caught drinking and partying by her parents so they decide, "You know what we should do? Send her to New York City. To live with her single uncle who will just let her do whatever. Yeah, that sounds good." She might be one of the most annoying YA characters I've ever read. And how! There were a few sections I actually liked. The story of Ida Knowls was interesting. I also liked Theta's backstory. And the audiobook was very well performed. However, while I appreciate Bray trying to educate young adults about the 20's it felt soooooooo forced, as did most of this book. The ghost story felt forced. The romance felt forced. The 1920's dialogue felt forced. And how!
Highly Illogical Behavior
by John Corey Whaley
3 stars out of 5
I am a bit torn about this book. On one had, I think teenagers will love it. It is well written, funny, and poignant. It is a book I will definitely hand over to any student who likes realistic fiction and book talk to classes. That being said, there were many points in this book where I was begging the author, "Oh, please. . . .don't go there." Some places he didn't. Some places he did. My biggest issue was that I felt it really oversimplified the condition of agoraphobia. The fact that this high school student feels like she can "fix him" is absolutely absurd. It's a complicated disorder that I felt wasn't handled as well as it could have been. Just holding someone's hand and counting to ten won't cure anyone as they step outside for the first time in 3 years. It was moments like this that I felt was irresponsible towards educating student readers about the condition of agoraphobia.
I didn't like Lisa AT ALL in this book, and I while I don't think you are really supposed to like her, it's discouraging when it comes to her chapters.
Overall, while I felt it was a good read, I just felt it wasn't a deep enough and real enough look into mental health that it could have been.
The Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten
4.5 stars out of 5
This book was absolutely wonderful. There were so many things I loved about this book, but what I truly appreciated was how it dealt with the subject of mental illness. Unlike the last book I read, Highly Illogical Behavior, I felt the author truly understood and cared about the condition of OCD. Nothing ever seemed contrived, false, or cliche. It was all real. We are living in the mind of a teenager with severe OCD in this book. She wants us to understand it through living in his mind. So many beautiful moments throughout the book. I would recommend this book to anyone, students, adults, boys, girls, all alike.
I Am Princess X
by Cherie Priest
4 out of 5 stars
This was a fun ride! It was such a unique idea for a YA novel, so I appreciated how different it was. You do definitely have to suspend your disbelief for how the plot comes together, but it's fast paced, interesting, suspenseful, and unique. Definitely one I'll be put into book talks next year. Now if she'll only make the actual graphic novel to accompany it!
by Kiera Cass
2 out of 5 stars
I can't believe I actually made it through this series. You know, sometimes I get bummed out that there's so much great literature in the world, and I know that within my lifetime, I'll never have the chance to read everything I want to read. And then I go an read insipid Disney princess crap like this and kind of want to slap myself hard in the face. I blasted through this inane book in just a couple of days not because I was drawn into the plot but because the language is this book is 5th grade level. We've still got the same one-dimensional characters, some of which get two dimensions in this book, turning their personalities on a dime. Teenage girls will still swoon over these books, dreaming of themselves as America, the plucky and stubborn teenager who stays true to herself and wants to marry a prince so she can live happily ever after. Blah. Not. My. Thing.
Vivian Apple at the End of the World
by Katie Coyle
2 out of 5 stars
First off, I'd like to thank audiobooksync.com for letting me download this book for free over the summer because if I paid money for it, I think I'd be more angry than I am over this book. My biggest problem with this book was that I didn't buy this world she created. The idea is the entire world has been taken over by this religion which is basically a cross between (as another reviewer very aptly put it) "the Westboro Baptist Church, fundamentalist Mormons, and QVC." As the religion is described, it is absurd. Granted, Katie Coyle may argue to you, "Well, I wanted it to seem absurd because I wanted you to be as enraged to it as the main character," but here's the thing. . . .I don't understand how you can logically write a book where so many people (including the President!) could buy into a religion where its main leader meets God in a Starbucks. This actually happens people.
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University