Hi book dragons!
I’m getting a head start on my summer reading list for my young adult literature class and I’m going to average two books a week. So far, I’ve gotten through two great reads! I have to write reviews on them anyway so I figure, why not also post them here so you guys can get ideas of the books I’m being forced to read!
SPOILERS: I had to get specific in these reviews so there MAY be spoilers in them. No super heavy spoilers, though.
The first book was called Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and I gave this book a 9/10. I absolutely loved this novel. I felt an immediate connection to the main character, Ally, and her struggles during school with bullying and feeling inferior to her classmates. When I was in school, I struggled with my weight and I was also very smart and wore glasses. As one can imagine, I was bullied a lot throughout middle school and the beginning of high school before I lost the weight. I wish I would have had friends like Keisha and Albert, nor did I have teachers that cared as much about struggling students as Mr. Daniels. The fact that she had friends who were more 3D than most main character’s best friends in young adult novels made the novel that much better. I even felt a connection to Shay, the class bully. Not every novel will go into detail about the bully and go into backstory. Granted, I do wish they would have gotten a little more into her background, I do like how they explained why Shay was so mean. I think this novel would be better received in a public library program instead of a school library setting. The reason I think this is because I spent most of my time in my school library and that only made the bullying worse. It’s difficult to make students really appreciate the lesson in a novel when it’s a lesson about school life when it’s not being received in a school setting. Using this novel in a public library setting such as a book club would be such a positive experience for children in middle school to fully understand the fact that everyone has their own personal struggles that could very well affect them in all aspects of their lives, including school. It’s very easy to fall into a mob mentality in schools and do what everyone else is doing, but this novel can open the doors to discussions about doing what is right and what is easy. I do think that it should also be required reading for adults looking to be teachers to students with learning impairments because Mr. Daniels is a fantastic role model for people trying to teach students with things such as dyslexia.
The second book was Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman and I gave this one an 8/10. I have always been a fan of psychological thrillers and I would definitely classify this novel as such. I was very confused as to what was happening for the first hundred or so pages. I thought that it would be back and forth between Caden’s real life and his imaginary life that he imagined to help him deal with some sort of traumatic experience. After finding out that his imaginary life on the ship and his real life were both the same experiences, but viewed differently, I got a new level of understanding of Caden. I was amazed at the parallels and had read it twice just to catch even more similarities. I highly enjoyed this novel and am excited to read his other novel, Scythe, also on the reading list. The setting and writing style was a little off putting at first with the extremely short chapters and the blending of imaginary and real life near the end of the novel. After I realized that they were the same world viewed differently, I learned to love the back and forth. It made the reader really focus on what was happening and keep track of which characters corresponded to each other in each world. The characters were a little more difficult for me to relate to and like. I liked Caden and his little sister, but his two friends in school I had no feelings toward and most of the people on the ship as well as in the hospital I also had no feelings toward