Monday, January 4, 2010

YA List

I had actually thought about stopping my blog since I have neglected it for so long. However, just this past weekend two past students told me how they use it, and that I better not stop. So I guess I'll do some posting again and see how it goes.

Today's post will have a list of books that are a part of my YA class. This class is an elective for any student on campus. However, it usually fills up immediately with elementary education majors. Just a little about the format of the class. The class is a part of Taylor University's January term. We meet twice a week in the evening at my house. We discuss YA books, drink coffee, and eat dessert. Plus there are no papers! Just read and discuss.

Here is this year's list: Stuck in Neutral, Cruise Control, Speak, Inexcusable, Monster, American Born Chinese, Give a Boy Gun, Wintergirls, Mexican Whiteboy, Hunger Games, 13 Reasons Why, Before I Die. Several of the books have already been mentioned on the blog so I will just briefly discuss some of the others.

Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins

This has been the best book I have read in quite awhile. I loved the action, description, plot, and characters. I found Hunger Games to be a very engaging read, and I highly recommend it for middle school.

Quick Summary: This is a futuristic tale and the US is called Panem, and it is divided into 12 districts. Each year one male and one female (age 12-18) from each district must participate in the Hunger Games, a televised event where contestants fight to the death. The last on living wins.

There was a bit too much romance for me in the book, but I understand the role it plays, and how it will impact the second book in the trilogy.


Give a Boy a Gun
By Todd Strasser

This is a difficult read that I like to pair with Nancy Garden's Endgame. The premise of this story is about two boys that have been teased and harassed throughout school. Finally they take situations in their hands during a school dance.

The story is told in first-person by various characters of the book including the suicide notes from each of the two boys. Various factoids and news snippets are found throughout the book in regards to real school violence events. The format of this book would be identified as radical change.

By Laure Halse Anderson

This 2009 book tells the story of two friends that struggle with an eating disorder. After a falling out Cassie makes a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to connect with her former friend Lia. The result is death for Cassie and potential death for Lia. Throughout the story Lia tries to put the puzzle pieces of Cassie's death together while also putting herself in a downward spiral towards death.

13 Reasons Why
By Jay Asher

In this story a high school girl commits suicide, but before doing so she sends 13 cassette tapes to 13 people who had an impact of her decision.
Asher write the book in a radical change format. He tells the story of Hannah via cassette tapes by writing it all in italicized font. Then he adds to the story by inserting the voice of another character by printing it in a regular font. This formatting allows the reader to "hear" the tapes while getting immediate insights from a living character in the book.
I found this book very creative, insightful, and engaging. Asher did a great job illustrating how rumors can snowball and have a negative impact on people.
Keep reading and I'll try to keep posting,
Dr. Quinn

1 comment:

Kelli said...

Keep posting! I do stop by and read every now and then. I would love to read every night, but just can't with four kids and teaching a 6th grade. This gives me some insight into those books the kids are reading. I finally added a couple of books to the blog you had me start last summer. I hope to keep it up for my students' parents.