May 26, 2012

Book Love

It's been forever!  While I thought once my job hunt ended I would have *loads* of free time (translation: seriously next to no free time still, but significantly more free time than during the epic job hunt), I quickly managed to fill up that time with one of my absolute favorite things in the world:
Books. :)
And no, I don't mean the books I'm supposed to be reading for my reading masters program...don't be silly.  I'm talking about young adult/teen fiction, duh!  I absolutely adore reading to the point where my attachment to characters is almost a bit much.  (You should have seen me when Harry Potter ended...)  
Tell me I'm not alone...

Every summer I read almost constantly, but this fall with the crazy stress that came along with the big changes in my school, reading fell completely onto the back burner.   (Which for me means just one book a month...)  Around Christmas I decided that stress aside, I was making time for reading in my life no matter what!  And then in the past few months, I have gone completely book crazy, finishing one a week, or more sometimes.  (In fact, I'm a tiny bit concerned about the fact that reading on my balcony has become a regular weekend evening event...seriously, I am 25 going on 50...)  
Stack of library books/loaners from friends that I'm currently working through...

Anyways, in my absolute reading frenzy, I have discovered so many wonderful titles and authors that I wanted to share.  Don't worry, they are exclusively from the Teen shelf at the library...(all cover photographs and italicized summaries courtesy of

Looking for Alaska by John Green
John Green is without a doubt my current favorite author.  He is fantastic.  I picked up Looking for Alaska at the library per a friend's recommendation and devoured it.  From Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps. Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another.  It's a coming of age story with just enough seriousness to make it meaningful, humor to make it fun, and intellectual questions to make you really think about life and friendship.  Loved every page.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
After completely adoring Looking for Alaska, I put my name on the hold list at the library for John Green's newest book, The Fault in Our Stars, hoping it would be as good as my first Green experience.  I was so not disappointed.  From Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.  Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.   Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

As the protagonist is living with terminal cancer, this book has a more serious premise than LFA, but again John Green finds a way to pepper wit and humor throughout the story.  That being said, I sobbed for a good 60 pages.  I'm talking audible, nose blowing, pausing reading only to get more kleenex, weeping.  Here's the thing though--I wasn't weeping because this book was sadder than any other "cancer" book by Sparks or Picoult...those aren't really my scene.  I was bawling because I came to ADORE and care about the characters SO MUCH that I truly felt their losses!  If that's not the mark of a beautifully crafted novel, I don't know what is.  

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
From What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?  Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.  The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

I fell in love with Lauren Oliver when I read her dystopian romance, Delirium last summer (see below!!).  This book was totally different, but equally amazing.  In the first few chapters, Samantha isn't even really likable, and neither are her "popular" friends.  But as she relives her last day over and over, she grows and changes, gradually figuring out how much more there is to life than parties and shopping, and eventually coming to understand that both her life and death have a greater purpose.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
From Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.  On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

This book was, in a word, captivating.  My first thought was, what a depressing concept.  But this book is so much more than that.  I loved the way the story was told with almost two narrators--Clay, telling the story, and Hannah, whose voice we hear through the tapes.  I think this one is a must read for those who work with kids, especially teens, because it examines suicide and the events that might lead a teen to contemplate suicide in a different light.  Sad, but beautiful.

Okay, that's all the time I have for pictures and summaries, but here are a few more titles to add to your summer reads list... :)

If you are looking for a sweet, fun teen love story, check out Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han.  (No Fifty Shades of Grey material here, just a few good old fashioned boy-meets-girl, drama ensues, boy-gets-girl-aww stories.)

And if you are still going through Hunger Games withdrawls, definitely add some of these teen dystopian fiction books to your pile.  No, nothing can ever measure up to the wonder that is Hunger Games, but some of these come pretty close! (Of course, all of them are part of trilogies...)
Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Matched and Crossed by Allie Condie
Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Birthmarked and Prized by Caragh O'Brien
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

What's on your Summer Reading List?
What awesome books do I need to add to mine? 


  1. Love all of these recommendations, thanks!

  2. Looks like some great reads! I am currently reading delirium and loving it! I am still in Hunger Games withdrawal (after reading it twice) ! This book hooked me right from the start and I was thrilled to see there I'd another book in the story!

  3. First of all, I love the pic. I have a whole pin board, just for cool book pictures and quotes! You and I have very similar reading lives: I just finished Pandemonium, Insurgent, Prized, and The Chaos Walking Series. The John Green books are currently on hold at the library. You would also like, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. Can't wait for summer and full fledged reading!

    Chickadee Jubilee

  4. I love when you post about books! I have read Before I Fall, Delirium, and Pandemonium. I loved all three. I am currently reading Divergent and have ordered Insurgent. I have the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy in my bookcase, waiting to be read. I teach 4th grade and I too love reading Young Adult fiction. I look forward to reading some of the dystopian novels on your list. Thanks for the recommendations!

  5. ahhh! thanks so much for sharing some of your favorites! im always looking for a new book to read and LOVE reading just for fun! hope you are having a lovely day friend!


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