July 31, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday: More YA Dystopia, Children's Lit, + a Linky!

I decided to go out on a limb and make this series into a link up too!  I don't know if anyone else would be interested in joining in the What I'm Reading Wednesday fun, but I thought I would give it a shot!  I know I would love to check out what others are reading, so if you feel like writing a quick post about your reads of the week, I hope you will consider linking up!

Last week, I posted about a decent YA dystopia book I'd finished, The Adoration of Jenna Fox.  In my review, I complained about the lame ending, the book's biggest downfall.  I did continue the trilogy, only because my friend urged me to, and I'm so glad I kept with it.  I thought each book got better as it went along!  I'm not going to share summaries or specific reviews of books #2 & #3, don't want any spoilers, especially for anyone who hasn't read book 1!
I will say, though, that these books are both more of companion novels than sequels, at least when compared with book 1.  They have a different narrator and take the story that begins in Jenna Fox, including its ethical questions, in a new direction.  They also introduce some other issues into the mix, issues like classism, poverty, and prejudice that, no matter how many centuries have passed, continue to plague society.  Book 3, Fox Forever, was definitely my favorite. The story was fast paced, and I loved the characters.  Definitely recommend this series to anyone who loves a good teen dystopian read!

4/5 stars for both The Fox Inheritance and Fox Forever

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

Summary:  It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father—but no one, not her father nor the military guardians who accompany her, will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he's working on a top secret government program. Over the next few years, Dewey gets to know eminent scientists, starts tinkering with her own mechanical projects, becomes friends with a budding artist who is as much of a misfit as she is—and, all the while, has no idea how the Manhattan Project is about to change the world. This book's fresh prose and fascinating subject are like nothing you've read before.

My thoughts:  This book was wonderful.  As usual, it was recommended to me by a friend and I jumped in without reading the back, so I had no idea what it was about when I started.  Almost immediately when they started talking about physicists and chemists working on a "secret project," I thought, "Omg, they're working on the bomb!"  Yes, had I read the description, I'd have already known that. :)  Anywyas, that immediately hooked me.  Dewey and Suze were such wonderful, special, real characters.  This book made me laugh out loud and gasp in surprise.  Mostly, it was just a beautiful read.  

What I liked most about Green Glass Sea was this: In undergrad, I was an English Lit minor.  For one of my big projects in a class on Literary Theory, I wrote about children's literature and how the best children's books are those that force children to ask questions; those that describe controversial topics in a way that doesn't slam the author's opinions onto the child, but that encourage the child to form their own opinions.  This is one of those books.  Ellen Klages does an amazing job of telling the story from the perspective of children living on an army base who have no idea what's going on, but are trying to make sense of things the best they can.  At the end of the book, one adult character begins questioning whether building "the gadget" as it's referred to was the right choice--"at what cost?" she remarks.  As a read aloud or class novel, this would be a perfect opportnuity to open the conversation about the ethics of The Manhattan Project and war in general.  I would recommend this book to any kids 4th grade and up, but it would be a fabulous class read for any grade learning about World War II.

4.5/5 stars

Schooled by Gordon Korman
SummaryCapricorn Anderson had never watched a television show before. He'd never tasted a pizza. He had never even heard of a wedgie. And he had never, in his wildest dreams, thought of living anywhere but Garland Farm commune with his hippie caretaker, Rain.
Capricorn (Cap for short) had lived every day of his life on Garland Farm growing fruits and vegetables. He was homeschooled by Rain, the only person he knew in the world. Life was simple for Cap. But when Rain falls out of a tree while picking plums and is hospital-ridden, he has to attend the local middle school and live with his new guidance counselor and her irritable daughter. While Cap knew a lot about Zen Buddhism, no amount formal education could ready him for the trials and tribulations of public middle school.
Cap doesn't exactly fit in at Claverage Middle School (dubbed C Average by the kids). He has long, ungroomed hair, wears hemp clothes, and practices Tai Chi out on the lawn. His weirdness basically makes him biggest nerd in school. This is great news for Zach Powers, big man on campus. He can't wait to instate the age-old tradition in C-Average School: The biggest nerd is nominated for class president—and wins. So when Cap becomes president, he is more puzzled than ever. But as Cap begins to take on his duties, the joke starts to turn on Zach.
Will Cap turn out to be the greatest President in the history of C-Average School? Or the biggest punchline?

My Thoughts: As a vegetarian, peace-lovin', tree-huggin', flower-child-wanna-be, I think I knew I would love this book as soon as I saw its cover.  I actually started it  LONG time ago, but got distracted, set it in a stack of books, and forgot about it.  I'm SO GLAD I came across it again over the weekend!  I absolutely love the premise of this book--a sheltered hippie pre-teen being plunged into middle school for the first time?!  What's not to love.  Cap is a seriously awesome character.  He is the definition of 100, % pure innocence, from never having touched money to not understanding basic laws muchless ANY of the teasing he encounters at school.  I was intially kind of reminded of Stargirl, actually--Cap is jutst as odd as her.  Whereas Stargirl was serious and heart-wrenching at times, Schooled is saturated in humor--I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occassions while reading!  Overall, this book was a blast to read and was chock full of awesome themes like acceptance, friendship, and change.  Totally recommend!

4.5/5 stars

Cover art and italicized summaries are courtesy of goodreads.com


  1. My students really enjoyed Schooled. I liked the varying perspectives and they loved the characters.

    I'd definitely link up...but I've only been reading Runners World this week!


  2. I've never read a Gorman Korman book that I didn't like. He is an amazing writer! My kids love him.

  3. I wish I could join in this time around, but I haven't read enough book since my last What I Read! Next week for sure though! I'm so glad you are doing a linky party for this one too.


  4. Love this idea! I will definitely be linking up next Wednesday when I have something typed up!


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