Monday, September 28, 2015

Currently Reading 9/28/15

Check out the link ups at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers!


Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
Great creepy fun.  Love Tamaya so much, and am amazed by how much Sachar was able to include in such a short novel.  Tons of appeal. ****

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
I'm not sure how to review this one.  I can't name anything wrong with it at all, the subjects are so important yet rarely dealt with in books for this age, thematically it's stellar (so much insight into how friendships change), the characters are well-drawn and interesting, the plot is intriguing, (I've read some critiques about the setting and about the two parts not being well integrated, but neither of those seemed like problems to me.  I don't know enough about NYC to tell if the setting was accurate or flawed, & I actually really liked that the two parts were connected almost completely thematically instead of through plot) but I still didn't love this book.  I think maybe my expectations were too high, I wanted to be moved and wowed like I have been with Stead's other novels, but this was just a perfectly fine middle school novel, extremely well-written but ultimately (for me) forgettable.  Still giving it a high rating though, as I think the problems I had were more me than the book. ****1/2

How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh
Don't do what I did and assume that because this book is small and thin and doesn't have a lot of words on the page that it's an easy read.  There's so much here, and it's great and really useful, but it takes some time to parse.  ****1/2

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This is so great.  I know a lot of people are calling it slight and fluffy (not necessarily as an insult), but I think there is such a need for the slight and fluffy books too.  Not all teens live lives of angst and death, and this novel, aside from the maybe too happy ending, never seemed unrealistically light to me.  Sweet and funny, definitely, but never superficial or insubstantial.  Simon has to handle some pretty soul-crushing stuff here.  My favorite part, though, is how Simon deals with the transition that often happens in the teen years of realizing that you're not the center of the universe.  Other people suffer too, often a lot more than you do, and the decisions you make affect more people than just you. Simon can be so completely self-centered, and even really dense, but isn't a bad, or stupid kid, and Albertalli does a great job of balancing his sarcastic selfishness with his burgeoning awareness of others.  It's also REALLY romantic. ****1/2

Julia Child: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures by Erin Hager
Completely delightful.  Hager does a good job of telling the basics of Child's life while still including enough details to prove why she was (and is) so important and so beloved.  Loved how some of the most important points in Child's life are told solely through the illustrations.   ****1/2

I read 66 picture books this week and here are my favorites:

A Chicken Followed Me Home! by Robin Page
The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond
Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison

The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea by Brenda Z. Guiberson and Gennady Spirin
One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail

Float by Daniel Miyares
Waiting by Kevin Henkes

Simon's New Bed by Christian Trimmer and Melissa van der Paardt
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt


Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
Railsea by China Mieville
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Thistle & Thyme by Sorche Nic Leodhas

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose
Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel


  1. An Ember in the Ashes is next on my stack and The Wrath and the Dawn is coming soon. I liked Lock & Mori and Walk on Earth a Stranger. I'll have to look for Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It sounds good. Came see my week here. Happy reading!

  2. A new book by Louis Sachar and Phillip Hoose! I think I need a trip to the library!

  3. You share so much, and it's great to read your reviews. I enjoyed Goodbye Stranger, like that Stead reaches for story in different ways each time. I know that we love some better than others, but it is exciting to see what she does. I love all your picture books shared, think Waiting is wonderful, still have to read The Blue Whale. Have another great reading week!

  4. I think I am in the minority when I say that I have never really taken to Rebecca Stead's novels, I really am not sure why but they simply do not resonate with me.


Please use your first name or a username when commenting. The conversation will have an easier flow if we don't have a bunch of anonymous comments. Thank you!