IMWAYR 3.14.16


What I’ve read recently:

everything everything

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

YA Contemporary Fiction, 2015, 320 pages

My Goodreads Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book is very intriguing and unique. A teenage girl lives with her mother and has a very rare disease. Madeline is basically allergic to the outside world and has not left the house in many years. Her daytime nurse, Carla, who checks her vitals regularly, is her best (and only) friend. Her days all run together until a new family moves in next door and Madeline meets Olly, a lanky teenager who after a series of events and Carla’s blessing, comes inside for a face to face meeting. I look forward to reading more books by Nicola Yoon in the future.

Currently in my TBR pile:















IMWAYR 2.8.15



Today I’m recapping all the books I read in January. I was able to read five books, while getting back into my classroom routine after Winter Break, and having a surprise snow day definitely helped!


Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Biography, 5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating story about track phenom and WWII POW Louie Zamperini, and his courageous spirit. This YA adaption of the adult version is easy to read, but doesn’t skimp on pictures and details all of the hardships Zamperini faced during his lifetime.  A great addition to the informational section of your classroom library.


Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

YA Fantasy, 5 out of 5 Stars

This is the third, and final, book in the very popular Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series and it continues the story right where book two ends. I regretted not re-reading book two before starting Library of Souls, but once I got about fifty pages in, I was once again captivated by the storyline and unforgettable characters. If you haven’t ever read this series, it centers around Jacob, an ordinary boy who finds himself in a very peculiar world. The author incorporates creepy vintage photographs into the storyline and has created a fascinating world and cast of characters. I really enjoyed this book and especially its ending. I cannot wait until the movie for book 1 comes out at the end of the year!

i crawl

I Crawl Through It by A.S. King

YA Surrealistic Fiction, 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge A.S. King book and have read all of her books, but this one threw me for a loop. I have not read very books in this genre, and it was hard to acclimate to it. It is a very interesting story about four teenagers crippled with grief and how they are struggling and dealing with school and life while most of the adults are oblivious and incompetent. The daily bomb threats and emphasis on standardized testing at school add to the chaos of the teenagers’ lives. This would be a good fit for a high school English classroom for older readers.

a time to dance

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

YA Contemporary Novel in Verse, 4 out of 5 Stars

Ever since my colleague and I did a novels in verse unit this fall with our students (it was amazing!), I am on the look out for more novels in verse to add to our collection. This book is an interesting look at a teenage Indian girl’s life and love of ancient dance after a terrible accident. I love the Indian influence in the book and the protagonist, Veda’s resilient spirit. An interesting read for those who like novels in verse.

help wanted.jpg

Help Wanted at Mount Vernon by Holly Young and Cathy Morgan

MG Informational, 4 out of 5 Stars

I bought this book after Corbett Harrison ( suggested it as a companion for one of his Writing Lessons of the Month. While it was a little pricy on Amazon, I am glad I got it. The story is about two characters – a fainting goat and spitting lizard, who are out of work, stumble upon Mount Vernon and try to get new jobs. While trying out for several positions on the grounds, they learn all about the creative problem solving George Washington used to run his plantation in the 1700’s. A lot of cool History and Math is used in the book and while the characters’ blunders are a little cheesy, the book is pretty cool. There is also an online component that can be used for a neat PBL opportunity. I would love to have a class set of these books!

I hope you had a great reading month in January! I’d love to hear what books you loved so I can add them to my TBR list!













It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.28.15 #IMWAYR


I’m baaaaaack! It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve posted here, but today my students will be posting their first IMWAYR posts, so I have no excuses! While I am 22 books behind my Goodreads reading goal right now, I have had read some pretty good books lately, and here are a few of them!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Be sure to click on the covers for an in depth synopsis and others’ reviews

2 a night divided

A Night DIvided by Jennifer Nielsen

MG Historical Fiction, August, 2015
384 Pages

My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

Everything Jennifer Nielsen writes is awesome. The False Prince trilogy is probably my favorite middle grade series. She writes characters so well and A Night Divided is another example of a book with characters that jump off the page. I haven’t read a lot of books about the Cold War and Berlin Wall so I was intrigued by the interesting subject matter. This story is told from twelve year old Gerta’s perspective and centers around the Wall being put up one night when her father and brother are away, and now half of her family is on the East side and 2 others on the West. The conditions on the East side are terrible and Gerta and her brother Fritz long to be reunited with their father and escape to the West. Time is running out and they are forced to make some big decisions. Highly recommend this book!!

crossing stones

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost

Historical Fiction Novel Written in Verse, 2009
184 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
My seventh graders will soon be undertaking a very big study of novels in verse (Surprise, 3rd and 6th period!) and I am still looking for good titles. I love Helen Frost’s structured verse and am in awe as I read her books. She is very talented! This novel takes place in a rural setting around two families that live near each other. Their lives are intertwined and World War I and the Women’s Suffrage Movement force the family to face an ever changing world. The whole story takes place around nine months of their lives. I wasn’t sure the subject matter and time period would be interesting, but I fell in love with these characters and Helen Frost’s beautiful words. Timeless themes of family, war, and growing up are relevant to all readers.

hello googdbye

Hello, Goodbye and Everything by Jennifer E. Smith

YA Contemporary Fiction, September, 2015
246 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

Jennifer E Smith is another favorite author of mine. I highly recommend The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and The Geography of You and MeHello, Goodbye and Everything in Between is another great book about teen relationships and this one centers around one night, which I was a little hesitant about at first. 250 pages about one night? It definitely works. Clare and Aiden, the golden couple, are headed off to college the next morning. Two different colleges on opposite sides of the country. While Clare has prepared a walk down memory lane for the couple, both have bigger things to figure out. Should they make a clean break or should they continue their relationship, long distance? This book had me laughing out loud at times and is pretty adorable!

I’m hoping to pick up A Night Divided  and Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between at our school’s upcoming book fair in November. Not sure I can wait that long to get them for our classroom, but we’ll see.

Here’s what I’m reading next:


Have a great week! ♥

(All pictures are from

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 4/6/15


Spring Break flew by and while I didn’t get nearly all the projects completed that I wanted to, I was able to read two great books and start a third. I’ve said it before, but I’m forever thankful for NetGalley and the opportunity to read new titles before they come out!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Be sure to click on the covers for an in depth synopsis and others’ reviews


Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

YA Contemporary Fiction, Release Date: 5/5/15
448 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
A new Sarah Dessen book! I think this is my favorite book she has ever written, which is saying a lot because her books are all fantastic. Sydney’s older brother, Peyton, is facing serious consequences after his latest reckless behavior. Good girl and perfect daughter Sydney is once again forgotten amidst the chaos and decides to change schools to get a fresh start. Her mom continues to be obsessed with appearances while her son is in jail, while Sydney’s dad works all the time and goes along with whatever his wife says and does. After a trip to local Seaside Pizza, Sidney meets the Chatham family and things start to turn around. They show her kindness, friendship, and acceptance. I really got into this book and was surprised to learn that it is over 400 pages long. It sure didn’t feel like it! I love the characters in the book and I laughed out loud often. There are some really sweet and memorable scenes and I love the “family” theme in this book. This will definitely be a title I add to my classroom!

bright and shiny things

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

YA Contemporary Fiction, Release Date: 4/7/15
336 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This is a book that I’ve seen ALL OVER twitter. The cover intrigued me and I’m so glad I was able to read it! Sage tries really hard to be perfect. Her past is a mystery and she doesn’t reveal too much to anyone. Her character is quirky and I love her voice in the book and her commitment for the environment, which definitely make for some funny scenes. Her love life is non existent, due in part to a complicated friendship with her best friend, Ryan, until the new boy Shane shows up and throws her for a loop. But Shane is trying to lay low and make it to graduation with no distractions. Little do they know that their lives will become intertwined, and while running from their pasts and outside influences, they will struggle to make a future for themselves. I hate giving away plots of books, so I hope I haven’t spoiled anything, but I did really enjoy this one. I think it will be really popular for teen readers and I’d love to see more from this author!

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 3/23/15 #IMWAYR


Not much happening reading wise right now, but I have two titles to share with you. Spring break is right around the corner so very, very soon I will be in reading heaven for a whole week and have a lot of books to share!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Be sure to click on the covers for an in depth synopsis and others’ reviews

pieces of georgia

Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

MG Realistic Fiction novel in verse, 2006
166 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
My colleague and I wrote a grant this month for novels written in verse and this is one of them. It is a sweet story about Georgia McCoy and her father dealing with the death of Georgia’s mother. Both are deeply hurt and have trouble communicating. Georgia’s counselor asks her to keep a diary and she ends up writing to her mom. She is a talented artist and is encouraged to create a portfolio for a local program for young artists. Through her writing and art she starts to find her way.


The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Historical Fiction, 2015
448 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
I am a huge Kristin Hannah fan. I have read all of her books and was so excited when I got approved on Net Galley to read The Nightingale. Holy cow is this book AMAZING. It starts in France during 1939, and is told from two sisters’ points of view – Vianne and and Isabelle, who are some of the most remarkable characters I have ever come across. Vianne is a mother, who’s husband is sent to the front lines, and is left with a house to run and dangerous choices to make. Isabelle who has been kicked out of countless boarding schools is a rebel with a chip on her shoulder. No one thinks France is going to be invaded, but as we all know, it is, and what these characters go through is gut wrenching and you seriously will not be able to even think about putting it down. I don’t want to spoil any of the book for you, and really hope you’ll read this one. It has one of the highest ratings on Goodreads I have ever seen, I really hope you will take my advice and read it!

That’s all for this week. Happy reading everyone!

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 3/2/15 #IMWAYR


Lately, I’ve been reading some great books on Net Galley and borrowing books from my students. It’s been a good reading week!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Be sure to click on the covers for an in depth synopsis and others’ reviews

under a painted sky

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

YA Historical Fiction, Release Date: 3/17/15
384 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
I haven’t read many YA novels that take place in 1849 and on the Oregon Trail. Ok, I don’t think I’ve read any, but I’m glad I found this one! This gorgeous hooked me from the start. Samantha and her father are Chinese immigrants in unfriendly and unfamiliar territory. After a suspicious fire, Samantha is left alone with nowhere to go. Her father’s landlord offers her a place to stay, but after a very scary situation, she is forced to leave town with Annamae, a slave who is desperate to head out West,  with little more than what they can carry. They decide to disguise themselves as “Sam” and “Andy” and when they meet a group of cowboys, things get really interesting. This is one of the best books with the theme of “friendship” I’ve read in awhile. I loved it! I was surprised there were almost 400 pages, because I flew through it, needing to know what was going to happen next. The group gets themselves in some pretty interesting situations, and the ending is pretty intense! I really, really would have been fine with 300 more pages. Excellent book and I highly recommend!

my best everything

My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

YA Contemporary Fiction, Release Date: March 3, 2015
400 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Isn’t this cover really cool too? It’s one of my favorites that I’ve ever seen. Lulu has just finished high school and is headed as far away as possible from the small Virginia town she grew up in. Unfortunately, after some financial issues, money for college isn’t there anymore and her dream is crushed. Desperate, Lulu convinces her two best friends and brand new crush to sell moonshine around town to make her dream of escaping a reality. I was caught a little off guard by the moonshine plot twist, but it’s really well done and perfect for the setting and characters. I loved Lulu and her friends. The whole book is a letter to Lulu’s crush, Mason, and as the reader you’re not sure if it’s a love letter or a goodbye letter. I was a little frustrated with the somewhat open ending, but that’s just me, needing loose ends tied up. Would like more by this author. Good book. Definitely recommend!


Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave

YA Contemporary, written in verse, 2011
176 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 2/5 Stars
Andy is at the bottom of the high school food chain. His dad is the school’s janitor, he has no friends, and is frequently picked on. There’s a rumor going on around school that Blake, a fellow student, has a gun in his locker. To impress a girl, Andy steals his dad’s keys and decides to find out if the rumor is true. After a series of events, Andy and Blake become friends and everything goes downhill. This book focuses on bullying and school violence and is pretty intense.

cant look away

Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

Contemporary YA Fiction, 2014
272 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
One of my students bought this title at the book fair we recently had and I asked if I could borrow it when she was finished. I highly recommend doing this no matter what the book is. It instantly shows the student you value their reading choices and it opens up a great opportunity for dialogue. Can’t Look Away’s protagonist is Torrey Grey, a You Tube star, famous for her beauty and fashion videos. She has a cult following, and when tragedy strikes her family, Torrey’s world is turned upside down – online and in real life. She and her parents move, and she is thrown into a new high school, with new rules and new mean girls to contend with. While the least of her worries is not being recognized, Torrey has a lot to deal with and a long way to go to realize what is really important. This book has great teen reader appeal. While it wasn’t my favorite book I’ve ever read, I’m glad I read it because it led to several conversations with a student reader in class, in the hallway and now we have a bond over a book and that won’t ever go away.

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 2/23/15 #IMWAYR


Thanks to Mother Nature’s tight grip on Ohio this past week, I have been on an almost week long hiatus from school. Extra time = reading time! It’s been awesome and I feel like I’ve finally got my reading groove back. Hope it’s here for awhile!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Be sure to click on the covers for an in depth synopsis and others’ reviews

odette's secrets

Odette’s Secrets by Maryann MacDonald

Historical Fiction Novel, written in verse, 2013
240 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Odette and her parents are non practicing Jews that live in Paris. Their lives are turned upside down after her father enlists in the army, is captured and sent to a camp. Odette is sent to live and hide in the country and has to adapt to a completely new way of life. I enjoyed this novel in verse and think it would give middle school students a good perspective of a child’s struggles during WWII in a place other than Germany.


Hidden by Helen Frost

Realistic Fiction Novel, written in verse , 2011
160 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Wren Abbot is in the wrong place at the wrong time. She stays in her mother’s van while her mother goes inside a gas station, and the van is stolen. The van is stolen by Darra Monson’s father, and he doesn’t know anyone else is in the vehicle. When Darra’s dad hides the van in his family’s garage, Wren finds herself trapped. Wren manages to escape and the two girls lives are instantly intertwined and never the same again, especially after they meet years later at summer camp. I really liked this book and found the alternating viewpoints fascinating.

this one summer

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

YA Graphic Novel, 2014
320 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This One Summer won both a Caldecott Honor and a Printz Honor, which is pretty interesting. This coming of age story centers around Rose and her family’s yearly trip to the beach.  Most of the book is really sad and full of family secrets and Rose trying to figure out life and growing up. While I found some spots a little slow, the artwork in this book is beautifully done.

and we stay

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Contemporary YA Fiction, written in verse  2015
240 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
And We Stay is another 2015 Printz Honor book and I loved it. Emily is shipped off to a prestigious boarding school after her ex boyfriend threatens her in the school library one day and takes his own life. Her new school is Amherst College, where famed and tortured poet Emily Dickinson lived. Emily is forced to come to terms with what happened and move on with her life. Easier said than done. This book is very well written. The combination of flashbacks, present time and poems from Emily Dickinson intertwined into the storyline were beautiful. This is a really sad book but I think it was an excellent choice for a Printz honor. Highly recommend!

fish in a tree

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Middle Grade Fiction, 2015
288 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
This book has had so many fans from the start that I knew I had to read it. Talk about a heartwarming book for teachers and students! Ally is a super smart young lady, but she can’t read. She is too embarrassed to ask for help, her teacher and principal think she is a trouble maker and she is constantly picked on by the mean girls. Her dad is deployed, her mom works all the time and her brother has his own frustrations. It isn’t until Mr. Daniels, a long term substitute, comes to Ally’s class that things begin to change for her. I got choked up so many times while reading this book. It is so, so special. I loved the friendship between Ally, Albert and Keisha, and think this is right up there with Wonder, Counting By 7’s and Mockingbird, which are all books that hold a special place in my heart. Highly recommend!