These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
You'll want to take this series along to the beach and read it with your tween/teenage daughter. All her friends will want to read it, too (and maybe yours). It's like getting together on a Monday night for "The Bachelor" - yes, I do that with my friends! Don't you love the gorgeous cover? This is just a fun series, and your students will love it. I know mine do - we've all been fighting over the copies I bought for the classroom. :-)
Another gorgeous cover! For some reason, this took me a while to get into - I even considered abandoning it at one point. I'm so glad I didn't. I learned to love Seraphina and her journey of self-acceptance. Hartman created a complicated world - be sure to make use of the glossary in back! I'll be book-talking this one to my sixth graders in the fall, especially to those who loved Eragon.
Oh, this novel is heartbreaking, excruciating, devastating, and beautiful. Cleave's writing in this novel is brilliant. I admired the way he could build tension and go seamlessly back and forth between the points of view of a British white woman and a young Nigerian teen. The violent scenes were so graphic and so horrible, and yet there were so many points of hope and beauty. I loved Little Bee and Charlie. I loved the symbolism and the circular structure. Favorite passages:
"Do those scars cover...moreI know I'm behind on this one. It's been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I finally picked it up. Oh, this novel is heartbreaking, excruciating, devastating, and beautiful. Cleave's writing in this novel is brilliant. I admired the way he could build tension and go seamlessly back and forth between the points of view of a British white woman and a young Nigerian teen. The violent scenes were so graphic and so horrible, and yet there were so many points of hope, humor, and beauty. I loved Little Bee and Charlie. I loved the symbolism and the circular structure. I loved Little Bee's survival instincts. Favorite passages:
"Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." - p. 9
"In your country, if you are not scared enough already, you can go to watch a horror film. Afterward you can go out of the cinema into the night and for a little while there is horror in everything. Perhaps there are murderers lying in wait for you at home. You think this because there is a light on in your house that you are certain you did not leave on. And when you remove your makeup in the mirror last thing, you see a strange look in your own eyes. It is not you. For one hour you are haunted, and you do not trust anybody, and then the feeling fades away. Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself you are not suffering from it." - p.45
"A story is a powerful thing in our country, and God help the girl who takes one that is not her own." - p. 79
"Even the missionaries had boarded up their mission. They left us with the holy books that were not worth the expense of shipping back to your country. In our village our only Bible had all of its pages missing after the forty-sixth verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of Matthew, so that the end of our religion, as far as any of us knew, was My God, my god, why hast thou forsaken me? We understood that this was the end of the story." - p. 182
My other favorite passage is on page 264, but it is a spoiler, so I won't include it here. This is one of those books, much like Khaled Hosseini's, that is hard to just recommend and hand over to someone. You have to warn her/him in a way. You have to say, "This is going to be hard to read, but you'll be in the presence of a brilliant writer. Godspeed."