Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues #1) by Rick Riordan
I was against this new series of books since I first heard about them a year (maybe even two) ago. They're gimmicky - with trading cards and all sorts of other merchandise and online bells and whistles. And while I will not be reading the rest of the series (blasphemy, I know - I'm a sucker for series), I can understand the draw of these books to students. To me, they're like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys for today's kids. That being said, I did actually enjoy this particular book. The characters are fun and quirky, and the library scenes are great. :)
What Happened to Anna K? by Irina Reyn
Thanks goes out to Nancy Pearl for this recommendation. I have been trying to read more for myself this summer, to remember the kinds of books that I like to read as an adult, and this one is just that. Though I never actually finished Anna Karenina (it's still one of my favorites - one day I'll read it through!), I loved the story and enjoyed Reyn's modern take on it.
Peeled by Joan Bauer
Surprisingly, I've never read anything by Joan Bauer - I've never found the cover art appealing (yes, I'm a snob), and well, it's not fantasy. :x So, I couldn't believe how much I liked this book and wondered why I had not read anything by her earlier. The small town apple orchard/farm life was adorable yet authentic, and while the ghost story got a bit obnoxious, I did appreciate the whole freedom of the press message. High school students can really make a difference, with a little encouragement, and I think this book illustrates that well. Without being too preachy.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
I didn't like this book the first time I read it, but it was so long ago that I had to read it again if I was going to see the movie. And I did see the movie. Not much to say except that I didn't really like either of them. Nothing happened. Dumbledore dies, and it devastates me every time, so I'd rather not read or see it again. Sigh.
The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher by Laurie Halse Anderson
My Goodreads review:
Zoe has wild, ginormous red hair that cannot be tamed. While her kindergarten teacher appreciated the help Zoe's hair gave, her first grade teacher insisted that Zoe contain her hair because "school has rules." She eventually comes around in the end when Zoe's hair helps her out during a solar system lesson. This is a cute and inventive book that I think I'd like to read to my future K-1 students - they'd get a kick out of it. I can almost hear them giggling now!
Pemba's Song by Marilyn Nelson
Excerpt from my Goodreads review:
This slim book weaves the tale of two girls, the present-day Pemba who has moved into a house in small-town Connecticut and the historical Phyllis, previous inhabitant of the house and slave who has an important secret to share. Pemba stumbles into memories of Phyllis' wen she touches a significant object or place in the house, transporting her back to Phyllis' time in vivid details. It's surprising that for as short as this book was how complex a story it told, with believable characters. I especially enjoyed Pemba's journal writings, poems/raps that described her feelings and thoughts in a more authentic voice than the author could have done otherwise.