Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recommended Reading - Short and Sweet

When asked, many students tell me that they like to read, but they don't have time to read for fun.  Homework, clubs, sports, and other commitments take every minute of every day.  (Well, except for facebook, texting, phone calls, and TV that is.) 

I get it.  It's tough.  Life is busy, and there's not always time for everything.  So here are some great recommendations for the person with little time.  These books are short and sweet; you'll only need a couple hours TOTAL to complete them (MAX).  Best of all, we have them here at the school's library.

What My Mother Doesn't Know - by Sonya Sones
"My name is Sophie. This book is about me." With these words, Sonya Sones's novel (S & S, 2001) draws listeners into the private thoughts and longings of a ninth grade girl on the verge of finding love and learning what it means to mature. Dealing with a mother who immerses herself in the lives of her favorite soap stars, Sophie finds herself thinking about all the things her mother doesn't know about her, such as the fact that she's dating socially acceptable Dylan, though she has started daydreaming about a dorky boy named Murphy. When everyone else seems to leave town on a school break, Sophie has a blast with Murphy, and wonders if he is Mr. Right. Thoughts of her friends' reactions to the boy almost bring the new relationship to a halt. Told in Sophie's own free verse poems, the story moves and evolves quickly in a satisfying and tantalizing manner. -Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT(

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know - by Sonya Sones
This book picks up almost immediately where What My Mother Doesn't Know (Simon & Schuster, 2001/VOYA October 2001) left off. Popular Sophie and outcast Robin-better known by his last name, Murphy, which has become synonymous with "loser"-have just spent an amazing winter break together falling in love. Now it is back to reality-school. Robin is nervous that Sophie will ignore him, even expects her to do so, but when Sophie joins him for lunch, Robin's happiness is only dampened by the fact that her association with him has now made Sophie a pariah as well. Even Sophie's two best friends have abandoned her, so it becomes Sophie and Robin against the world. - Kimberly Paone (

Good As Lily by Derek Kirk Kim & Jesse Hamm (graphic novel)
Grace Kwon's friends throw her a surprise 18th birthday party with a picnic in the park. There they meet a strange vendor who refuses to sell them ice cream, but sells them a pig-shaped piƱata instead. When it finally breaks after falling on Grace's head, she learns that it's empty. Later that night, when she returns to the park, she meets a little girl, a young woman, and an old woman who look familiar. It turns out that all of them are named Grace Kwon, and that they all share the same birthday. Now Grace must deal not only with the philosophical concept of encountering her past and future selves, but also with the day-to-day chaos that they create. Between the child stealing snacks, the senior citizen smoking cigarettes, and the young woman hitting on Grace's drama teacher, the teen naturally becomes confused and exhausted. -Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library (

The first part last by Angela Johnson
Bobby is your classic urban teenaged boy — impulsive, eager, restless. On his sixteenth birthday he gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever. She's pregnant. Bobby's going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and hanging with friends no longer seem important as they're replaced by visits to Nia's obstetrician and a social worker who says that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption.
With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson looks at the male side of teen pregnancy as she delves into one young man's struggle to figure out what "the right thing" is and then to do it. No matter what the cost. (

the Queen of Cool by Cecil Castellucci
On the outside, Libby Brin is the most popular girl in school. She has the coolest friends, the hottest boyfriend, the trendiest clothes, and the hippest parents. But on the inside, Libby is dying - of boredom. In a moment of desperation, Libby signs up for an internship at the L.A. Zoo, much to the dismay of her friends, who'd prefer she spend her time with them, shopping, partying, and making fun of everyone else. To Libby, the zoo gig seems like something, anything, different to do, even if it means she has to work with two nerds - Tina (aka "Tiny"), a little person and aspiring actress, and Sheldon, an introverted boy with a brilliant, inquiring mind. But what happens when Libby realizes she actually enjoys working at the zoo and may even like Tina and Sheldon? Will the QUEEN OF COOL be forced to give up her crown? (