Sunday, February 24, 2013


Lauren DeStefano's Wither is the first book in a while that has captured me and made me ignore everything else to finish it. What a fantastic feeling.

In a dystopian future where men die at age 25 and women die at 20, Rhine has been kidnapped and forced to become a sister wife, sharing her husband and plotting her escape. As she forms bonds with the two other wives, she tries to keep her focus on getting back to her twin and the life she had before.

At first, I found the characters to be fairly flat, each subscribing to a different stereotype. As the novel progressed, though, they developed and I became fond of them, similar to the way Rhine's feelings for her sister wives and husbands changed. If this was intentional, it is impressive.

I'm excited to begin its sequel, Fever, later today. Sometimes there are benefits to being behind in my reading!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

It took me a while to get the most recent Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. Our school's copies are pre-reserved until the end of time, and there aren't a ton of copies floating around Bogota. Still, I borrowed a student's book and devoured it in a few hours.

Greg has grown up a little and has begun to navigate the wilds of Valentine's dances and asking girls on dates. I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the book because I had 540 roses delivered to my house this week for the Student Council to sell; I got a front row seat to the drama surrounding this holiday. Demonstrating his typical logic, Greg gets romantic advice from his uncle who has been divorced four times. He also forces the clueless Rowley to be his wingman. I've seen many similarly terrible decisions this week.

A few of my students complained that this series seems to be repeating itself. I don't completely disagree, but am thrilled that they are ready to move on to more complex novels. In the meantime, I'm grateful for another installment of Greg's misadventures to discuss with the developing readers who enter my class each year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Out of the Easy

Ruta Sepetys is such a treasure. Following her gorgeous and successful Between Shades of Gray, she has dipped into the past again, this time to New Orleans in 1950. Our heroine is Jo, the daughter of a prostitute who strives to escape to a life that she has only read about in her beloved books. Unfortunately, her mother is mixed up with some dangerous character and leaving the past behind is never as easy as it seems.

Sepetys creates characters that become a part of the reader. I couldn't put down Out of the Easy, yet was so sad when it was over. I'm not hoping for a sequel, but am eager to know what world she will bring me to next. Sepetys writes, "We all laced together--a brothel madam, an English professor, a mute cook, a quadroon cabbie, and me, the girl carrying a bucket of lies and throwing them like confetti." If I had my way, I'd be reading a novel about each of these fascinating characters.

It's official: I will be first in line to read anything Sepetys writes. I just wish she'd write faster.