I love James Patterson's Middle School series, following the down and out, Rafe Khatchadorian and his life navigating the crazy of middle school, bullies and all. In the latest, Middle School: Just My Rotten Luck, Rafe joins the football, putting him side-by-side his number one enemy. But Rafe has a plan. Sticking to his true (artistic) colors, he has big plans for a secret art project that is sure to get him some needed attention, if his skills on the football field don't do that first. You heard me. Number seven is a great addition to the series that I promise will get your middle schooler reading.
I love the concept of Adi Alsaid's latest teen read, Never Always Sometimes which is about two best friends who are NOT trying to be like those cliché high school kids, but then realize that maybe by trying so hard to be different they are limiting themselves from having the full high school experience.
When they were freshman, Dave and Julia created a list of rules that one should never do to be different in high school, including #10 - never date your best friend which is a huge bummer because Dave has been in love with Julie since day one. Honestly, some of their rules make sense, especially the one about never hooking up with a teacher, but not joining in on the high school hooray - or skinny dipping (which is rule #6) is just silly. During the last few months of their senior year, the two of them start to question the rules they made so long ago, and try to save their high school experience before they literally miss out on everything, including love.
A solid two years ago I reviewed the popular true-life adventure, The Boy Who Said No (you can find it, here) and today I am pleased to review it's sequel, Stalked: The Boy Who Said No by Patti Sheehy who in more of a novel form, picks up where she left off after Frank Mederos officially escapes Fidel Castro's Cuba and lands in Florida where the struggles continue. It was definitely interesting to me, as an American, to read about Frank learning our customs for the first time, but not the most interesting with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs also going on during that time. And like the first book, there was a lot of suspense and a lot of intrigue, AND my favorites, romance and espionage. All the makings of an amazing read.
I finally finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt which has been on my bucket list for a while. At just under 800 pages, it was a little overwhelming, but what a ride! Set in present day New York City, thirteen-year-old Theo Decker has just been suspended from school. Forcing his hardworking single mom to take the morning off to meet with his principal. On their way, they decide to hit the museum, after separating for only a moment, a giant explosion kills almost every person in the place. On a whim, Theo took his mother's favorite painting, The Goldfinch, hoping to see her again back at the apartment, since there was so much commotion. Only to find out that she wasn't a survivor. This event will now dictate the rest of Theo's extremely dysfunctional life. I wish I could go through every character that crosses Theo's path from then on because they are all incredible. But that would take forever. Through the hundreds of pages, I was shocked often, laughed a lot, and truly felt for our main character and all the loss that followed him. If you have some time, I definitely think that Tartt's novel is worth the read.
I wish I was half as funny and clever as Quentin Jacobson and his band of band geeks in John Green's latest book to movie, Paper Towns. I literally laughed out loud at the dialog and shenanigans between this not so popular senior and his faithful friends. Quentin grew up next to Margo Roth Spiegelman in the super touristy area surrounding Orlando Florida. He pretty much loved her from day one, and although they grew apart after the age of ten, (Margo being beautiful and popular), she always made sure her own group of friends didn't both Quentin's. Life was moving along pretty normally as senior year was coming to a close, when one night Margo appeared at Ben's window, face painted black for a night of debauchery. She had a plan. He had his mom's van. And they spent the evening seeking revenge on those who have harmed them and those who have failed them. Quentin was super excited to go to school the next day, to see how his night may have changed his days. But Margo never shows. She has run off again, as she has done many times before, and left him clues. Him. Quentin Jacobson. He can hardly believe it, and then he can't think of anything else.
This novel is super relatable for teens. Showing them that people aren't who they seem to be. And pedestals should never exist because they make an ass out of everyone. And how you can't ever really know someone. You just know your version of them. And how running out on your graduation to go find the supposed love of your life is probably not the best idea, but it will make a kick ass story.