Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ATLANTIA by Ally Condie + Giveaway

Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Children's (a Penguin imprint)
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Number of Pages: 368
Source of Book: ARC from Publisher at ALA

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
        For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.
        Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

My Thoughts:
I was very much looking forward to Ally Condie's follow up to the Matched series, and although I wasn't as enamored with Atlantia as I was the first series, I still enjoyed reading it for it's uniqueness and heart and engaging writing style. I will definitely be handing this off to students this fall. It seems a bit of a quieter book (perhaps having to do with the underwater location), and has themes of religion and persecution and acceptance and trust and truth and family and determination and corruption and environmentalism and self-reliance woven throughout within a well-built world.

Because I ended up with a second advanced copy of Ally Condie's new book, Atlantia, in the mail (Thanks, Penguin Classroom!!),  I'm giving away an early ARC to one reader. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Picture Book 10 for 10

I have been making a concerted effort to read more picture books in the last year, and with my work on the Wisconsin State Reading Association's (WSRA) Children's Literature Committee, it has given me even more reason to. And then, when I found out I would have an additional 10 minutes for each class period this coming year, I decided I would do a picture book #bookaday read aloud each of the 178 days that I see my students this coming school year. That's a lot of picture books I need to know. Even more reason to share in my #pb10for10 post. Last year, since it was my first year participating, I chose to make the list my favorites. This year, I decided to think back on all the books I've read this year that are 2014 releases and do a list of my Top 10 Favorite Picture Books of 2014 (so far).
My #pb10for10 Favorite Picture Books of 2014 (so far)

Flight School by Lita Judge

Pardon Me! by Daniel Miyares

Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee (wordless)

Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan (wordless)

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

Pirate, Viking & Scientist by Jared Chapman

Over There (a Pixar Animation Studios Showcase) by Steve Pilcher

This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris

Thursday, August 7, 2014

TTT: Top Ten Books I'd Give to Readers Who Have Never Read a Free Verse Novel

Catching that silly summer cold over the weekend, I completely missed Top Ten Tuesday, so I'm making it a Top Ten Thursday this week.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Books I'd Give to Readers Who Have Never Read 
a Free Verse Novel

TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story by Sonya Sones

LOVE & LEFTOVERS by Sarah Tregay
THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder

BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson
WORDS WITH WINGS by Nikki Grimes

THE RED PENCIL by Andrea Davis Pinkney

THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander

What are free verse books would you recommend?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: July 16, 2014
Number of Pages: 306
Source of Book: egalley from publisher

        Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.
        But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

There is just something about Miranda Kenneally's books that hooks me into reading them start to finish without wanting to stop...and Breathe, Annie, Breathe was no exception. This story again takes place in the world of Hundred Oaks as her previous four books do, but this one edges toward the older end of YA with an 18 year old main character heading off to college and a 20 year old romantic interest. Annie is a character I emphathized with as she is struggling with her feelings and guilt over the loss of her longtime boyfriend in an accident. She decides to train to run a marathon that he was going to do but never got the chance to, and during that time meets another guy. Her fear of losing someone close to her again makes her hesitate to get involved, even as she gets closer to him. This is a book about grief and finding the strength and peace to be able to let someone else in after losing the one she thought she'd be with forever. But it's also a story of family and friendships and romance. It felt like an honest book, and it was enjoyable to read. I also appreciated how characters from Kenneally's previous books make appearances in Breathe, Annie, Breathe allowing loyal readers to get an update of sorts on where they've ended up as well.
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