Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2-17-2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is weekly challenge begun by Sheila at Book Journey to blog about the books readers enjoy each week.  For some wonderful reading suggestions, please visit Teacher Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, who took Sheila's It's Monday! What are You Reading? challenge and gave it a kid lit twist.

As often happens with me, I set out with a reading goal but get distracted by shiny, new discounts on e-books and read those instead of what I intended to read. This was the case over the past week with  two great young adult books,  The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park, which I discuss in the Young Adult Section of this week's post.

Children's Books

Candlewick Press, 2013

Last week, I finally got around to reading Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, this year's Newbery Medal Award winner. 

To be honest, this book started off slowly for me, and I couldn't really get into the story until around page 100. The story is told in part graphic novel and part narrative.  The main plot of Flora and Ulysses revolves around a young girl, Flora, who describes herself as a cynic, and a squirrel, Ulysses, who has somehow acquired special abilities that allow him to communicate with Flora, write poetry, fly, and exhibit amazing strength. The graphic novel format and elements of fantasy in this book will appeal to middle grade readers. 

I found myself interested more with the subplots of this book. Although Flora describes herself as a cynic and tries her hardest to be skeptical of anything that can be considered a stretch of scientific fact, she lives in a world of her own. Always thinking in terms of comic book characters, Flora obviously finds it difficult to deal with reality when it comes to her relationships with her divorced parents. I particularly enjoyed watching the dynamics between Flora, her mother, and her father change over the course of the book. 

Of course, middle grade readers might not catch on to these nuances when reading Flora and Ulysses. But it should lead to an interesting discussion during tonight's #virtualbookclub discussion of the book at 9:00 PM EST on Twitter. 

Young Adult Books

Boy, oh, boy. I made a huge mistake with YA books this past week, having read two powerful, wonderful books within 24 hours of each other - The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park. As fate would have it, my husband and kids were out of the house while I read these two books so no one had to bear witness to me having my heart ripped out, then gleefully, maliciously stomped on by these two love stories. 

Dutton Books, 2012

I really can not describe the feelings I had while reading this book and the amount of time I spent contemplating it after I finished reading.

It is a book everyone must read. Plain and simple.

St. Martin's Griffin, 2012

Let's start off with the description of Eleanor and Park from Goodreads

"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under."

That is, in my opinion, the best description of this book. Although it's listed as a young adult novel, it's also very appealing to people who grew up in the 80s and misfits and anyone who's had a first love. It appeals to just about anyone and everyone. 

Perhaps the most important audience, however, is anyone who has dealt with or currently deals with domestic violence. As entertaining as the story may be, it's also a reminder of the challenges and dangers faced by many children, teens, and adults who live with domestic violence. Thankfully, in this story, the victim is able to escape the abuse. Unfortunately, that isn't the case for many victims in the real world. 

As a librarian who's had to deal with book challenges even at the elementary level, I shouldn't be surprised that people would want to ban this book. Nevertheless, I was surprised as I read about the controversy surrounding Eleanor and Park. It's very saddening that people think they can protect teens by banning a fictional work, yet many teens are living with domestic violence in reality. I wish that more people would be outraged by the circumstances people with domestic violence have to face than they are with a mere book about it. 

Advanced Reader Copies

Delacorte Press, May 13, 2014

I only had time to read one ARC last week.

After reading Eleanor and Park and The Fault in Our Stars, I promised myself that I wasn't going to read any more YA romance for a while. That promise didn't last long because I found myself reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It was a fast, thrilling read, which I reviewed on this blog yesterday. Although We Were Liars is another story about ill-fated love, the psychological aspect of the story outweighed the tragic losses. I'm looking forward to the publishing of this book and adding it to my personal collection. If I were in a high school library, it would definitely be part of that library's collection as well.

What I'm Reading Now

Indigo, 2011

As I mentioned last week, I've been aching to read Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood. Just before publishing this post, I finished the ebook version of Midwinterblood so the review will have to wait until next week's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? post.

Random House, 2014

Meanwhile, I plan on reading Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder, another one of the #virtualbookclub books that will be discussed during 2014.

I'm also hoping that some of the Young Adult ARCs I've requested on NetGalley will be approved, including another book by Marcus Sedgwick that is scheduled for publication later in 2014. 


  1. I am often done in by YA romance also. They tempt me away from the books I need to be reading for making library purchases and because I fall in love with well written fictional characters. I find myself wondering what they are doing when I am not reading about them. I am curious as to what happens to them when a story ends. I still want Kirby Larson to write one more Hattie story.

  2. I really need to read Fault in Our Stars. I have read so many recommendations for it. Thanks for sharing.

    My W.W.W. post this week