Friday, January 3, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014: My Early Favorites

I've been very lucky to get some early peeks at advanced copies of books releasing in 2014, and I am already blown away! I'm sharing some early favorites in the hope that you will look for and read these when they're available as I think many will enjoy them as much as I did.
Listed in release date order.

My Early 2014 Favorites
The Standalones & Series Starters

DIVIDED WE FALL by Trent Reedy (1/28/14)
This exciting story of one teenager's actions which lead to the US at war with itself will be a hit with the boys in my classroom.

UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan (1/28/14)
A thought-provoking and exciting dystopian that looks deeper at how you define yourself.
BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg (2/25/14)
I do believe this is Elizabeth's best book yet (and I've loved all of hers)!

THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski (3/4/14)
A page-turning and smart fantasy book with a unique premise.
OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord (4/15/14)
Love, love, love this summer, on tour, romance and friendship story. A definite favorite!

THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith (4/15/14)
Another knockout romance hit from a favorite author.

EXILE by Kevin Emerson (4/29/14)
I love this book so, so much! I can't even tell you how fantastic it is, you just need to read it!
These April books are among some of my all time favorites!

WE WERE LIARS by e. lockhart (5/13/14)
I can see what all the buzz is about. A literary, beautiful, aching story.

CAGED WARRIOR by Alan Lawrence Sitomer (5/13/14)
Urban, gritty, fast-paced, and unputdownable.
ON THE FENCE by Kasie West (7/1/14)
Another Kasie West book! What more needs to be said?
She writes relatable characters, great guys, sweet romances, and intriguing stories.

The Series Continuations/Endings

ERASED by Jennifer Rush (1/7/14)
(sequel to ALTERED)
This book wraps up so much from the first book, and leads to wanting more. A definite favorite of mine and my students!

INDEPENDENT STUDY by Joelle Charbonneau (1/7/14)
(book 2 in THE TESTING series)
Just as addictive, heart-pounding, and smartly twisty as the first book.

INTO THE STILL BLUE by Veronica Rossi (1/28/14)
(finale of the UNDER THE NEVER SKY trilogy)
The perfect ending for this series that has been one of my all time favorites. Loved it!
SPLIT SECOND by Kasie West (2/11/14)
(sequel to PIVOT POINT)
Fantastic follow-up with answers to questions and likeable new characters. Alternating voices/dual perspectives added depth to what happened in the first book.

PERFECT LIES by Kiersten White (2/18/14)
(sequel to MIND GAMES)
Awesome follow-up! Suspense-building, alternating flashback style timelines had me on the edge of my seat flipping pages as fast as I could.
THE SHADOW THRONE by Jennifer A. Nielsen (2/25/14)
(finale of THE FALSE PRINCE trilogy)
A fun and spot-on finish to this exciting and entertaining series.

LET THE STORM BREAK by Shannon Messenger (3/4/14)
(sequel to LET THE SKY FALL)
Solid second book in the series. Answers questions, raises the stakes, and sets things up for an explosive final installment, while continuing the fun, suspense, romance, and snark.
THE TREATMENT by Suzanne Young (4/29/14)
(the sequel to THE PROGRAM)
I liked this second and final book even better than the first. Questions are answered and it's left in a good spot. (Also already has student approval!)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My 2013 Reading Retrospective

I like looking back at my reading "year in review" and being reminded of all of the worlds I've spent time in and characters I've gotten to know over the past year of reading. In looking back at this year, I read an unprecedented (for me) number of books, tried some new things to build a culture of literacy in my classroom/school, and challenged my middle school students to read as much as they could. All in all, 2013 was a great year of reading.

My 2013 Reading Retrospective

The Stats
2012-2013 School Year Novels Read: 112
2013 Calendar Year Novels Read: 149
Total Books Read in 2013: 322
Book Pages Read in 2013: 53,500
Individual Book Recommendations Blog Posts: 22
Top Ten Tuesday Lists with Recommended Books: 11 (for 160 titles total)
Guest Posts I've Written (thanks to all who hosted me!): 7
In-School Author Visits: 2 (Lisa McMann and Kevin Emerson)
Authors Met: I've lost count

The Best of What I Read
Not all of these released in 2013, that's just when I read them. Also, I have not included any 2014 releases that I read for this list, but I will be posting a favorites list for those on January 3rd.

THE REAL BOY by Anne Ursu
OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys
GHOST HAWK by Susan Cooper
MY LIFE AFTER NOW by Jessica Verdi
TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan

Picture Books
Journey by Aaron Becker
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
The Dark by Lemony Snicket
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills
Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Mr. Zinger's Hat by Cary Fagan
Flora & the Flamingo by Molly Idle
A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch

Series Starters
BOY NOBODY by Allen Zadoff
I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga
THE TESTING by Joelle Charbonneau
THE LIVING by Matt de la Pena
THE 5th WAVE by Rick Yancey
THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Continuing Series
PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter (3rd book in HEIST SOCIETY series)
BANG by Lisa McMann (book 2 in Visions series)
CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas (book 2 in THRONE OF GLASS series)
ENDLESS by Jessica Shirvington (book 4 in EMBRACE series)
CRASH INTO YOU by Katie McGarry (book 3 in PUSHING THE LIMITS series)
THE RUNAWAY KING by Jennifer A. Nielsen (book 2 in THE FALSE PRINCE series)
SNAKEROOT by Andrea Cremer (book 4 in the NIGHTSHADE series/start of NIGHTSHADE LEGACY series)

Series Finales
CHAMPION by Marie Lu (finale in LEGEND series)
CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare (3rd book in Infernal Devices series)
INFINITYGLASS by Myra McEntire (finale of HOURGLASS series)
JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman (sequel to JUST ONE DAY)

Reading Displays I Implemented
My Reading Tally Door Display (read more about it here)

Students' End-of-Year Reading Tally Signs (idea from Donalyn Miller) which I put up at the beginning of this school year to put us in the right frame of mind to start the year.

Our year-long "In middle school, we are readers" bookshelves (idea inspired by Pinterest)
Students write a book spine for each book they read. I'm hoping we're overflowing this bulletin board by the end of the school year!
Student Book Recommendations Signs/Wall

2013 was a fantastic year of reading for me (and my students), and I look forward to another one ahead in 2014!