In early January I posted about one of my New Year’s Resolutions: Reading until my eyes hurt.  I’m here to tell you that my eyes don’t hurt just yet, but I can feel the burn coming on.  I am currently on book number six of the year!  Six books in the midst of being a wife, mommy of a gymnast -dancer, mommy of a wild and crazy toddler, teacher of 170, and sleeper of a few hours here and there.  Pretty dang impressive if you ask me.

So here are the books I’ve read so far…

  1. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin— I have dedicated a whole blog post to this book here, so I won’t add many more details… except that my friend is now reading it and loves it as much as I do. READ THIS BOOK.
  2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart— Plot twist at its finest.  With young adult books, I can usually predict the plot twist before it happens, but not with this one. I was truly shocked.  A book about a girl who is confused about love and family and her role in the world.  A very good read with a very good story.
  3. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See— This one took me a little longer to finish than the others I have read this year.  Two reasons for my prolonged completion of this book: 1- I was learning SO much about the Chinese culture that I had to stop often to do research (which was fun) and 2- this book had so much heavy content that I could only take so much in one sitting.  But gosh, what an incredible story of cultural identity and how much loyalty one owes to her cultural roots.  I wasn’t crazy about the ending, but then I found out that there is a sequel, so the ending makes more sense.
  4. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner— After the rollercoaster Shanghai Girls took me on, I needed something faster and lighter.  I heard about this book at TCTELA, a conference for English Teachers, and decided to give it a try.  Light is was not, but I am so happy I gave it a chance.  It was a little dark and odd, but told a wonderful story of three best friends who are learning all about the trials of life at a much too early age. Did you know that churches exist where venomous snakes are passed around the congregation to test each member’s faith? Snake bite=Satan in your heart no snake bite= pure heart with no Satan. I didn’t know until I read this book. It was a pretty quick read- I finished it in about 4 days.  Definitely worth checking out.
  5. Looking For Alaska by John Green— SO I came really late to the John Green party.  I read The Fault in Our Stars a few years ago and just wasn’t all that impressed, so I didn’t read anything else of his.  So many of my freshmen love him that I decided to give him another try.  When I started Looking For Alaska, I realized his other books aren’t nearly as predictable and cheesy (sorry- not that I think dying teenagers are cheesy; I don’t, it just didn’t feel all that real to me) as The Fault in Our Stars.  Again, the story of teenagers trying to find their way, but told with a unique spin on how resilient teens can be in the face of adversity.
  6. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon— Another young adult book about a teenager facing a really hard life. The main female character has “bubble-baby disorder” and has never been able to leave her house because she could die if she did. Long story short, she falls in love with the new boy next door, which poses a serious problem since she cannot go outside.  I really like Yoon’s writing style.  She inserts super short chapters every now and then to keep the book moving quickly.  She also alludes to several classic books as the main character spends most of her time in solitude reading.  My favorite part are her “Spoiler Reviews” where she sums up the books she is reading in one short sentence that spoils the most important part of the book.

I picked up The Poisonwood Bible  by Barbara Kingsolver to read next, and I am about 40 pages in.  It is a commitment book, so I am not sure I will be able to read it in isolation for the weeks I know it will take me.  I may have to continue sprinkling in a few young adult books here and there to stay in touch with my kiddos.

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Two other great reads (not from this year, but worth your time):

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys “My mother is a prostitute.” (First line of this book- how can you not read it after that first line?)

Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman– nonfiction book about when and how to keep your mouth shut and when to say what you need to say (with a little guidance from Jesus

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