Personalized Reading Recommendations for Jaycie PART 5

This is my last post for this series that I created to explore the recommendations my professor of Adolescent Literature, Dr. Ellington chose for me according to  my personal preferences. So far I have only had the time to read a few of these suggestions, but I have placed them all on my “To-Read” list on Goodreads and plan to read them this summer. As for the ones I have read, I think that Dr. Ellington did a great job finding books tailored just to me!

Tell you

The description of this book on Goodreads is one sentence long! Yet from that one sentence I am just itching to read this Coretta Scott King Award for Author Honor (1995)! Lena has problems, but so does Marie, being the only black child in her class. I am curious to see how both girls work together to overcome their issues presented in this book. Goodreads gives the book a 3.82 out of 5.00 stars.

“Marie, the only black girl in the eighth grade willing to befriend her white classmate Lena, discovers that Lena’s father is doing horrible things to her in private.”

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti sounds perfect to me. Not only does the story sound mysterious and captivating, but I already feel Jadelike Jade and I have a lot in common since I was diagnosed with severe social anxiety disorder. Mine doesn’t seem as serious as Jade’s is described, but I can relate to the panicked feeling that you’re going to die from a distressing situation. I am fascinated by Sebastian’s character already too. I may have to move this one up on  my list to read soon. This novel receives 3.87 stars and a South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2009).

“I am not my illness. “Girl with Anxiety,” “Trauma of the Week” — no. I hate stuff like that. Everyone, everyone has their issue. But the one thing my illness did make me realize is how necessary it is to ignore the dangers of living in order to live. And how much trouble you can get into if you can’t.Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can’t quite believe it, especially when the terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, she’s trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That’s why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that’s where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.

His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian’s cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she’s in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.

Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn’t felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.

Master storyteller Deb Caletti has once again created characters so real, you will be breathless with anticipation as their riveting story unfolds.”


Laurie Halse Anderson, the author of Speak, which I really enjoyed, also wrote this book Wintergirls, which is also recognized with an abidance of literary awards: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award (RT Award) Nominee for Best Young Adult Novel (2009), An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2010), ALA Teens’ Top Ten (2010), Milwaukee County Teen Book Award (2010), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2010), Iowa High School Book Award Nominee (2011), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2009), Cybils Awards Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2009). This novel describes an issue that is not uncommon amongst young girls, though maybe not as severe as the case of Lia and Cassie. Cassie dies?!? That’s what I’m getting from the description anyway, and Lia has to live with the fact that a stupid, and yes I mean stupid, competition killed her best friend… 3.98 stars; I can see why.

““Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.”

Have you read any of these books?!


Out of the Dust



Billie Jo is an inspiring young girl in this free verse novel by Karen Hesse. Out of the Dust is set in the dust bowl of Oklahoma during the middle of the Great Depression.

Billie Jo loses her mother and new born brother and damages her own hands because of a kerosene fire incident. She used to love to play the piano any chance she got and even dreamed of going to school to study music. After she hurt her hands and lost her family, besides her silent father, Billie Jo lets her dreams dry up just like their crops.

The free verse is a very colloquial and matter-of-fact style; however, it’s apparent that Hesse choses her words very carefully, and she is left with some very beautiful lines.

As I was reading my heart really did rise and fall with the characters of the story for the hope of rain and the end of all of the dust.

I suggest a big glass of water with this one!

Kids of Kabul



This book of interviews between Deborah Ellis and the kids of Kabul is heart wrenching and eye opening. We all hear of the injustices of Afghanistan rule, especially towards women and children, but hearing firsthand accounts of children really gives the reader a new perspective.

Americans are very privileged and we take our education possibilities for granted, at least I know I do. I complain about how much homework and studying I have to do each semester; the children of Kabul want to learn so eagerly that they will study in secret!

The Taliban movement is over, yet many people still believe in their arbitrary ways, viewing education as unnecessary.

The Hunger Games- Novel and Film



I was surprised to discover that I really enjoyed this book. I had seen the movie before reading it and didn’t like it much at all. After reading the novel I watched the film again and had a new appreciation for it. The filmmakers did a really good job recreating the strong images Suzanne Collins depicts in the book.

One of my favorite scenes is when the tributes are staring on their platforms waiting for  their opportunity to grab survival supplies at the cornocopia. As the clock counts down to zero the panic and the horror of the first slaughters felt so real as I was reading it and watching it.

Katniss Peeta

I think the movie creators did fantastic  work casting the film as well. A lot of the times books turned movies aren’t as good because we feel the films are miscast, but every character in the movie was just as I imagined them in the book. This could also be because I had seen the movie prior to reading it; however, I still think these actors embodied their characters perfectly.

The romance between Katniss and Peeta seems more genuine in the movie than in the book. In the book she says she is pretending for the cameras and giving the Capitol a show just for the sponsorship. In the movie we don’t hear this inner dialogue so it appears that she is truly developing feelings for him.

Overall I would have to admit that I loved this first book to The Hunger Games trilogy and I can’t wait to read the others!

Yummy- The Last Days of a Southside Shorty


This graphic novel tells the true story of n 11-year-old boy and gang member in Chicago in 1994.

Was Robert “Yummy” Sandifer a victim or a cold-blooded killer?

I loved hearing everyone ‘s opinions and theories both in Yummy’s neighborhood and “experts” on television:

“I blame his parents! They made him into a monster;” “Just looking for attention;” “He’s just lost;” “He’s a thug plain an’ simple.”

It’s hard to decide whether Yummy deserves our sympathy or our apathy. He was young and lost, looking for a place to belong, but he also took an innocent girl’s life. Those are the facts.

This graphic novel explores poverty, gangs, abused children, foster care and all of the systems used to address (or ignore) these issues…


Blue is the Warmest Color


Blue is the Warmest Color is a tragic love story, familiar to all audiences, except this one is about a lesbian couple.

This full-color graphic novel paints a picture for readers about what it’s like to fight against your desires, to rebel against what other people think is right or wrong, and to finally come to terms with who you really are and who you really love.

Clementine leads a normal life until she sees Emma, an openly gay girl with captivating blue hair. With Emma’s help, Clementine discovers that “We do not choose who we fall in love with, and our perception of happiness is our own and is determined by what we experience.”

True love may not be between a man and a woman, as it “should be,” but that doesn’t make it  any less powerful or any less true.

I can appreciate that Clementine has an internal struggle with who she is. She feels disgusted with herself for having lesbian thoughts, because that’s not “normal.” I imagine that someone discovering this about themselves would have the same sort of battle with themselves; questioning their identity, morals, and desires.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson


This book is not at all what I expected. I expected something more sic-fi and fantastical to happen with the meeting of the two Will Graysons. They are literally just two different boys with the same name and completely different lives.

The only character that was at all interesting was Tiny Cooper, but he was a little too much for me.

Nothing really climactic happens throughout the story. Even when the two Wills meet, I didn’t think that it was very culminating.

Although homosexuality is a major topic of this book, I feel like it wasn’t what was driving the story. Not that every book with homosexual aspects has to be the core of the story, but I just thought there would be more emphasis on it.

It wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t what I expected.