Category Archives: reading

Top Student Novel Picks for 2016

When my district switched our classroom websites to Blackboard, I lost years of student book recommendations.

So as one of the last assignments, I asked my ninth graders to pick their favorite independent novel from this year and write one sentence why they liked it. So you can stock your classroom libraries for next year, the top vote-getters with unedited rationales follow.

The Wake series by Lisa McMann–“It was a good book with a good plot.”

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak– “I liked it because it made you think about who it could be.”

Denton Little’s Death Date by Lance Rubin — “It made you think, and it was hilarious.”

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher– “It had a lot of suspense and I liked how the girl had recorder everything before she died.”

Paper Towns by John Green– “The concept was different and the plot never gets boring. And it’s very popular.”

Ones that I couldn’t believe didn’t make the list but were continuously checked out of my classroom library–

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo– Magic, adventure, a heist, romantic undercurrents, mystery. Fans of Eragon, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, etc.  will devour this.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby–Mystery, fantasy, kidnapping, identity, and a cool twist. After the students left, the teachers took my copies and are passing them around for the summer.

Snitch, Street Pharm, and Takedown by Allison Van Diepen–Three different books about drugs, gangs, and things like that. My reluctant readers especially eat these up and then pass them to their friends. By far, my most stolen books. And in my world, that’s the highest form of praise.

There you go. Read a couple this summer. Stock your library. I think I’ll try this again next year but require two sentences for the rationale, since these turned out so vague. I’m adding new books to my September book talk but keeping these popular ones, so I’m interested to see what makes the list next year.

Ciao. Happy reading.


2016 Summer Reading Stack

books 2016

I’ve got some traveling planned, so I amped up this year’s stack to 13 including one I didn’t get to last summer because of reasons. Summer is short, so my action figures may need to help me speed read. I try to mix up the list between classic, YA, novels, and teacher stuff.

First up: The Meursault Investigation— Kamel Daoud (A sequel of sorts to The Stranger)

…followed by, in no particular reading order–

No Exit–Jean-Paul Sartre

Hell Hole–Gina Damico

Choke–Chuck Palahniuk

The Girl with All the Gifts–M.R. Carey (a student recommended this one)

The Sun Also Rises–Ernest Hemmingway

Bite Me–Christopher Moore

The Drowning Girl –Caitlin R Kiernan

Gone–Michael Grant (I feel bad I haven’t read this yet)

You–Caroline Kepnes

Ditch That Textbook–Matt Miller

The Sculptor–Scott McCloud (graphic novel)

Illuminae–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Follow on goodreads to get reviews all summer long.