Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Reading

Woohoo! School's out for me for the summer, and I'm taking the next few months off from academic pursuits. Quite honestly, I couldn't be happier about it. Though I enjoy my coursework, it's not easy to juggle so many things (as in school, work, toddler) that need my full attention. I'm ready for a break, some time to hang out with my husband and kiddo, and of course time to read, read, read.

Summer and reading have always gone hand-in-hand for me, as I suspect they do for many bookish children. Of course back in the olden days when I was young (cough, cough -- the 80s -- cough, cough) there weren't as many demands from other types of media. Sure, there were video games, but not to the extent there are now, and there certainly weren't smart phones, texting, and streaming video. So the low-tech form of entertainment often won out, and naturally that was a book. It's still my favorite way to escape a bit, especially on a nice afternoon. I mean, really, what's more appealing when you're sitting under a tree -- checking Facebook or diving into a great novel? Yeah, I thought so.

Because I fell behind a bit on my reading selections when school was in session, I'm catching up in a big way now. Here's a peek at some of the novels (YA and Middle Grade) on my summer TBR pile:

Grave Mercy, Robin LaFevers. From the author's website: "Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others." LOVE her middle grade novels, cannot WAIT for this one!

The Summer I Learned to Fly, Dana Reinhardt. From the author's website: "It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life." Somehow I've never read a Dana Reinhardt novel, even though the blogosphere is alight with praise for her books. An oversight that must be rectified post-haste.

Wonder, R.J. Palacio. From the author's website: "August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?" So many starred reviews for this novel, it's unbelievable. And that cover. . .

Liar & Spy, Rebecca Stead. From the author's website: "When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?" Although I'm not a fan of Wrinkle in Time (I know, I know), I absolutely loved Stead's Newbery winner When You Reach Me. Hoping this one is even half as great.

Summer of the Gypsy Moths, Sara Pennypacker. From the author's website: "Two twelve-year-old girls living at a cottage colony on Cape Cod must hide the fact that their foster mother has died. Find out if they can keep the secret and survive on their own." This looks to be a good deal different from Pennypacker's fantastic Clementine series - but the with the way this author can weave a story, you know you're in good hands.

Black Heart, Holly Black. From the author's website: "Cassel Sharpe knows he's been used as an assassin, but he's trying to put all that behind him. . . . But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what's right and what's wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what's a con and what's truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet-this time on love." Last book in the series, which I have so far completely loved. (Still getting used to the new covers, though - and not entirely sold, I have to say.)

And of course this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the literary goodness I hope to get to before the summer's out. . . oh, and did I mention all the books I'll be reading in advance of my YA Lit class in the fall?? Better get out the lounge chair right now!

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