It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/23/15


We live a life of searching: through shelves upon shelves, Goodreads listopia, blogs, Amazon, and endless avenues of the internet.

We are readers.

It seems like we are always on the outlook for that book. You know the one. The one that hooks us. That gets us. The one we don’t stop talking about. That’s the one.

I love participating in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? because I connect with readers that get me while I also search for that book. Check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to connect!


Here’s what I’ve been reading:

100 Sideways Miles


Finn counts minutes as miles.

When Finn was a boy a horse fell 100 sideways miles off a bridge and landed on top of him and his mother. The horse left Finn with epilepsy and killed his mom. Finn has seizures as much as some people go to Walmart. Each seizure is the same: the smell of flowers, an out-of-body feeling of eutopia, and the inevitable urination.

Finn is also from a book. Well, maybe. Finn’s dad wrote a book about aliens who come to earth, have sex with humans, eat them, and then takeover their bodies. One of the aliens is named Finn (but not the real Finn). Conveniently enough, Finn from the book has the same scar on his back that real Finn has. You know, from the horse incident.

With a crazy best friend and a gorgeous girlfriend, what could go wrong?

I first read Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle. Then I read Winger and fell in love. Winger is that book for me; realistic boy book to the core, Winger had me crying and laughing and left me talking about the book for months. I couldn’t put the thing down – I was one of those readers walking with my nose in the book on the way to work. And then I met Andrew last fall at NCTE.

andrew smith

My reading soul is content.

I liked 100 Sideways Miles. Andrew has a way of creating captivating characters who are believable yet outlandish. Don’t ask me how. Although 100 Sideways Miles didn’t pack the same punch of Winger, it has the same charm. It also had the same bitterness of Grasshopper Jungle. Do I recommend this book? You bet it.



Jada has gotten into a lot of trouble. After promising the judge to straighten up and write her mother an apology letter, she starts a new school and becomes a foster kid. However, Jada is mad about her actions, her predicament, her school, and her foster parents. Knowing that change must come from within, Jada tries to finally follow through with her promises.

I got this book, along with another, at the NCTE conference and they were marketed as low-level, high-impact. These books were the first low-level, high-impact books I’ve read and I was honestly not impressed.

I found both books to lack depth and character development. I understand the need for low-level books that captivate readers, but low-level doesn’t have to be lacking. Both books were boring and I question the high-interest. I also realize there are different types of genres within low-level, high-impact books, but the two I got had stock characters: the bad colored kid with problems.  

Carter Finally Gets It


As Carter starts his freshman year, he realizes how unprepared he is. High school is the big leagues. High schoolers go to parties and have sex. After getting the 411 about high school and girls from his sister, Lynn, Carter is ready to turn on his charm despite his ADD, stutter, and chronic shyness. And he nails it (sort of). He is smooth, gets the girl, screws up, loses the girl, gets in a fight, gets suspended, plays on varsity football (momentarily), goes to parties, has sex (almost), gets every girl in the school to hate him, runs from the cops, swims on varsity, and stars in the school play. High school is tough, isn’t it?

I absolutely loved this book. Brent Crawford is absolutely hilarious and depicts the life of a freshman boy so accurately I thought the book may be nonfiction. Without a doubt, I am definitely reading more of his books.

The Raven


We’ve all read Poe’s The Raven before, but this book correlates a picture with every few lines of the poem. The images were cartoonish which added an interesting fantastical element to the realistic poem, but the poem didn’t lose its urgency or intensity.