My summer reading

Young Adult Fiction

Well, I joined the mad rush and finally read Divergent (2011) by Veronica Roth.  I was not disappointed. An admirable addition to the world of YA dystopic fiction where society is divided into five factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, Erudite, and Candor (you can guess their respective characteristics?).  Each child must choose, at the age of 16, the faction they will stay with for life, and if it’s different than their parents’ faction, they are cut off from their family forever.  What happens when the aptitude test does not indicate any one faction is dominant?  Beatrice Prior is told that being “divergent” is very dangerous; her test scores are erased and she is instructed never to mention it to anyone . . .

The sequel, Insurgent (2012), continues as the love between Tris and Four is sorely tested and revolution brews among the factionless (those who fail their faction’s initiation). Equally suspenseful.  Third book due out in 2013.

Blood Red Road (2011) by Moira Young

A fabulous first novel for this writer, this book is set in a bleak landscape where tragedy strikes a family of four. When her beloved twin brother, Lugh, is captured by silent mounted men, 18 year old Saba is determined to find him and bring him home. She doesn’t reckon with the persistence of her annoying nine year old sister who adored her older brother and insists on accompanying her.  They are tricked and captured by an odd couple during their quest and kept under horrible conditions. Escape seems beyond their ability, but they persevere.

The sequel is due out this Fall and I can’t wait!

Kelley Armstrong, Canadian author of  the Darkest Powers trilogy (an urban fantasy) and several other popular novels, has begun another series with The Gathering (2011) followed by The Calling (2012).  These two are set primarily in a remote community on Vancouver Island where seemingly benevolent scientific research is taking place which results in extraordinary powers among the young people. Primary character is Maya, who sports a paw print birthmark, something that has never bothered her . .  .until she meets someone else with the same mark.

The Fault in Our Stars (2012) by John Green

If I tell you what this is about, you will say, like my teenaged daughter, “How depressing!” But this book is not depressing, even though the two main characters meet at a cancer support group. The description of their struggles with themselves , their families, and each other is beautifully done.  Read it and find out for yourself.

Lastly, I read Out of My Mind (2010) by Sharon Draper, a simply written book that describes  the inner thoughts of a non-verbal girl with cerebral palsy, brilliantly  conveying her frustrations with the world that does not understand her.

Just in case you’re wondering, I did read some adult literature as well. The Stonecutter and The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg, Swedish crime writer par excellence; Whiteout by Ken Follett who needs no introduction.

In addition, I worked 4 weeks of the summer and went on two lovely vacations, visiting friends and family in Ontario, and swimming, kayaking, camping, and hiking on Cortes Island- all of my favourite activities.


About phansenvsb

I am passionate about teaching reading and writing to a diverse audience from those experiencing challenges in reading and writing to those who seek deep enrichment in literature and its connections to the world in which it was written and to the present day. I also present workshops on assessment for learning, differentiated instruction, literature circles, disciplinary literacy, and inquiry.
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