The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck is a phenomenal classic set inancient China. It is the first book in the House of Earth Trilogy and is arguably the best. This story tells of a common farmer by the name of Wang Lung and the hardships he and his family must endure. The story begins as Wang Lung meets his arranged bride: O-Lan, a servant from the noble house of Hwang. He and his new bride prosper for many years on the humble land of his father. However, when famine comes, the Wang family must move out or starve as the end becomes inevitable.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the plot and characters were flawless and each character had a very gritty and believable personality. Unlike many books, there is no real hero or a typical dramatic climax, but when you reach the end of the book, you are itching for the next book to read. The realism in this story can be unsuitable for younger children with no hesitation to bring up oppression of women, and the horrors of famine and poverty. The author also clearly shows the effect of wealth on a man and how the greed inside him will grow.
In my opinion, Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maaswas equally bad and good at the same time. Let’s begin on a good note, all things awesome about this book; Sarah J Maas is honestly a phenomenal author and she has never ceased to amaze me, if you have read the rest of the books in this series, you would know exactly why ;). This book was no exception, the plot is truly incredible and well-planned, nothing happens for no reason.
So…Real Life isn’t usually a genre I read but this book made it onto my exceptions list. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matsonis just so hilarious and relatable that even readers who hate anything non-magical (aka me) won’t be able to put it down! I can’t say much here without spoiling but trust me, this book is a super fun and happy read so you won’t have to worry about the traumatizing stress experienced in fantasy or paranormal stories when your favourite characters are subject to dying at any given time…
Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant is such a fun book to read. It’s about senior Eva Walker who is a math genius. She isn’t popular, but she’s fine with that because she has a super power. Whenever she touches people (or if she even touches their belongings), she sees a vision of their emotions and childhoods. She has spent her whole life trying to avoid touching people because her super power is a lot to deal with and it makes it hard for her to connect with others.
This all changes when she meet the new boy in school, Zenn. He needs her help in math and goes to her for tutoring, but the more they get to know about each other, the more they are drawn to each other.
Eva is funny and self-deprecating, and such a fun character. If you’re looking for a good romance with a bit of a twist, try this one out. You won’t regret it!
Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is the sort of book that you want to tear through in one sitting. As soon as I was done, I knew I’d be reading it again at some point. The writing is beautiful and flows from beginning to end, and this is easily a book that a non-YA reading adult can enjoy as much as teens can. It touches on falling in love, sexual orientation, male friendship and cultural identities. It is never shallow, yet it doesn’t throw its depth in the reader’s face in a sort of I’m smarter than you way.
Our main character, Aristotle, begins the novel very angry. He’s sad, confused and furious about his older brother being in prison and because of how his parents won’t tell him any of the specifics. His father, a war vet, is distant and depressive and it has led Aristotle further into loneliness. This alienation won’t let him grow close to anyone. When the novel begins, he hasn’t allowed himself to make any friends. He can be a jerk at times, but he doesn’t know how else to be because of all the feelings that are swirling around inside him. He wants to find out about his brother and decides to pursue the mystery of what happened.
After he meets Dante, the two of them fall into an easy friendship. Dante is a wonderful character, full of energy and light and humour. He allows Aristotle to begin viewing the world in a new way, a more open way, which leads to him tentatively making other friends as well. There is no grand plot to this novel, no big events, just two young men going through the business of living as they each find their way in the universe. If you are interested in reading a realistic story that is filled with both loveliness and heartbreak, please pick this one up.
Set in a high school in BC, five students find themselves locked in the boys bathroom during a lockdown. They are five different kinds of people and feel like they have nothing in common. As the minutes tick by, they become a little restless and start to talk about their lives. Not only do they learn about each other, but they also learn, to their horror, that this is still a drill! There is really is a shooter in the school.
Told by the five points of view, the story weaves together well and it’s hard to put down. This book was also one of the Riot Reads in the Richmond High Schools this year. Be sure to check it out!
We were are Hugh Boyd Secondary last week for another Teen Booktalk visit!
This is our 4th Teen Booktalk we’ve done this year and not only are the books we talked about becoming pretty popular, but we are also getting some great ideas of what kinds of books teens are looking for!