Sunday, April 27, 2014

Boxers and Saints

Boxers & Saints are two graphic novels created by Gene Luen Yang.  While I defend the benefits of graphic novels, I am not very well-versed with the nuances of the genre.  It did not take long before the flow of the storyline and images became familiar and I found both books to be beautifully drawn and hauntingly written.  It was fascinating to watch the story unfold from the two opposing perspectives, both so convinced of the right path.  With the addition of mystical elements, the story remains relatively true to the historical timeframe - down to the disheartening conclusion.  While I liked Boxers more than I liked Saints, I would recommend the pair to students as well as to teachers for incorporation into the Social Studies curriculum.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Out of the Easy

It seemed natural to read Out of the Easy by Ruth Sepetys after having read her book Between Shades of Gray.  These books were quite different, and yet both provide a captivating story with relatable characters.  Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, Josie perseveres in building a positive future for herself.  With tormenting twists, Sepetys crafts an incredible story - I would definitely read any book she publishes!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Between Shades of Gray

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is a satisfying addition to the genre.  Sepetys provides a gut wrenching account of Lina's capture, persistence, and survival as a Lithuanian during World War II.  This is an aspect of the war that is not often discussed, and in fact was a secret punishable by death for as long as the Soviet Union existed.  With historically based stories like this, who needs dystopian fiction?!?

                    …..just kidding, I'm a sucker for dystopian fiction!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Testing

In the midst of the Hunger Games and Divergent dystopian craze, it's tough to conceive of an innovative addition to the genre.  Still, Joelle Charbonneau's The Testing is a creative story that has the reader questioning relationships and constantly on edge as the story unfolds at a quick, addictive pace - leaving you reaching immediately for the sequel!