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Get Real: Books and Read-a-likes

Get Real: Books and Read-a-likes

I know it’s been a couple days since the Get Real Panel, but I wanted to post the books I talk about and their read-a-likes

1. Kissing the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole
Marshall Cavendish, 2012
Themes: LGBTQ, Road Trip, Grief
Read-a-likes: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Matson, In Honor by Jessica Kirbi

2. Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
Walkers Children, 2012
Themes: Cancer, Boy next door
Read-a-likes: Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Summer I Turned Pretty by Jennifer Hahn

3. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, Sourcebooks, 2011
Themes: Girl Power, Football, Love triangle
Read-a-likes: Rhymes with Cupid by Anna Humphrey,  Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

4. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
S&S, 2011
Themes: Verse, Switched at birth
Read-a-like: Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

5. Pushing the Limit by Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen, 2012
Themes: Alt POV, death, mental illness
Read-a-likes: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

6. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Penguin,2012
Themes: Boy next door, Big family, Tough decisions/right vs. wrong
Read-a-likes: LoLa and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill, Randomhouse, 2012
Themes: Breaking out of the shell, Class Trip, Love in unexpected places
Read-a-likes: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Site by Jennifer E. Smith, Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

8. Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Luper
HaperCollins, 2010
Themes: Male POV, Podcast, Questioning Love
Read-a-likes: The Loser’s Guide to Love and Life by A.E. Cannon, Storky by D.L. Garfinkle

9. Over You by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus, HaperCollins, 2012
Themes: Getting over broken hearts
Read-a-likes: Love, Inc by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

10. Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Bloomsbury, 2012
Themes: Sailing/Family Vacation, Best friends boyfriend
Read-a-likes: Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, Something Like Fate by Susan Colasanti

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks theme is: Top Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf For The Longest But I’ve Never Read

Ok, I expect some people may be yelling at me for some of these, but that’s how it goes. Also, this one doesn’t need much of an explanation so I’m just going to throw the covers up. Without further ado and in no particularly order:


The Lightning ThiefI Am the MessengerThe Looking Glass WarsA Great and Terrible BeautyFablehavenEragonTips on Having a Gay (Ex) BoyfriendSirenConfessions of the Sullivan SistersWhite Cat
Upcoming November Releases

Upcoming November Releases

Here’s my monthly highlight of books I’m excited are soon to be/have just been released

by Ally Condie

I just read Matched this year. While it wasn’t one of my top favs, I am quite interested to see where Condie will take the story. There is so much potential and different possibilities to the story. This one should be joining my read pile for sure before the end of the year.




Dark Eden
by Patrick Carman

Okay, so I’ve already read this one, but I’m waiting to put in my final verdict until I get done playing with the iPad app. It’s marketed as being able to do one or the other, but the book alone didn’t quite cut it for me. However, what I’ve seen of the app so for is awesome and takes it to a new level. So, I’m hoping that the rest of the app will live up and make me like the book more. I plan to do a full review once I finish the app, so hopefully I’ll have something up by the end of the month.



The Future of Us
by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

I loved Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and I’m excited to see what his new book brings. Plus, the concept of seeing your future via Facebook sounds so interesting. I did get the ARC back at ALA, but it just wasn’t the right time for me and I didn’t get too far into the book. I’m hoping as things calm down, this book will work better for me as I pick it up again.





Let me know what November books you’re exciting for!

A few new favorites

A few new favorites

So, I’ve been reading up on my state readers’ choice award books to prep for my booktalks and my read-a-louds. There are some great books on these lists this year.

My favorites so far in each category are:

The Bluestem Readers’ Choice Award

Swindle by Gordon Korman

Swindle couldn’t have been named more aptly. When this mean-spirited baseball card collector cons Griffin Bing out of his most valuable card, this young sports maven is forced to call in his little band of misfit helpers. A high-spirited romp about trying to set things right.

The World According to Humprey by Betty G. Birney

You can learn a lot about life by observing another species. That’s what Humphrey was told when he was first brought to Room 26. And boy is it true! There are always adventures in the classroom and each weekend he gets to sleep over with different students. Humphrey learns to read, write, shoot rubber bands (only in self-defense, of course), turn off TVs, teach English as a second language, and more. With a lock-that-doesn’t-lock and an adventurous spirit, what more could a mischievous hamster want?

With a fresh voice and an engaging, hamster’s-eye view of school, families, and treats to hide in a cheek pouch, Betty G. Birney’s Humphrey will elicit laughter and demands for hamsters in every elementary classroom.

Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm

In this action-packed cartooning adventure, kids will have as much fun making comics as reading them!

Once upon a time . . . a princess tried to make a comic.  And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how – well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure!  Like the princess, young readers will discover that they already have the drawing and writing skills it takes to make a comic – they just need a little know-how.  And Adventures in Cartooning supplies just that.

You can find the complete list here.

The Monarch Readers’ Choice Award

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

From the award-winning author of Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink comes a clever take on the age-old optical illusion: is it a duck or a rabbit? Depends on how you look at it! Readers will find more than just Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s signature humor here there’s also a subtle lesson for kids who don’t know when to let go of an argument. A smart, simple story that will make readers of all ages eager to take a side, Duck! Rabbit! makes it easy to agree on one thing reading it again!

Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian

Day One I swam around my bowl. Day Two I swam around my bowl. Twice. And so it goes in this tell-all tale from a goldfish. With his bowl to himself and his simple routine, Goldfish loves his life…until one day… When assorted intruders including a hyperactive bubbler, a grime-eating snail, a pair of amorous guppies, and a really crabby crab invade his personal space and bowl, Goldfish is put out, to say the least. He wants none of it, preferring his former peace and quiet and solitude. But time away from his new companions gives him a chance to rethink the pros and cons of a solitary life. And discover what he’s been missing.

You can find the complete list here.

Have you guys read any of these? I can’t really pick a favorite right now.

Upcoming October releases

Upcoming October releases

Here’s my monthly highlight of books I’m excited are soon to be released

by Jessica Martinez

I love, love, LOVE this book. Being a former strings player myself being back in that world (okay, I was NEVER in that high stakes of a world) made me sorely miss my viola. Martinez paints of world of passion, pressure, and pure competition. I read this one way back in July and had a hard time putting it down. There’s something about a forbidden romance that I love. This is a book I think everyone should check out, I promise you won’t be disappointed!




Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

I have been waiting years for this book. I’m a long time fan of Pierce…in fact, I’ve been reading her since I was 14/15 and should probably credit her with being the first YA author I ever fell in love with. Beka is one of my favorite characters and I can’t wait to see how her adventure ends.




Deadly Cool
by Gemma Halliday

First off, I love this cover, but the premise sounds so cool, too. Mysteries are one of my weak points and I’m hoping this will be a solid enough read to recommend to my teens. Plus, the girl detective reminds me of Veronica Mars, which if the MC is even half as cool as Veronica would be amazing.




Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

Okay, so this one doesn’t quite belong in my still excited list. I was SO excited to get my hands on this ARC and was sure I would love it. But man oh man did it ever fall short. I’m rarely one to give up on books but I was 2 seconds from dropping this one (and kind of wish I had). This story had so much potential, but it just didn’t live up. The plot was all over the place and not in a good way. Things would happen swiftly and come out of no where…leaving me going WHAT?! And don’t get me started on Izzie and the whole love potion thing or her ice cold to steamy hot interest in Tris. Towards the end the books earns a little merit, but not enough to save it in any way. If only the story had lived up to it’s gorgeous cover. And while it may not work for me, it may work for you–which is why I’m still highlighting it in this post.


Let me know what October books you’re exciting for!

Upcoming September Releases

Upcoming September Releases

I thought I’d highlight some books I’m highly excited about coming out this month.

by Amy Kathleen Ryan

I got the chance to read this waaaaaay back in Jan/Feb and absolutely fell in love with it. Almost anyone I’ve passed it onto since this has felt the same. It’s nice to see more sci-fi YA enter the scene. And why it’ll be a tricky sell for teens, I know if they give it a try they’ll like it. It’s such a great discussion piece as well. If you haven’t read it yet I recommend getting it ASAP




Every You, Every Me by  David Levithan

Okay, admittedly I got this one at ALA Annual without knowing much about it. I had assumed it was David’s typical LGBTQ thing, but boy was I wrong. Not that this is a bad thing mind you. Teens that love mysteries will eat this one up. The mix of story and photos make that book fly by and would be a good choice for reluctant readers. I am hoping that the photos will be in color and maybe a little bit bigger in the final version.



You Against Me
by Jenny Downham

This was a big publisher push at ALA Annual. The reps were raving about it! I was sad I couldn’t get an ARC, but I don’t mind waiting! I’ve got this one on hold and can’t wait to delve into it. The premise sounds interesting and the reviews so far have been mostly positive.





Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins

Okay, so this one didn’t WOW me like Anna did, but it was still a good fluffy read. Admittedly, I felt it was Anna’s plot retold from the girl’s POV. It took me a while to really like Lola and most of the time I just wanted to shake her. There were also some sterotypes/cliches, but I was able to ignore those for the most part. However. I really like Cricket and it was nice to see how Anna and St. Clair were doing. (Those two are still so cute.)




First Kill
by Heather Brewer

I love, love, LOVE the Vlad series and am reading to see what Brewer has in story next. Joss was never my favorite character, but he did grow on me by the end. I hoping the Slayer Chronicles will give us a better insight into his world and what he’s up against. And hopefully, leave me liking him a whole lot more!

2012 Bluestem Award

2012 Bluestem Award

The Bluestem Readers Choice Award is on it’s second year and I’m so excited about these books as I was last year. Students have to read 4 books out of the 20 on the list, a mix of older and newer books, nonfiction, fiction and even some graphic novels this year.

So, here is the list, I haven’t read all of them but I’ll chat a little about the ones I have.

14 Cows for America by Deedy, Carmen Agra

*Not read

Adventures in Cartooning by Sturm, James

This was one awesome graphic novel. It describes to readers how to make a graphic novel while having a plot that is interweaved. I laughed hysterically while reading this and could not keep it on the shelves at school for long.

All Stations! Distress! April 15, 1912: the Day the Titanic Sunk by Brown, Don

*Not read

Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories by Markle, Sandra

*Not read

Bad news for outlaws: the Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux

*Not read

Bunnicula: a Rabbit Tale of Mystery by Howe, James

*Not read

Dying to Meet You by Klise, Kate

I don’t believe I’ve actually read Kate Klise before, but this start to a new series really impressed me. It’s about an abandoned boy, a writer and a ghost and is quite a funny story that I will find the time to continue on with soon.

Extra Credit by Clements, Andrew

*Not read

Faith, Hope and Ivy June by Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds

*Not read

Flight of the Phoenix by LaFevers, R. L.

Another fun series that I hope will gain some popularity now that this is on a list. I enjoyed the adventure in this one and the discovery of such magical creatures. A boy finds out he comes from a long line of beastologists and embarks on his first adventure with his aunt to see a phoenix become reborn. They encounter trouble and he ends up having to protect the phoenix himself.

Just Grace by Harper, Charise

This is a super cute serious about a girl who is called Just Grace in school because there are too many girls named Grace in her class. It’s a bit along the lines of Ivy and Bean and Mallory and is already a series I can see hitting off with my girl readers.

Knucklehead: Tall Tales &Mostly True Stories by  Scieszka, Jon

*Not read

Passage to Freedom: the Sughihara story by Mochizuki, Ken

*Not read

Riding Freedom by Ryan, Pam Munoz

Not only written by a fantastic storyteller, Riding Freedom is also illustrated by Brian Selznick, who is an amazing illustrator. I fell in love with this book about a girl who runs away from the stable, pretends to be a boy and successfully starts to run her own carriage business and become the first female to vote (although under the guise of a man). Definitely a fantastic piece of historical fiction that I hope the students love.

Rules by Lord, Cynthia

I read this one when it was up for the Rebecca Caudill nominee and loved it. It’s about a girl whose little brother is autistic and she goes with him to doctor’s appointments and meets a young man her age who can only speak through pictures. She is an artist and decides to make him more pictures for his book so he can better explain himself. Definitely a book that is moving and was surprisingly a big hit with the boys when it was up for the Caudill.

Secret Science Alliance & the Copycat Crook by Davis, Eleanor

Probably one of my favorite graphic novels. This one is about a new boy in town who is rather geeky and ends up getting taken under the wing of two very tough kids who are also way into science and experiments in their hidden laboratory. When a real scientist steals their ideas, it’s up to them to take them back.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Sachar, Louis

I read these books so long ago, it’s time for a reread. I do remember such wonders as the teacher who actually had eyes on the back of their head and the teacher with an ear on the top of her head. SO fun. These books never stay on the shelf, even as old as they are.

Sisters Grimm: the Fairy‐Tale Detectives by Buckley, Michael

I love this series. It’s full of mystery, hilarious moments, and some interesting fairy tale characters. Definitely a series you don’t want to miss.

Swindle by Korman, Gordon

*Not read

World According to Humphrey by Birney, Betty

*Not read

So, I’m about halfway there. A lot of the shorter ones I won’t read until school starts and I prep for my book talks for the 4th and 5th grade students on our program. Last year I had 30 students read 4 books and vote during our pizza party. It was hectic but fun and I can’t wait to do it again.

Have you read any of the ones I haven’t? What did you think of them?

A Gritty Topics Booklist

A Gritty Topics Booklist

Since I’m in NOLA at the moment, I thought I would share my newest booklist on gritty topics such as rape, drug abuse, and pregnancy. I’ll make it downloadable once I’m back at work.

Exciting June Reads

Exciting June Reads

There are plenty of books to be excited about this summer, but as June is coming to a close, I’ve realized that there’s some series that I love that have a new book in them out this month. Just which one to read first eh?


Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan
Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter


Any new books in a series you’re looking forward to? I know with July comes the awaited Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.

Series for Boy Readers

Series for Boy Readers


My male students are always asking me for suggestions of new series, but I’ve found much of the time they stray towards these series in my library.

Secrets of Dripping Fang by Dan Greenburg

Nobody wants to adopt the Shluffmuffin twins. Wally’s feet stink something awful, and Cheyenne is allergic to everything. Then why are the Mandible sisters so eager to take them home? And what sort of old maids would choose to live in a place called Dripping Fang Forest, where zombies wander the woods singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and ten-foot-long glowing slugs want to suck the feet right off your ankles?

Would it seem ungrateful of Wally to point out the Mandible sisters’ extra arms? Or to question their all-chocolate, all-the-time menu? Or, um, to venture into the cellar, where the twins have been told to NEVER, EVER, EVER go?

Yeah, perhaps that last bit was a mistake. Now there’s nothing left for the Shluffmuffins to do but run—run for their lives!


Wiley & Grampa’s Creature Feature by Kirk Scroggs

Thrills! Chills! Monster trucks! Hot sauce from hell! Here’s a hoot-aloud, laugh-a-page early chapter book series that will have kids howling for more. After all, who can resist a goofy Grampa-an eight-year-old in an eighty-year-old’s body-who takes his grandson to a monster truckshow in the middle of an R5 tornado? It’s there that Grampa and Wiley meet Colonel Dracula, whose primo vampire truck turns out to feed on some pretty sinister “gas”. With nonstop humor and absurd adventure (did we mention the giant mechanical lobsters?), here’s a treat that will turn reluctant readers into ravenous readers!



Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey


When naughty George and Harold hypnotize their headteacher, they accidentally create the greatest superhero in the history of their school – Captain Underpants! His true identity is so secret that even he doesn’t know who he is…but he’s fighting for truth, justice, and all things pre-shrunk and cottony!! If you’re a naughty villain like the diabolical Dr Diaper, watch out! Captain Underpants has wedgie-power on his side, and he’s coming your way.



Ricky Ricotta by Dav Pilkey

Ricky Ricotta may be a small mouse, but he has a VERY big friend—a giant flying Robot! And when an evil, outerspace villain named Mr. Mosquito invades Earth with an army of Mutant Mosquitoes from Mercury, Richy and his Robot know exactly what to do! Young readers will cheer as Ricky’s Robot battles the bad guys. And when Ricky finds a very smart way to play a trick on Mr. Mosquito, it’s plain to see that even a little mouse can be a BIG hero!




Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

Just when you thought it was safe….the 25 top-selling titles in the series that revolutionized horror for kids are back w/ a fresh new look. The updated design will make you scream. The original artwork will give you nightmares. And the classic bone-chilling stories from the master of horror will just kill you.

This spine-tingling series sparked a licensing phenomenon & made R.L. the #1 author in the U.S.–and it’s STILL the “must have” collection for true horror fans. Now a whole new generation will discover the thrill of reading …and they’ll never be the same again.


Spaceheadz by Jon Sciesza


Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn’t hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren’t kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ. But with a hamster as their leader, “kids” who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?



Funny Families by Jackie French


Horace’s dad is not like other dads. He has silver wings and a green and orange tail. But that’s not the worst of Horace’s problems. Nasty Sir Sneazle, the most evil teacher at Horace’s school, has given him the worst homework assignment of all time: Horace has to kill a dragon. Why couldn’t he be told to rescue a damsel? Even writing a hundred pages, like Horace’s friend Bernard has to, would be better. Horace knows there’s no way he can kill a dragon. Especially since his dad is one. How can he get out of this awful mess?



My Weird School by Dan Gutman


Something weird is going on.

Miss Daisy, who teaches second grade, doesn’t know how to add or subtract. Not only that, she doesn’t know how to read or write either. She is the dumbest teacher in the history of the world!



Jimmy Sniffles by Bob Temple


Now younger readers can have their own graphic novel adventures in books especially designed for them. Robots, giant bugs, ninja heroes, aliens from outer space and a boy allergic to danger are just a few of the loopy and lively characters that readers will meet in these side-splitting pages. Good-humoured stories with wacky comic book-style artwork will spark the imagination of any reluctant reader.



Buzz Beaker by Scott Nickel


Dracula has kidnapped Buzz Beaker and is holding him hostage to build a machine to allow him to be able to go out in the sun. Dracula misses hanging out at the beach and getting a tan. Well, Buzz Beaker is happy to help – even though he was kidnapped – and ends up helping Dracula fight against his own minions who turned against him!



The Midnight Library by Damien Graves


Drop by the Midnight Library for more spine-tingling terror. In this installment, a gamer named Simon blurs the line between reality and virtual reality. Catherine worries how to handle a kooky customer. Juliet gets strange text messages with urgent content. How will these three tales turn out?



What do a lot of these have in common? A combination of hilarious, scary, and gross. 🙂

What other books do you think my boy students would enjoy?