Popular Reads here at AHS

Twilight (Stephenie Meyer): The vampire book for kids who don’t like vampires. When I first realized I had to read this book I was a little frustrated – it is long. But it went so fast. The atmosphere is as much a part of the story as the plot, which is another Romeo and Juliet story, only this time Romeo is a vampire, and towards the end Juliet is in danger from a vampire who wants to hunt and kill her. Romeo’s name is Edward, and Juliet is Bella. For some reason never satisfactorily explained Bella smells good to Edward, which is much more romantic than it sounds – truly. It is the first in a trilogy so there are unanswered questions – but not so many you want to throw the book across the room when you are done. There is a first chapter on her website from Edward’s point of view rather than Bella’s.

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan (John Flanagan): Also on Reluctant Readers list. Like I said a bit of surprise, although I love the first line and enjoyed the story. Will wants to become a Knight, has built up an elaborate fantasy about his father, and unfortunately (he thinks) is instead apprenticed as a Ranger, a medieval CIA agent. It turns out he has quite the aptitude for being a Ranger. The sequel, The Burning Bridge, will be out the first of June.

The Jessica Darling trilogy: Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, and Charmed Thirds (Megan McCafferty): Once upon a time on a Geology field trip I, and two students, borrowed the van to go into Redding to get a copy of Second Helpings, which was not yet available in Humboldt County, a sad state of affairs we determined through multiple phone calls. This spring when Charmed Thirds came out my teacher’s aid pre-ordered it, rushed home to read it, and it was then passed around through various readers. Now while I thought Charmed Thirds was weak the first two are what I consider solid chick lit. All the people trashing Kaavya Viswanathan for plagiarizing from Megan, dismissed the Jessica Darling books as easy to plagiarize since all chick lit was “alike”. How is it possible to sneer while writing I will never know, but they managed. GRRRRRR!!!!!!!

All chick lit is not created equal, and Jessica Darling is funny and cynical, and a hopeless romantic. Plus she is beloved by AHS girls.

The Truth About Forever (Sarah Dessen): This has been the one Dessen title that has been easy to get people to read. I think it is all about the cover, although the This Lullaby cover appeals as well. Her newest is Just Listen, which I enjoyed. In Truth Macy is struggling to cope with her father’s death, and like most of Dessen’s heroines her crush on a completely inappropriate boy, which she may not even acknowledge as a crush. If I think about it that pretty much sums up her latest works, and it’s been a while so I can’t truly distinguish between the books. But I enjoy them. They don’t rock my world, but some teens can’t get enough.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashears): The movie last summer (which had beautiful Greek scenery at times) put this over the top. The third book, Girls in Pants, came out and I was caught off guard by the number of requests when we returned to school. It always has held some popularity, interestingly enough with the Jess Darling, Sarah Dessen fans but this is probably the starting point.

Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky): I think this is the new Catcher in the Rye. (Oh god, you have to read King Dork!) It has been a long time since I read this book, but it stays perennially popular at AHS.

Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card): I haven’t read this either but we use Ender’s with Freshman sometimes, which always kicks off a run on the rest of Ender’s titles. I recommend it, always with the caveat that other kids like it but I haven’t actually read it.

A Child Called It (Dave Pelzer): Every time I buy a copy it gets lost or stolen. I think I’ve bought eight copies in the 6 years I’ve been here. It is well loved, and often requested. If you don’t already know it is the story of a young man abused at the hands of his mother in horrible ways.

The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold): Also incredibly popular. After she is brutally raped and murdered Susie spends her time in heaven looking down on the people she loves as they grieve, and move on from her loss. Ok the ending – I have a rant, but in this forum I’ll let you all make up your own mind. If you know me and want to ask I’ll be happy to share.

Sabriel (Garth Nix): This is a recent read for me but it has been a consistently popular read. Sabriel has to go into the Land of the Dead to rescue her necromancer father. Of course this is fantasy adventure so there is a strange, and malevolent talking cat, curses, bell ringing, and talking to the dead.

Eragon (Christopher Paolini): I haven’t actually read this either. I mentioned not being a fantasy reader, and that goes double for dragons. I did read the sequel(Eldest) and the “Barges, We don’t need no stinkin’ barges.” (No. 36 although it has been bastardized)Really punched a button or two about being derivative versus pop culture referential nods but no kid I know cares. They like the book, especially fantasy fans and those who are a bit reluctant.

Friday Night Lights (Bissinger): Football in Texas is so twisted. Really. And this book does nothing but confirm the whole twisted Texas football perception. (Movie: Butchered by Hollywood – I mean, seriously!  And whats with the Buzz Bissinger?!?)But I have a lot of boys who read and love this book. As a teacher there was some pretty appalling and fascinating stuff in this book.

Books on Reluctant Readers list that are also popular:
Monster

First Part Last

Son of the Mob

Series that are popular:

Gossip Girls

The A List (it is making a move on Gossip Girls)

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