Trouble picking books??? Who, me?

Believe it or not, I’m having a hard time judging the appropriate level of books from online blogs and book reviews! Broad naming categories such as YA, middle grade, middle school, intermediate, etc. have left me reading some novels that are either too simplistic or too difficult for the average middle school student. That said, since I’ve always been one to focus on the interest level of students rather than on a published reading level I’ll mention these two recent reads, and hope they aren’t read by most students until high school!  Both books are easy reads, however the topics are mature, sensitive, and probably not developmentally appropriate for students under age 14.

  • Shine, by Lauren Myracle – I love the story of Cat and the young lady she becomes as this novel progresses.  Set in the rural North Carolina, the setting of this story is key to the plot lines and twists, and in truly creating a rich experience for readers.  Shine starts with the story of a hate crime, but expands to explore addiction, poverty, sexual aggression, and family relationships.  If your child is reading this book – you should be too!
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone – I loved this book!  I’m fond of books written in verse, as well as books with multiple narrators, so this was a win-win for my literary senses.  The sexual content and descriptions were necessary to the story, but definitely put it as a high school read on my criteria list!  That said, it’s a perfect book for a teenage girl who is struggling with issues of self-confidence, peer pressure, and fitting in.
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