Art by Lisa Clongdon:
It’s no secret among my students and anyone that has to listen to me talk about books that Lois Lowry’s The Giver is one of my absolute favorites. There’s just SO MUCH to love about it that I couldn’t process the changes I knew would be necessary for it to be translated from novel to film. As snippets of information rolled in about the movie, from Jeff Bridges being cast as the Giver (Perfect!) to Brenton Thwaites being cast as Jonas (What?! He’s cute and all, but in his mid-20’s and Jonas is supposed to be 12?) to Taylor Swift playing the role of Rosemary (Baffling.), my apprehension about the movie version grew. Even knowing that Lois Lowry herself was involved in the process couldn’t save it for me. And so, though I’m usually first in line at the midnight premier of a good book movie, I couldn’t even bring myself to go see The Giver in theaters.
I was wrong. I wish I’d gone.
There are changes… significant ones. And, if I’m being honest, they DO bother me a little. Overall, though, this movie does a wonderful job of taking The Giver and maintaining the integrity of its themes and the heroism of Jonas as a character. I thought I would hate it, but I don’t. In fact, I kind of love it.
Find the movie here on Amazon or wherever you get your movies from!
I loved For Real, a new title from Alison Cherry in which we get to follow Claire and her older sister, Miranda, on a seriously fun summer adventure. When Miranda’s boyfriend is found out as a cheater right before they’re supposed to move in together, she moves home and struggles to move on… until Claire comes up with an idea for the perfect revenge. Miranda’s ex is going on an around-the-world race reality show, and without him knowing it, the two girls audition to be one of the last minute replacement teams. They go on the show with the intent to bring Miranda’s ex down, but the fun and bonding they get from the experience is worth far more than the revenge. I’m a fan of the positive sister relationship shown in this, and the strength of the two girls on their adventures.
Find For Real here on Amazon or at your favorite local bookseller.
I really, really have come to love Kasie West’s contemporary romance titles. Earlier this year, I read The Distance Between Us and adored it. I can’t even count how many of my students have purchased it based on my recommendation, and I’m happy to see it being read in my classroom. This past weekend, I got my hands on her most recent title, On the Fence, and I was not disappointed.
In this one, Charlotte (who goes by Charlie) is a tomboy who has grown up in a family of all boys – her dad, her three brothers, and even the boy next door who’s been around for as long as she can remember. She plays sports, runs a lot, and acts like one of the guys. When she’s forced to get a job to pay for her speeding tickets, the job she gets is in a girly, frilly boutique where she has to trade in her t-shirts and sneakers for skinny jeans and silk blouses. As she struggles to reconcile her tomboy self with her girly self (which is not all as bad as she thought it would be), she comes to realize that her feelings for the boy next door, Braden, are anything but sisterly.
I so appreciate that West writes a fun, contemporary, relevant story while keeping language, sexual content, and drugs at bay. You don’t HAVE to include all of that to relate to teenagers, but they’re so prevalent in so much of YA that it’s like a breath of fresh air to not have to wade through the crud to find redeeming quality underneath. Kasie’s books are great, and I could not possibly recommend them more!
Find On the Fence here on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore.