Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Club Discussion Questions The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass

1.  What did you think of the selection contest?  Did anything strike you as odd or interesting?
2.  What were your first impressions of America (before the selection)?  How about during the contest?
3.  What did you think of her "friends only" approach to the contest?
4.  During the selection there is a constant threat of attack, would you have wanted to be at the castle under those conditions? why or why not?  How does these attacks add/ take away from the contest?
5. What do you think of Maxon?
6.  What do you think of the "friendship of Maxon and America?  How does this affect their relationship?
7.  Towards the end of the book what is your thoughts about Aspen?
8. Team Aspen or Team Maxon?????

7th Grade book club December

Book Clubs

I host two book clubs one for 7th graders and one for 8th graders.  I do these separate because we meet over lunch since it is the one time where everyone is together. In our school we have an activity period at the end of the day for clubs and such but the kids are so involved that it is a nightmare to find a day where everyone can attend.  So I provide the lunch and the kids come and eat and discuss.  First I want to say that I LOVE my book club kids.  I truly love all my students but these are the kids who really get excited about what they are reading and since I do as well...... well you can understand our connection!

7th grade book club
This year I didn't start the book clubs until a little later (which gives me time to get to know my 7th graders).  Our first book we read was (drum roll please......) The Selection.  Now I am not a fan of reality TV so the first time someone compared it to the Bachelor, I was less than excited to read it.  I must say though, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I liked the book (see my book review of The Selection).  My students where in love with the book ( most have finished the series by now).  Our first lunch was walking tacos which are super easy and a favorite for kids.  Needless to say we had a great discussion and good food, nothing could be better.  I have also attached some of the discussion questions I used to "break the ice" here.

Stay tuned for our next book club discussion, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review: The Selection By Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Genre: Dystopian, Romance
Series: The Selection Book 1

Book Summary: (via Goodreads)
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Characters: America, Maxon, and Aspen are the main characters. There are a ton of great secondary characters in this book!

Plot:  In this dystopian country of what was once North America is now has a royal family and is ruled by a king. America is living with her family, trying to help support them and figure out to marry the boy she is in love with who is of a lower caste when the Selection is announced. The Selection is a contest where 35 girls compete to win the heart of the prince and become a princess.  All girls of marrying age are encouraged to apply for a part in this contest. From the applications, 35 girls are chosen. The girls live in the castle, and agree to have their lives filmed for TV (think The Bachelor).  Prince Maxon will then narrow the girls down to 10 who will become known as the Elite.  
What I Loved: AMERICA!! I loved, loved, loved her!  Once she becomes part of the Selection she is awesome.  She speaks her mind, (which I can relate to) although she never really thinks of the consequences of some of her opinions (which I can also relate too!).  Without giving to much away I also liked how strong of a character she is, when the time comes for action she willing to to what it takes to help everyone, regardless of level.  I have to be honest I really like Prince Maxon as well.  He is naive, but likeable and the interactions between him and America are believeable which to me is one of the biggest wins for me in this book.  I am not a fan of The Bachelor (or any reality TV really) so I was very hesitant to read this but I found myself completely sucked in and I could not put this book down!

What I could have done without: The love triangle.  I understand why it is there and at the beginning of the book I kind of liked Aspen, HOWEVER by the end ugggggggg!  However, this is my only complaint of the book.  So really if you can get past it, this is definite read!

Final Grade: A

    Book Review by Janine

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Display Ideas

These are my current displays in my library.  My bulletin board is

Stashing Through the Snow
I also have a plastic 8 1/2 by 11 vertical paper holder that I use to promote different books as well as our school calendar so that students are up to date on what is going on. These change monthly so they can be a little time consuming but the students really like them so it makes it worth it!!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


I was hearing so much about this book (mostly from Janine!) before I read it. To be honest, though, it was this book trailer that finally got to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKkEAIs4pJc
Cassie is on the run from “Them,” who are destroying all of humanity to make room for their own colonization of our planet.  They are carrying out their attack in waves.  The first wave, an electromagnetic pulse, makes the machines, upon which we rely so heavily, useless. The second wave consists of tsunamis that destroy all coastal lands. The third wave is a fatal disease spread by birds. With the fourth wave come the “Silencers,” alien consciousness that have been implanted into humans at their conception.  Cassie and her brother Sam have managed to survive all of these waves, and she is determined to reunite with him after he is taken from her during an attack. “Zombie” is also a survivor, one who, after his training in boot camp designed to turn him into an alien killer, has nearly forgotten who he was was before the first wave.  Their paths come to a surprising collision.

This book, if nothing else, was definitely a page-turner!  The suspense and twists and turns of the plot made me ignore mundane things like dishes and proper bedtimes in order to get to the next part.  It’s one of those novels that is just destined to become a movie… not just because of the current dystopian trend, but also because, with Yancey’s detail, you can visualize everything as you read.  This is another nice cross-over for YA and adult reading.  I’m not sure why it hasn’t caught on more than it has. I would expect that this might be the next “Hunger Games” phenomenon.  In my honest opinion, The 5th Wave certainly would merit the attention that the Hunger Games trilogy has, and I am itching to read the sequel, The Infinite Sea.

Book Review: A REALLY AWESOME MESS by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin


I had high hopes for this novel.  I mean, when the summary says that it is a little Recovery Road, a little Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, and a bit of Juno, my expectations are going to be high.

I liked the idea of the two authors writing in alternating points of view.  Both narrators have both landed themselves in Heartland Academy, a somewhat swanky mental hospital for teens.  Justin, still dealing with his parents’ divorce, gets caught in a compromising position with a girl, and takes a handful of Tylenol.  Emmy, adopted from China, has a hard time fitting in with her “perfect” family.  She is struggling with an eating disorder after a rather personal photo of her gets spread among classmates and Emmy threatens the boy who shared the photo.  Along with a diverse group of motley characters, they form an unlikely friendship that gives them support and leads to one fateful night of freedom.

Here is what preventing me from enjoying this book: the dialog.  One thing that drives me crazy is when young adult authors use a lot of slang or “dumb down” the language of teenagers.  I spend all day with teenagers, and they do not talk like this!  They are more intelligent and well-spoken than they are given credit.  I don’t think Justin or Emmy or any of the other characters were unintelligent, but they were written in such a way that made me cringe.




This was a display that I repeated from last year at the high school.  It takes a while for the kids to "get it," but it usually generates a few laughs, and this year, I had to replace 4 of the titles from the display due to check-outs, so that's always a good sign!

Post by Nicky