Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? July 15th

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by 

Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you
 read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out
 your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's 
also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...
you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

I read two great books this week, on different ends of the middle school reading and maturity levels.  The first is The Center of Everything by Linda Urban and the second is eleanor & park by Rainbow Rowell.  I plan to include both of these in my start of the year, book talk to my class of sixth-eighth graders in August.

 The Center of Everything by Linda Urban is set in a small town in New Hampshire.  Twelve-year-old Ruby is dealing with the loss of a beloved grandma, and some best friend troubles as well.  She works to make everything better via a wish on her twelfth birthday.  Ruby feels it is fate that her wish may come true when she is selected to give a one minute speech at “Bunning Day” about the founder of their small town, who (fictionally) created the hole in the doughnut.  Much of the plot and thinking about helping a wish come true revolves around the shape of the doughnut and the hole in the middle.  This is a great story to ask students to track a theme of center, or holes, and doughnut shapes and then ask them what it all means.  It’s a sweet book, and at a less than intimidating 195 pages with fewer words per page, a quick read.

eleanor & park by Rainbow Rowell follows an unexpected romance between Eleanor, an odd-dressing, larger-boned, redheaded stepchild, and Park, half-Korean, into punk rock, comic books and taekwondo.  They work to navigate the difficult social structure of their Omaha neighborhood, high school and school bus.  These two sixteen-year-olds end up falling in love after he catches her reading his comic books next to him on the bus.  Their romance is electric and passionate but mostly in their own heads as they experience unexpected feelings and romantic dilemmas for the first time.  Park has to deal with Eleanor being a bully target and how that affects his own social standing.  The bullying of Eleanor doesn’t stop once she gets home as she has only just be allowed back into her house by her stepdad after being kicked out for a year.  This book directly, and thoughtfully deals with first love, spousal abuse, bullying, parents, and tough decisions.  It is a great book for students who can handle a more mature content and I applaud the decisions the characters make and how real they are as well.  I loved eleanor and park (eventually one finds out about the lower case title) and had trouble putting it down.  When I was not reading it, I still found myself thinking about it and wishing it was in my hands, just like my first love.


  1. Um-loved that ending, Max, & so happy to see how much you enjoyed these, & especially Eleanor & Park-special for all of us to think about kids' lives. Do we really know what goes on? Thanks for the reviews!

  2. Can't wait to read eleanor and park! Thanks for that wonderful review. Personally enjoyed The Center of Everything...

  3. I have not read either of these books yet, even though they are both on my TBR list. I have read a lot of rave reviews of both but really did not know what they were about. Thanks for these reviews. Have a great reading week!

  4. I loved both of these books - even though they aren't my typical genre. Great choices!

  5. Loved your fantastic review of eleanor and park. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Elenor and Park is sure to go on our read later shelf. I have read rave reviews on that one in many places. Your review just convinced me that its going to be a really great one! very well written review.

  7. Both books sound good. I'm currently reading E&P. I don't know why I'm so worried about the ending.