Making Curriculum Pop


1. Since all of you are reading different books, the idea is to share the many reads students can experience from reading YA literature. For each list you, will get
reviews on approximately 20 or more books.

2. What must be included in your posts are:

            a. A short summary

            b. A connection to YA Lit criteria

            c. A link to a resource for further information about the book/novel( these may include author information, reviews, insight or information
about issues the text references.

            d. Your opinion/recommendations of the book/novel relating back to criteria. A key
question to consider is whether the book is
classroom appropriate, and, if so, what reading
level/grade/students would benefit from reading the text. If it is not
suited for the classroom, if students are reading the book, what is the

3. Lastly, you must respond to at least 2 other posts in detail.

Again have fun...after the
class is done you can still keep those reviews coming on the NING and
talk to each other about what your are reading for the year.
on people of the week!!!

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Replies to This Discussion


At first you think that father and Caroline lived in the woods purely by choice, but later learn that father was unable to hold onto a job (he seems to have PTSD or some mental issues as a veteran) and thought living off of nature would be better than being homeless on the streets. In the Portland area, drifters seem to be pretty common. Caroline and her father are not the only people living in the preserve, there is a "men's camp" nearby but they are all drunks and kind of scary. Father and Caroline stay away from the men's camp, only going there to barter if need be.
I want to read this book! especially because it was a true story?!? I can not even imagine the mind set and the level of maturity the girl had... that this 13year old girl was able to understand and almost act as an adult. Knowing that her father's paranoia may not have been realistic, but making almost a parental decision to stick by his side (she has probably only known this kind of existence.
BOOK: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

SUMMARY: This book was such an emotional journey! It is about a high school senior named Mia. She is extremely close with her two parents and younger brother Teddy. Mia has a best friend named Kim and a boyfriend that she is head-over-heels in love with named Adam. The books begins with Mia hanging out with her family one morning and as the reader, you immediately get the impression of just how close and loving this family is. They are all talking, laughing, and discussing what they will be doing for the day as Mia and her brother had school cancelled because of a snow day. Their dad, being a teacher, also had school cancelled, so the mom decided she would take off, too, and spend the day with the family. They all pile into the car to head out and run some errands and then have dinner with the grandparents. In a sad and tragic moment, they get into a terrible car accident. Mia's parents and younger brother Teddy all die immediately. Mia is taken to the hospital where she is in a coma. Oddly enough, Mia is not physically in her body as she is awake in an almost dreamlike state. She can see her body laying in the hospital bed, she can walk down the hallway and see her extended family in the waiting room yet nobody can see her nor can she feel anything. She does not understand why she is in this state she is in. Throughout the story, it goes back and forth between the hospital and past memories in Mia and her family's life. Music is a major part of the story as Mia's father used to be a musician and both parents are still really into music. Mia may attend Juilliard in NYC after high school and Adam is in a rock band that is becoming more and more popular.

All along in the book, Mia is debating what she should do. Should she pass on and be with her family? Or should she stay and be with her best friend, boyfriend, and extended family? While figuring out what she wants to do, various people visit her and talk to her in her comatose state. Her grandfather tells her that it is OK if she wants to pass on and be with her parents and brother. Adam, Mia's boyfriend, gives her his plea towards the end of the story which seems to help Mia decide on what she should do. ***SPOILER: Adam, holding Mia's hand in his, begs Mia to stay. He explains that he can be there for her or if she needs time away from him and wants to start a new life, then he is completely OK with that. He just wants her to be able to live her life, go to Juilliard, have a family of her own, etc. After his heartfelt speech, his hand feels a tight grip...It's Mia.

1. YA authors write from the viewpoint of young people: Mia, a high school senior, is the narrator of this story. Everything is told from her viewpoint.
2. YA lit gets rid of parents so the young person is free to take credit for his/her own accomplishments: While her parents are present in the beginning of the story and mentioned throughout the entire story, Mia's ultimate decision is made without her parents and solely by herself.
3. YA it is fast paced: I would say this story is very fast paced. The car accident happens right at the beginning of the book. Mia is contemplating what to do throughout the entire story which can make it seem slow at times yet it is such an emotional, tense-filled ride that I practically flew through the book as I wanted to find out the ending. Because it goes back and forth between the present time in the hospital and past memories, it seems to make the book a lot quicker.
4. YA lit includes a variety of genres and subjects: This book discusses a wide variety of subjects. The two most important ones are life and death. It also discusses family, music, love, memory, etc.
5. Successful YA novels deal with emotions that are important to young adults: This story deals with life/death/emotion/love/loss/friendship/family/romance/etc. It is definitely a relatable story as it covers numerous YA emotions.

LINK: --> Here is a link to the author's site. --> This is a link to an article of a review of the book. --> I thought this was pretty cool. It is an article that talks about the movie adaptation of "If I Stay" and how Dakota Fanning might play Mia!

OPINION: I really liked this book. While it is extremely traumatic and deeply saddening, it is also uplifting and moving. It is a story like no other that I have ever read. I felt like it was such a unique story that really hits all of your emotions. It did remind me of a movie called "Just Like Heaven" starring Reese Witherspoon where she is in a coma yet not physically attached to her body. (It's a great romantic comedy for anyone that hasn't seen it!) While this book is riveting, I do not feel this book is appropriate for anyone younger than high school-aged children. I do think that "If I Stay" would be a great read for high school students. This whole idea of life and death is relatable to every single person which is why I feel it could be used in a classroom. Now it is quite sad, especially at the beginning, so it may be too much for students. It does seem like it could be useful though for students to read because it does raise a lot of questions to oneself if you were in Mia's position. Overall, it is such a touching story that really does open your eyes and defines what truly is important in life.
Wow. That seems like a very emotional book. It's so sad that these tragedies happen. However, I think that it's really interesting that we get to see this kind of decision from the teenage girl's prospective.Would you really want to teach this book to your class? If so, what age level would you teach it too? I like that you referenced "Just Like Heaven". It's a great movie! Really though, this book sounds as though that it would be a good psychological read. Did you find that to be the case?
Yes this book is very emotional! It really is such a sad tragedy and hard to even imagine. I think that if I taught this book to a class, it would have to be high school-aged children. It is a very emotional ride that the reader takes, so a more mature audience such as a high school class would benefit the most. While it is a very sad subject, I think this book may be useful and interesting for students to read. Because it is such a traumatic ordeal though, it may be a bit daring to read with a class, so I guess it all depends how comfortable the teacher is discussing the subject matter. I love the movie "Just Like Heaven" which this book reminded me of a lot. It definitely is a good psychological read, and I really recommend it, especially if you liked "Just Like Heaven"! (Although the movie is a lot more uplifting as it is a romantic comedy).

I read this book too! And I really enjoyed reading it. It was very heartbreaking and a wonderful read. I wasn't sure if I would incorporate it into the classroom, but it may be a good idea to! There are so many important themes in this book. I think students would get emotional after reading this. They would also understand how important one's life is. I think a good idea would be to ask students to write a last chapter of the book, following what has happened after Mia moves. Some can say that she decides to go off with her parents, while others may say that she chooses to live. I think this would be a creative way for students to complete an assignment for this book. The last chapter would have to include reasoning on why she chooses what she does. I think the book ended the right way. Instead of telling us clearly what happened, the author leaves us with hope.
I love your idea about how one could possibly use this in class or just as a discussion! It would give students a way to use their imaginations & to get creative on how they would add on to the story. Great idea!!
*Sorry I misinterpreted your response and I know you didn't mention using this in a discussion! I responded from my phone, so I got mixed up with my words and couldn't go back and modify my comment. It's been a long day, or week rather as I'm sure we can all agree on, so I apologize again! Lol 
I have to read this book because of your review! The spoiler is why! The book sounds amazing.

In your review you mention that the book sad in the beginning and that it may be too much for students. Do you think this will prevent the young reader from continuing to read the book? I have found that if we don't introduce these types of books/topics to our kids, they may never be exposed to them. We have to give them more credit and let them experience different levels of emotion than the ones they normally read about, like teen angst, cliques, teen pregnancy, the usual stuff. From what you say in your review, I think this would be an excellent choice.
Yes this is a great read, so I'm glad to hear you want to read it!! To answer your question, I do not believe students would stop reading at the beginning because of the sad moments, but it does get pretty overwhelming. The book describes the crash and how her parents' bodies were laying there. At one part, the author even talks about seeing the father's brain on the street. So while I do not believe this would stop a child from continuing on with the story, I do think it is quite traumatic and disturbing for a younger audience. I really liked this book though, and I'm sure you will, too. Enjoy! :)
This book seems to explore the ultimate question of death, and the in between world. The author's choice to make death a decision that Mya had to make on her own, opened up the literature to so many possibilities. I feel that I would love this book...I even teared up and had chills running through my blood after reading the synopsis....I must say that to those YA readers who are dealing with a close relative, parent, or sibling in this sort of situation (close to death, on a ventilator, in a coma, in intensive care..) might find this book comforting. I remember when I was in 7th grade and my father was basically holding on by a thread and a ventilator in the hospital...boy, I would have loved to read this book...So as far as normal curriculum, maybe for a theatre course...super emotional, or maybe even for a grief support group (i know we had that available in my middle school and in my highschool.). Anyways; it sounds like a riveting tale of the power of the human spirit....
City of Glass by: Cassandra Clare

a. I found a summary of the book itself on Here it is:

To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City -- whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

b. I'm not entirely sure I can apply any of the YA criteria to this book. There are adults in to book, but the young adults are generally on their own. Clary is out to bring her mother out of her coma, and nothing is stopping her. Her friend Luke is an adult, but she defies him in her attempts to find a friend of her mother's. All in all, I would say that even though there are adults present and they are somewhat around, the young adults are the ones that really do all of the work.

c. This is the series website. It includes info. about the author, this series, her other novels, etc. There are also reviews as well.

d. I'm not going to lie. The book sounded fantastic, but when I was looking through the list to pick my books, it didn't say that it was the third book in a trilogy. As a result, I had no idea what was going on, seeing as I haven't read any of the either books. The concept was interesting, and I could see many high schoolers being interested in the books. I'm not sure if the book is classroom appropriate. There is this weird relationship between Clary and her brother that is romantic. Truth be told, it's a little weird. Really, if I were going to suggest it to anyone, I might have an assignment where the students could choose a book from a list and do a creative assignment with it. Really, I think that any high school student would like the book. Younger grades would be intrigued by the story, while older grades could get into some of the complex issues of the book, like obligation to the law vs. loyalty to friends/family, and the weird romantic relationship of Clary and Jace (her brother). One thing though, read the first two before the last one, otherwise you will be completely lost, just like I was.



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