Friday, June 24, 2011

Who's Reading What?

I have had the lovely gift of time with three teen girls this week. Alysa's cousins, Molly and Amelia, are visiting from Colorado. We have explored to the Oregon coast, hit Powell's Books, shopped the mall, and eaten like there is no tomorrow. We have talked and talked and talked over many meals eaten together and numerous games played on the floor and table. I have witnessed raucous laughter and critical review in response to the variety of movie viewing and Glee exploring over the last few days. The conversations I have heard and the ones that happen far away from my ears warm my heart. But imagine my surprise when I realized last night that it had gotten very, very quiet out in the front room. I peeked around the kitchen corner to see each girl reading, their heads buried deep in a thick book and their bodies in various comfortable arrangements on the furniture. Ahhhh, the power of the books. Lucky for all of us, these three girls love to read. They are picky about their books, choosing what most engages them. They are critical readers, knowing that summer reading is a free choice time. For the most part. Both Molly and Amelia have assigned summer reading from their schools. I feel confident Alysa will comment on her good fortune of not having summer reading once these girls go home. I loved listening into their explorations at Powell's (a giant, wonderful independent bookstore here in Portland), in the car, in a variety of places around the house and during our time outside on the beach and around the neighborhood.

I thought I would share with you a teeny slice of their thinking...maybe this will help fill your summer reading list!

Molly just finished The Mysterious Benedict Society, a recently- penned classic for the teen crowd. She thought the text was well written and the ideas are good, but Molly wanted more emotion in the book. She has now turned to Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad, the sequel to L.A. Candy. Partway through, she is reading it because it is a sequel and she wanted to know what happened in the rest of the series. Molly said, "I like how she talks just like its another day, no extravagant descriptions...more of a care-free fun read than a deep one." Her next book will likely be Elixer by Hillary Duff. She read a review in Entertainment Week that spoke positively of the book. She wants to know if the "typical author actor- role" will work out for Hillary because she likes watching her in movies. The plot sounds interesting too to Molly.

Amelia seems to be beating the current national trend that high school students don't read for pleasure(thank goodness!). She just finished Matched by Ally Condie. It is good and reminded her about Uglies by Scott Westerfield, one of her fave authors. Matched was not what she expected-- she kinda liked the main character but also kinda hated her. She said she won't tell us more because "you have to read it!" Now she is rereading the parts of Matched that she likes. Now that she knows what happens in the book, she "can skip around and work the story to what she wants to happen." Next on the plate: Whip It based on the fascinating movie with Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page. And of course, that required reading for high school...

Alysa has a leg up on the other two: she just turned 13, and with that birthday came a gift certificate to Powell's from our two lovely visitors this week. Because of our recent adventure to the big Powell's downtown, she has a collection of new choices at her fingertips. She just finished Jenny Han's We Will Always Have Summer, followed by Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti. She just started Sarah Dessen's new one, What Happened To Goodbye. Of those three, she has been most taken by the Dessen book. To Alysa, it is better written and it has a deeper storyline and plot. Let me tell you: when the book was unwrapped, eyebrows of interest raised on Amelia's face. Evidently Amelia is a Sarah Dessen fan too.

What might you add to your summer free reading pile?

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