Learning not to drown. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014) by Anna Shinoda is such a spooky good read. Gripping. Puzzling. Moving. Hard to put down.
You know right away that something bad has happened, but not what. The book is divided into THEN chapters and NOW chapters.
Seventeen-year-old Clare has let her memories of THEN cloud over and NOW she’s working on focusing on the good memories. But there’s a thing about skeletons in the closet–they won’t stay there.
I don’t want to say too much about this story of a great girl in a dysfunctional family, but her mother made me so angry.
The book was translated into German and received a German Academy of Literature for Children and Young Readers) Book of the Month Award in 2015. Anna doesn’t seem to be active on her website, but you can check it out here. (That may be because she’s married to musician/singer Mike Shinoda.)
All the Bright Places (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015) by Jennifer Niven is a difficult story to put down whether you are in Finch’s viewpoint or Violet’s. Is today a good day to die? Theodore Finch asks himself. Then he realizes he’s not alone on the ledge of the school’s six-story bell tower. He saves Violet Markey from falling and lets her save face by taking credit for saving him, the Freak. These two become partners in a school project, then more.
It’s an emotional story of relationship between two unlikely teens. I don’t want to say more and ruin the story for anyone. Let’s just say it’s a very good read. (My concern for younger students reading this is that the sex appears to be unprotected.)
The cover seems over simple, but so fits the story.
The book is going to be made into a movie and I bet will be popular like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Read more on the author’s website.
Jennifer Niven has also written historical and nonfiction books as well as YA–she’s got quite the range. See details here. I’m definitely going to check out her Velva Jean books.
I enjoyed the About Jennifer page and think you will too.