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Mrs T's Reading

Reading Time

We will take 10 minutes at the beginning of each class for private reading.  Make sure you always bring a book and enter the room quietly.

Best Young Adult Books
Young-adult books are books marketed to adolescents, roughly between the ages of 12 and 17, and usually feature main characters in that age range.
I (and many other English teachers) personally think many YA books are more engaging than those aimed at adults.  Plus they tend to be cleaner in content.
This book list is merely to give you ideas, not a compulsory list.  I have read all the books on this list  (some more recently than others!).  Dialogue with your parents and make sure they are happy for you to read whatever you choose to read.  Ideally, they would also read these books and be able to discuss the themes and issues that are part of the stories with you.  (In my opinion, this enriches the reading experience).  I may offer short reviews on the books but there are plenty of good websites where you can find reviews (e.g. amazon,, etc). Feel free to come and chat about any of these with me.  The books are not in any particular ranking.  I have included the classics I love on a separate list but this main list is to prompt you to read for pleasure so is not full of "college-type" suggestions.  Of course, this list is not exhaustive and I am always open to suggestions of good books to read.  Many of these books I have read at the suggestion of my students.

What I am reading/have read this year


Half the Sky (Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn) - one of the (non-fiction) books recommended by IJM.  I am already hooked despite the sad subject.  I suspect it will be a tale of success though.

The People's Bible (Derek Wilson) on my Kindle.  I am learning a lot about how the English translations of the Bible came into being and Church history.  I am up to the 1600s. It is a "heavy" subject but very readable.  Sometimes it doesn't seem to go in depth enough!


Mark of Athena (Rick Riordan) - the most recent in the Heroes of Olympus series.  It did not disappoint.

The Taliban Cricket Club (Timeri N Murari) - This was BRILLIANT!  I got through it in two days because I could not put it down and the tension of whether the story would resolve as I wanted, drove me to finish it.  You don't really need to know much about cricket to enjoy the story.  It is not specifically a young adult book but I think you would enjoy it too.  It is set in Afghanistan under the Taliban and the narrator is a woman, recounting how restrictive the new regime is. 

The One O'Clock Chop (Ralph Fletcher) - fiction (I thought it was memoir but it's not).  Easy read about a 14 year old boy's summer and the things he learns about relationships and and working.  I liked it.

The Fault is in Our Stars (John Green) - Miss VW recommended this to me but while I enjoyed this but it wasn't a 'don't put me down' book.  I think it is for older high schoolers.  It is an interesting exploration of young cancer sufferers and how we tend to turn them into heroes rather than celebrating their ordinariness.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Sarah J. Mass) - a Throne of Glass novella (i.e. short novel). I really enjoyed this fast-paced story.  I will be checking out the rest of these novellas - which are written as the prequels to the novel Throne of Glass.  I will also be reading the full novel.  Apparently the author began it when she was 16.

Artemis Fowl The Arctic Incident - brilliant.  Even better than the first one!

The Eagle of the Ninth (Rosemary Sutcliff) - It is about a Roman legion based in England and a centurion's investigation into the mystery of the disappearance of the Ninth Legion. I enjoyed this but I think it may appeal more to males!!

because of mr. terupt (Rob Buyea) - I read this on Wednesday at the recommendation of Mrs. Foutz.  Really good book about a 5th Grade class and their teacher.  Mr. Mendoza loved it.

Fiction Books I read last year

War Horse (Michael Morporgu) - Brilliantly understated look at World War 1Unusually the main character is a horse - but it works!  If you saw the film, you should still read this as it is very different in places, and, I think, much better.

The Remarkable Adventures of Tom Scatterhorn The Museum's Secret (Henry Chancellor) - I enjoyed this.  A bit of a bizarre idea - beetles are trying to take over the world and a museum of stuffed creatures who come to life at night.  But I think it worked.  I also read the next in the series: The Remarkable Adventures of Tom Scatterhorn The Hidden World. I didn't think it was as good but may try the third.

The Giver (Lois Lowry) - I read this for the first time on our furlough.  It is standard choice on American curriculums and Middle Schoolers at FA usually come across this.  I enjoyed it.  It does have an ambiguous ending but I liked the examination of a Utopian society and what it needs to sacrifice for everyone to be the same.  Thought provoking.

Holes (Louis Sachar) - really good book about friendship in an unlikely place.

Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer) - I really enjoyed this.  It is about a fairy trying to contain the dastardly plans of a human teenager.

H.I.V.E. series (Mark Walden) - I discovered these while back in England and Mr. T and I loved them.  I liked the unusual quirk of the 'hero' being trained at a school for villains.  I read to the end of the series so far.

Bloomability (Sharon Creech) - about an International School in Switzerland.  Touches on TCK issues.

Alex Rider Series (Anthony Horowitz) - a young and reluctant James Bond type. Fast paced reads.  I have read two of them so far.

Montmorency (Eleanor Updale) - a patched up criminal sees a way to make money by creating a new identity for himself. Set in Victorian times. I would like to read the next.  I am also keen to read her Assassins series.

The Help (Kathryn Stockett) - not really YA but a great book for older teens.  A young white woman decides to write about the black help in a Southern U.S town.

Timeriders (Alex Scarrow) - an intriguing look at a team charged with defending history as it was written.  Couldn't put it down.

Mister Monday (Garth Nix) - The first in a series that I want to read.  I enjoyed this and it made me think through some aspects of what I believe.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (John Boyne) - A powerful look at a concentration camp through a boy's eyes.

Other great fiction books I have read (listed from most recent to ages ago!)

Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan) - Mr. T introduced me to these.  I loved them.  I also highly recommend them as a way of getting to grips with all the classical mythology that so much literature draws upon.

Heroes of Olympus series (Rick Riordan) - a follow up to the Percy Jackson series.  Read both and waiting for the next.

The Things a Brother Knows (Dana Reinhardt) - One brother returns from fighting in the Middle East.  The other struggles to see the older brother he remembers.  Powerful.

The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins) - brilliant.  I found these novels (set in the future, but very relevant) gripping.  Mr. T and I disagreed about the last novel so I would be interested to hear what you think about how it all ends.  Of course, now they have made the first one into a film.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznick) - The story is told through a wonderful mix of words and pictures.  Just been released as a film "hugo" although, as with most films based on books, be prepared for it to be different.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian (Sherman Alexie)  - funny look at being an outsider and living cross-culturally.  Warning: there is some content not suitable for younger readers.

Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher) - for older readers - some tough material.  It mainly deals with suicide and the consequences of our actions.  Not a happy book but I think it ends on a redemptive note.

The Scarlet Pimpernel - an English aristocrat risks his life to save French aristocrats in the French Revolution.

The Thief (Megan Whalen Turner) - A young boy thief takes on a job to steal something.  You gradually figure out stuff about the boy and the trip.  Good read.

The White Stag (Kate Seredy) – Legends surrounding Attila the Hun during his campaigns.  Ventures into fantasy and an interesting perspective on history.

Surviving the Applewhites (Stephanie S. Tolan) – A free-spirited family of home-schoolers takes on a boy who has been kicked out of many schools.  Funny.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) - a tongue-in-cheek futuristic novel set in space.  Fun and silly.

Blink (Ted Dekker) - an insight into the darker side of life in a Muslim country.  I love Ted Dekker and have recently read Adam and Immanuel's Veins.  Both of these are quite dark though.

Harry Potter (J.K.Rowling)  I have read the entire set of Harry Potter and I love them.  I love how the characters grow and change appropriately for each year.  There is a strong theme of relationship, community and sacrifice.  However, I recognise this is a controversial choice for some Christians because of its setting in a magical context.  

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon) - the main character suffers from Aspergers syndrome.  Interesting to see life through his eyes.

Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli) - A light read, recommended to me by a Grade 9 student.  I liked this.  It explores how we like to conform rather than be ourselves.

My Cousin Rachel (Daphne du Maurier) - intriguing 'did she, didn't she?' story.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)  - a text often on GCSE reading lists.  Thought-provoking look at racist tensions in the South and the integrity of one man. One of my all-time favourites.  We will read this in Grade 9.

Frankenstein (Mary Shelley) - A great exploration of loneliness and messing around with science.

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) - Literature has been banned in a futuristic society. The title refers to the temperature it supposedly takes to burn a book.

Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck) - another GCSE classic.  Two outsiders team up until tragedy hits.

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry (Mildred D. Taylor) - Another GCSE staple text.  Another of my all time favourites.  Segragation as seen through the eyes of the daughter of a black landowner. 

The Wave (Morton Rhue) - an intriguing look at a class that examines whether they would have been sucked into a Nazi-like society.

The Thirty-Nine Steps (John Buchan) - spy thriller from earlier times.

The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) -a story of revenge which raises the question of whether it satisfies.

The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene) - an examination of religious convictions and beliefs in the face of Mexican purges.

The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) - great book.  An examination of the tension between haves and have nots.

Narnia series
- Brilliant analogies to explain a lot of theology by C.S.Lewis - one of the greatest apologists of the 20th century.

The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkein) - This is (somewhat) easier to read than LoTR.  A ripping yarn, about to be released as a film so will probably get very big.

Anne Frank's diary (Anne Frank) - Gives a different perspective on the holocaust as Anne details life in hiding and the claustrophobia she feels.

Mrs. Frisby and the rats of N.I.M.H. (Robert C O'Brien) - highly intelligent rats organise themselves to move from a farmer's field.

Catherine, Called Birdy (Karen Cushman) – A medieval girl writes in a journal.  She is very earthy in what she talks about, and I laughed a lot.

Watership Down (Richard Adams) - a rabbit colony must move.  An exploration of the structure and rules of society and when it is acceptable to "revolt".

Kim (Rudyard Kipling) - a TCK in India, recruited into spying for the British.  Good parts but feels a little long!

King Solomon's Mines
(H. Rider Haggard) - pre-Indiana Jones adventurer in Africa.

If you like a challenge: Classics I Love

A Passage to India (E.M. Forster) - Looks at colonial rule and prejudice in India.

Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) - A family of 4 sisters trying to find independence and their way in the world during and after the American Civil War.

David Copperfield (Charles Dickens) - probably the Dickens I liked most after A Tale of Two Cities (about the French Revolution).  It can take a bit of effort to get into his books but usually worth the effort.

The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins) - credited as being the first detective novel.

Wives and Daughters and/or North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell) - Two of my favourite novels. North and South addresses the divide between the industrial north and affluent south in England.

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) - a governess falls in love with her employer but he hides a terrible secret.

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) - any Jane Austen actually. I think she offers brilliant and witty insight into all kinds of relationships.

The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy) - Hardy is one of my favourite authors and this is a powerful novel revolving around the mayor's secret shame.  He is not for everybody as his novels are fairly pessimistic.

Les Miserables (Victor Hugo) - brilliant book about the power of forgiveness.  Hugo does digress at times. 

The Jungle (Upton Sinclair) - an expose of the meat factories in the U.S in the early part of the 20th Century

Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky) - a man contemplates cold-blooded murder and whether he can get away with it.

Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackery) - this takes a bit of grappling with as it is such a sprawling novel with many characters but it is worth the effort.  Very witty in its characterisation.