Sunday, June 3, 2012

Inspiration from Twitter

     I recently decided to start exploring more with my Twitter account.   When I came home from the Key West Literary Seminar (a fabulous literary event) in January, I was very interested in the fact that some of these authors of speculative fiction were referring to their social media accounts during their talks.  I don't know why I had never thought about following authors before but this was my "a-ha" moment and I started looking for authors to follow.  Pretty soon I ended up with an account full of authors, both of the fiction books my students and I enjoy, and of professional resources for teachers.  I have now stumbled across blogs of teachers and librarians who are so like me it is scary.  I love reading about other teachers who read as voraciously as I do and enjoy discussing good books with their students and with other teachers.  I have recently been adding books to my "to read" list at an alarming pace. (Especially since I already have an entire bookshelf with to read books at home).   Two of the three books discussed here are books that I have been inspired to read because of Twitter.  I loved the other books I read by these same authors and now am enthralled with the every day posting of each of them.  My summer book a day list will also be full of Sarah Dessen books.  I love the way she narrates her days through tweets.

Jay Asher is one of the authors that I have enjoyed following on Twitter.  I was entertained with his posts about what he was eating and drinking during his recent trip to Wisconsin.  I absolutely loved Thirteen Reasons Why because I believe it is important for every teen to understand the way their actions have ripples throughout many lives.  My copy of that book is quite beat up because it makes the rounds through the class each year as my students discover the power in that story.  The Future of Us will not disappoint those students that were eagerly awaiting another book by Jay Asher.  I love the way Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler mixed science fiction and teen romance in this book.  At the beginning of the book, Emma has just received a new computer as a gift from her father.  The book is set in the late 90's so this is a big deal.  Her neighbor Josh comes over to give her a CD-ROM with 100 free hours of AOL so that she can connect to the internet.  Emma and Josh used to be best friends but things have been awkward between them lately because of some things that happened a few months ago.  When Emma connects to the internet a blue and white screen comes up and when she enters her e-mail and password she is taken to a weird site called Facebook.  The screen that is there is her own profile from the future.  What comes next is a funny and heartwarming account of how Josh and Emma deal with being able to glimpse their futures and how every decision they make can have an effect on the future.  The authors really catch the angst of these teenage characters and the book brought me back to that stage in which everyone is trying to figure out their relationships and how to navigate high school.  I would recommend this book to everyone.  I chuckled many times throughout the book at the attempts of these teenagers in the past to figure out what Netflix, iPads, and many more things could be.

     After reading Divergent not too long ago, I was very excited to start the second book.  Divergent ended with battles and the characters heading for temporary safety and this is where Insurgent picks up.  This book is all about Tris trying to discover why the Erudite attacked the other factions.  Tris is dealing with the grief of losing both her parents in the attacks, and the guilt of having killed one of her best friends when she was faced with no alternative.  Her choices throughout this book start to distance her from Four and we see some conflict arising in their relationship.  This book was full of action and adventure.  I enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the underlying theme that there is no one who is all good or all bad.  Each character has to face that and to decide who to trust in this time of strife.  I cannot wait until the next book is released in Fall 2013.  This is the downside of reading newer series...there is a lot of time spent waiting for the new book.  

     The other author I have enjoyed seeing on Twitter is John Green.  I enjoyed reading Looking for Alaska a few years ago and have spent a lot of time recommending it for my teen students.  Watching the reactions to his most recent book release made me curious to read his other books.  I loved An Abundance of Katherines.  The protagonist, Colin, was a child prodigy and his struggling with his recent break-up.  He feels like a wash-up and does not think that he matters in the world and this bothers him.  His best friend Hassan decides that he needs to take Colin on a road trip and they take off across the country.  I enjoyed reading about this characters quirky way of dealing with life.  It was fun to read all of the trivia in the footnotes.  This book is also a book about relationships and fitting in.  I would recommend this book to teens and adults who are like me...a little nerdy.

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