Thursday, June 23, 2011

Looks Like We Made It......

I am very happy to announce that I have completed the 100 Book Challenge!!! (with 2 days to spare!!) I promised my students that I’d read 100 books by the end of the school year and on Tuesday night, I finished book #100! It has been a little stressful, but totally worth it. I read some great books this year (and some not-so-great ones) but all-in-all it’s been a great ride!! I thought I'd include a couple of pictures of our book tree in school so you can see just how many books the kids and I have been reading. I can't even reach the top of the tree!
See how far we've come!

Here are the last four reads:
Mercy on These Teenage Chimps by Gary Soto is a nice story about just how bizarre it is to turn 13 and to have your body completely change. One day you’re a regular kid, the next day you wake up only to discover you’ve turned into a chimpanzee – sort of human-like, but totally different. Ronnie and Joey are best friends who are struggling with their chimp-hood, but are getting through it together. When the coach embarrasses Joey in front of the girl he loves, he’s so humiliated he climbs a tree in his yard and refuses to come down. Some helpful battery and solar operated camping equipment make his exile a little more comfortable, but best-friend Ronnie feels like he has to smooth things over so he can actually hang out with his best friend again – on solid ground. I liked this story and its characters, but am wondering about the wisdom of every adult he meets to send Ronnie up on the roof!!
Stop Pretending: What happened when my big sister went crazy by Sonia Sones takes us through the unraveling of a family when one of the sisters has a mental breakdown and has to be hospitalized. When one member of a family goes through any traumatic experience, including mental illness and hospitalization, the rest of the family is traumatized also. This moving story told in verse is based on the author’s own experience when her older sister was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and was hospitalized. This is a very moving story, thoughtfully and honestly told.

Next up: The Amanda Project: Invisible, Book 1 by Melissa Cantor and its accompanying website, follow three very different teens as they discover that they were all (secretly) friends with the strange new girl in school. When Amanda disappears and allegedly vandalizes the Assistant Principal’s car he calls the three students to his office looking for Amanda’s whereabouts and an explanation of the vandalism. The three students, each believing they were the only one who really “knew” Amanda have to learn to trust each other in order to solve the mystery of Amanda’s disappearance. The strange messages they keep getting from Amanda only add to the mystery. On the website,, readers can create their own characters to add to the mystique of Amanda. I understand why readers would want to participate this way, but I think it is unnecessary since the books and story are strong enough on their own. I’m looking to reading the next one, The Amanda Project: Revealed.
And last, but certainly not least, Gimme A Call by Sarah Mlynowski. Devi’s boyfriend of four years dumps her days before prom and she’s devastated. She wishes that she’d never gone out with Bryan in the first place. After Devi accidentally drops her cell phone in a fountain at the mall, she discovers her phone is now connected to her freshman self. Trying to save herself from her current heartache, Devi tells the younger Devi not to go out with Bryan at all. Of course, altering the past has various effects on the future and the two Devi’s struggle to find a balance between trying to “fix” some events, while letting other people make their own choices and decisions. In the end, the two decide that more studying is a good thing (she gets into a great school!) but “fixing” the past isn’t always a good idea. “Having loved and lost” isn’t all that bad when trying to figure out who you are and finding your own true self.

At the end of this 100-Book journey, I would have to say that I agree with Devi in that “the point” of things isn’t the destination, but really the trip itself is where all the good stuff happens. I’m glad that I have reached my goal of 100 Books, but the most important part was the great characters I’ve met, creating this blog, reading people’s comments and talking about these wonderful stories with my students. Thanks for coming along for the ride.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I knew you could do it, and I've loved all the reviews. You've given me a great list to read and recommend. Thanks!!

  2. What a great idea! Congratulations for your achievement!!!

  3. Hello,

    I'm doing a webinar for Teen Read Week and I would love to share this with the participants if that is okay? I will give you full credit of course.