Fahrenheit 451 – by Ray Bradbury
Readers who enjoyed “The Hunger Games” or “The Giver” might also like the classic “Fahrenheit 451” about a controlling futuristic American city where it’s illegal to read or own books.
Set in the 24th century, books are deemed to be destructive. Their society values the structure that only exists among people who don’t read, are not encouraged to engage in free thought, and do not express their differing opinions. Protagonist Guy Montag is dedicated to his job as a firefighter where he sets fires and burns books that are illegally hidden in homes.
Published in 1953, Bradbury writes about a society where people do not read books, enjoy nature, spend time alone, or engage in valuable conversations. People lose themselves in large interactive televisions, seashell radios (like today’s earbuds), and are addicted to tranquilizers. Montag eventually begins to question if the happiness he craves, can be found in books.
Fahrenheit 451 – the temperature at which paper burns…
Boys in the Boat – by Daniel James Brown
Reel and a Read
An inspirational nonfiction story about the University of Washington’s underestimated eight-oar crew team and their quest to win the 1936 Olympics. A sport often reserved for athletes with a privileged lifestyle, this crew’s humble roots produced a work ethic that could only be taught through life’s hardest lessons during the Great Depression.
There are two versions of the book, including a publication that is adapted for young readers. Either retelling will forever change your perception about success in the face of adversity. Watch it on Netflix, “The Boys of ’36.”
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Sequel: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Reel and a Read
High school junior, Laura Jean, has found a way to forget her previous love interests. She writes a letter, addresses them, and puts them away in storage. It’s her way of letting go and making sure that every love song and every thought is no longer preoccupied by HIM.
This strategy works well until she falls for the wrong guy and the love letters are accidentally mailed to each recipient.
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I loved EVERY. PART. OF. THESE. BOOKS…but I’m a high school librarian and enjoy the stories that capture YA readers.
The movie will be released in summer 2018.
Just One Day – by Gayle Forman
Just One Year – by Gayle Forman
Just One Night – by Gayle Forman
From the international best selling author of “If I Stay”, Gayle Forman provides readers with a lighthearted series. Fall in love, travel abroad, and follow star-crossed lovers with “Just One Day”, “Just One Year”, and “Just One Night.” Be forewarned that these novels are addicting and you’ll never be able to recover the 12+ hours you’ll willingly devote to these books. Predictable Allyson Healey travels to Europe after her high school graduation and encounters Willem. He’s mysterious, spontaneous, brilliant, handsome, and has an easy confidence with women. Allyson falls for Willem and ventures off to Paris for just one day of romance that will forever transform both of them.
The Shack – by Wm. Paul Young
Sometimes the story behind the story is equally riveting. William Paul Young, author of “The Shack”, had filed for bankruptcy and was working as a janitor in Oregon. His book began as scribbled notes on bits of paper while he rode public transportation to one of his three jobs. He printed 15 copies of his book which were initially intended as a gift for family members. Later, “The Shack” was turned down by 26 publishers who critiqued the book for being either too religious or too edgy. Friends chipped in, $300 was spent on marketing, and the book became both a sensation and point of contention among the Christian community. The novel spent 151 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has recently inspired a movie to be released in March.
I read the book six years ago because the main event, the murder of a child, occurs on the very campgrounds where my family vacations every other summer. Wallowa Lake. A quiet, peaceful escape where families can immerse in the beauty of the outdoors and ignore the distractions of daily life. A forgotten town with a high school that recently boasted nine graduates. The small community comes to life during the summer and spends the remainder of the year blanketed in snow and privacy.
I continue to question my own reaction to “The Shack” and the depiction of the Holy Trinity but embrace the idea that we each have built our own shacks out of personal pain. I hold peace in the author’s message emphasizing that one can work through unthinkable trials with strength from the Lord.
William Paul Young’s biographical information is posted in the comments because his life experiences are nothing short of profound.
Check out the trailer. Read the book. Watch the movie. See if “The Shack” has a place in your life.
I am the Messenger – by Markus Zusak
If you loved The Book Thief, you have to read this book. If you hated The Book Thief, you have to read this book. Markus Zusak reveals his true gift as he transforms his writing style and stumps the reader. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll have to “Google it” to understand the ending. It stumped members of the KKHS Teacher Book Club!
Ed Kennedy, a 19 year old cab driver, becomes an unlikely hero in a bank robbery gone wrong. News reports make him insta-famous.
Ed lives a lonely life that is hollow. His only housemate is an odoriferous dog. He occasionally plays card games with his friends and quietly admires the love of his life from a distance. Then everything changes.
One night he receives an Ace of Diamonds with three addresses and three times written on it. He soon learns of a man who brutalizes his wife each night while their daughter cries on the front porch, a senile woman who aches for a love lost, and a high school athlete who prefers to run barefoot but fails to win any of her track meets. It’s up to Ed to solve each of these problems. Or else.
And just when he thinks he’s done, the Ace of Diamonds arrives…
Half Broke Horses – by Jeanette Walls
Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, recounts the life of her maternal grandmother. Born in 1901, Lily Casey Smith was raised in a one-room dugout in West Texas. Lily’s life as a renegade is apparent in her experiences with breaking wild horses at age six, running a ranch as a child, riding cross-country on horseback, bootlegging, stints of being a schoolteacher, and learning to fly a plane.
Fans of The Glass Castle will be left pondering how this fearless woman produced a Froot Loop of a child like Rosemary Smith Walls. Jeanette Walls most certainly inherited her grandmother’s determination.