Tag Archives: Dan Gemeinhart

The Top 10 Novels in my Library

16 Jun

The classroom library inventory is complete. Books are still missing, but they continue to trickle in. With no more checking out going on, I’ve taken some time to look over what was checked out. Graphic novels led the way, and my next post will be about the top 10 graphic novels. Today I will announce the top 10 novels in ascending order.

 

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#10 Nine, Ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin

 

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#9 Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

 

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#8  Half Brother  by Kenneth Oppel

 

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#7  The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

 

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#6 Wonder by R. J. Palacio

 

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#5 Restart by Gordon Korman

 

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#4 I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

 

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#3 The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

 

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#2  Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills

 

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#1 Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

 

 

 

 

1 Feb

True confession time.

There are a number of “classics” that I’ve never read. One of these is Lord of the Flies.

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The funny thing is, even though I haven’t read it, I know enough about it to say that Dan Gemeinhart’s newest novel, Scar Island,  reminded me of this novel I’ve never read.

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Publisher’s Summary: Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys, an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves. Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he’s willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming. Just as he’s getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can’t come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety, then every boy on the island is doomed. Dan Gemeinhart’s most gripping novel yet, this is a tale of misfits and outcasts at odds and in peril, and a redemption story that shines a light on dark truths to reveal that the strongest prisons of all are the ones we build for ourselves.

The author is coming to my school on February 9th and I am planning to attend the session during my plan time. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Courage and Happiness

11 Jul

I am off to jury duty this morning. I haven’t been called for a many years and it seems, since the last time they’ve changed the rules a bit. I can bring knitting, as long as it is on circular needles and I have to serve two days, not one. I packed my bag last night, putting my knitting in a clear Ziploc and adding a few good books.

One book I added was  Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand.

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The book is notable because it is one of the “shipping the kid off to distant relatives” books.

Publisher’s Summary:Reality and fantasy collide in this heartfelt and mysterious novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Bridge to Terabithia, about a girl who must save a magical make-believe world in order to save herself.

Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
-Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
-Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
-Never having met said grandparents.
-Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

It is remarkable for another reason. It is the second book I’ve read recently with a title that begins with Some Kind of. Earlier this week, I also read Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart.

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I liked this one a lot more than his first novel, The Honest Truth. I didn’t like the main character of that book, but I really liked Joe, the main character of this one.

Publisher’s Summary:Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he’s ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he’s lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her.

Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn’t about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left.

Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything. But he hasn’t lost hope. And he hasn’t lost the fire in his belly that says he’s getting his Sarah back-no matter what.

The critically acclaimed author of The Honest Truth returns with a poignant, hopeful, and action-packed story about hearts that won’t be tamed… and spirits that refuse to be broken.

A bit picaresque, Joe exits one problem, only to encounter a new one. He faces friends and foes along the way, but maintains his commitment to Sarah through it all.

These are two great reads for middle graders.

 

Of dogs and adventure

11 May

Fiona went to the Bridge 6 months ago today.

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I don’t cry any more, but I still miss her. Sometimes I call Lucy by the wrong name, or nickname. Not often, but it is the little things that make me remember. Lucy gets a lot more attention these days and I worry about her welfare. She has a better life than many people in the world.

That’s why Dan Gemeinhart’s The Honest Truth  made me so angry.

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Mark, the main character is sick and runs away from home with his dog. He is a hard kid to like because of his anger, but it is his reckless endangerment of his dog that had me throwing the book across the room. I almost didn’t finish it because I was terrified about his dog’s welfare. Fortunately, Mark learns the lesson he needs to learn and that made persevering to the end worthwhile, but it was really touch and go for a while. Honestly, the dog was my favorite character.

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Publisher’s Summary:In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He’s got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from.

So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier — even if it’s the last thing he ever does.

The Honest Truth  is a 2017 OBOB book, which is why I am reading it. I’ve started my prep for next year’s OBOB season. I also have an arc of his newer book, Some Kind of Courage, which came out in January. I hope I like that main character better.

Winding down and gearing up

5 May

With only six and half weeks remaining, the school year is gearing down.There is still a lot to do to finish this one well, but my thoughts are straying to summer and the next school year. This will be the first time in 5 years I don’t have to move rooms or buildings. It is almost

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Just this week, the final 2016-17 OBOB book lists were published for all three divisions. The first three quarters were published earlier, but the last four titles were just announced. I am ordering my  book set and starting to think about a new Oregon Battle of the Books bulletin board. I’ve read a few of the titles already, have heard of a few of the others, but there are also a couple I’ve never heard of, making reading them exciting. I like to read the books over the summer, if I can, so I have them all done by the time OBOB season rolls around. I never know them to the degree the kids do, but I like to get the gist of the book, so I can talk intelligently about them.

Here is the 6-8 Division list:

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The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

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Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

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Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

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Dark Life by Kat Falls

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Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart

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Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

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The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

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The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

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Masterminds by Gordon Korman

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The Menagerie by Tui T. and Kari Sutherland

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A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

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Unfriended by Rachel Vail

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The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

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Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Lucy is 9 today

18 Jun

It is Lucy’s 9th birthday. That means she’s been with me for 5 years. My how time has flown. If you don’t remember it, you can read a little bit about Lucy’s story.

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Lucy is a snuggler and adjusts her blankets and bedding for maximum comfort. She loves to sleep pressed up against me.

I did something to my back and spent much of yesterday with my heating pad, Lucy and Fiona snuggled beside me. I am much better today, but I am still using the heating pad. This is an excuse to read and knit. I have a couple of dog related books on my shelf right now.

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In Dan Gemeinhart’s debut novel, a boy named Mark, tired of being sick with cancer, conceives a plan to climb Mount Rainier, and runs away from home with his dog, Beau–but with over two hundred miles between him and his goal, and only anger at his situation to drive him on nothing will be easy, and only his best friend, Jessie, suspects where he is heading.

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A Handful of Stars is Cynthia Lord’s latest. When her blind dog slips his collar, twelve-year old Lily meets Salma Santiago, a young Hispanic girl whose migrant family are in Maine for the blueberry-picking season, and, based partly on their mutual love of dogs, the two forge a friendship while painting bee boxes for Lily’s grandfather–but as the Blueberry Queen pageant approaches Lily and Selma are confronted with some of the hard truths of prejudice and migrant life.

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