Tag Archives: Scott Westerfeld

This week’s booktalks 10/2-6

6 Oct

It was series week in my classroom. All my booktalks were about the first book in a series I thought my students might enjoy.

MONDAY I talked about Spy School by Stuart Gibbs. In addition to talking about that series, I also shared some of his other series.


TUESDAY, I went a little more serious with Silverwing  by Kenneth Oppel.


WEDNESDAY, I went for spooky with Jonathan Stroud’s first Lockwood & Co. book – The Screaming Staircase.


THURSDAY,  I veered into the history of World War I and talked about Steampunk by talking about Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.


And, finally, on FRIDAY, I booktalked L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack,  the first book in a series I hold very dear.





Madly reading through the last weeks of summer

14 Aug

I’ve had this pile of books sitting around. Maybe I have more than one pile.

Here are two truths about my book piles:

  1. They are not stagnant. Books come and books go.
  2. They are shrinking.

I’ve been blitzing through my piles, trying to get as many books read before I have to go back to school.

While at ALA, I got arcs of two graphic novels, aimed at two different demographics, but both are the first in a series.



The Sand Warrior is geared to a middle school audience and my arc will end up in my classroom library,

Publisher’s Summary: The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there’s more to themselves—and more to their worlds—than meets the eye. . . .

• The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

• A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

• Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?

When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!


As with most of his books, Scott Westerfeld’s The Spill Zone is geared to an older audience. There is some language and activity in the book that will keep me from putting it in my 6th grade classroom library, but I can imagine teens connecting with the main characters.


Publisher’s Summary: Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.

The Spill claimed Addison’s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn’t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone’s twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death—or worse.

When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits—and it seems to be calling Addison’s name.

This week’s book talks

6 Nov

No theme to the book talks I gave this week. Just good books.









10 Dec


 I love that Scott Westerfeld surprises me. Each new series is unlike the one before. I suspect that turns many people off, but I love it.

Afterworlds intertwines two stories, told in alternating chapters. First, we have the story of Darcy Patel, teenage author who has had a book accepted for publication during her senior year of high school. She decides to forgo college, move to New York and dive into the world of YA authors. I loved this because I figured Scott  Westerfeld knows a lot about how all this works. Darcy is young and naive, but willing to explore a new world. She struggles with rewrites because she poured her heart and sol into the draft she sent out. Although a girl who has always been lucky, Darcy is an engaging character and her naiveté and insecurity actually make her more endearing. What Westerfeld does brilliantly is alternate Darcy’s story with the novel she has written. This is a darker tale of life between death, terrorists and spirit guides who lead the deceased to the underworld.

I listened to the book on CDs generously provided by Audiobook Jukebox. This was really well-narrated by two readers: Heather Lind (Lizzie) and Sheetal Sheth (Darcy). The voices are different enough to easily differentiate the two stories, yet similar enough that they seem connected, just as Lizzie is connected to Darcy. Lind’s voice is a little lower, which is perfect for the darker story of the Underworld. The book is on 12 CDs, runs about 14 hours and is published by Simon & Schuster.

This would be a good  beginning book for a teen who isn’t a huge fan of sci-fi/fantasy, but might want to try it out. It would also be excellent for someone interested in becoming an author.

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