Well, after some marathon reading I managed to get both of my books completed this week. Thankfully they balanced each other out well or it would have also been a highly emotional marathon.
First up, Deadline by Chris Crutcher. As we discussed in book club on Thursday this book takes you on an emotional roller coaster. The book follows lead character Ben Wolf who has just found out that he has one year to live. From the moment he finds this out to the end of the book he decides he is going to try and make an impact on his small Idaho town. It’s his senior year of high school and instead of doing cross country like the previous three years he turns out for the football team, decides to take on the town drunk, and his ultraconservative history teacher, as well as go for his crush Dallas Suzuki. Oh, did I mention he decides not to tell anyone that he is dying, or get treated?
Pros: This book deals a lot with death. Ben has to work through what his death will mean, and what death is ultimately. There are a lot of different coping mechanisms put in place here that students can learn a lot about. It also gives you a chance to think about death in a few different ways than normal. Also, Ben really focuses on leaving a positive mark on his town. He’s dying. This book could have gone anyway, but Crutcher chooses to have it go positively.
Cons: This book will make you cry a lot. Okay not really a con, but my only other thing that bugged me was that the cover picture was upside down (probably not a good reason to dock a book). Seriously, this book doesn’t do anything you would expect it to, and the ending will throw you for a loop.
Next up: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Yes, another graphic novel. I promise this is my last one for a little while…maybe. Anyway, this book is about Nimona, a young girl who wants to become the sidekick for notorious villain Lord Ballister Blackheart. Although Nimona isn’t exactly just a little girl, she is also a shapeshifter. The book follows the development of a friendship between Nimona and Blackheart.
Pros: This book deals a lot with friendship. I mean a lot. I think you could say that it is one of the main aspects of the book. Blackheart learns that sometimes being friends with someone means accepting all of their flaws. He does everything he can to make sure she stays safe, and to take care of her even though she can be a little crazy at times. Also, their is a sort of haziness surrounding who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. I think the book gives a really good lesson on taking things at face value. It teaches you to look at the facts, and not just what you are told. I think that is a good lesson to get students thinking about.
Cons: This is one of the first graphic novels where I actually struggled to keep up with what was going on inside the pictures of the story. The frames jumped around really fast and sometimes the frames without words were hard to understand. I think one of the things that makes a graphic novel good is the ability to use pictures in a way that they don’t always need words. I’m not sure why I felt like there was a lack of clarity, but it was something that caused a distraction for me and added confusion. Other than that I really loved this book.
I highly recommend that you all check out either of these books. They are both really great. I’m off to Kentucky this week for the International Sigma Tau Delta convention in Louisville, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get some good reading done while I’m there. Have a great week everyone!