Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.


I think this week’s topic is particularly interesting: Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read

When I was thinking about which books to add to this list, these questions needed to be answered:

1. Hyped by who? I checked out favourites and 5 star books from various fellow book lovers’ blogs and Goodreads accounts. Some of these books keep cropping up again and again.  So I paid attention.

2. What kind of hype? I am not looking just for latest and greatest but for titles that speak to me. Personal recommendations are always my favourite kind of hype.

2. Never read and so . . . ? And so, do I plan to one day read these titles? Yes! I chose books that I want to one day read. There are some popular books out there that I would never want to read for various personal preference reasons. These ten titles here are books that will hopefully one day migrate from the land of To Read to the land of Read.

Listed alphabetically by author:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I had coffee with a friend a few weeks ago and she convinced me that this was a must read and then I saw Andrew Smith’s comment on the cover. And then I started hearing about this book everywhere.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

22 of my Goodreads friends rated this book 5/5. I love this author. Why haven’t I read this book? This question weighs so heavily that I just requested it from the public library.

Speak Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I will admit to being a little bit of a chicken when it comes to paranormal stories. I am not sure if I have yet recovered from Libba Bray‘s The Diviners but I had a chance to hear Holly Black here in Vancouver and found her charming. I have read Doll Bones three times. Feeling brave enough to try this one. Having a beautifully signed copy makes this title all the more enticing.

the Darkest Part of the Forest Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

See that 25 year anniversary sticker? Makes it even more ridiculous that I haven’t yet read this book. This is the book I keep hearing favourite authors talk about as influential.

the house on mango street Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen 

Dessen is another YA author I have not read. My almost 13 year old daughter is moving fast and furious into the land of YA – I think I need to run out a little ahead of her and learn about some authors I have yet to pick up that she will likely be drawn to. Have seen lots of love for this title.

Saint Anything Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

This book has been read in my house in the long ago time when both my husband and I read novels to our children (now it is just me) and I missed it. It’s a book that I absolutely want to read. Because I am convinced that DiCamillo can do no wrong. So often I hear from DiCamillo fans that this is a favourite.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

So many reader choice awards. So many of my reading PLN rave about this book. And (ahem) I have not read any Gayle Forman titles. Admitting it is the first step to changing it, yes?

If I Stay Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Yes, Patrick Ness. And no, I haven’t read it. That must change.

The Knife of Never Letting Go Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

I have read and loved two titles by Quick – this one has the movie hype so I figure it is time to read it! I even own a copy.

The Silver Linings Playbook Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read There's a Book for That

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

When so many readers review this book and include words like crude, brilliant, horrifying, authentic, ridiculous, quirky, bizarre – often in the same review, you know this book is going to be a wild ride. There are many cautions “this book is not for everyone” – I have a strong feeling it will not be for me even though I have read three titles by Smith that I adore. But, I know I need to experience this book for myself.
Grasshopper Jungle
What “hyped” books do you keep thinking, “I haven’t read and really I should . . . ?”

Celebration: Nerding out

Oh there has been a whole lot of amazing bookish things in this week. If there is a land of Nerdy-book-club-ish-ness, well, I have been wandering about within it. Quite happily. Actually wandering is not the word. Leaping. Whirling. Rejoicing. These words better capture it.

It began a week ago with the amazing Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference and it kept going until today at the eerie and exceptional Serendipity conference here in Vancouver.

I have been so blessed to hear brilliant and passionate words (and have many books signed by . . .  ) from Kate DiCamillo, Yuyi Morales, Joyce Sidman and Matt de la Peña (all in Bellingham) and Molly Idle, Holly Black, Andrew Smith and Mariko Tamaki (here in Vancouver).

I also got to attend the first EVER nErDCamp Bellingham last Sunday!

And then of course, all kinds of #booklove happened in my classroom all week.

I have too many words but can’t seem to settle them. So much of this will be in pictures.

The Western Washington Children’s Literature Conference was so amazing!

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I learned a lot from each presenter. One (or two) line take aways

Matt de la Peña: “You can’t be a great writer until first you are a great reader.”

Yuyi Morales: “At the library, there are books with art in them like in an art gallery. Some of them were made for people like me and my story.”

Kate DiCamillo: “It is a privilege to have anything at all to do with books. Words matter. Words don’t fail.”

Joyce Sidman: “Why share poetry with children? Poems can never be wrong. Some might be more powerful. They can express our “souls””

And Sunday was all about nErDcamp in the gorgeous Whatcom Middle School Library:

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I spent some time twisting and turning trying to see this gorgeous space from every angle

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Loved meeting with friends old and new and learning together 🙂

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Thank you to the awesome Adam Shaffer for his Nerdy vision!

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

I loved bringing Viva Frida back for Miriam and watching her share it with little listeners

Celebration: Nerding out There's a Book for That

Today at the Vancouver Children’s Literacy Roundtable’s Serendipity, more wonderful words and many laughs. Many of the gems are too – let’s call them – “too YA” to share.

From Andrew Smith: “My code is the English language. Like a wizard I can put words together and make poetry. It is powerful.”

From Mariko Tamaki: “There is a third writer in a comic book – the author, the illustrator and the person who puts it all together. The collaboration is important.”

From Molly Idle and Kelly Chipponeri (Editorial Director, Children’s Books at Chronicle Books in San Fransisco): “The process of putting together a book and doing what is best for the book is about kind, creative and supportive communication.”

From Holly Black: “It is intensely personal and strange to write a book. Writing is often answering the questions that we come across.”

I loved the chance to talk education with Andrew Smith and to share the sunshine with Molly and Kelly and hear more about their collaboration.

A gorgeous day all around.

My students adore Molly Idle‘s Flora so they will be thrilled that I got our classroom copies signed!

IMG_2144 And yes, I love all of this – the authors, the illustrators and the literacy love. But why do I love it so much? Because I can share it with my students.

Their book love is my book love.

Our passion for literacy is always, I hope, transformative.


Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. Read all of the celebrations by following the links shared here.


Monday July 15th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads! Checking out all of the blogs that link up is a wonderful way to discover new titles.

I just realized that about a year ago today July 16th, 2012 was the first time I participated in the It’s Monday What are you Reading? meme. I have learned so much in this year of being part of the #IMWAYR community. My Mondays would not be the same without sharing my reading from the week and learning about great titles from others who participate.

This week we were away on an almost week long family trip so most of my reading was novel reading. But here are three picture books that were new to me:

Dot written and illustrated by Patricia Intriago There is a lot to this book revealed through much simplicity. Concepts and opposites are covered and much is left for thought and imagining. This book will make its new home in my buddy reading bin – what a wonderful title to share.

Dot 2

The Red Book written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman I loved the magical and fantasy elements to this wordless book. The connection between characters and the book (as a real part of this very book) was intriguing.

the red book

Phooey! written and illustrated by Marc Rosenthal Many details to explore in this book with such old fashioned feel. The message is a simple one – you will find boredom if you are convinced it is following you. There is so much happening via the illustrations in this story it is difficult to summarize. My favourite detail – a sign at the fruit stand that reads: Navel Oranges: Extra Bouncy. Fantastic sound effect noises: boing, whoop. zip, ploink, klump, etc.


I also finished a number of MG and YA novels:

Doll Bones by Holly Black This might have been my favourite novel this week. I cannot wait for it to come out in paperback so we can purchase multiple copies for our student book club. So much to wonder about, question and reflect upon. Even though I was prepared for creepy (and creepy was delivered) I would also describe this book as tender and vulnerable. It is an adventure novel full of mystery, intrigue and hauntings but it is also a story of friendship and a story of the journey from childhood to the beginning of young adulthood. What lies ahead and what is left behind? Absolutely captivating.

Doll Bones 2

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Challenging circumstances for a young boy left at a campsite by his mother. He experiences much confusion over doing what he needs to do to keep himself safe and protecting his life with his mother. I found Jack’s turmoil very believable. His loyalty to his Mom and their life was always front and center despite the fear and obstacles he faced. A compelling story that I read in one sitting. 


Almost Home by Joan Bauer I so wanted to love this book and I just didn’t. I found the character of Sugar just too sweet. But I seem to be in the minority. My ten year old daughter read it and loved it and I see on Goodreads that this book has a number of excellent reviews. Something about this title just didn’t ring true for me. And I didn’t love the poetry . . . Not all titles are a match despite one’s positive anticipation.


Torn Away by James Heneghan This was the most recent story I read aloud to my children. Published in 1996, this novel details a young boy’s grief and anger after his Mother and young sister are killed in a bombing while celebrating a birthday lunch in Belfast. He is sent (without any degree of willingness) to Canada to live with his Aunt and Uncle and he rebels against the idea of settling with a family, determined to return to Ireland to join the IRA and seek revenge for the murders of his family. Forces readers to explore the importance of family and connection. An emotional read.

torn away

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn I saw this title on Sarah’s (from YA Love) blog post about favourite titles and it caught my eye. It is a very upsetting story about an abusive relationship between two teenagers told through the diary of Nick who realizes with his first romantic relationship, that he has been influenced by his father’s violence in ways he wasn’t expecting. This is a story of aggression and ugly controlling actions. Important that the reader can experience the point of view of the abuser but yet the role is never romanticized. Definitely see this as an important book for high school students to read and discuss.


What’s up next in my reading life?

I am almost finished Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Tonight I begin a new read aloud with my children –  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Next up for me: P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-GarciaA Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean and Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles