My name is Allison and I am a high school English teacher in rural Maine, USA. My students enter my classroom in the fall with reading levels all over the place, and one of the first things I did as a teacher was implement a choice-based reading system and start a classroom library of new young adult literature.
Surprised by how many awesome books began collecting on my shelves, I started reading, too.
Five years and lots of generous classroom library donations later, I decided to try to use what I’ve learned about young adult literature (read: It’s so much more than you might think!) to help students, parents and teachers know what’s up, what’s good and what to look out for.
Disclaimer: I am not an experienced reviewer or a particularly intellectual one. I’m going to tell you what I think in an honest, (hopefully) readable way. If you are looking for Academia or a well-versed commentary, you probably won’t find it here.
That said, here is a…
Review of your host
Published in: 1983
Pages: Thirty. THIRTY.
The protagonist: A happily married, Internet-addicted hater of brussels sprouts and runny eggs who loves working with teenagers and never passed on a piece of chocolate or an opportunity to Follow The Rules.
The gist in 100 words or less: Suburban Connecticut childhood to college in western New York (English Literature) to summer camp in Maine (leadership is better outdoors!) to graduate school (Education) to teaching the chilluns how to read, write, speak, listen and research and learning a few things from them in the process.
Great stuff: Having my sister join me at the same college, getting married (Another teacher! The nerddom abounds!), being an auntie three times, and “growing up” from ages 21-26 as a leadership counselor at the best summer camp in the world. Showing an at-risk teen who doubts herself and has never been hiking that yes, you can actually climb a whole mountain–literally get to the top–is pretty freaking awesome.
Meh: Lots of bullying in elementary and middle school. Losing my dad to pancreatic cancer in December of 2012.
Best quote: In middle school, my mom reminded me daily that “Tough times never last, tough people do.”
Parent/teacher alert: I come with a healthy dose of sarcasm and an affinity for Not Shying Away From The Hard Stuff (see “about the reviews”).
Read it if you liked: Laura Ingalls, Charlotte from Sex and the City, Ree Dolly from Winter’s Bone (I wish), & Marshall Eriksen from How I Met Your Mother.
Not good for: Bigots, holier-than-thous, brown-nosers and people who think reading isn’t important or fun. I bet you I can find a book that changes your mind, even just a little.
What my students think: Popular opinion is pretty divided. On quiz day; not so great. On days when I go off on tangents about my life or bring in food? I guess I’m all right on those days.