Saturday, January 26, 2013

Books I've Read in 2013

I love reading books meant for all ages.  Any book with stars by it is one I'd consider reading again in the future (or would consider having my kids read in the future) so presumably you (or your kids) might like it too.  If you've read (or wondered about) any of these books feel free to comment -- I'd love to chat with you...  Oh and if you love a book I don't (or vice versa), we can still be friends. 

***Mr. Popper's Penguins, Richard and Florence Atwater***
I read this aloud to my 7 year old son and we both loved it.  The book, originally published in 1938, is sweet and charming.  Great for discussing occupations and finances.  Aimed at children.

The Chrysalids, John Wyndham
This is a novel that some of my friends were assigned in highschool, but I was not so I thought I'd read it now.  The beginning of this futuristic story intrigued me, but the end of the novel seemed rushed to me.  Aimed at teens.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
I read the first few chapters and then sent it back to the library because I couldn't tolerate any more partying.  I got it back from the library months later and did like the latter portion of the book better than the first... 

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me, Ian Morgan Cron
This is a memoir, of sorts (as the author, himself, states).  I was intrigued by some of the stories and the humourous tone, but found some of the sarcasm off-putting.  The book is more about a father and son and not much about the CIA at all.  Some of the doctrine was not what I consider Biblically sound.   

True (... Sort Of), Katherine Hannigan
A young girl who is known for being a troublemaker attempts to turn her life around.  I enjoyed the premise and even the middle, but the end was lacking in my opinion.  Fake swear words.  Aimed at pre-teens.

The Silver Bowl, Diane Stanley
Molly is a young girl who becomes a maid for the King.  Thing is, she has a gift of seeing visions of the future.  The first 2/3rds of the book was interesting and then it felt like all was resolved too quickly.  Aimed at pre-teens and teens.  Some violence.

Factory Girl, Barbara Greenwood
I really enjoy Barbara Greenwood's books -- how they mix facts with a fictional story that makes history come alive.  Other books by the same author include: "The Last Safe House" and "A Pioneer Story" aka "A Pioneer Sampler".  Aimed at pre-teens.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly 
This novel tells the story of coming of age story of Callie a young girl living in 1899.  It was hard for me to get through this novel and I found it slow moving (as well as a bit pro-evolution).  Aimed at pre-teens.

The Lemonade Crime, Jacqueline Davies  
This is the sequel to The Lemonade War featuring siblings Jesse and Evan.  Themes include justice, friendship, doing what's right.  Desiree (grade 5) is currently reading it.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse
Written in free verse, Billie Jo tells the story of her teen years in dusty Oklahoma during the Great Depression.  Themes include guilt, dreams and father/daughter relationships.  I thought it was hard to get into.  Aimed at teens.

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia, Susan Runholt
This mystery novel tells the story of two young girls who wind up sleuthing unintentionally.  Some mature themes and a fake swear word: "meep".  Aimed at pre-teens/teens.

Middle of Nowhere, Caroline Adderson
Curtis and his young brother are fending for themselves until their elderly neighbour comes to their rescue.  This is a coming of age story mixed with some psychological elements.  Aimed at teens.

Things Not Seen, Andrew Clements
Bobby is a 15 year old boy who suddenly turns invisible one day.  This novel tells about his journey to "find" himself and along the way he develops new friendships and a better understanding of his parents.  Aimed at teens.

The Promise Box, Tricia Goyer
This novel tells the story of a once Amish lady who returns to the community following her mother's death.  Themes include keeping things secret, guilt, finding yourself, finding God.  I liked the storyline, but found a lot of it tedious.  

A Week in the Woods, Andrew Clements
This started off slowly, but I liked it in the end.  Themes include judging others, reputations and survival skills.  Aimed at pre-teens.  

About Average, Andrew Clements
Jordan is an "average" girl trying to find out what makes her special.  It was more serioius than other Clements books I've read.  Themes include: dealing with bullies, turning the other cheek, seeing your own strengths.  Aimed at pre-teens.

A Single Shard, Linda Sue Park
Set in 12th century Korea, this novel tells the story of Tree-ear, a poor orphan boy who dreams of making pottery.  Themes include: loyalty and willingness to work hard.  Aimed at pre-teens and teens.

Sold, Patricia McCormick
Lakshmi is a 13 year old who lives with her family in a small hut in Nepal.  One day her stepfather decides to send her away to work, but Lakshmi finds she isn't going to work as a maid...  An easy, yet thought-provoking read, but with very graphic themes.

The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls
This novel tells the story of two sisters dealing with their dysfunctional, absentee mother and learning about life and themselves along the way.  Themes include overcoming obstacles, standing up for what's right, family loyalty and racial integration.  Some mature themes and language. 

The Candy Smash, Jacqueline Davies
This is book 4 of the Lemonade War Series.  Themes include crushes and understanding what is and isn't appropriate to share with others.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Island Book One: Shipwreck, Gordon Korman
Six kids are out at sea when a storm tests their strength of character and their survival skills.  Themes include justice, sibling rivalry, judging others.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Turtle in Paradise, Jennifer L. Holm
Set in 1935, this novel tells the story of an 11 year old named Turtle who is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Key West, Florida.  Turtle has a bit of a sarcastic side to her, but she learns about who she is and where she comes from while she goes on adventures with her boy cousins.  Aimed at pre-teens.

No Talking, Andrew Clements 
By the author of "Frindle", this book tells the boys vs. girls story of a class of fifth graders who decide to see who can do the least talking.  An amusing read.  Aimed at pre-teens.

The Dreamer, Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis
This novel is a work of fiction based on the childhood of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda.  Themes include following your dream, standing up for what's right and father/son relationships.  Aimed at pre-teens and teens.

Will Sparrow's Road, Karen Cushman
Set in the Elizabethan era,  Will is a liar and a thief who cares for no one but himself and nothing but his belly until he meets up with a travelling "oddities" show and discovers what's important in life.  The language was tedious.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Holes, Louis Sachar
Due to unfortunate circumstances Stanley finds himself at Camp Green Lake -- a work camp for troubled boys.  Here learns about friendship, loyalty and survival.  Aimed at teens -- some mature themes.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi
Charlotte is a 13 year old passenger on a ship to America in 1832.  Charlotte learns about judging others, friendship, guilt and finding yourself on the journey.  Aimed at teens -- some mature themes.  

The Midwife's Apprentice, Karen Cushman
A young orphaned girl known as Brat discovers who she truly is and where she belongs.  Themes include not giving up, not judging based on appearances, helping and encouraging others.  Aimed at pre-teens.

***Listening for Lions, Gloria Whelan*** 
Set in Africa in 1919, this novel tells the story of a 13 year old girl whose kindness and courage help her overcome many obstacles.  Aimed at pre-teens and teens.

The Fault in our Stars, John Green
This novel tells the love story of Hazel and Augustus -- two teenagers who meet at Cancer Support Group.  Filled with philosophical questions, sarcasm and a plethoroa of big words.  Aimed at teens, but has very mature themes and language.  

Divergent, Veronica Roth
If you can suspend your disbelief, ignore your unanswered questions and don't mind some graphic violence, it was an interesting read.  I preferred this book to the Hunger Games trilogy and the Chemical Garden trilogy.  Aimed at teens.

*** Poppy, Avi***
Poppy is a young mouse who goes on a great journey to help her family.  Themes include fear, guilt, cause and effect, judging others, predator/prey relationships.  There was some slang I wasn't fond of, but overall it was a worthwhile read.  Aimed at pre-teens.

***Nim's Island, Wendy Orr***
Nim is a young girl living on a secluded island with her father and her animal friends.  Themes include heroism, facing fears and working together.  I liked the novel better than the movie.  Aimed at pre-teens.  Recommended by Desiree (9 years old) 

***The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne***
Bruno is a 9 year old German boy growing up in the era of the Holocaust.  Themes include innocence, friendship, discrimination.  Could be read and discussed by pre-teens and teens (keep in mind some mature topics arise).

***The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, Karen Cushman***
This is a coming of age story set in 1849 during the California gold rush.  Lucy grapples with loss, missing loved ones and her dreams while she discovers where she belongs in the world.  Aimed at teens.  Some graphic content.

Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
Winnie is a young girl who discovers an extraordinary family and their secret.  This novel presents an interesting dilemma: would you live forever if you could?  Aimed at pre-teens.

The Whipping Boy, Sid Fleischman
The Prince and his whipping boy find themselves on the road to adventure.  I didn't enjoy the book and found that the novel's climax is summed up in the cover picture.  Aimed at 8-12 year olds, but it could be a challenging read.

***Tornado, Betsy Byars***
This novel is about a dog named Tornado and his many adventures.  Full of metaphors and funny stories.  Ideal for 8 - 12 year olds as it's an easy read (or even younger children if it's read to them.)

Get Lucky, Katherine Center
Sarah is at a cross roads in her life as she deals with her sister's infertility, feelings about her dad's remarriage, crushes and the search for love.  Far too many swear words mid-book that I was not expecting.

*** The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman ***
Set in Australia, this novel tells a beautifully haunting story of loss, love, and guilt.  "You only have to forgive once.  To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.  You have to keep remembering all the bad things."

The Break In, Tish Cohen
Interesting premise to the book, but too many loopholes in the plot for me to enjoy it.  Aimed at pre-teens.

A Separate Peace, John Knowles
This novel is set during World War II and tells the story of Gene and his best friend, Finny.    Themes include jealousy, guilt, and war and its effect on individuals.  There are some thought provoking parts to the book, but it was also slow moving.  Aimed at teens. 

From Anna, Jean Little
Anna, known as "Awkward Anna" to her siblings, moves from Germany to Canada with her family in the 1930's.  Themes include: being compared, fitting in, making friends, learning a new language.  This book was hard to get into, but I really appreciated the self-fulfilling prophecy angle.  Aimed at pre-teens, but should be mandatory reading for all teachers. 

A Taste of Heaven, Meg Tilly
Madison welcomes the new girl to grade 5, Alyssa, and the two become fast friends.  Topics include: judging others, keeping a secret and loyalty.  A nice read.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Ivy in the Shadows, Chris Woodworth
Ivy is a young girl whose step father has just left the family.  Ivy deals with issues such as judging others, friends growing apart, financial troubles and babysitting a younger sibling.   Aimed at pre-teens.

When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
A mystery with a dose of science fiction.  The story was a bit hard to follow in my opinion.  Themes include: friendship and judging others.  Aimed at pre-teens.

The View from Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg 
This book tells the story of four unlikely friends in the sixth grade.  I found it slow moving, but really appreciated the comment on education now-a-days "Sixth graders had stopped asking "now what?" and had started asking, "So what?"  Aimed at pre-teens.

Sever, The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 3, Lauren Destefano
Well, the series ended, but so many questions weren't answered or in some cases even asked.  Characters didn't act true to what I knew of them and so much felt rushed.  Aimed at teens, but very mature.

Sparrow Road, Sheila O'Connor
This is a coming of age story about a young girl who finally gets to meet her biological dad.  The story was slow moving, but if you can get past that, it was sweet.  Themes include: forgiving and accepting others, expressing yourself through art.  Aimed at pre-teens.

As Simple as it Seems, Sarah Weeks
This book is a coming of age story about a young girl who finds out that she is adopted and has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Themes include: self acceptance, making and losing friends and adoption.  Aimed at pre-teens, but has a ghost storyline. 

Fever: The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 2, Lauren Destefano
While I was interested in the premise of Wither, Book 1 -- Book 2 felt very drawn out to me and the characters lost some of their appeal in the process.  The last 1/4 of the book started to get interesting.  Aimed at teens, but very mature.  

Bud, Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis
Bud is a 10 year old who sets of in search of his birth father after living in foster homes and an orphanage.  Set in Michigan during the Depression.  Newberry award winner.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Because of Mr. Terupt, Rob Buyea
This novel tells the story of Mr. Terupt's grade 5 class from the point of view of 7 different students.  Themes include: bullying, judging others, accepting differences and guilt.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Wither: The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 1, Lauren Destefano
This trilogy tells the story of 16 year old Rhine and is set in a future where genetic engineering has significantly altered the life expectancy of everyone in the new generations.  Themes include loyalty, morality and perception.  Aimed at teens, but has some mature themes ie: polygamy.  A movie is in the works (hopefully the movie won't be aimed at pre-teens). 

***The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, Kristin Levine***
This novel tells the story of two young friends in 1917 Moundville, Alabama.  Based on the author's Grandfather's memoirs, the story is captivating as it highlights themes such as racial tension, loyalty and standing up for what is right.  Aimed at teens some mature themes.

Eight Keys, Suzannne LaFleur
This is a coming of age story about an orphaned pre-teen living with her aunt and uncle.  Elise discovers who she is as she uncovers keys and messages her late father left for her.  Themes include: bullying and making new friends.  Aimed at pre-teens. 

***Lions of Little Rock, Kristin Levine***
This novel is set in 1958 and tells the story of a shy 12 year old and her struggle to find her place in the world.  Segregation, friendship and racism are the themes.  The novel is fiction, but is based on the historical closing of the highschools in Little Rock to prevent integration.  Aimed at pre-teens and teens.

Young Fredle, Cynthia Voigt
This is the story of a young house mouse who ends up outside.  Told from the mouse's perspective.  I found it a slow read...  Aimed at pre-teens.

Escape Under the Forever Sky, Eve Yohalem
This novel is very conversational in style and tells the story of an American teenager living in Ethiopia who is kidnapped.  Loosely inspired by a true event:  Aimed at pre-teens/teens.

***Stones for my Father, Trilby Kent***
This is a sad and haunting story of a young Boer girl living in South Africa during the British invasion in the late 1800's.  Aimed at pre-teens / teens, but very graphic.

A Prisoner of Birth, Jeffrey Archer
This book tells the story of a man accused of murdering his best friend.  I have to admit I skipped a big chunk in the middle because of language.  R Rated because of language and descriptive dialogue.

The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate
Ivan is a silverback gorilla who has spent most of his life living in a cage at a mall.  This novel is inspired by a true story.  Desiree (9) read it after me and recommends it.  Aimed at pre-teens.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~


  1. wow! I wish I had a wonderful list as this---I never have enough time to read--I need more times--very impressive-- congrats!

    1. I mostly read for 15 minutes or so each night (and the occasional bath with a really great page turner)... It adds up though! lol...

  2. lol-- I have 2-3 sometimes 4 books and my ereader going at one time along with KI and Bible reading-- I have never made a list of the books I read in a year-- hmmm--its a thought maybe I will start that next--lol

    1. I have never used an ereader before... I just have books from the library laying all over the house so there's a book whenever I need one! lol...

      It's interesting to look back at a list of books you've read and see which you'd re-read, which you'd recommend to others etc... Next year is almost here -- it's a good time to start a list!

      PS: What's KI?


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