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whatcha readin' wednesday

By: Colleen Hoover

This book is one of my favorites to suggest to people, solely due to the reaction I get when I tell them the plot.  Basically, a teacher and a student fall in love.  I know, I know... gross.  Before you go getting all judgy and acting like I can relate or something stupid, allow me to elaborate.  The main character loses her father at the beginning and her mom, who is now the sole provider for the family, gets a job that requires them to move to another state the summer before her senior year.  As they pull in to their new home, the neighbor  boy across the street bolts over and asks her little brother to play.  That boy's older brother also ventures over to offer to help them move in.  The two get to talking, he is obviously smoking hot and probably has great abs, and he asks her out.  They spend the next few weeks together before school starts.  Then, on the first day of school, she walks in to her 3rd period English class to discover that her class has a student teacher that semester.  Guess who it is? Bingo! Hot neighbor boy.  He is horrified--when she said she was 18, he assumed she was graduated--and so is she when their eyes meet.  The remainder of the novel is spent with them trying to fight off their feelings and keep things professional.  There are a couple steamy parts--no sex--and the entire book you'll be fighting for them to be together.  Trust me.  SO GOOD.

Mustaches for Maddie
By: Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Maddie is a darling 12 year old girl who loves to make her friends smile.  She is always doing silly things like wearing pretend mustaches around and making her peers laugh.  Maddie gets casted as Juliet in the school play of Romeo and Juliet and she couldn't be more thrilled.  Then, Maddie's body starts doing weird things like stumbling as she walks or having her hands uncontrollably curl up.  Her mom takes her to the doctor and they discover that Maddie has a brain tumor.  Maddie doesn't want her world to change--which it obviously will--and tries to fight it by keeping the tumor a secret.  This novel is wonderful and uplifting and based on a true story of a girl right here in Utah.  Her parents are the authors of the novel, and the entire story is moving.  This is a feel good book if ever there was one, and a great example of the power of leadership and compassion among teens.

By: Neil Shusterman

This book has been at the forefront of my brain the last couple weeks even though I haven't read it for a couple years.  This was the novel I gave to my student I talk about in my previous post, Natalie, just before she died.  The story is about a boy who is fairly big for his age.  He is tall and built and has a great girlfriend who adores him.  In the story, Brewster--the kids at school call him Bruiser--is a misunderstood bully.  Always covered in bruises and other marks, Bruiser is rumored to get in to fights and beat kids up, but in reality Bruiser has this gift/curse to feel all the pain those in his life are feeling.  That pain manifests itself in bruises on his body.  The book is realistic fiction, and a great story that proves that all people suffer and we shouldn't judge people based on appearance.  I haven't been able to pickup this book for a few years because the parallels between it and Natalie are a little too haunting, but the novel is so great.  Especially for those who are ready for a bit of a break from the popular dystopian genre. 


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