Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Now that I've seen Star Wars twice, I feel I can finally comment on it. Be aware, there will be mild spoilers below, in the sense that I'll be talking about some specific, not too spoilery scenes. But if you haven't seen Star Wars, what are you waiting for? It was great, go see it!

After the first time, I came out of the theater energized. It was sooo much better than 1, 2, & 3, that I could overlook some of the flaws and my feelings. I really liked it, but felt it was a little disjointed. I went home and read some articles, trying to figure out what it was I was feeling.

First, the things I liked. Omg, REY. She was badass and exactly the type of heroine I wanted. While I like Clary from The Mortal Instruments and Katniss from The Hunger Games, Rey is the type of character I can really get behind. She has a take-charge attitude while also having emotions, and makes smart decisions. Jackpot.

I also really liked the humor, especially Finn's. I've watched a few John Boyega interviews since, and he's pretty hilarious, so I think he was a great choice. He had some nice snippets, though Daisy Ridley did too, (like when she told him to stop holding her hand). I love that they chose a black actor to be one of the main characters because diversity really means so much, and gives young people role models that they can relate to. (I also appreciated the Asian female X-wing pilot they had.)

Harrison Ford was awesome with his reprise of Han Solo. He was able to get back into the character without missing a beat. It felt real, like Han Solo was back. He also had a much bigger role than I thought he would, especially since they had to write him out of some scenes when he broke his foot. He had a lot more screen time than I expected.

Things I didn't like. I did feel like there were two stories going on: the quest for Luke Skywalker, and then whatever Han Solo was doing. But, I wouldn't have wanted them to take out the parts with Han, because it was just so fun, so I'm not sure how they could've fixed that. I felt the whole bit with the lightsaber was kind of thrown together and could've had more impact coming from someone/somewhere else. Like maybe Han should've had the lightsaber? Though I did enjoy the trade scene with Maz, since it was so cantina-esque. (Fun fact: did you know Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton and In The Heights fame, wrote the music with J.J. Abrams for that scene? Well, he did, as J.J. said in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.)

Overall, I really liked the movie. I'm not sure if it passes the Bechdel Test, because the only conversation Rey has with another female is with Leia, when Leia says "May the force be with you" and Rey doesn't even answer. I'm unsure if Rey's conversations with Maz count, because is Maz female? Who's to say those aliens have genders like we do? Though I guess when there's a lead character who's a female then it should pass. (Thoughts?)

Also, an aside, one of my BFFs is in advertising and created the Duracell commercial, where the young boy puts the batteries in for his lightsaber and then has to save his sister, in conjunction with Star Wars. It's a really awesome commercial, so if you haven't seen it take a look. And my friend got to go to the premiere in L.A. because of doing it! (So obvi I hate him for getting to go. J/k, j/k. kinda.)

What are your thoughts on Star Wars? Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? Where would you put it in order of favorites to least out of all the Star Wars films?

Monday, December 21, 2015

High School Book Club December Edition

Last Tuesday was our high school book club's monthly meeting. We discussed ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL by Jesse Andres and also chose our new book.

I really enjoy MaEatDG. I thought it was hilarious and found myself laughing out loud in my bedroom consistently while reading it. On the cover, it was of course compared to THE FAULT AND OUR STARS which I thought was an unfair comparison. This book is completely different in every way except that both books have a character with cancer. The tone is different, the theme is different, the character arcs are different, and the characters sound completely different. I can see how someone might want it to ride the coattails of TFiOS, but it deserves to be on its own shelf. It's just a different book completely.

One of my students really enjoyed MaEatDG and I was surprised because he doesn't usually read the books we assign. That just shows again how subjective reading is. There were a few people who didn't make it past the first few chapters because they felt the protagonist was whiny. I, on the other hand, thought that he was just a normal self-conscious teenager. (But then again, they're the real teenagers and I'm not.) The first few chapters is what hooked me.

Many of them did not like Earl, since he was such a stereotype. One student said she knew going into it that Earl was going to be a stereotype, so it didn't bother her as much. I can understand their disappointment, but I'm used to taking things with a grain of salt (ahem adulting), so it didn't phase me as much.

Overall, I think they were getting kind of sick of the same sorts of tropes and genres that we've been reading. Most have been contemporary YA and I know a lot of my students really like speculative fiction.

I'm really excited because they picked RED RISING by Pierce Brown as their next book, which I've been trying to get them to read since September. A lot of them said they wouldn't read anything new until we read RED RISING. I also think I did a superb job pitching it as THE HUNGER GAMES on Mars with Roman mythology. A close second was WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin, which I really hope we read next, but only the votes will tell.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Books I've read recently: December Edition

I picked up THE EMPEROR'S BLADES because I follow Victoria Schwab on twitter and she told me to read it. Not me personally, just anyone who was listening. And I was. And I wasn't disappointed. It's a sort of fantasy novel, but more genre-bending than anything I've read in a while. It was really refreshing to read something new and unique. I also don't read a lot of "adult", but this was awesome. I especially liked the three totally different points of view with each one keeping me engaged and wanting to know more about that character. I have book two out from the library and it's next up for me to read.

I also picked up WOLF BY WOLF because of Victoria Schwab. (I can whole-heartedly say I will now read anything she recommends.) I was a bit wary about this as the only thing I knew about it that it was alternate historical fiction, which I don't usually read. But it gripped me from the first page. It's also very different than anything else out there -- I wouldn't say it's straight alternate history -- and the writing is so lyrical that it just drew me in. I definitely recommend it to anyone, whether or not they like alternate historical fiction (with a twist of fantasy).

I picked up BONE GAP because it seemed like everyone and their mother were recommending it. While I liked it, I felt like it was just hinging on the "twist" ending, which was less of a twist than a... well, I don't want to spoil anything, so I guess you'll have to read it. I liked that ending part, but I felt like too much revolved around that point for me to buy in completely. It was very mystical and had nice lyrical writing as well, but the characters never pulled me in. Maybe there was just too much hype from the start. Or maybe I just prefer speculative to contemporary. And it was definitely different from anything else I've read in a while, so give it a try and tell me what you think.

What have you read lately? Anything amazing that I should be reading?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Putting the SCIENCE in Science Fiction

As you might know, I teach 9th and 10th graders bio/chem. I love it. Science is AWESOME. Doing experiments and seeing the results first had in the classroom is how science should be taught. That being said, I also obviously love to read. I sponsor the high school book club at my school. So I've been trying to meld the two together.

I've been looking for some science fiction to read in my 9th or 10th grade bio/chem classes. Many of the science fiction I read isn't based on science or is so minimally that I wouldn't be able to connect it with my class. Or the book is so long that there would be no way we'd be able to fit it in to the unit/curriculum.

At first I was thinking THE MARTIAN, but there's no real unit it could be tied to, besides the scientific method, which is the shortest unit. It also seemed a bit of an instruction manual and I didn't think it would engage all my students.

The next I was thinking of was FEVER 1793, which is set in Philadelphia (where I teach, so that would be awesome), might be a good jumping off point for bacteria and epidemics. But upon reading it, the reading level is about 5th grade (so not good for 10th graders) and again doesn't have that much science in it. I think they'd be too bored and not understanding why we'd read this in a science class. It would've been a good interdisciplinary book for a cross between social studies and science if it weren't such a low reading level.

This led me to THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN which I read a million years ago. I don't quite remember how much science is in it, so I got it out of the library to reread.

Do you have any suggestions? Any books that you've read that are a good cross between science and an awesome read (and isn't too long)? Let me know because right now I'm looking for anything bio or chem related!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thoughts on high school book club

We're into our second book for the high school book club that I run and I'd say it's going pretty well. We've doubled in size from last year (so much so that the tiny room with no windows that we meet in might need an upgrade) and have students ranging from juniors to freshmen. Half the time is spent just picking a book, but the half that's spent discussing shows a lot of insight into what real young adults want to read.

We just finished reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. While it was not my favorite, and some of the students agreed with me, many of my students really liked it. They aren't able to completely explain why they liked it or kept reading, so sometimes I think it's just pure will-power or perseverance. But of the students who stopped reading, many of them said it was slow or nothing happened. Once they got to page 100 it really picked up and they were into it, but many didn't make it that far. Others have already started reading the second book in the series and are loving it.

That tells me that pacing is super important. We all know teenagers have short attention spans (and so do I, which is why I like YA so much), but it was so apparent while discussing this book, since they all commented on the pacing. A few had started reading the sequel and said that Hollow City was much better and a lot more stuff happened in it. I haven't read it, so I can't weigh in on it at all.

Some commented on the main character being boring, (until page 100) and that he was slightly whiny, though they understood why. Some liked the photographs in the book, while others didn't really get it. Many of them seemed excited about the movie though, and want to take a field trip when it comes out next year. We'll see if I'm able to swing that... But overall, a lot of varied comments on such a popular book. It just shows the vast range of teenagers interests and that there is someone out there for every book.

While trying to decide what book to read next, there seemed to be two camps: contemporary and fantasy/sci-fi. I think this depicts the market of YA pretty accurately, as there is always room for contemporary and fantasy. This time, contemporary edged out the fantasy readers, and we picked Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

I'll let you know what they think during our next book club meeting.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review of The Martian (book and movie)

I teach kids science, so reading THE MARTIAN was almost required reading. My other colleague liked it so much that he wanted to take our students to see it, saying it was an awesome depiction of why science is awesome.

And I agree.

The main character, Mark, has a billion problems in front of him, after getting left behind on Mars, and he has to use science in order to stay alive. A lot of science. A lot of trial and error. A lot of testing equipment.

The book is a bit on the clinical side. Mark has a quirky sense of humor, and that shines through now and then, but for the most part it's a report of what he's had to do to stay alive. As a teacher of science, I appreciated it. There were so many passages that I wanted to excerpt and make my students read because it was exactly what we are or will be learning in class. There was definitely tension when things went wrong, and I wanted to see how he would get out of it, but it was pretty straight-forward. I was waiting for them to pull a "The Mexican" and have there be actual martians or something, but no such luck.

The movie I really enjoyed (until one bit at the end). It had tension, the scenery was awesome, and in some parts had better characters than the book (Donald Glover as Rich Purnell was better than I imagined him). They didn't go into the science as much, and of course they had to skip some parts otherwise it'd be too long (though I really wanted to see all his trial and errors).

As for the end, they obviously Hollywood-ified it. The part about Iron Man is in the book, but it just felt sooo fake to me in the movie. So I enjoyed it up until that very end part.

So if you like science and suspense, definitely give it a try. But obvi read the book before you see the movie :)

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Balancing Act

September is almost gone, which means that school, whether it's high school, college, university, or teaching, has started. Our days of lounging on the couch and writing when we feel like it are gone, because we are just too busy. If I'm on the couch I'm either watching TV, feeling my eyes glaze over, or face-planted in the cushions taking a nap.

So how does one find the right balance of work, school, activities, and writing? Some people have said become a morning person. Great! I am a morning person! But I'm not just a teacher, I'm a coach. And I coach sports before school starts, which means I'm on the field at 6:30, getting up even earlier. And I can't function before 5 am.

Because I get up so early, I also go to bed early. I mean 8:30 early. I read for 30 minutes before I go to bed, because it helps me decompress.

So when can I write?

For me, I would like a good chunk of time to let the suck flow. At least an hour, preferably more. That means I'd have to start at 7 pm, which is just after dinner time. It's a tight schedule and it means no procrastinating! I try and get all my homework (aka grading) done in school, so that I don't take anything home. Because if I take work home, I have no time for myself.

I also need to learn to write in those stolen bits of time. Maybe I've finished my lunch, already made my copies for the week, planned out my lessons for the next few days, and finished grading (ha!), so I have some extra minutes to write. Or maybe I haven't made my copies, but I don't need them til tomorrow, so I "have" a few extra minutes to write, outline, or brainstorm. It's those stolen minutes that will add up down the line.

This tight schedule also means weekends are key, as are school holidays. Sometimes it's hard to force yourself to write on the weekend when all I want to do is be face-planted into couch cushions (see above), but I know I'll feel better if I've accomplished some writing during the day.

How do you balance your every day life with writing? Do you have any tips or advice?

Monday, September 14, 2015

First Drafts Suck

First drafts suck. I know this. They're meant to suck, to just get the words onto the paper so that you can then make them not-suck. But it's hard.

I am constantly second-guessing myself with the draft of my new WiP. I have an outline (kinda), so I know where it's going, but I just know it's missing things. And that's okay. I just have to keep reminding myself that (which is why I like that quote on the right).

This WiP is especially hard for me because it's focused on characters. To me, characters are the most important, but writing them is not my forte. I like creating worlds and languages. Which is something I haven't done for this WiP yet. I decided, for some reason, to do that for round 2, so that I could get the story down first. So I have half a world.

School also just started and I am trying my best not to be overwhelmed by it all this year. I want to do things other than just lesson plan, teach, and coach, like exercise (kinda important...) and write. But because I've been second guessing myself, I've kinda been stuck, and I haven't had time to let the suck flow because of school, which just makes me second guess myself more.

So I'm taking this first draft a little at a time. I wanted to give myself a goal of 1k every night, but, at least for now, that's too lofty. So I'm going to settle on 500 words, that way I can manage my days better. I feel guilty doing that, since 1k had been my daily goal for so long, but it's just not reasonable. It's okay to reassess goals, so that's what I'm doing. It might not mean I get my draft done as quickly, but at least by the end of the school year, it should be done. And then I can take that time to make it all shiny. Because you can't revise until you have words on a page :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

High School Book Club: Year Two

Photo by Jenny Kaczorowski
School starts on Tuesday (err, um, tomorrow!) and I'm already thinking about the Book Club I started last year.

I was setting up my classroom when one of my students saw me in the hall and excitedly said she finished reading all the books we decided on. We'd taken a vote and came to a consensus of reading 5 books over the summer. Now I didn't know if that was too much for them, because I've never run a book club, but they were ecstatic, so who am I to say 5 is too many? So when she told me she finished them all, I got really excited. (And if we're being truthful, I only finished 4/5. I've read more than 5 this summer, just most were not on the reading list).

But this is one of the things I get excited about for going back to school: to be able to discuss YA with real YAs. They get excited about all kinds of things (Ms. Sessa, did you know it's 22 days until Christmas?!? Are you excited??) and I'm glad that books are still one of them.

Stories are things that I think will never get old, but once you start assigning books in class, there is always some push back. But here they get to choose what books they want to read (and by "choose" I mean vote, so they don't always get what they want) and they're doing this voluntarily. It's so interesting to hear what they liked and didn't like, and what they want to read next.

I also decided to incorporate a novel into my biochem classes, which I'm really excited about, but that's a tale for another day :)

Were you ever in a book club in high school? Or are you in one now? How did you get started with it?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Getting Stuck and Having Doubts

Max told me to read a book instead.
I recently just started writing a new WiP. It's a YA fantasy, so it has a magic system in addition to all the usual world-building and character & plot development. It's been a while since I've drafted anything, but I'm excited to start again.

I got 2k in until I realized I had the wrong magic system. It was becoming a different story than what I wanted, though I LOVED the first pages. There was intrigue and tension with just enough background while moving the story forward. And because of that love of the first few pages, I've been stuck.

I just can't get that first scene out of my head, even though it's not the story I want to tell. I think. And that's where the doubt comes in. The questioning. Can I make it work? Can I tweak it so that it's what I want?

So I wrote a new opening scene. And after three or four tries, I came up with something I liked. But then the doubt set in again. This opening isn't as dark; do I want it to be darker? This character is slightly different; does she work with my planned ending?

So for the last few days I've been paralyzed to write anything further for fear it won't be right. But you know what? It's not going to be right on the first try. My drafts are very messy and that's fine. But I can't fix it until I've written it. And when I finish, if I realize it was wrong, then I can always write another draft.

I think with school starting in a few weeks, I'm nervous I won't have time to write, because last year I didn't. But this year will be my second year of teaching, and that means I need to do things for me and that's writing. So I just gotta force myself to write it, even if it's wrong, because then at least it can be fixed; you can't fix what's not on the page.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Books I've Read Recently: August Edition

As the summer winds to a close, I've been frantically finishing all the books I got from the library, because I know once the school year starts I'll read maybe one a month.

I started reading RED RISING by Pierce Brown because I saw on twitter that Victoria Schwab was enjoying it, and I figured if I like her books, I'd like what she's reading. And I was correct. RED RISING is the first of a trilogy, sort of The Hunger Games on Mars meets Roman mythology. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but then I couldn't put it down. His lyrical writing is awesome and he has great lingo to show the different setting (that's linguist in me again, getting excited). Definitely one to read!

For our high school book club, WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart was one of 5 books we decided to read over the summer. While I liked this story, the twisty ending didn't seem as twisty as everyone made it out to be. It could be that I've just happened to read many similar twists lately. But I couldn't put this book down either, so I'd still recommend it.

While I was on vacation, I finished STEELHEARTS by Brandon Sanderson. I really liked this world, having the superheroes as villains, but I wanted more wrap up in book 1. Since this will be a series (a trilogy? idk), I felt that he didn't wrap it up enough because he wanted to save things for the next book. Not sure if I'll read the next one, but I still really enjoyed the concept. If you like action/thrillers with a different take on superheroes, give this one a try.

I just started THRONE OF GLASS, so that's next on my list.

What have you been reading lately? Or what's in your TBR pile?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fantasy Languages in Novels

I am a linguistic nerd at heart. And out in the open. Really everywhere. I minored in linguistics in college, tried my hand at learning two languages (because that's all I had time for in my schedule as a bio major), and studied abroad. For a while, I was a linguistic researcher at a university. I've always wanted to learn elvish. My dream job is to be one of those people who creates languages for TV shows. So any time I see a new language in novels I get really excited.

Most times languages in books are similar to other languages or have a very short vocabulary. I mean, authors don't have time to create a new language, unless you're Tolkien and then that's why you wrote your novel in the first place. But I still get excited.

Recently, I've come across a language that is so unique, I'm jealous I didn't think of it. Currently, I'm reading THE WISE MAN'S FEAR, the sequel to THE NAME OF THE WIND, and the second in The Kingkiller Chronicles. In it, one of the languages Ademic, uses a sort of sign language to show their emotions, instead of the expressions on their face. How do people even come up with stuff like that?? It's so unique and cool!

It's made me think about my fantasy (that I haven't quite started yet) because I too will be coming up with a new language (it's part of the magic system). How can I think outside of the box? Yet still show it on paper?

What are your thoughts? Do you like the fantasy languages in novels? Would you ever want to come up with your own? (Or if you have, how did you?)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Books I've read lately: July edition

This is a little late now, but better late than never. I finished RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard and A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V. E. Schwab about two months ago and I finished MADE YOU UP right before I went on vacation a few weeks ago.

I'd heard a bit about RED QUEEN, namely that it had an unusual book deal story, that the author is from a small town in Massachusetts where two of my friends lived (weird coincidence!), and that it became a NYTimes Bestseller that first week it was out. All of those things made me want to read it. And it was good. It definitely is a page turner; I found myself laying in bed at 9:30 pm (waaay passed my bedtime) still reading and kicking myself that I'd be so tired the next day. But I couldn't put it down. I also can't say what I like so much about it. The powers were cool, the writing is good (I think? I'm not the best judge), the characters were good, there's a sort of love triangle but the two guys aren't that different in personality. So I don't know. I liked it, I couldn't put it down, but I couldn't say exactly what I liked about it. But in the end, that doesn't really matter if you can't stop reading. I'll definitely read the sequel.

I'd also heard a bit about A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. It has one of my favorite titles (and I am BIG on titles), from one of my favorite authors, about my favorite genre. It has an unusual premise that I really appreciated. I think this book had a bit too much set up (I'm all about action action action), and didn't dig deep enough into the characters for me, but that just means the sequel is going to be awesome. I'm really looking forward to reading A GATHERING OF SHADOWS (another fantastic title!)

MADE YOU UP has been getting some hype, so I figured I'd check it out. I looove the cover and had never read anything with an unreliable narrator which is what this book touts. I started reading it at 11 pm before going to bed and ended up staying up waaaay too late (again) because I couldn't put it down. It was different than books I usually read, and while the narrator wasn't as unreliable as I thought, I couldn't put it down. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary YA.

Next on my list are WE WERE LIARS and THE WISE MAN'S FEAR.

What have you been reading? Any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Killing Darlings

Yesterday was day 1 of revision overhaul for TDoC. It's a book I've been working on for a long time, started querying, and then stopped because I realized it wasn't ready. So I took a good look at it yesterday and realized on thing. I really have to kill my darlings.

There are some scenes that just don't go with the atmosphere of the book, and some scenes that don't move the plot forward, and some scenes that are too short to do much of anything. It was so hard for me to see that they were darlings, until I had gotten those query rejections, which made me realize something actually is wrong with it. And surprisingly, I'm okay with changing it. I'm down for anything that makes the manuscript better. So I've rewritten my outline in terms of plot, pacing, and character development. I'll need more of the last bit, but I'm on the right track. I think.

My (lofty) goal is to finish all of that in a week (which is when I go away for vacation). If not, then my goal is to finish by the time I get back from vacation. And then start my new WiP, ItSoM.

Yay productivity!

Have you ever had to kill your darlings? Was it hard? Or did it come easy to you?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Procrastinating By Revising

The school year has just about ended which means I'm going to have so much more free time now. Hooray!

My goal for the summer is to write the first draft of my YA fantasy WiP, whose title I've finally figured out (acronym: ItSoM), which means I can actually start WRITING. I've been brainstorming and outlining for the past few weeks, here and there when I've had time, but today I became stuck. A lot of the themes seems familiar, and while not exactly the same, reminded me of the WiP I shelved. And somehow motivated me to start the last round of revisions on that WiP.

Yes. I started outlining for a new book, but went back to my old one.

TDoC is probably the book of my heart, and one that I really believe in, but I knew it needed another round or two of revisions. Before school started, I just didn't have the energy to revise it yet another time. But now that school is over, I find myself still wanting to make TDoC the best that it can be. It needs a bit (understatement) of an overhaul, the plot/pacing needs to be reworked and the MC needs more motivation/background, but I'm ready. I love this book. It's so different than anything I've read, which makes me believe in it. My new WiP I haven't quite figured out how to make the plot stand out, so I'm hoping my brain can continue to stew on it, while I work on TDoC for (hopefully) the last time. My goal is that in a week or two, I'll finish, so that I can put all my efforts into ItSoM.

Has this ever happened to you? You begin to put your efforts into one project, only to get side-tracked by another one?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Working Title

I've recently realized that I can't properly put my heart and soul in a book without the real, honest-to-goodness, correct title. I've been lucky that most of my titles have just come to me and I've loved them. The one title I worked on the longest, THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS, took some brainstorming, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was it. I even knew the sequel titles, if I were to write any of them (I haven't).

But now I'm in a jam. I have an idea I'm really into and even started writing (about 7k), but it just doesn't feel right without a real title. I've had two working titles, but they just left me uninspired. Titles to me are super important; I want my title to reach out to readers and force them to read it. To wonder what it could mean so that they must pick up the book. But that has happened yet for WIP #4.

I've tried brainstorming. I've written down key words, phrases and themes, but nothing has jumped out at me as THE TITLE. But I just can't move forward without.

I'm hoping as I outline the story more, something will jump out at me and click, and I'll have that "Eureka!" moment. But I guess for now I'll just have to keep putting the pen to the paper.

How do you come up with your titles? Any suggestions?

Monday, March 16, 2015

High School Book Club

Well y'all, it's been a while. This school year has been super hectic. Being a first year teacher is hard. I knew it was going to be hard; I was prepared for my long hours and crazy days, but just because I knew it was going to be hard doesn't change the fact that it's still been hard. But my students are awesome and that's all I can really ask for.

In fact, we've started a book club!

Being in a high school setting means I get to fangirl about all the YA books with actual young adults. It's been awesome. My first day I noticed a student carrying THE MAZE RUNNER and asked him if he was reading it for class, but he was just reading it for funsies. That's when I knew I had some really awesome students and that this could be the perfect place for a book club.

We've had two book club meetings so far. The first was just to decide which book we wanted to read. I put a bunch of different titles on the board and then we voted. The top 3 were RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard, CINDER by Marissa Meyer and THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab. So we decided to read all three starting with CINDER. We'd meet back in two weeks, having completed the first 100 pages, since we figured they'd have a lot of work (my school is project-based so there's always a ton of projects going on) and were also reading another book for English class.

After the two weeks, I found out two students had finished the book and one student finished the entire series! So needless to say, we're going to have to amp up our page count for the next book :)

I'm super excited to get to share some of my favorite stories with them. I've already read CINDER and THE ARCHIVED, but they're two of my favorite series. My students seemed to really enjoy them too and getting to discuss the intricacies of the books has opened my eyes a little bit more to the demographic that I've been writing for. To hear all of them talk about different parts and to discuss what they liked and didn't like, while educational to me as a writer, has also allowed me to talk about what I like so much about the books. I've been wanting to start a YA book club for a while now and I'm so excited to be able to share the experience with actual young adults, who will hopefully be able to see the world in a different way because of it. It reminds me why I started writing in the first place and I can't wait to get back to it :)