Even at the end of a long day, I couldn't wait to curl up in bed and venture into Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Thanks to one of my piano students, I purchased this highly recommended book last week, and within a few days, I devoured the story.
The narrator, Yelena, shares her story of becoming a food taster for the Commander of Ixia. During her intense training, she is purposely fed the poison 'Butterfly's Dust', a poison that requires a daily antidote to save her life, a precaution deemed by the head of security as a 'security deposit' in case she wants to escape. But, of course, the plots twists and turns as Yelena faces unyielding obstacles and threatening life experiences and discovers a part of herself that is punishable by death in Ixia.
This isn't my typical read. In fact, I probably would've brushed by it on a shelf, but my students never let me down. So, I already ordered the next book in the series - Magic Study! Can't wait to put this on my bookshelf!
Some of my favorite titles this summer:
1. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - I listened to this wonderful book using the Overdrive App on my way to summer school. Wow. A truly refreshing tale of Willow Dean, an overweight girl who doesn't lack self-confidence until Bo, a boy she works with, kisses her. She fights the urge to make things 'formal', because she thinks - why would a guy like HIM want a girl like HER? Then, the story really takes a turn - she decides to partake in the Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant, with her likes-to-keep-up-appearances mother, a former winner and now director of the Pageant. Get your hands on this one! I couldn't stop listening...
2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - After purchasing this book this past spring, and two of my students begging me to read it (after they read in less than 24 hours), I finally sat down and read it - in less than two days. Narrated from the perspective of Madeline, who suffers from SCID, a rare disease that makes her allergic to basically everything. But, (like Dumplin') she meets a boy that begins to change her world. This is a quick, unique read and overall, a great story.
3. The Book Thief by Mark Zusak - My favorite aspect of this book (that I'm currently listening to on audiobook in my car) is the narrator - Death. Told through his personified perspective, he spins a splendid tale of Liesel, a young German girl who relishes reading anything she can get her hands on and possesses a flair for stealing - stealing books. He shares her devastating circumstances and triumphant appetite for mischief even in the midst of WWII in Germany, as her and her foster family become forcefully entwined in the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Regime. Zusak's creative language weaves into this story with ease and eloquence, leaving me entranced. (And often, wanting to stay in my car long after I arrive at my destination!) This one has been out for a while, but let it steal your time; it's worth it.
Spring Break - a perfect time to relax and read, especially since the weather wasn't all the pleasant - rainy, damp, and cold most days. Here's a preview of some of the terrific tales:
The Last Star by Rick Yancey - I finished up the Fifth Wave series with this one. I really liked the deeper meaning of what it means to be human and embracing our 'humanity' that Yancey hints upon throughout the book. I wasn't sure how this series was going to end, but I felt that Yancey did a nice job of capturing the importance of sacrifice for others.
The Gender Game, The Gender Secret by Bella Forrest - This is a new series that I started last month, but I'm on the third book right now The Gender Lie. I like the action-packed plot twists, but I'm still deciding whether I like the current relationship between the two main characters - Viggo and Violet. It feels a bit forced and unrealistic; they almost changed to quickly. But, the idea behind this series hints at some Hunger Games, Uglies, and Divergent elements - the utopia/dystopia idea. However, despite these similar threads, it's the type of book that's hard to put down.
City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson - I'm currently listening to this story on my OverDrive app through the North Country Library System. I look forward to my drives to and from school, listening to the narrator, Tina (Tiny Girl), a refugee from the Congo, share her plans to avenge her mother's murder. But of course, like most plans, it doesn't work out the way she intends, and now she has to figure out how to make sense of her new knowledge and information.