Every January, I think about how fun it would be to keep a list of all the books I read that year. That’s as far as it usually gets – an idea that gets lost in the shuffle of life – but maybe this will be the year I actually do it!
To kick things off, I thought I’d share some books I’m looking forward to diving into this year. 14 books, to be exact – which you probably figured out since this post is titled “14 for 2014.” Some of these books will be new to me even though they’re not necessarily new titles. Others are on my waiting list because they won’t be released until later in 2014. And a few will be re-reads of books I enjoyed years ago.
Of course, I’ll read some nonfiction along the way, too, but this list is focusing on fiction. Partly because I read a lot more of it and partly because it’s easier for me to come up with 14 titles. So, here goes (in no particular order)!
New (or new to me) titles
Bird Face by Cynthia Toney (a young adult book by one of my critique group partners; this will be her debut novel – I’m so excited for her!)
Bash and the Chicken Coop Caper by Burton Cole (the second in Burt’s middle grade series about zany cousins Bash and Beamer – and I’m proud to call him a critique group partner, too!)
Doon by Carey Corp and Laurie Langdon (a young adult fantasy that has two friends traveling to an alternate world in Scotland)
The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill (nerdy girl Ellie writes her first novel and learns that her real and imaginary worlds might intersect more than she thought)
A Beauty So Rare by Tamara Alexander (the latest historical romance from one of my all-time favorite authors)
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (the latest in his Heroes of Olympus series with Percy Jackson and friends – my son and I will probably spar over who gets to read it first)
And a few classics
Pride and Prejudice (I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but I’ve seen a couple of movie versions but have never actually read the book)
The Scarlet Letter (I remember loving this book in high school once I slogged through the beginning – we’ll see if that still holds true)
Fahrenheit 451 (another one I enjoyed reading in high school – plus my son will be reading it next semester so I thought it’d be fun to run through it again)
The Hobbit (yes, this is partly because of the movie series – it’s been so long since I read the book that I can’t remember which parts of the movies are accurate and which are just Hollywood)
To Kill a Mockingbird (I liked this in high school and my son really enjoyed reading it last year; since it’s on our bookshelf, why not enjoy it again?)
Your turn: What books are you planning to read in 2014? Any particular reason why? I’d love to know, because then I’ll probably add them to my own list!
Happy New Year! 🙂
Here are the books fighting for the top spot on my “read me next” pile. Which do you think I should go with, and why?
In case you can’t read all the titles, here’s the rundown:
- Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK, by Betsy St. Amant
- The Fairest Beauty, by Melanie Dickerson
- Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
- The Curse of Captain LaFoote, by Eddie Jones
- Storyteller, by Patricia Reilly Giff
- The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., by Kate Messner
- Matched, by Ally Condie
- House of Dark Shadows, by Robert Liparulo
- Unstoppable, by Tim Green
Yes, the old saying is definitely true at my house — so many books, so little time! Happy weekend. — and happy reading! 🙂
Kids want to read books that are realistic instead of cheesy, but a lot of parents want to be sure their kids read books that are decent and don’t push them into “too old” things too soon. One author who’s trying to make both groups (parents and kids) happy is Nicole O’Dell. The books in her Scenarios for Girls series offer something I’ve not seen in other Christian YA novels – the chance for readers to truly see the story from both sides of the spectrum.
The books tackle lots of issues facing girls today – cheating, purity, taking dares, dealing with parents or teachers, and more. Each story has you “along for the ride” with the main character until she reaches the point of needing to make an important, life-changing decision. The main story stops, and readers are asked to decide how they would handle the situation in the exact same circumstances. Then you continue the story, depending on how you answer. Better yet, you can read both endings to see how things might play out in the real world for both options. It’s a great way to help girls think through situations and the potential outcomes before they find themselves in the same predicament. Once a girl finishes reading the book, she has the chance to make a written commitment to implement the lessons she’s learned from the story. A parent or other trusted adult can witness her commitment and help her with accountability.
The stories I read were from Swept Away, which includes two of the Scenarios books – High Stakes and Essence of Lilly. I haven’t read others in the series, but love the whole concept. The stories themselves are interesting and right on target for today’s girls. Letting them become a part of how the story ends will hopefully help girls remember the story and its message, long after the book goes back on the shelf. I applaud O’Dell for writing for these girls in such a real way, and I’ll be passing Swept Away onto some of the girls at church. With Christmas shopping time right around the corner, you might want to look for Swept Away or the other Scenarios for Girls books for a special middle or high school girl in your life.
Ages and reading levels: Swept Away and the other Scenarios for Girls books are marketed as young adult fiction, which means they’re targeting kids in the 13-17 age range (or so). The characters in the books I read are in high school. Some of the topics might be a little more geared toward older readers, but the writing itself is fine for middle school girls and I would be fine letting a middle schooler read Swept Away. It might even be OK for some fifth graders, but I wouldn’t recommend it for girls younger than that because some of the situations might be too old for them.
For more info on Nicole O’Dell and her books and Teen Talk radio program, visit her online.