One of my favourite parts of Summer Break is getting a chance to dig into the books on my ever-growing “To-Read” list. These titles often include books recommended during the school year by students, popular check-outs in the library, and items found on “Best Book” lists throughout the year.  During the heat waves of July and August, I stayed cool with some pretty spectacular reads.

Here’s a quick glance at some of the books I read this summer:

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Land of Stories #4 – Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer.

Fairy tales and classic stories collide in this fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms and into the literary lands of Camelot, Neverland, Oz, and Wonderland. Although this title was not my favourite in the series, it successfully leaves readers wanting more with yet another “Colfer cliffhanger”. A great choice for middle grade readers.

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Paper Towns by John Green.  

With an influx of YA books focusing on female protagonists (think Hunger Games, Divergent, and Cinder), it was refreshing to follow the journey of teen life, love and friendship from Quentin’s male perspective. I loved that this story is as much about the friendship between Quentin and his buddies Radar and Ben as it is about Quentin’s love for Margo, and his quest to find her after she disappears … yet again. So many great themes, so many memorable lines. Yet another phenomenal teen read from best-selling author John Green. Highly recommended for Gr. 7 & 8 students.

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Three Good Things by Lois Peterson

Not yet published, I was offered the opportunity to read an advanced copy and review this book for CM Magazine. Part of the Orca Currents series of high-interest novels with contemporary themes for reluctant readers, Lois Peterson’s short yet effective novel offers readers a glimpse into the experience of having a family member struggle with mental illness. A solid choice for students in Gr. 5 to 8 in helping to breaking down barriers and start up conversations around mental health.

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Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo

Winner of the Stonewall Book Award, Fat Angie is an emotional book about a high school students turbulent journey in finding herself and finding out the truth about the ones that matter most. There is A LOT going on in this book including issues of mental health, the tragedies of divorce and untimely death, and the nasty underbelly of high school popularity and social dynamics. Riddled with pop-culture references and inclusive to multi-dimensional LGBTQ characters, this is sure to be a book of great interest for our intermediate students.

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The School for Good & Evil by Soman Chainani

One of most popular middle grade books in our library last year, I finally had the opportunity to read the story of best friends Sophie and Agatha and the dazzling world of The School for Good & Evil.  A twist on the origin of fairytales, the book reveals that ordinary boys and girls are trained to be the heroes and villains of the stories children love to read. Told in alternating points of view, Sophie – the picture perfect of a true princess – fights against face warts and drab clothes in the School for Evil while her strange and dark-clothed friend Agatha is stuck in a perfect pink dress amongst the Cinderella-to-be’s in the School for Good. The unexpected role reversal is refreshing as it helps to demonstrate that what’s on the outside doesn’t always reflect a person’s true self.  A highly recommended fantasy read for students in Grade 5 and 6.

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