Monthly Archives: November 2014

Wonder Woman Volume 3: Iron

Azzarello, B. (2013). Wonder woman volume 3: Iron. New York, NY: DC Comics.


This issue of Wonder Woman (another Great Graphic Novel for Teens) wasn’t that different from is previous volume, Guts.It is a story of loyalty and friendship. It begins with the return of the First Born. Through the book, Wonder Woman develops her friendship with “War,” the god Ares, and how it goes bad. The plot is very similar to the previous book in that Wonder Woman is on a mission to recover someone, this time it is Zola’s baby. In the end, she battles Hermes and gets the baby back. Once again, I would give this book to older high school students who are familiar with Greek mythology.


Wonder Woman Volume 2: Guts

Azzarello, B. (2012). Wonder woman volume 2: Guts. New York, NY: DC Comics.


Guts is one of the Greta Graphic Novels for Teens and  is about Wonder Woman’s mission to save her friend, Zola, from the underworld. Wonder Woman goes to the underworld and rescues Zola, but gets shot by Hades and is forced to marry him. I felt like most of the book was just fluff until the final battle that Wonder Woman has with Apollo which ends with Hermes and Hera changing their loyalties. I would definitely give this book to high school kids because not only is it beautifully and artfully made, but students must be familiar with the Greek mythology to truth understand what is going on.

The Scorpio Races

Stiefvater, M. (2011). The Scorpio Races. New York, NY: Scholastic.

scorpio races

The scorpio races is a science fiction story about family,and another tale of a friendship between a young woman and man. Puck (Kate), Finn, and Gabe are orphans who take care of each other. Each October the island they live in, Thisby, hosts “The Scorpio Races” where people race killer, beautiful, magical horses  that come out of the sea called the capall uisce. Most of the people who race die, but the winner receives glory and money. Money is something that Puck and her family really need because they are about to lose their house, so Puck decided to enter the race on her pony, Dove. As she trains Dove, she meets Sean. Sean has won the past 4 Scorpio Races, but this year he is racing to keep his capall uisce, Corr. The two both have something they hold dear at stake, Puck-her home, and Sean-his horse. If he does not win this year, more than just his job is at stake, his boss will not let him try to buy Corr if Corr does not come out of the race successful. Sean and Puck both can’t win, so what will they do? I think that the book would be tough to comprehend on sixth and seventh graders, but eighth graders and up would definitely enjoy it.

The Hanged Man

Block, F. (1994). The Hanged Man. New York, NY.: HarperCollins.

the hanged man

Honestly, I hate this book. The hanged man is about Laurea, who is on a path to self discovery while dealing with an eating disorder and being molested by her father. The entire book is her struggle to keep her secret, until the end when she meets Jack who helps her face her demons and help recover herself. I would probably only give this book to seniors in high school because of its content on rape, drugs, sex. and pediophilia. I would pair it with Go Ask Alice and have a discusssion about how the two are similar based on the girls’ experiences, but different because of their circumstances.

Charles and Emma

Heiligman, D. (2009). Charles and Emma: the Darwins leap of faith. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

charles and emma

This biography of Charles Darwin is a Printz book and I loved how it displayed that even though Charles and Emma Darwin’s beliefs were incredibly different, they loved each other and lived peacefully. Charles believed in evolution and his wife was very religious, and after a family member dying, she believed in an afterlife, which Charles did not agree with. The book was put together very well in that it was really boring, but nevertheless captivating through most of the story. It did take a while to read because it was boring, though. I would probably give it to upper high school  students who have already studied Darwin so that they are more familiar with the controversy between Charles and Emma’s beliefs.


Bacigalupi, P. (2011). Ship Breaker. New York, NY: Hachete Book Group.


Shipbreaker is a Printz boo, science fiction book about a boy named Nailer who tears apart ships. He lives with his alcoholic, drug-addict father who frequently hurts Nailer, and has a platonic relationship (another developmental task) with Pima. After a terrible storm, almost drowning in oil and being betrayed, Nailer and Pima find a wrecked ship where they rescue Nita. Nita ends up being Nailer’s ticket out of his terrible life as he gets a job on a ship that will take her home. This book is another great story of friendship and characters simply living in bad situations and trying to find a way out. I would give this book to ninth or tenth graders for complexity.


Crutcher, C. (2007). Deadline. New York, NY: HarperCollins.


Ben Wolf is my hero. No joke, his story of growing up and impacting the world around him made my bawl like a baby from the beginning to the end. It starts with him being diagnosed with some kind of reseilient, aggressive, and terminal illness that he wants to do absolutely nothing about. Maybe one of my favorite quotes from the books is when he says “…I’m not going out bald or puking. I don’t have anything to teach anyone about life, and I’m not brace, but I’d rather be a flash than a slowly cooling ember, so I’ll eat healthy food, gobble supplements, sleep good, and take what the universe gives me” (Crutcher, 10). I know what he’s doing is stupid to some people, but I love Ben for his bravery and honesty. He goes out for football, excels, and even gets to date his crush, Dallas. He learns that he is not the only person struggling with something bigger than they are and impacts everyone around him. This book is perfect. For anyone. But especially for eighth-tenth graders, who think that their world is constantly falling apart, and for anyone who has lost someone near to them. I would read it with The fault in our stars and discuss bravery in both situations and how characters impact those around them without knowing it.

The Astonishing Life of Octavion Nothing

Anderson, M. (2006). The astonishing life of Octavion Nothing, Traitor for the Nation. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.


Octavion Nothing is a historical fiction book about a (African-American) boy who is being brought up as both a slave and a lord. Hard to believe, right? He is an experiment at his school, where the head of his school wants to show that African Americans can be just as smart as non-African Americans. The school wants Octavion to be completely removed from emotion (like a real scientist) and makes his watch as his dog dies and other animals being killed while experimented on. As his education goes on, his school is overtake by men who don’t agree with Octavion’s original education, and things change. Octavion leaves school and his group gets smallpox, which kills his mother (and he has to watch her be dissected). This causes Octavion to escape but is caught and taken back to his school. At the end of the story, Octavion is helped by one of his tutors to escape and he heads to Boston. I would give this book to upper high school students because of its complexity and some of the scenes are more graphic than what ninth to tenth graders would be used to. I thought it had a great display of how some people are slaves without actually serving others.

Code Name: Verity

Wein, Elizabeth. (2012). Code name Verity. NY: Egmont.


Code name: Verity is probably one of the greatest historical fiction (based on fact, but is still fiction) stories of friendship and loyalty that I have ever read. It is about two girls, Julie and Maddie (codenamed: Verity and Kittyhawk, respectfully) who are the best of friends and help save each other. The story starts with Julie being kidnapped by the Nazi Gestapo and she confesses what the Nazis think is everything she knows, including thinking that her best friend is dead. The second part of the book is through Maddie’s perspective and tells how she is not dead, and how she crash lands her plane in France (where she’s not supposed to be anyway) and finds a way to rescue Julie, the mission goes terribly wrong though and Maddie kills Julie before the Nazis can begin torturing her.( I bawled like a baby and couldn’t read the rest of the book for like two days after this scene.) Maddie and the group who helped her rescue Julie finish Julie’s mission of blowing up the Gestapo headquarters. I woulid recommend this book for upper high school students simply because of the torture scenes and use of language.


Westerfeld, S. (2009). Leviathan. NY: Simon Pulse.


I would pair Leviathan with The knife of never letting go because they both show the developmental task of how a young man and young woman can have a platonic relationship based upon their need for survival. I would also pair them because they are set in different worlds that could be Earth, but are not the world that we know. Alek and his friend, Deryn, are both holding secrets through the book. Deryn’s is that she is a girl disguised as a boy so that she can be an airman, Alek’s is that he has been named heir to the throne and can same himself, Deryn, and his country. The book is recommended for sixth to eighth grade students, but I think the material and vocabulary might be better suited for ninth-tenth graders.