My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

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Genre: Graphic novel/biography/true crime/fictionalization

Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

My Friend Dahmer is a graphic novel covering the adolescence of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.  The story is written by a high school friend of Dahmer and is based on personal recollections from the author and other of Dahmer’s peers, as well as other source material such as news articles and FBI interviews of Dahmer. Continue reading »

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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Genre: Realistic fiction/mystery

Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was a good read that didn’t quite deliver in the end. It started out promising and did keep me reading for most of it – I love a good mystery, especially one that contains ancient knowledge hidden in dusty old books. I did read it over a much longer period that was optimal – life got in the way for a bit, and also my toddler kept hiding it on me – so that broke up the momentum a bit. Overall it ended up being a good read with a few things wrong.  I would not design a unit around this but it could be a fun outside read for the right sort of student…I would recommend maybe 9/10th grade or 11/12 for students who need an easier read. Continue reading »

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Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

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image_51 Genre: Realistic Fiction

Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

I started by review here by saying Girlchild was “well written but kind of just not my cup of tea.”  I think part of the problem was that I couldn’t really find anything in it to which I could relate. In addition, the writing had a beautiful quality to it but took a bit of patience. I described it to a friend recently as “one of those books that seems like it’s written entirely in metaphors.” There was one chapter that confused me totally and I’m still not sure what happened in it. I think there’s a good deal of merit in it, in the writing as well as the subject, I just didn’t find it compelling. Continue reading »

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