I am a huge fan of Stephanie Perkins’ book Anna and the French Kiss, which was a Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl book a couple years ago. It actually ended up receiving enough votes to be named as the runner-up for the Georgia Teen Peach Award that year. Because of this, I couldn’t wait to read Isla and the Happily Ever After. I did not realize until I started reading that this book focuses on several of the characters originally found in Anna and the French Kiss during the following school year. What a wonderful surprise for me!
I have to say that I love this book as much as I did Anna and the French Kiss. It is a love story through and through. Stephanie Perkins created characters that were believable. They went through typical and identifiable issues. And through the ups and downs, their love survived. The writing is exactly what I expected from this author. Even though the characters are all incredibly wealthy and privileged, I didn’t feel that about the characters as I read. I usually get irritated with authors who write about characters who are so wealthy they don’t seem real. It becomes all about the privilege. However, I don’t feel that is the case in this novel. I actually forgot they were so wealthy because of the fact that their characters were going through emotions that can be found in any teen – no matter what their economic status may be.
I was so excited to see that Perkins included cameos by several characters from Anna and the French Kiss. It was a wonderful end to her series. Because I didn’t realize that this book was the third in the series (although they can also be read as stand alone books), I have inadvertently skipped Lola and the Boy Next Door. This is a problem that I plan to solve very soon!
So if you are looking for a good love story, I would definitely add this one to my list! And while you are at it, you can also add Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. Happy reading!
This has been a very different year for us with the 1:1 initiative beginning in our county. While we continue to work out the kinks and spend a great deal of time working with iPads and related issues, we must still celebrate and promote traditional programs in our media center. One of our favorite special events each year is Teen Read Week, and this year was no exception!
We began the week collecting books for our first ever Book Swap. Students brought in gently used books all week and picked up a ticket to redeem the same number of titles on Swap Day. We had hundreds of books brought in for this event! Students and staff members who participated were pleased with the selection and left with new books to read, all without having to purchase anything. We are looking forward to doing this again in May to prepare for our summer reading program. We can’t wait!
We also hosted a daily photo scavenger hunt for students. Each clue was reading-focused (Day 1-The Fault in Our Stars, Day 2-Shakespeare, Day 3-The Hunger Games Series) and required students to take a photo (yay for iPads!) of something that represented the topic in some way. They could not simply take a photo of a book cover. We encouraged them to think outside of the box and come up with some clever and creative representations. To tie in writing, we asked each student to submit a short description of how the photo represented the given topic. We were blown away with both the participation and the submitted photos! We randomly selected a daily participant to win a small prize and at the end of the week, we also randomly selected a grand prize winner who participated all week. Check out my Twitter post for a few examples of the responses we received:
Additionally, we asked each club and sports group to create new read posters for the media center. We decided to hold a student vote and select the best eight to display, with the top vote getter earning a grand prize for the group. With a short school week, most asked to have the deadline extended, so we decided to make this an activity that we will wrap up later in the year. We had so much fun with all of these activities!