It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/28/14 #imwayr


Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

On my blog:

In reading:

we were liars

Amazingly, as much as I have read online about E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, I haven’t read any spoilers, so I will keep to that here on my blog. Of course, writing about this book spoiler-free makes it difficult to say much of anything about it. Now that I’ve read it, I need to find some spoiler-full reviews, because I know that many readers love this book but it didn’t work for me. I would like to understand what others love about it. I always think Lockhart’s writing is strong, but I found the characters to be underdeveloped and neither compelling nor believable. That made it difficult for me to care when I discovered the twist (which I had actually guessed fairly early on.) I suspect I would have liked the book a lot more if the big reveal had truly been a surprise. As it was, the whole story felt like a clever but ultimately hollow exercise to me.

etiquette and espionage

Gail Carriger’s Eitquette & Espionage has been my audiobook for the last couple of weeks, and it’s delightfully narrated. This first novel in a YA steampunk series with some paranormal elements (vampires and werewolves) has a lively main character, Sophronia, who discovers that her new finishing school is really an academy for spies. There is much adventure and misadventure, and it’s all quite fun and amusing. I’ll be looking for the next book on audio.

strandedMy son and I read Stranded, the first book in Jeff Probst’s middle-grade series. While there isn’t much in the way of character development or theme, there are plenty of plot twists and the story is fast-paced and competently written. I’m not sure we’ll be reading the rest of the series, but this is one I would want to have in a classroom library as I think it would appeal to many different readers.

We read so many superb picture books this week (as well as a few duds, but I won’t include those!). Herman and Rosie and Emily’s Blue Period were my absolute favorites.

herman and rosie what do you do with an idea chicken sunday here comes easter cat fraidyzoo watermelonseed crictor emilys blue period three bears






18 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/28/14 #imwayr”

  1. The Styling Librarian Avatar

    Wonderful array of picture books… hmm, loved We Were Liars as an audiobook, had to relisten to the big reveal because I sort of guessed but wasn’t certain… audiobooks are a different type of reading experience for me. Happy reading week to you!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Audio is often a different reading experience for me too. I will often “reread” a book I didn’t care for but thought I should like and try the audio version–sometimes that makes all the difference

  2. msyingling Avatar

    My public. library didn’t have Stranded, so I haven’t read it or bought it yet. It looked interesting, but I like to read things before I spend money on them. I like Lockhart, but this one looked too YA for my readers. You’ve had a busy week of reading!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Stranded might appeal to readers who like the Survivor TV show or action adventure.

  3. Linda Baie Avatar

    I love all your picture books, too, Elisabeth, especially Herman and Rosie-such a sweet story. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy We Were Liars, because I did, thought it was a magical look at how teens think. Although I suppose it could be said to be farfetched, some parts clicked with me in my observations of those I’ve met in my life-really! But, everyone likes different stories…

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      And aren’t we glad that everyone likes different stories?! Herman & Rosie is a new favorite for sure. A lovely story.

  4. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    Herman and Rosie is soooooo good! I love the quirkiness of it. And I absolutely adored Three Bears in a Boat.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I especially loved the illustrations in Three Bears in a Boat.

  5. Elizabeth Avatar

    I was glad to read that you were not enthralled by We Were Liars either! I found it very affected, for lack of a better word, and kept wanting to slap the main character upside the head. I was thinking that perhaps it was just that I haven’t read much YA lit yet, or that perhaps I don’t like teenagers? But now think maybe it is just the book itself!….

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I really struggled with it. Have you read E. Lockhart’s Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks? Try that one. Also, look for the picture books she writes as Emily Jenkins. That New Animal is hilarious (dogs + baby).

  6. carriegelson Avatar

    Oh these picture books! Some of my very favourites – Emily’s Blue Period, Herman and Rosie, Three Bears in a Boat – all so very lovely! And Crictor! This was a favourite of ours when the kids were small. Difficult to discuss We Were Liars because we want to keep this all spoiler free – I also didn’t think the main character was one to love. What I liked is what this book said about certain people and their hollow lives. I think as much as it is kind of ugly, it is likely very true.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I am so in love with Emily’s Blue Period right now! When I started reading Crictor to my son, I remembered that it had been one of my own favorites when I was growing up in the 70s! I think I often struggle with books where there are literally NO sympathetic characters, and YA often seems to be full of just such a lack of sympathy! I had a hard time figuring out if we were supposed to have some sympathy for the four liars or if they were just as hollow as the older generations.

  7. Michele Avatar

    Those were some great picture books! It seems like this year there has been a wealth of good ones that have come out! I will be getting to We Were Liars later this week. Such anticipation!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It has been another incredible year for picture books! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on We Were Liars!

  8. Katie Logonauts Avatar

    Glad to see I’m not the only one posting an occasional skeptical or negative review (though now you’ve got me wondering about those “duds” … ).

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I also read so many excellent picture books that I often don’t feature the ones that are good but not standouts to me for some reason.

  9. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) Avatar

    I love Herman and Rosie! I’m glad you did as well!
    I suggested my library get Idea, so hopefully they will so I can read it!

    Happy reading this week! 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was shocked to see Herman & Rosie at my library! Just loved it.

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