Saving Red by Sonya Sones


Sonya Sones never disappoints.  Her novels in verse have captivated many of my students and lured in the most reluctant readers I have worked with.  This new title, published October 18, 2016 is no exception.

14 year old Molly is spending her winter break avoiding the sad remains of her family.  Her workaholic father is no match for her pot-addled mother. As Molly travels around town with her service dog she meets a cute boy on the pier and spots Red, a homeless teen living on the streets of the town.  Molly decides that everything will get better if she can just get Red home to her family for Christmas. With the help of Cristo, her maybe-boyfriend, Molly sets out to save Red.

But, like everything in YA novels, it is not that simple.

The cover itself supports the plot:  we only see the part of Red that Red wants us to see.  But if we peek closely at the lettering we know that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Source:  ARC from publisher

Audience:  7th-8th grade and up

*drug use by Molly’s mother is not glamorized or described in great detail.




Book Review: One by Sarah Crossan

7bac9e4573-a7a0-4110-95fb-72b3a21fa0c17dimg150I’m not even sure how I came across this book, but I am sure glad that I did.  Novels in verse always appeal to me, but they often disappoint.  Not this time.  Not.At.All.

On the surface, this is a book about the challenges faced by conjoined twins; but at it’s heart it is a book about the challenges of being yourself.  I think teens will pick up the book because they’ll be fascinated with the unique nature of Grace and Tippis’ lives.  They’ll finish it because Grace and Tippi are just like them.


Grace tells the story in beautifully flowing verse.  The style suits Grace’s thoughts and introspection.  It make the story more intimate and, ultimately,  genuine.


Source:  epub book from the public library

Audience: high school and up (drinking, drug use)


The Crossover by Kwame Alexander


My love for this book really surprised me. I’ve read a number of sports-themed books over the years and I always end up skimming the action scenes. Not so with this excellent text.

Love Basketball?
Love Novels in Verse?
Love stories about families?

If you answered YES to any of those questions this is a book for you.
I loved the poems and the cool way they are arranged on the page. And, even though I know next to nothing about basketball, I loved the play-by-play poems.

The author will be speaking at the ILA conference in Boston this summer.  I can’t wait!

This book won the 2015 Newberry Award.  Read more about that here.

Source:  Public Library E book

Audience:  Grade 6 and up, boys and girls, basketball fans and couch potatoes


House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Timothy is on probation for a crime he absolutely committed.  No false arrest, no misunderstandigns.  K A Holt unfolds the plot very, very carefully.  This unfolding allows the reader to understand Timothy as he begins to understand himself.

This was a binge-worthy. I finished this in two sittings! The characters were realistic and the plot was unique, a great combination. A good pick for middle grade boys and girls.

Oh, and an added bonus:  it’s written in verse.  So appealing to so many readers.

Source:  ARC from publisher