I hit a snag in my goal of unfettered summer reading - tying up loose ends from the school year as well as some prep work for next year. Plus I'm just in a plum lazy mode. Usually, I can fix this by digging my nose in a book but alas, I was unable to settle into one. What to do?
I read two book simultaneously to get out of the funk! THE ROCK OF IVANORE, Book One of the Celestine Chronicles by Laurisa White Reyes and THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner.
Let me chat about THE ROCK OF IVANORE first because it is the first book published from the mother of one of my former students, Laurisa Reyes. When I first met Laurisa, she mentioned she was writing a book. I though how cool. I wonder if I'll ever write a book? Maybe when I retire. That was about 4 years ago. Now her first book is published and I've written my own first book. Bottom line, Laurisa inspired me to do what I always dreamed of doing. Write.
So let's chat about THE ROCK OF IVANORE - it's of the classic high fantasy style accessible to middle school readers. The main character Marcus sets out with several boys his age on a quest that will bridge him into manhood. Along the way he meets a mysterious stranger as well as an outcast who help shape his character. Once an outcast himself, he finds the courage to face a threat to the kingdom while discovering the truth about himself.
I used to be a big fantasy reader so I enjoyed this trip into the Isle of Imanass. I'm also tickled pink that her son, Marcum, my learner first heard of this magical island at bedtime when his mother would tell him a story at the end of the day. How uber cool. I look forward to the sequel in 2013, THE LAST ENCHANTER.
The next book is James Dashner's THE MAZE RUNNER (which I just learned is about to be made into a movie directed by Catherine Hardwick. I'm so stoked about that for a plethora of reasons but first and foremost, a female director is directing this very male movie - awesome and about time.
THE MAZE RUNNER also has a boy protagonist but instead of high fantasy, this genre is of the dystopian variety. Thomas wakes up with no memories of his past in a hostile world where a group of boys must find their way out of a maze to survive.
Let me put this out there, I'm a huge dystopian genre fan. As an English teacher, I found that these novels spoke to my learners. Heck they speak to me; they give voice to the frustration disenfranchised people feel and how we worry about the future. Like Hunger Games, the world rests on Thomas' shoulders. He makes heroic choices in a quiet but forceful way that change the future of all those around him. I don't want to give anything else away but if you loved HUNGER GAMES then run out and get a copy of this book.
Bottom line, both books had me thinking about the choices adults make and how they affect our children and their futures. I recommend both and look forward to more days of unfettered summer reading.