Dark Life by Kat Falls has a great cover:
This book is fast paced, has an amazing villain, and good character development. This book has a fairly low Lexile of 690, and my students who read this book, loved it. It was our brown bag book at our school, and all the students enjoyed it (7th, 8th, and 9th grade).
This book has combined genres: Science fiction, fantasy, adventure. From the back of the book: "Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor, the Dark Life."
Kat Falls story creates a new frontier under the ocean. What will happen to children born under the sea? Will they evolve with new talents? The only land left to farm is under the ocean. Ty is the main character and he works hard to try to get his own plot of land someday, but his homestead is attacked, and a girl from the topside joins him in his fight to save the only life he knows.
I have won over many a reluctant reader with this book. That reluctant reader will then recommend this book to his/her friends. It was always checked out in my classroom. This book is a series of two. If you find one book a reluctant reader enjoys, it is even easier to get them to read the second book because they are familiar with the writing style, characters, setting, and plot.
Kat Falls continues Ty and Gemma's story in Rip Tide where they face new dangers and villains.
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick is realistic fiction. This story is told from Steven's point of view. In the beginning of the story, his life is pretty normal. He plays the drums, has a crush on a girl, and has an annoying little brother, but then his brother gets really sick, and Steven's world changes.
When a family member gets a life threatening illness, it touches the entire family. Sonnenblick shows how each family member reacts and how the community and visitors react. This story will make you laugh and cry.
I rated this book 5 of 5 stars on Goodreads. My only complaint is that the dialogue is written in italics which was a little confusing. The Lexile of this book is 940, and all of my students who read it, loved it.
Jordan Sonnenblick continues the story a few years later, but this time the story is told from Jeffrey's point of view (the child who was so sick in Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie) in After Ever After. Jeffrey deals with the aftermath of chemotherapy and the damage it caused to his body. He is now in middle school and Steven has rebelled and left the country. He has friends who also struggled with cancer and this plays a big part in his story. The Lexile on this book is 820, and students who read the first book, almost always read the second one.
After Ever After reminds me of the novel Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls. This book is great for low readers because the Lexile is 580, yet the story is geared toward middle school age students. The story is told in journal entries, lists, questions, and pictures, so it is easy to get through. This book is well written, tender, funny, and sad. They made a movie of it in 2010, but I haven't watched it. If you've watched it, let us know in the comments if it was a good as the book.
If you've read any of the books featured on today's blog, let us know what you thought of them in the comments.
Thank you, Catherine