Crash by Jerry Spinelli (1995)

Crash3A story told from the point of view of a total jerk.

Recommended grade level: 4-8

Pages: 176 (for ISBN 9780440238577)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, humor, reluctant readers

Tone/Style: simple, judgmental (at the beginning)

Pace: fast

Topics: bullying, jocks

Themes: identity, change, family

Summary: Crash Coogan, a seventh-grade football star, has been an aggressive person from the time he was very young; sometimes, he is too aggressive. Continue reading

We Are All Made of Molecules (2015)

19405297I was blown away by this affecting, hilarious, insightful book about a blended family told from two very different points of view.

Recommended grade level: 7-10

Pages: 256 (for ISBN 9780553496864)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic, humor, Kylie’s favorites, Canadian author, international, North America (Canada)

Tone/Style: optimistic (Stewart), judgmental (Ashley)

Pace: fast

Topics: blended families, divorce, gifted students, popularity, homosexual parents, secrets, dating

Themes: grief and loss, change, self-acceptance, shame, true friends

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant, but socially clueless.  Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her grade, but her marks stink.

Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Continue reading