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Teen Board Question - September 2017, Part 2

Teen Board Monthly Question

Teen Board Question - September 2017, Part 2

It’s back-to-school season here at Teenreads and we're welcoming a whole new Teen Board onto our site. To celebrate our new Board and the start of the school year, we asked our Teen Board members to tell us about the best book they were assigned to read during a recent school year, as well as which fall release they're most excited to read. As a bonus, we also asked our members to let us know how they manage juggling assigned reading with pleasure reading. Read below to see their answers!


The absolute best book I've ever been assigned to read for class was for my English II Honors class, and it wasn't even a book at all. "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare was jam-packed with action, supernatural elements and fierce female characters. My favorite character was Lady Macbeth. She's crazy! She has no problem with death and killing and blaming murder on other people. She's very similar to a lot of YA characters today --- cough cough... Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo's, especially --- and I loved her complete lack of neurotypicality. As for fall pleasure reading, there are an insane amount of hyped books coming out! WONDER WOMAN: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, TOWER OF DAWN by Sarah J. Maas, WARCROSS by Marie Lu, THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera, AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson, the list goes on and on! My TBR is going to be STACKED by the end of October. I plan to juggle assigned reading with pleasure reading by doing what I always do: filling up all of my free time with reading. --- Gabby V.

One of my favorite books that I read last year in my English class was THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. Even though I had previously read it, I thought it was very interesting to look at it from the perspective of someone close to the ages of many of the characters. It was also really enjoyable taking it a few chapters at a time and going more in depth instead of reading as fast as I could to find out what would happen next! When it comes to balancing my fun reading with my required reading, it’s usually fairly uncomplicated for me. In all of the classes that I’ve had to read books for, we either have them in our textbooks or only read them in class. That makes it a lot easier for me to continue reading on my own, while still being exposed to books that I might not normally read. I also usually end up reading when I come home, since there’s no better way for me to de-stress than to enjoy a good book! --- Breck G.

Every year I have learned that teachers always like to assign at least five mandatory books to read throughout the school year and out of those of books given to me, I usually end up only really enjoying one of them. This theory was proven true in the middle of my sophomore year, when my English teacher was teaching a unit about apartheid in Africa and he recommended my class to read THE POWER OF ONE by Bryce Courtenay. My immediate reaction when discovering that I would have to read this book was, “Didn’t I watch this film in geography last year?” because I remembered being quite fond of the movie. As soon as I started reading the novel, I was completely invested in the writing style and the challenges that the characters were presented with that I absolutely would not allow myself to set it down and take a break from reading it. After every chapter I finished, I was left with the strong desire of wanting to read more due to being so drawn to the world, the social conflicts and the many different encounters between the characters. I was so attached to the book that once when my history teacher was giving a formal lecture, he stopped class suddenly just to tell me to put my book away and pay attention. I felt so embarrassed for having been the reason my teacher had to disrupt class, but weirdly enough it was totally worth it because I got to read my book. This book was so much more than just a novel that I was required to read, it was a work of fiction full of inspirational life lessons and hope that I will forever cherish and hold dear to my heart. Fall is known as the season for many great book releases and there are so many that I am going to need another pair of hands just so I can name them off.  An example of a book that I am highly anticipating and desperately ready to get my hands on is RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer. The back-to-school season is officially upon us which means that teachers are starting to assign endless amounts of projects, essays and recommended reading lists. This usually results in endless hours of drowning myself into textbooks, staying up all night long to complete my work in a timely and effective manner, as well as trying to find and create a designated time to read. Balancing assigned reading and pleasure reading is especially difficult to maintain when trying to also finish other schoolwork, but I always try my hardest to take a break from studying and relax for at least an hour by immersing myself into the world of an amazing book. --- Laina Q.

The best book that I've had to read for school recently would be THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is one of my favorites because of the amazing writing and time period. I loved discussing the American dream and symbols behind the novel. A fall release that I'm super excited about is INVICTUS by Ryan Graudin, which will be released on September 26. This book is about time travel, which I will need to read all the books I want to this fall. I plan on setting aside about 30 minutes a day for pleasure reading. I'm excited to hopefully finish some books for enjoyment as well as the ones I'm assigned in school. --- Mackenzie P.

The best book I've been assigned to read is DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. It's a novel that I would've never read on my own but I enjoyed the contrasting characteristics and how it shows the darker side of humanity. There's no fall release that I've been anticipating but for any books I do happen to find, I plan on juggling my pleasure reading with school work and college applications by reading during periods of stress and either every morning or every night before I go to bed. --- Alyssa L.

The best book I've read for class would have to be THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood. Due to its contents, this book was not specifically assigned reading. It was on a giant list of books that we could choose to read and I chose it because I was originally given THE HANDMAID'S TALE when I was 10-years-old by my fifth grade teacher and it has been on my shelf ever since. Since I was given this book when I was a literal child, I thought it was going to be an easy and lighthearted read. Oops. To say that this book blew my mind is an understatement! Atwood's writing is simply phenomenal and the story has stuck so vividly in my mind despite having read it two years ago. I think that it's quite accurate to say that no other book I've read for class has stuck with me and struck me as much as THE HANDMAID'S TALE has. There are so many good fall releases but two of my most anticipated are easily ODD & TRUE by Cat Winters and GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS by Melissa Bashardoust. A good way for me to keep up with reading and my other responsibilities is to read before bed. Obviously that doesn't work out every single night. There are just some days where I'm too tired that my eyes don't seem to work! But for the most part setting aside that little bit of time has been very beneficial. Except for the nights where I get too engrossed in the story and I stay up all night to finish a near 500 page story…but we've all been there! I also tend to read in the car a lot. As someone who lives about 30 minutes outside of commercial civilization, it gives me plenty of time to read. It's an hour spent in pages rather than just staring out the window looking at trees and directing a music video in my head. --- Olivia W.

Assigned books are rarely books that I find myself loving. The books tend to be weird classics and mediocre middle grade/ young adult novels; however, there are exceptions. In fourth grade, my class was assigned HOLES by Luis Sachar, a book about a boy being sent to a camp to fulfill punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. My teacher read this with the class, and I loved it so much that I bought my own copy (the school provided copies) so I could read on my own. To this day, it remains one of my favorite books. I even became a narrator for the play adaptation of it! In middle and high school, I had an even harder time finding assigned books I liked. But in the ninth grade, I was lucky. My class was assigned NIGHT by Elie Wiesel, a memoir about a Jewish boy and his family in a concentration camp during World War II. I have actually read it before it was assigned, but rereading it in class made me appreciate it even more! It made me contemplate religion and humanity even more than I do now. Some fall releases that I am excited about include WARCROSS by Marie Lu, THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo, NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPETS by Laini Taylor (my September book!), MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu, THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera, AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson, and RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer. I had trouble picking just one. I plan to juggle assigned reading and reading for pleasure during my breaks between my high school and college courses. --- Daniella R.

My favorite book I read for school last year was definitely THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde. It was lighthearted, sarcastic and overall a fantastic read. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys books that are critical of stereotypes. This year I'm looking forward to the fall release of I HATE EVERYONE BUT YOU by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin. I love all of their material on their YouTube channel Just Between Us so I'm sure their book will be fantastic. I plan on reading it once I have the chance to get ahead in all of my classes. --- Emily G.

Last school year, I was assigned to an amazing story about a boy who lived through a terrible time of history, and found strength when he most needed it. The name of this book was NIGHT, by Ellie Wiesel. It was in first person, a memoir of his time in the holocaust. The book really captured the way the holocaust effected so many innocent people, and it described his journey perfectly. Even though I don't usually like historical writing or autobiographies, this story kept me engaged and captivated, I was in constant fear and hope during the entire 93 pages. This fall, I am very excited to see the release of some new books, especially THE THING WITH FEATHERS by McCall Hoyle. I love stories about outsiders who enter the gates of high school and learn a lot about their true selves, while making new friends on the way. I also love stories that showcase individuals who live with diseases or disabilities and get to learn how to accept and embrace it. So along with that and many others, I can't wait for the new fall releases! How I am going to juggle reading for Teenreads, school and pleasure, I have no idea! I will most likely decide to reserve the weekends for my reviews and pleasure, while using nights to be pulled in by the new books I have to read for my reviews. It will definitely be exciting to see some new stories this year! --- Lillian B.