The blizzard has slowed to flurries with an occasional snow squall. I am happy to report that aside from the book I’m listening to on Audible, I am only reading one book at the moment. And while I want to start a whole bunch of new books, I’ve just started a new pile. This pile is really just my TBR (to be read) in an ordered list instead of the books sitting nicely in no particular order on my bookshelves or in bags on the floor. Sadly, I have outgrown bookshelf space in my office, and my YA are relegated to the floor since they are transient anyway. My house is one stop before my classroom and then my students’ hands. I don’t devote a lot of shelf space to them. They get the floor.
This month alone I’ve read 14 books, and 10 of them were YA and another two could cross over from adult to YA. Book number 15 is on the coffee table. The cold and snow has helped me read this many books. But quite honestly, good writing has keep me reading.
Friday afternoon, I settled in on the couch with The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. I had been looking forward to reading this book. After reading Thirteen Reasons Why Jay Asher quickly moved to the top of my favorite YA authors. He writes teens with an authentic voice (think Laurie Halse Anderson or Judy Blume but a dude). Sometimes when I build up a book in my mind, I’m disappointed when I sit down with it because it doesn’t live up to my expectations. Actually this happens with a lot more than books, but I’ll stick to the relevant facts here. So I figured I’d read until it was time to make supper, and then take it from there. And since it was Friday, if I wasn’t into it, I would read something else, watch a movie, surf the web, knit, whatever. I had the afternoon and evening to myself.
The novel is set in 1996. Emma, one of the protagonists, gets a new PC from her dad complete with Windows 95, and the other protagonist, Josh, came over with a new AOL cd-rom and 100 free hours of AOL. His parents weren’t going to waste their time with this internet thing and did Emma want it? She took it, loaded it, and when she logged onto to AOL, found herself staring at something called Facebook. What was this thing? What did this sentences mean – considering highlights? Who cares? And thus the book begins. By page two I was chuckling, and by page three I was hooked.
The Future of Us, I believe, is a YA novel that can transcend to the adult world; however, I think the message is more important to teens. Regardless, I found myself curled up on my couch on a cold winter’s night completely and thoroughly transported to a warm week in May. When I finished the book, I was annoyed my husband hadn’t read it yet and wasn’t home because I wanted to talk to him about it. I wanted to talk to someone about it. To me a good book is one that makes you want to talk to someone when you’re finished or even as you’re reading.
The Future of Us also cured my book blizzard. The reading funk and subsequent blizzard had more to do with content then anything else. I was reading huge amounts of content. Some bored me. Thus, I had my funk. Some were just cute stories, but nothing I really wanted to talk about. Nothing that was going to stick with me. Nothing that caused me to put this book in someone’s hand – my husband’s, a student’s, my honorary niece’s – and say read this. The Future of Us did just that. My husband came home to find it sitting prominently in the middle of the coffee table in his music room. I emailed said honorary niece and said you have to read this book (and she will because she’s at that stage). And it will probably, most likely – well, I never want to give anything away, but it’s in the Schmidt’s Picks running for my classroom.
I realized that all the books I’ve started looking for that elusive story that I can’t put down caused the blizzard. How many times do we do this? How many times do I watch students start and abandon book after book? All the while I’m thinking I just need to find the right book for that kid. And so I keep reading, my library grows, and yet we still have droughts and blizzards. For now we only have clouds with a chance of flurries.
Until next time… See YA!