Books, Storytelling, Uncategorized, World War 2

Five Quick YA Reads for the End Of Summer

055The blackberries have nearly all ripened, staining my children’s hands and mouths red and begging to be baked into pies or mashed into jam. The sun is more sluggish to rise each morning, and my teaching nightmares have started.

Summer is waning.

The flurry of activities- soaking up a little more sun, squeezing in one more family hike- is interspersed with preparations for the coming school year. We have clothes to sort, supplies to gather, and schedules to fret over.

And this year, we have to do all of this for me, as well as for the kids.

After six years as a stay-at-home mom who only popped into the classroom to teach a bit of Art and Music weekly, I’m going to be adding on 7th and 8th grade Reading and Creative Writing. I’ll be in every day. (I guess I’ll need more than the one pair of “teacher pants” I’ve been getting by with…)

Excited? Yes.

Nervous? Oh my, yes.

Prepared…. Getting there.

One huge perk of all of this preparing is an excuse to read enormous quantities of Young Adult literature. I haven’t read much for this age group for a while, and it’s been a delight to remember how engaging stories aimed at the youngins’ can be for those of use who can at least claim to be “young at heart.”

Today, I thought I’d share five novels that I’ve enjoyed discovering or rediscovering with you as recommendations for a little quick, end-of-summer reading. I hope you enjoy!

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Naturally, I have to start with a book set in World War 2. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Cay opens in 1942, on the island of Curacao. Phillip’s mother thinks that she is protecting him when she insists that they sail back to the United States, away from the threatening German U-boats. However, when one of the U-boats finds their vessel enroute, Phillip finds himself injured, and stranded with an elderly West Indian man named Timothy, and a cat.

This book is too short to say much more, but for a quick read with compelling struggles and a main character who grows a great deal in a short narrative,ย The Cay is an excellent read.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Salamanca’s mother is gone. Sal hopes that, if she and her grandparents (who seem to attract trouble) can reach Lewiston, ID by her mother’s birthday, perhaps she can bring her back. Along the way, she tells the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom and the “lunatic.”

Sharon Creech weaves the different narratives inย Walk Two Moons together so deftly that, even as a reread, the ending left me shaking my head in admiration.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


Many thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, the soon-to-be published novelist, Jean Lee, for putting me on to this one.

When the nefarious “Jack” comes, bearing his knife and in search of a baby boy, who can save him? The Graveyard folk, of course. The story of a living boy being raised by the dead and by Silas who is…well…something else, is a fascinating tale, by turns poignant and funny, but never dull.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

While we’re dealing in the fantastical, I also enjoyed rereading Natalie Babbitt’s timeless (little joke there for those of you who know the story)ย Tuck Everlasting.

When Winnie Foster accidentally discovers the Tuck family’s secret- the secret of immortality- she must choose whether to aid them in keeping it or not. This slim volume doesn’t take the avid reader long to finish, but it’s packed with timely images of sweltering summer heat, and the weight of a heavy choice.

The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-Exupery

My final selection was new to me, though apparently it’s well-known and has had all sorts of adaptations, including a movie in 2015.

Ah well, I enjoyed discoveringย The Little Prince for myself.

A pilot has crashed in the middle of the desert. (Side note from real life: The author was a pilot, and he and his copilot survived a desert crash.) As he struggles to repair his aircraft with dwindling water supplies, he hears a voice.

It asks him to draw a sheep.

The voice belongs to (you may have guessed it) the Little Prince, who has come Earth from his home in space. (As far as I know, that bit is not based on the author’s experiences.)

I’ll admit, the premise sounded a bit strange to me at first, but if you’ve never picked upย The Little Prince, his adventures are illuminating, and well worth reading.


Well, I could go on, but it’s late and one of those precious few days of summer will be dawning all too soon! What about you? Do you have any books- YA or otherwise- that you’ve read this summer or would like to read?

Many thanks for visiting!





15 thoughts on “Five Quick YA Reads for the End Of Summer”

  1. If you want to come right up to take and into the future, you could also try Earth Girl by Janet Edwards, who has the premise that most of the population of Earth have portalled off to other worlds, except those who suffer a catastrophic allergic and have to be rushed back to Earth. It’s an exciting read, full of adventure and incident, along with a fair dollop of humour.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Anne – these sound great reads – Neil Gaiman I’d like to try, while The Little Prince has been feted by many. Good luck with organising one and all ready for another year – but you’ll enjoy … as you already are – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Neil Gaiman has a way with words. I’d recommend Coraline as well!

    In fantasy, if you’ve never read The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, that’s a must. The Black Cauldron is book 2, and that’s one I’m sure you’ve heard of.

    “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” if the creepier aspects of Gaiman appealed to you.

    Oh, and the Giver of course!

    …I could go on and on. Maybe I should stop now!

    Oh! Hatchet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coraline is creepytastic! I’ve heard good things about the film too. I THINK I’ve read the others, but it’s been many years- they may need a revisit! Thanks for the recommendations ๐Ÿ™‚ AND Hatchet is the one I’m using first for novel studies this year!!!! I may have joked about dropping the kids off in the wilderness for a closing activity, just to see HOW well they’ve been listening… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. I hiiiiiiiiiiiiiighly recommend the Coraline film. In many ways I dug it better than the book! ๐Ÿ™‚
    And you’re awesome for the shout-out, by the by. You’re spot on about The Graveyard Book. I remember initially being really upset by its ending, yet it fits. It really does work, and had it ended any other way I think it would have been a touch too sweet, don’t you think?

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    1. Yes- I think the characters reacted as they would have, and with all the dark, a TOO light ending wouldn’t have quite fit. It also gave me a conversation piece with one of the 8th graders last week- they’re always surprised when I’ve read “good” books lol!

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      1. YAY! That’s awesome! I’ve been eating such crap since The Basement. Bo wants to actually try that Whole 30 Diet thing, which is rather like Atkins only cutting out even more. We’ll see how this goes…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Water damage is AWFUL- I think going into survival mode is perfectly reasonable!!! I’ve heard of the Whole 30, but I haven’t looked into it seriously- hope it’s a good experience! I have some friends who are big fans of the intermittent fasting thing, but considering how hangry I get, I’m not going that route lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh exactly. I’m reticent about it, I admit–Whole 30 cuts grains AND dairy from the diet, even some produce. The goal is hacking the sugar out of the diet and then re-introducing natural sugars only, keeping the processed sugars gone. I *think* I can do it…frankly I should. I eat way too much garbage grains for m’own good. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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