While I do joke about over-volunteering and still say ‘yes’ too often for my own good, I am never unappreciative of the time that teachers and parents give to their schools and community (some day I will share the story of the toxic volunteer, not today, though).

Before I knew what I was doing yesterday, A million years ago, when I had a child in kindergarten, I handled the Scholastic book order for the class. It was even my idea to do it (rookie). It sounded pretty basic, no heavy lifting (although you realize quickly that even parents make mistakes in basic addition).  I loved Scholastic and the sweet catalogs were a wonderful way of choosing new books for my children. It was a fun activity to circle the books (then cut the list in half) and to make it a math activity, just have your child add up the cost of the books (use the number of books for younger children). Hey, not bad for a non-mathy mom!  Scholastic has a great system for organizing books by age and reading level which makes this a pleasure. As Scholastic Mom, I totaled the orders and sent it in (at first back to the teacher but then online). They also have great activity ideas like this one called Autumn in Action.

Now, yes, other digital immigrants, everything is online and so so easy. I have had the pleasure of buying Scholastic books for my children for over 15 years and the selection of titles continues to impress. So, I say I am shy but I have become emboldened in the world of the blogging and I asked Scholastic if I could review some of their books and they said yes! So when I received a package from them, I immediately immersed myself in a Young Adult fiction read-a-thon…what a joy. I also became immediately popular with my children’s friends who I let borrow some of the books before I even read them all.

My first read was Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (yes, the Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games trilogy) and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series. Engaging, funny, sweet and exciting – a regular boy (Gregor) gets drawn into (okay falls into after his sister, Boots) another world and realizes he is not as ordinary as he thinks. A great family story, I am completely hooked on this series.
Next in line was This Girl isn’t Shy, She’s Spectacular

by Nina Beck

Definitely for the older teen, references to drinking, sexual situations but very well written and wonderful characters. Our heroine, a want-to-be writer, Sam decides she has been a rule-follower for far too long and breaks out…what she finds is a surprise and that changing to a bad girl isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.

Life After

by Sarah Darer Littman is a stunning and award winning book. For Grades 12 and up. After a terrorist attack kills Dani’s aunt and unborn cousin, life in Argentina–private school, a boyfriend, a loving family–crumbles quickly and Dani’s family moves to the United States which is not the fresh new beginning that they think it should be and Dani misses her life before the attack. Find out how she makes life work in a a new country.

From Publisher’s Weekly: Life, After explores the generalities of teenagers with some of the specifics of today’s hardest events. It also harkens to immigrant experiences of the past generations (not to mention the relevance of the topic today), Littman puts human faces and characters to iconic tragedy, providing human response, hope and renewal through the story’s arc.

Forever by Maggie Steifvater

The much anticipated third book in the series which started with Shiver and Linger is a fast paced read that showcases the strength of the love between Grace and Sam. Here is the author, Maggie Stiefvater (who looks so young) reading from Forever.