|It is Monday! What Are You Reading is originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts host a kidlit and YA version as well.|
Ashfall was one of the titles that fell into my hands at ALAN 2012 and I would have finished it sooner had I been in still working in the College of Health and Public Affairs. One could probably argue that Ashfall doesn't actually fall into the teen romance category and that it is more about survival, but it is two love stories. It's about the love a teenage boy, Alex, discovers for his family once he is cut off from them after Yellowstone's supervolcanic explosion. Most of the story is about his travel to find them. It is also about the first love that most teenagers go through albeit under extremely difficult circumstances. Readers will enjoy journeying with Alex as he demonstrates tenacity when facing challenges that would daunt any adult. The underlying premise about the explosion of a supervolcano makes this story even more compelling. It could happen! I might hand this book to readers who had enjoyed Susan Beth Pfeffer's, Life as We Knew It or use it as a lit circle choice while reading The Odyssey.
Honestly, I wouldn't have grabbed Beautiful Creatures from my friend's stack if I hadn't been intrigued by the movie trailer. How did I miss this series? What I love most about Beautiful Creatures is that the protagonist, Ethan, stands up and does the right thing even though it's hard and even if his whole world turns against him. This message is one of the most important messages that I hope to impart to my students. Lovers of fantasy and historical fiction will be intrigued by the world of Casters and the mystery surrounding the Civil War flashbacks Ethan endures. I would argue that Beautiful Creatures is more than a love story because it is about survival too. Surviving high school, the trial that hurts most when you are different from everyone else.
Both books fit into my ninth grade journeys unit and work with my one of my essential questions "How do you survive?" Ultimately, both are adventure stories and they both are series, the kind of series that you like to get struggling readers hooked on because they always know what they are going to read next.