Hot Books in My Classroom

I haven’t done a Hot Books post in a while. But I’m back with a great list.  I was out for the past two days with an awful cold, and when I came back today I had kids begging to talk to me about their books.  Here are some of the books they chatted about today!

The Luxe series is being passed from one girl to another in my morning class. Every morning one of them runs into school just bursting to talk about what she read the night before. And we have to whisper, because there are five girls behind her who haven’t read as far into the series as she has!  It’s awesome.

And of course, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw hasn’t been seen since I first handed it to a student last month. Other than bursts of hysterical laughter during independent reading.

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book have been gaining a lot of fans lately. In fact, when I came back to school today one of my reluctant readers told me he had finished The Graveyard Book and it was an awesome book, “maybe even better than the dead and the gone!"

Two of my more reluctant girl readers have been struggling to find books they enjoy. But just this past month I think we may have found it! One of them is reading Wendy Mass’ Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall and loving it. The intriguing plot, combined with the ease of the verse novel set-up, has really hooked her. And her friend can not put down Frances O’Roark Dowell’s The Kind of Friends We Used to Be, the sequel to The Secret Language of Girls.  I am thrilled that they are both finding their niche!

These are just a few of the most popular books in my classroom right now!

Exhausted and Envy

Sometimes you just have those weeks that absolutely beat you down.  This was one of those weeks.  I am sitting here on the couch, struggling to keep my eyes open as I watch Friday Night Lights.  Hopefully, I will be heading to bed soon and getting a full night’s sleep!

I did finish Envy: A Luxe Novel tonight and now I am dying for the final book in the series! Plus, my girls are devouring this series. It’s crazy how quickly they have fallen for the series. They even asked if we could have a ball instead of a graduation dance! Though they aren’t sure where you would buy a ball gown nowadays. LOL. But if you are a fan of Godbersen’s series, definitely pick up Envy: A Luxe Novel. I couldn’t put it down!

Music to My Ears

“Miss M., I’m so tired today because I was up really late.  I could not put down The Luxe!  It’s sooooo good!”

And once this student told me the above, I immediately had a waiting list for my copy of the book.  When she finished the last chapter in class today, she immediately walked it over to the next girl on the list.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids recommending books to each other.  

Oh, and how did my day end?  With my late dismissal girls fighting over the boys in their books.  Passionately defending their choices.  And backing them up with evidence from the text that proved what amazing “husbands” they would make.  Gotta love it!

Rumors (A Luxe Novel) by Anna Godbersen

These books are such a guilty pleasure for me. Girls in ball gowns, dashing young men, and scandalous behavior- all in 1899. Nineteenth century time is the epitomy of romance and intrigue, and Godbersen does a great job of including the names of various Manhattan families like the Vanderbilts and the Astors. I was especially excited to see a mention of the resort town of Lakewood, NJ as I went to college there!

Fans of The Luxe will not be disappointed by Rumors: A Luxe Novel (The Luxe). The drama is in full force and all of our favorite characters are back. Readers will be swept into the parlors and ballrooms of Gramercy Park, NYC, where gossip is currency and money isn’t all one needs to attain a place in high society. I am already awaiting the next book after this ending. What a cliffhanger!!

My only disappointment is that Rumors: A Luxe Novel (The Luxe) is a bot shorter than the first novel. I wanted the story to continue!!

The Luxe

Pretty girls in pretty dresses,870E1FD4-C2DB-40AB-A12E-E478CC963DB0.jpg
partying until dawn.

Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles
and dangerous intentions.

White lies, dark secrets,
and scandalous hookups.

This is Manhattan, 1899….

When I saw the buzz about The Luxe hitting the blogosphere a few months ago, I immediately added it to my list of “must-reads”. Novels about the gilded age, or set in Victorian settings, have been some of my recent favorites. I also loved the Gossip Girl series and the TV show is appointment tv for me. The Luxe seemed like a perfect combination of these two. After getting a few giftcards for Christmas, Anna Godbersen’s book was #1 on my list.

First of all, how gorgeous is this cover? Despite the fact that one couldn’t even move in a dress like that, I want it! Where can I get a dress like that? If that dress evokes similar feelings in you, I am sure you will enjoy this debut novel from Anna Godbersen.

The Luxe is the story of rich, spoiled teenagers living in Manhattan. The twist? It’s 1899. The main characters are Elizabeth Holland- prim, proper, beautiful, and the eldest of the Holland clan (and hiding a secret romance with a boy below her class); Diana Holland- fun, silly, romantic, and everything her older sister is not; Penelope Hayes- rich, snotty, and full of new money…a mean girl for the ages; and Lina- the Holland girls’ maid servant with ambitions of her own. The chapters alternate from one girl to the next, with each chapter beginning with a primary document. For those familiar with the Gossip Girl series, instead of beginning chapters with emails and text messages, Godberson begins each chapter with a ball invitation, society gossip column, or correspondence. From blind items in the gossip pages to scandalous notes sent from one character to another, the primary documents are essential to the book’s plot.

It took me a few chapters to really get into this book. However, once I did I was swept into the world of balls, carriage rides, and Sunday visiting hours. While not overly heavy with historical facts, there is enough history thrown in to appease most readers. Mentions of Gramercy Park, Admiral Dewey, and the corruption that ran rampant in NYC politics at the time serve as a subtle backdrop for the scandalous lives of the main characters. I do wish the setting played a bigger part in the story. At times, it felt like the setting was merely background and the story could have been taking place anywhere, at anytime. Godbersen has an opportunity to really make NYC an important character, if you will, and I hope she takes advantage of that.

I did especially enjoy the almost circular ending. I finished the book very late last night, and immediately reread the first chapter. All of a sudden, so much more made sense. The first chapter serves as a great lead to pull you into the book, as you question exactly what is happening. It also serves as a great ending, so make sure you do reread it after finishing the book! My opinions on the characters also changed as the book went on. Godbersen slowly made each character seem more human as the plot unfolded, and characters that I hated as first began to seem more human.

This is a very fun book. The next book, in what is sure to be a 3-4 volume series, is due out in June, according to Amazon. I will definitely read the sequel, just to see what happens to these characters! Plus, I can’t wait to see what the next cover looks like- this book definitely wins the Cover of the Year award for YA!

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