Wednesday, 5 September 2012

top five: school reads

It's back to school! And so, I offer my top five list of contemporary novels set in school. The requirements are pretty lax; the school setting doesn't have to be the primary focus, but our characters must be full-time or part-time students. Okay, on y va!

5. Hold Still by Nina La Cour

Beautiful emotion and an authentic link to photography (as well as photography class, which introduces to us a rare student-teacher relationship) supplement this novel's spiral of wonderful character growth. Ingrid feels like a real person next to Caitlin's struggles to understand and move through her best friend's death.

4. Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

Well-written story dealing with grief and a neat slice of paranormal alongside. Cass and Tim are amazing characters to read about and to watch grow, individually and together. These two are my favourite contemporary couple. Also, the school scenes with Norris? I want a friendship like that.

3. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

An amazing epistolary-style novel; these characters are diverse and endearing, and Elizabeth's letter narrations -- both the degrading ones to herself and the ones with her newfound friend -- are memorable, funny and sweet. This novel talks about everything: friends, when to pop your cherry, family, and a little bit about school. Also, the ending is stellar.

2. Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Oh man, Doug. His middle-grade male point-of-view isn't just a refreshing change -- it's a unique, realistic and entirely loveable perspective. The storytelling, both its style and its plot, perfectly complements its imperfect protagonist and gorgeous array of secondary characters. And the roles which Doug's teachers play... there have never been so many amazing adults in one book. This made me cry.

1. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

God, this book. Piper is the perfect heroine: determined (despite her handicap), receptive to change and also a caring person. The relationships here are so, so beautiful, which translates into wonderful, real characters. and also a cute chess-playing barista, lots of musical growing pains and pink hair. (I now kind of want to fall in love with a barista.)

So what's your favourite school read?