I predicate my purchases on what students request, hoping to find the very best examples of, say, football or skateboarding books. My reading, however, doesn't always match up with the needs of my students. Do I buy things that aren't necessarily asked for? Absolutely. But it has to be something I really like for me to sell it.
It amazes me how many books I miss. Maybe one of these is exactly what someone else is looking for!
Goodman, Shawn. Something Like Hope.
From Publisher: "Shavonne, a fierce, desperate seventeen-year-old in juvenile lockup, wants to turn her life around before her eighteenth birthday, but corrupt guards, out-of-control girls, and shadows from her past make her task seem impossible."
What I Wanted: Something like Sharon Draper: gut wrenching and powerful book about a young girl trying to overcome the odds of being raised in the inner city.
Why It Didn't Work For Me: The f-bomb on page two. This is clearly aimed at a high school audience. A shame, since the cover is very nice.
Chow, Cara. Bitter Melon.
From publisher: "Frances, a Chinese-American student in a competitive school in San Francisco in the 1980s, begins to question her mother's insistence that she becomes a doctor when she accidentally enrolls in a speech class and discovers a hidden talent."
What I Wanted: Multicultural book, and in the wake of the whole Tiger Mother thing, this was a very interesting read that I personally enjoyed very much.
Why It Didn't Work For Me: I can't get anyone to check out Paula Yoo's Good Enough, which is similar, so I won't buy this.Too old for my readers, just from an interest standpoint.
Zucker, Naomi. Callie's Rules.
From publisher: "Eleven-year-old Callie Jones tries to keep track of all the rules for fitting in that other middle school students seem to know, but when the town decides to replace Halloween with an Autumn Festival, Callie leads her large family in an unusual protest. "
What I Wanted: Fun, light realistic fiction for girls.
Why It Didn't Work For Me: Too quirky. Large family with weird names, and what 6th grade teacher assigns Lorna Doone? Of course, Callie prefers Jane Eyre and holds all of the other girls in disdain because they care about things like clothes. On the topic of Halloween-as-evil, I already have Stephanie Tolan's Save Halloween, which doesn't circulate much.
Boyd, Maria. Will
From publisher: "Seventeen-year-old Will's behavior has been getting him in trouble at his all-boys school in Sydney, Australia, but his latest punishment, playing in the band for a musical production, gives him new insights into his fellow students and helps him cope with an incident he has tried to forget. "
What I Wanted: Any book about musicians that didn't also include numerous sex and drug references.
Why It Didn't Work For Me: This may be that, but I couldn't get past the very Australian vibe, and neither could Surly Teen Boy, who usually doesn't have a problem with dialects.