Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Books that 14-year-old Girl Scouts love :)

Imagine how thrilled I was when my daughter, who would rather be texting or playing games on her iPhone (bought for her by my ex-husband, not me), read a book I suggested, AND clamored for more. Not only did she cry over it, bemoan the MC's fate, and talk to me about the characters like they were actual people, she wrote a book review for Amazon. (I wrote the title for her.) Here it is.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Fourteen-Year-Old Reluctant Reader Couldn't Put My Beginning Down.
December 27, 2011
by Claire Omerza
This review is from: My Beginning (Paperback)

My mom's always trying to get me to read and I also have to read for school. Usually when I read, I set goals, like finding a page I'm going to read to or a chapter I'm going to finish. But when everyone in my family read the Hunger Games books, I did too. I really liked them. And when I read Melissa Kline's My Beginning, I felt the same suspense I did for the Hunger Games series.

To be completely honest, when the story started, I felt like I was Ivory and Aidan was my boyfriend. When bad things happened to them, I cried. When things were good with them, I was happy. So even though the story is set in the future and that makes it interesting, the idea of Ivory wanting to find happiness with a guy she likes, and then all of the problems they have to overcome to be together, is something I really relate to.

As soon as I finished the book, I texted my best friend Emily that she's got to read it.

Claire claimed she is Melissa Kline's Number One fan and that makes me happy, since Melissa's a fellow Swagger and a terrific author and person. But then I started thinking about the other Cadettes in my Girl Scout troop. Some of them are readers and some of them aren't. What books excite them?

Girl Scout Troop 71009 weighs in on their favorite books

Nicole, an award-winning poet, rattled off dozens of books that make her swoon. But when I pressed her for her absolute favorite, she settled on The Sister's Grimm series by Michael Buckley. Nicole loves long books AND series because she says they give her more time to hang out with the characters she's bonded with.

Tina, a non-reader, had no interest in recalling a favorite book. "I don't read except what I have to for school," she says. But, she is writing a screenplay for a movie. It's probably full of slapstick humor because this former monosyllabic speaker has morphed into a physical comedy kind of gal. I think her stints as Magenta in our troop's "Rocky Horror Picture Show" re-write and as Chef Male in our original production of "The Mystery of the Missing Meatball" changed her life forever.

Megan R., said Lauren DeStefano's Wither is her favorite book. It's the first in a series and it's about young girls kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages. This shocked the hell out of me. Megan is a quiet girl who raises guinea pigs for show. I didn't even think she liked boys. I thought her favorite book would feature animals.

Megan W. also surprised me with her great taste. Not that she doesn't have taste. I just didn't expect it to be so classic. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is her favorite book.

Amy, our tomboy, gave her highest mark to Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian (Book Five) by Rick Riordan. Proof that readers do devour the entire series!

Carli, our quiet, sensitive girl, unhesitatingly told me that Hiding Edith by Kathy Kacer is the best book she's ever read. Part of a Holocaust Remembrance Series, this Diary of Anne Frank-like work is a non-fiction account of Edith Schwalb going into hiding after the Nazi invasion of France.

Bethany, a Power of the Pen writer and unabashed Christian, loved Soul Surfer, the real story of surfer Bethany Hamilton, the girl who lost her arm in a freak shark attack. When I asked her about the book, she launched into a detailed account of how Bethany's positive spirit has helped so many other accident victims.

Gillian, a jokester, liked Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick, a book about the unlikely friendship of a slow learner stuck in the body of a teenage giant, and a tiny Einstein in leg braces. It was made into the movie Mighty.

Finally Kathryn, a middle schooler born with the soul of a (nice) schoolmarm, could not stop raving about Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, a book about a former student who reunites with a favorite college professor after the teacher's diagnosed with cancer.

An impressive array of titles representing multiple genres. My girls make me proud.

Kim Van Sickler


  1. Great post - - and great review by your daughter! Nicely done. :)

  2. And they should make you proud! They sound like some pretty amazing girls:) And what a great review by your little girl. It made me want to read the book:)

  3. I love hearing what our audience that we are writing for are reading. And I love that Claire fell in love with My Beginning.

  4. Wow, that is a diverse list! I love sharing books with my 10 year old daughter, and hope it continues into her teens.

  5. I know! It used to be so special reading books to her when she was a rugrat. I get some of that same thrill today when we both get caught up in the same book.

  6. Oooooh I loved this, Kim!!! How diverse (and Wither too--WOW)! And your daughter loving that book is awesome sauce!

  7. Great post from really great girls... enjoy your reading!!!

  8. What a fun post! I loved hearing about their personalities and the books they chose as favorites. Hooray for Girl Scouts!

  9. Oh that Megan R.! Reminds me of wee me. I was quiet too... At 15 I bought at a neighbor's yard sale a huge box of romance novels for $25. I DEVOURED them. No one would have ever guessed!

    Wonderful peek inside the heads of 14 year olds. Love the variety. (There really is a book for every reader!) And your daughter did a wonderful job with her review, particularly when she added the spicy Hunger Games line. Always good to throw in familiar titles when reviewing less known books.

    1. You're absolutely right. You can't tell by looking at someone what they like to read. And there is more variety than ever in our reading choices. Thanks for following!

  10. What a great round up. Such an interesting mix of titles. I was surprised to see Freak the Mighty on there - an old favorite of mine.

    And great review there. I'm sure lots of folks will be rushing out to buy it on her recommendation alone!

    1. And I've never read it. But you better believe I will now.

  11. I hope my daughter continues to read as she gets older. She's only six and currently loves all books illustrated by Laurel Long or Elsa Beskow.

  12. Great to see so many different books represented on this list. Thanks for sharing these great book recommendations.

  13. I am so thrilled that Claire loved "My Beginning" by Melissa Kline. From the first page of the manuscript, I was hooked on the story and characters as well.

    I loved seeing what the girls in the Troop like to read. Thank you for a great blog post!