Book Brawl

I love it when I book-talk a new selection for my classroom library and end up with a near-battle over who gets to sign it out first.  I know, I know, chaos is generally frowned upon in school, but I love to see kids ravenous about reading.  Here’s the book that caused the commotion this week…

Dee got there first, so she’s enjoying Lisa Schroeder’s debut novel in verse tonight, probably up late with a flashlight under the covers even as I type this review. 

I read I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME in one weepy sitting over the weekend and savored

‘s free verse poems that come together to tell a touching story of love, loss, and healing.  The book opens with the funeral of Ava’s boyfriend Jackson — a funeral for which she can’t help but feel a sense of responsibility, given what happened.  This isn’t a traditional tear-jerker, though — because Jackson comes back.  As a ghost.  And Ava finds herself pulled in two directions, forced to choose between the love she lost and the life she still has.

Lisa Schroeder’s poems are spare and beautiful — the kind of poems that paint an amazing picture and then hit hard in the last lines.  This book will have huge appeal for fans of other verse novels.  Kids who love Sonya Sones, especially, are in for a treat.  Like Sones, Schroeder takes a realistic look at teenagers. Simon & Schuster recommends this title for grades 9 and up. There are some very mild references to sex, but nothing, in my opinion, that would make the book inappropriate for a 7th or 8th grade reader who has read Sones’ work or other books that  deal with teen romance.

Ava and Jackson were so real to me during the hour I spent in their world,  I couldn’t help being swept up in their drama.  Part of me was glad I read this one at home, so I didn’t end up sobbing through sustained silent reading in front of twenty seventh graders.  But part of me thinks that would have been just fine, too.  Sometimes, an old-fashioned cry is a perfect reminder of  how transporting a great story can be.

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