It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
Last Week’s Books:
In the steampunk thriller, The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade, readers are introduced to Modo, a deformed boy with the amazing ability to transform his face and body so that his appearance matches that of any other man. “Rescued” from a freak show by Mr. Socrates, Modo is trained not only to use his unique ability but also in self defense, control of his super-human strength, and more. At the age of 14, Modo earns his keep as a private investigator and is drawn into uncovering the Clockwork Guild’s plot to enslave children, harnessing their potionj-enhanced powers to create a giant automaton to take down the government.
Slade’s story is fast-paced, interesting, and filled with lively characters. Readers will cheer on Modo and his new-found partner and friend Tavia, as they use not only their training but also their wits to take down the evil-doers. The design of the automaton is frightening and fresh and fits right into the steampunk world Slade has created. Readers will be glad to know that there are three more installments in the series: The Dark Deeps, Empire of Ruins, and Island of Doom, and they will enjoy checking out the series website. I will enjoy promoting this series to students, especially those who enjoyed Westerfeld’s Leviathan, and I am glad this was my June Random Read 🙂
This week I read another first-in-a-series book, Michael Vey: the Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans. In this science fiction novel, Michael Vey is 14 when he discovers that he is not alone in being able to wield electricity-based powers. When he was born, an experimental imaging device was used in another part of the hospital during a week-long period. Most of the babies born during that time died, but the surviving 17 became “electric children.” Michael and his new cheerleader friend Taylor discover their similar abilities, and then the Elgen Academy finds them. Rather than being a prestigious boarding school as claimed, Elgen is a laboratory which experiments on the electric children, exploits their powers for wealth and influence, and aims to genetically engineer more electric children. Michael’s quest, then, changes from not only finding and freeing his mother and Taylor, whom Elgen captured, but to stopping the evil Dr. Hatch, his electric children minions, and taking down Elgen (not all accomplished in the first book, of course).
The main reason I read this book is because of the wild reception it has enjoyed with students in our Emotional and Behavioral Disorders program at school. Our school social worker first introduced it to their teachers, and it was shared as a read-aloud. They found that the students enjoyed it so much that they would work hard at earning their points so they could hear another chapter. Both classes have since loved books two and three as well, and all the students can’t wait for the fourth installment to be published in September. I cannot say with certainty that Michael’s having Tourette’s syndrome and being a hero nonetheless has anything to do with students’ engagement; however, I do like that Michael’s disability is not seen as something to be overcome, but maybe the very thing that makes him the most powerful of all the electric children.
A few months ago, I shared an idea I saw on Facebook about asking friends to give you their favorite books for your birthday. Well, my best friend remembered and passed along Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan to me before her big trip to Montana and SK. And so, although I don’t read adult books very often, I am very happy to be starting one so dear to my dear friend’s heart 🙂