Bone Gap: A Review

4 Aug

Title: Bone Gap

Author: Laura Ruby

Format: Hardcover, borrowed from public library

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads): Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

I am not sure exactly how I am going to review this one.  I absolutely loved Ruby’s writing.  It is beautiful. She builds such fascinating characters that keep you wanting to read more.  Her descriptions make you feel as though you are right there in Bone Gap along with Finn and the others.  I can really appreciate the art of her writing.

I also enjoyed the multiple perspectives.  I have written about how much I like this in books before. I was pretty sure there were only going to be two perspectives, but was pleasantly surprised as to how many and which characters added to the story.  All the perspectives are written in third person which I also enjoyed because it is not as common these days.  I have nothing against first person narratives; it was just a nice change of pace.

Where I am struggling is with the magical realism aspect of the book.  I have struggled with books like this before. They just don’t hold my interest most of the time.  I still give them a try and every now and then, I find books with elements of magical realism or fantasy that I really enjoy.  However, I did not understand how it fit into the plot with this one.  There are parts where magic appears that does not seem to fit in with the story.  And I still do not fully understand what happened to Roza and at the end of the novel.  I know many people have loved this book.  I just think this is a genre I do not enjoy as much as others.

There are still strong themes of love, family, and friendship that I also liked.  These are what kept me reading the novel to the end.  This is by no means a bad book; it just was not the book for me.

3.5/5 Stars 

Looking Ahead to the Adventure!

3 Aug

It is August.  I notice that something seems to happen when the calendar changes from July to August.  I fall pretty hard into school mode.  I start doing a lot more school planning and back-to-school sales excite me as opposed to giving me chills.  (June is just too soon – I’m sorry but it is!)  I start to get kind of excited for the year to come.

Don’t get me wrong – I am very sad summer is coming to an end.  I love summer.  I love taking many trips to the zoo, hanging out at the beach, vacationing in the best place in the world, staying up late, and enjoying naps during the day.  It’s not that I want it to end at all.

But I know the new school year is coming and with it comes new possibilities.  My mind has been churning these last few days with what I am looking forward to when we head back in September.  I also take this is a sign that I am in the right profession.  Despite everything taking place in education, I still get pretty excited to teach each and every year.


I came across this sign when the husband and I were grocery shopping this weekend.  When I saw it, I knew I wanted it for my classroom.  I want to build a theme around this.  I want this year to be an adventure.  An adventure in reading and writing.  I have some ideas on what the room will look like and how to keep it going.  I hope to share those ideas as they come to be in my classroom.

But this year is really going to be an adventure.  There are so many changes going on.  First of all, we are changing from trimesters to semesters.  That is changing some of the curriculum in the classes I teach as well as opening so many opportunities when working with my students.  Every student will now have an English class all year instead of 2/3 of the year. I see this as helping my reading and writing community flourish.

I am also teaching a section of English 10 Honors this year.  I am looking forward to this opportunity.  I taught one section of 10 Honors B a few years ago and have been hoping for an opportunity to teach it again.

This year is definitely going to be an adventure!

But please don’t fear – I am still going to make the most of the summer that is left as I prepare.

Favorites this Year (So Far)

31 Jul

So this post would have probably been better to write in June, but I just did not get to it.  Here are some of my favorite books I have read (or listened to) so far this year.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I cannot explain how much I love this book!  When it won the Printz, I cheered out loud.  I could not stop reading this one no matter what I was doing.  The night I finished it, I was also cooking dinner.  I let out a sigh and said ‘Wow!’ when I was done.  Make sure you read this one if you haven’t yet.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

This is another Printz winner, but I just discovered it this year.  I loved this story.  I was kind of confused when I first started reading it, but once I was into Taylor’s story, I could not stop reading.

Columbine by Dave Cullen 

I was a freshman in high school when Columbine happened.  Reading this brought back memories from that time and I also learned how much I did not know about the tragedy.  Or, rather, how misinformed I was.  Cullen handles this topic very well.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen 

I really meant to review this book.  It has been so long since I have read it, I am not sure I can do it justice.  I absolutely love Maya’s voice as she tells her story.  She was funny, engaging, and honest.  I wish I book like this existed when I was in middle and high school.  I think every middle or high school girl should read this because of the strong message Maya sends about self-esteem and loving yourself.  I hope to read more from this talented young lady.

White Cat by Holly Black

I listened to this one.  I really love Holly Black’s writing which first caught my attention on this one.  Then, I saw that Jesse Eisenberg read it.  I borrowed it from the library.  I liked this so much more than I expected.  The world Black creates that is much like ours bu included Curse Workers is very engaging. I was intrigued to learn more about them as the novel progressed. Plus, Cassel is a pretty interesting character himself.  I plan to listen to the second book, Red Glove as well.

The Martian by Andy Weir

This is the last of my “favorites so far” I am going to share.  I picked this up for a vacation read with some gift cards from my birthday.  I loved this from the very first line.  I love Sci-Fi and this one did not disappoint.  I love the voice of Mark Watney (and like my friend Dana said, I now think ‘What would Mark Watney do?’).  I also love how all the science and technology is explained in a way that wasn’t too difficult or boring.  It is a very engaging, exciting read.  I immediately handed it off to my brother, then my mother. I look forward to the movie in the fall.

It’s Monday, June 15, 2015! What are you reading?

15 Jun

It is officially summer vacation!  Here’s hoping a lot of reading can happen.

Audio Books

I am almost done with The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman.  I have been really enjoying it.  I have a long drive tomorrow, so hopefully it will be done.

I also finally got I Was Here by Gayle Forman back from the library.  We now get two weeks for audio books!  Some walks with Taylor and driving to work for the few days I am going in for curriculum work will be great for that.


I have been saying for along time I want to read Dorthy Must Die by Danielle Paige.  One of my students read it this year and told me how much she loved it.  It will be my first read of the summer break.

What are you reading this week?

Confession Time

18 May

Well, I have a confession to make.

I haven’t been reading.

Well, that’s not 100% true.  I have been reading; I just cannot seem to finish a book.

According to my Goodreads, the last book I finished was on April 16th – OVER A MONTH AGO!

Now, also according to my Goodreads, I am also Currently Reading 6 books. (And if I updated the new audio I am listening to, it would technically be 7.)

So you see the issue I am having,  I cannot seem to commit to any one book all the way through right now.  It has clearly been a struggle.

There are some reasons why:

  • I am crazy busy! I never seem to remember how much the end of the school year can suck away at me
  • Prom was a little over a week ago.  This was my fourth year as sponsor. It pretty much consumed my life from after Spring Break to the actual date.
  • A lot of personal things have been going on this year that have been tough at times.
  • I am having audio book issues. I love eAudio Books but for some reason, my library cooperative only allows you one week per book.  I was so into I Was Here by Gayle Forman, listening to it to and from work, walking Taylor, and even while grocery shopping.  I could not renew because someone had it on hold.  So now I have it on hold again.
  • There are so many books I want to read, I just can’t decide.

I have written about reading slumps before. This one is different.  I am reading and want to read; I just have way too much going on right now, with books I am reading and otherwise.

So here’s my plan.  Of all the books I am “Currently Reading,” Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen is probably my favorite. It’s a light read and pretty funny, too.  Then I will probably continue with The Hunted by Matt de la Pena, which I am also enjoying.  Soon, it will be summer and I will have more time.  Plus, I’m focusing on my and relaxation this summer and reading definitely helps with that.

So that is why I have been quiet here.  I hope to pop in more and meet my three post goal here on out. Hope all the teachers out there are hanging in there during these last few weeks.  We are almost there!

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  I  actually feel better now!

It’s Monday, April 20, 2015! What are you reading?

20 Apr


It’s been a while again.  Things get so crazy!  There has been a lot of reading thanks to Spring Break a couple of weeks ago.  Here’s what’s been going on in my reading life.

What I’ve Read Lately

I really ended up loving Denton Little’s DeathdateThe concept was pretty fascinating.  And I loved the minor characters!  A number of scenes had me laughing out loud.

AS King continues to impress me!  I wonder if there’s anything she will write that I will dislike.  Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future had me thinking a lot.  Her books are just amazing!

I have had Mockingbird on my shelf for years. I finally picked it up.  It was a one day read.  It was heartbreaking but also so beautiful.

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is one of those ‘classic’ YA titles that I have been meaning to read for years.  I am glad I did.I really enjoyed it

I also checked out 2 ebooks from the library recently. The Crossover needs to be on every single middle and high school teacher’s shelf!  I could not stop reading it.  Amazing.  And How It Went Down is so important with everything happening in our country now.  It is another one that really makes the reader think.  These will need to be added to my shelf soon!

What I’m Reading This Week

I have started The Spectacular Now a couple times and couldn’t stay in it.  This time, it is sticking.  I’m really liking the writing.  It just seems so real.

I really want to get The Hunted read before it comes out in May.  I loved The Living and want to see where the story is going.  So thankful to my friend Beth for the ARC.

What are you reading this week?

A Great Start!

24 Mar

Well, the school year is officially more than 2/3 of the way done! Last week marked the beginning of trimester three and we are off and running.  This will be my last time teaching a third trimester; next year we are switching to semesters.

I am pretty proud of what was accomplished in trimester 2.  In English 10 A, I really focused on developing our close and critical reading skills and to move into synthesis across texts.  I challenged my students with a full synthesis essay on the American Dream based on our readings.  It was tough for them because they were not used to this type of writing.  However, we worked through and practiced and they stepped up.  They really showed what they learned on the final exams this trimester, too.  The quality of essays greatly improved from what I had seen in the past years and trimesters.  Students even told me they felt more confident going into the exam.  I was proud of them!  I am also gaining confidence in my teaching ability with some of these higher-level skills.  I will continue to work on them the rest of this year and into next year.

Now I get to teach three sections of English 10 B.  This is probably my favorite class to teach!  We start with narrative writing with memoirs.  I follow a workshop model and the students usually respond pretty well.  One of my favorite mini-lessons is the Explode a Moment lesson to help get more descriptive details in the writing.  This one is always fun and the stories students create as we practice the skill lead to a lot of laughter and strong writing moments. We had some great moments this week with this one! I love watching them grow as writers and gain confidence in themselves.

We are also able to do some of my favorite grammar units!  We start with Introductory Clauses.  In grammar, we follow Jeff Anderson‘s model of grammar instruction.  If you are not familiar with his work, you need to check out his books.  I get to borrow his AAWWUBBIS idea and the students create strong sentences and start expanding their writing skills.  These units just make teaching fun.

Plus, the reading has been really strong from the beginning.  We did book tours last week and students checked out books for SSR.  Many students have already been adding books to their To-Read lists.  I have seen students walking in the hall while reading The Selection.  Students keep asking when a book will be back in that they hope to read.  Students are talking more about what they are reading with each other.  I love seeing how reading becomes an accepted and expected part of our routine.  I still am trying to develop their life-long reading skills to carry beyond the classroom, but at least there is a start from all the work being done throughout the year.

There’s really one thing I want this trimester to be all about: fun.  I want students to have fun as they learn and grow as readers and writers.  I want my co-teacher and I to have fun as we continue to grow and learn from our students.  I hope to have some strong communities built by the time we reach June.  I feel pretty rejuvenated and ready to tackle this last part of the school year!


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