The second in a series of adolescent literature recommendations by CUW students/future educators.

“Oh, for Keip’s sake” is a blog series dedicated to the sharing of books with people who care—books that are especially for people who work with adolescent readers. And maybe even a few adolescent readers as well.

Dr. Val Keiper has charged the students in his Adolescent Literature course to review and recommend their favorites in the hopes of encouraging a love of reading. Learn more about this blog series here.

Isabel’s pick: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

What would you do if the world was ending? This is a question sixteen-year-old Cassie Sullivan is faced with when aliens start taking out the human population in waves. She has survived four waves with her family, but now she is alone and possibly the last human left. In this exciting fantasy book, you follow Cassie through her battle to find her family and keep her humanity in the face of total devastation. If you like fantasy, survival, or dystopian books, put this book on your list to read next! Would you survive the 5th wave? You’ll just have to read to find out. —Isabel M.

Alicia’s pick: The Crossover by Kwane Alexander

The two main characters in this book are Jordan Bell (JB) and Josh Bell. These brothers are identical twins and both on the basketball team. This book is written in a poetry style; however, it is not all rhyming but a variety of a reading style. Throughout this book it is not just about the brother’s playing basketball, but also their family. Some of the family history relates back to their grandpa. JB ends up talking to a girl who Josh calls Sweet Tea, which leads to jealousy, drama, and the start of distance brothers. Not only were their issues starting between the brother, but dad also starts an issue himself. First, he gets pulled over causing Josh to be late to his game and sit the first half. Later that night dads nose starts bleeding causing mom and dad to go to the hospital. The boys were very concerned about their father and their mother restated that dad will be fine. The boys are now in the championship game where they find out more about dad’s health. To find out what happens, you will have to read the book yourself. —Alicia S.

Natalie’s pick: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Mo was found secured to a billboard when she was a newborn, she was born during a hurricane. Mo drifted away down the stream because of the amount of rain and water, she was found by the Colonel.  Mo doesn’t know her mom and she has tried searching for her ever since she can remember. She has people release bottles down the river with a note inside whenever they drive somewhere farther away.

One day, a detective is driving through town and stopped for some lunch at the café Mo and her family own. Not long after he came to town, someone was murdered. No one is safe, no one knows who the murderer is. Ms. Lana (Mo’s adoptive mom) is kidnapped one day by the killer, and everyone figures out who he is after that. The story goes on to tell how they found him and all the clues he left because he was holding Ms. Lana for ransom. —Natalie L.

Alicia’s pick: Lawn Boy by Gary Paulson

The book, Lawn Boy, takes place in Eden Prairie, Minnesota in an upper-middle-class neighborhood. Lawn boy is a twelve year old boy who is looking to make some money. His parents and grandma are not very wealthy and struggle with giving money to their son/grandson. Grandma decided that she did not need her riding lawn mower and gave it to her grandson. One day Lawn Boy went out to mow his lawn, and his neighbor saw him and asked. The next day he went to go mow the neighbor’s lawn, and the neighbor to that neighbor, and pretty soon he was on the other side of town.  

After a while of mowing lawns, his business took off and grew more and more each day. He could not do this work alone and needed help from other. Lawn Boy next meets Arnold, who just wanted his lawn mowed. Later, Arnold became Lawn Boy’s “bank” and helped Lawn Boy invest his money. Lawn Boy was hesitant and did not want to tell his parents about the money he was making; however, he wanted to help his family out. Later in the book, Lawn Boy has so much money and now he invested it with being a sponsor for a fighter, Joseph Powdermilk, that Arnold found. In the end of the book, Lawn Boy supports Mr. Powdermilk and tells his family everything about his business. This book shares about economics and I believe that older elementary to middle school boys would like this book especially. —Alicia S.

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