Aging Expectations

Need Something to Read?

My son, Matt, started high school this year. On his first day, he came home complaining about his Honors English class. The teacher was challenging them to read 30 books by the end of the year. 30 books! He couldn’t believe it.

I, on the other hand, was excited. I love reading. I love a challenge. This was perfect – for me.

I decided I wanted to participate with him! That’s the great part of being an adult, more so of being a mom. You can decide stuff and do it. Your kids can’t stop you. Sure, he can get me back when I’m old but I’ve got time.

So far, I’ve read 15 books. I’m halfway there! We included the books we read over the summer (teacher approved).

Here’s a list of the first 10 I’ve read with a brief summary. After I read the next five, I’ll update you with another list of 10. I don’t want to overwhelm you or anything 🙂

  1. We Were Here
    By Matt de la Pena
    Great YA book. The story of a young man who did something awful and has to reconcile his act. Written well, easy read and you can really feel for the characters.
    Here’s our video review about it.
    Highly recommend.
  2. Up from Slavery
    By Booker T. Washington
    This is an interesting autobiography about one man’s rise from slavery to success. He created the Tuskegee Institute, which is still in existence. He was a hard worker who could read people with ease. I do wish he had involved his personal life more.
  3. The Tender Bar: A Memoir
    By J.R. Moehringer
    A memoir about a young man’s childhood and young adult life and the men who shaped it. I loved the beginning of this book but the end left me unhappy. There was so much detail then it seemed the author got tired and just wanted to wrap it up. Still I would…
  4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (P.S.)
    By Betty Smith
    Loved, loved, loved this book. The story of a poor, young girl’s life in the early 1900’s. This books showed amazing details of the hard life people in NYC had to deal with to survive.
    Highly Recommend.
  5. Peak
    By Roland Smith
    Another good YA book. It’s an easy read about a boy trying to trek up Mt. Everest while figuring out his relationship with his father. Let me just say, you will never see a post, article, trip or tip from me about climbing Mt. Everest. It is NOT going to happen.
  6. Hard Times for Jake Smith: A Story of the Depression Era (Historical Fiction for Young Readers)
    By Aileen Kilgore Henderson
    Another YA book (I’m not sure why I have so many of these!). This story is set in the depression era. A girl is given up by her family and has to act like a boy to survive. I loved the ending but don’t want to spoil it so won’t tell you anything else.
  7. Gardenias: A Novel
    By Faith Sullivan
    I really liked this one. A mother leaves her husband and moves from Minnesota to California with her sister and daughter during WWII. The story is from the daughter’s perspective on dealing with the changes.
  8. How to Get Published
    Hated this book. It’s a bunch of stories from published authors (mostly mystery authors), which are out-of-date if you want to get published now.
    Do NOT Recommend.

  9. The Book Thief
    By Markus Zusak
    Loved this book! It’s about the effect of books on a young German girl during WWII. The writing is just amazing. Markus creates the most effective imagery. He joins each word with such care – it’s beautiful. I aspire to be a writer like him.
    Highly Recommend!
  10. The Buddha in the Attic
    By Julie Otsuka
    I did not like this book. I loved the idea of it – women coming from Japan to live in American right before WWII. However, the writing left me cold. No real story, plot, or  characters. It’s won a lot of praise though. Loved to hear your thoughts.
    Don’t Recommend.

 All right, I want to know, have you read any of these?
Are you going to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.




  1. I was going to strongly recommend the Book Thief, but you already did — great readers think alike! If he hasn’t read The Princess Bride, it’s a great read, even if you’ve already seen the movie!

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