Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy by Marie Jaskulka

Another book from my very large TBR pile!  I was looking for a quick read on Sunday night, and I grabbed this one off my shelf.  That is my new strategy, just grab a book and start reading it.  If it is in my TBR pile, it must be there for a reason.  

This story grabbed me right away, I mean, I read it straight through because I was so caught up in the story.  I am pretty sure I won't be able to do the book justice here, all I can say is that I LOVED this story, it took my breath away in many places.  

Forgotten Girl writes poetry, and tells her story through poems.  At one point in the story she writes "If only I didn't have to write it all down, but I do, I do.  I don't know why.  It just makes me feel better, less alone with my thoughts; less liable to forget all the truth.   When she meets Random Boy, she feels an immediate connection and discovers he is a writer too.  She shares her writing with him, and he with her.  The only problem is, as they grow closer, Random Boy wants to know everything about her.  He doesn't allow her any secrets from him.  The secrets she keeps from him cost her greatly and she needs to learn how to be in love without losing herself.  

This book was so incredibly written, there were so many times that I stopped reading to just reflect on a stanza from the story.  Even though this was written for young adults, there were many important messages for adults.  This book is much too mature for Elementary classrooms, but high school students would love this book!

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

My TBR (to be read) pile is huge- I mean there must be at least 30 books on my shelf that I've purchased because they sounds good, and then I start reading another book.  Not being in the classroom this year means that I also read more adult books.  However last week, my friend Karen mentioned this book and was talking about how great it was.  It sounded familiar (this is how bad the TBR pile is- I don't even know what is on there), but sure enough, when I got home I looked through the stacks (and stacks) of books and found this one just waiting to be read.

I'm not sure why I waited so long to read it,but it was just what I needed.  I've read another Teresa Toten book before- The Game and I quite liked it.  I love the fact that Toten writes about issues of mental health.  It is so important that young adults see themselves reflected in the books they read, and any of us working with kids recognizes the upswing in the issues youth are dealing with.  That is why I love Toten's book, she writes about real characters who are dealing with real issues.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, is about a boy named Adam who is in group therapy to help him deal with his OCD, his mother's issues, his parents divorce and his step-brothers anxiety issues.  He has a lot of his plate, more than any 15 year old should have to deal with.  When a new girl joins the group, Adam is completely taken by her.  But he struggles over how someone with all the issues he is dealing with could have a normal relationship.  Adam is an incredibly sweet young man, who does indeed step up to be the hero to many people he meets, all while dealing with his own issues.  I was completely in love with Adam myself.

There are so many reasons to love this book, but the characters and the topic are what sold it to me.  I am not really sure if I would have this in my grade 7 classroom, it would have to be for the right student.  Grade 8 and older for sure. Intermediate teachers, I would suggest you read this first to determine if it is right for your students.  There are parts of Adam's story, like when he is describing how his OCD manifests itself that may confuse some readers, but it is so worth the read.

Teresa Toten is an author I will continue to buy everything she writes!  Check out her website here