I don’t know about the weather where you live, but it has been raining cats and dogs for a week here in West Virginia. Baby Ruth and I are dying to go out for a walk, a coffee, a Target run–anything!!–but the rain is keeping us indoors and we’re feeling rather glum.
Luckily, I have a solution–reading. It can transport us to other worlds, brighten our days, and alter our moods for the better. Her little bookshelf is full of great titles by Shel Silverstein, Eric Carle, and other children’s greats, and mine is full of great titles like the ones my awesome student Giulia recommends below.
Giulia made a Top 10 List of books to drastically change your mood when reflecting on her semester’s reading last winter. She realized that no matter what she was embroiled in–school, work, friends–these ten books could rip her away from reality and change her mood. So if you’re looking for something to sweep you away, check out Giulia’s list below…and make sure you have these titles in your classroom library!
Giulia’s Top 10 Books That Will Drastically Change Your Mood
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This is one of the few non-fiction books I’ve read. I was more interested in this non-fiction book because the events that took place in The Glass Castle were completely insane so it seemed more like a fiction book. I think this is why I was more intrigued. This girl went through the majority of her life with the most ridiculous parents. They traveled America and went on all these adventurers that most people would consider insane. One part of the book that really stuck out to me was when this girl was little, she was boiling hot dogs on the stove, BY HERSELF, and something happened where the boiling water spilled down the front of her body and she had third degree burn and scars for the rest of her life.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is one of the rare books where I’ve seen the movie first then read the book, and come to find out that the book was way way way better than the movie. Both the movie and the book made me cry like a baby, but the book was more interesting, obviously. The book is based around a little girl who is growing up in Germany during the Holocaust. She begins to find that she is fascinated with books and does anything she can to get as many books as she can. Her family also faces the fears of hiding a Jew in their basement. Everything that happens in this book seems so fragile to me because I basically get to see this little girl grow up and face the world.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
This book was recommended to me by a friend and usually I like to discover good books on my own, but I decided to read it. It was a nice love story mixed with humor. I love when authors do that. This girl is in high school and her older sister just died so she’s living with her crazy grandma and uncle. She and her sister’s dead boyfriend begin to fall for each other, but they both know it’s a big no no. They finally start to come back to reality and realize that they aren’t actually falling for each other, they are just trying to find comfort in one another. Throughout the entire book, this girl is STRUGGLING to find her way out of a hole she fell in when her older sister died. It’s touching and humorous and I loved every single bit of it.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This book and the previous book both have the same author, Jandy Nelson. I’m assuming Jandy either grew up with a rather odd family or she has a rather odd imagination because both the families in each of these books are not your typically family. This is one of the first books I’ve read where one of the main characters is gay. It was definitely interesting, but not weird at all. The two main characters are a set of twins, both struggling with the divorce of their parents. One child is a boy and the other is a girl. Basically, they are both trying to get into this really nice art school, but the boy is trying harder than the girl. Throughout their childhood they are super close, like best friends, but as they grow older, there are a couple specific events that happen that tear them apart. This book, while wildly outrageous, was fun to read. It may seem confusing and slow at the beginning, to the point where you might contemplate finishing it, but it was totally worth finishing.
Everyday by David Levithan
I just recently read this book so it is fairly fresh in my mind. I was crazy about this book in the beginning, like I thought this was my favorite book of all time, and then it ended. It was maybe one of the worst endings I’ve ever read, but besides the ending, this book was ridiculously amazing. There were some things that were never answered, but then I keep thinking of how awesome the beginning of the book was and all I can do is fantasize about it. There is a boy and he is currently sixteen, and he wakes up in a different body every day. But there’s a catch. He only wakes up in sixteen-year-olds’ bodies, and it only happens in Maryland. It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it. On top of all that, he begins to fall for this girl that he only meets one day. He then continues to spend the rest of his “life” trying to find the girl he fell in love with all while trying not to harm any of the bodies that he inhibits. Crazy book, but ridiculously intriguing.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book actually disgusted me in so many ways, but it was sooo good. These two girls have been best friends for a while, then one of them dies. Before the one girl dies, they make a pact to be skinner than the other… gross. The girl that’s still alive is literally insane. She starts hearing/seeing her dead friend. This girl continues to be as skinny as humanely possible. At one point I think her weight was a little less than 90 pounds, which is extremely poor for your health. She’s just having a hard time dealing with her friend’s death, so she is trying to feel better about herself by working out and eating basically nothing to reach her desired weight. The ending seemed a little rushed, but the rest of the book made up for it. I’ve never, in my life, read a book that seemed so realistic like this before. I didn’t know people like these girls actually existed or that it was so extreme.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
I began to start reading books by Colleen Hoover because I wanted to take a break from some of the harsher books I’d been reading, so any of Colleen’s books are a nice book to read if you want to chill. The majority of them are all romance books, but not the cheesy kind. The main character is a girl who just moved into an apartment with her brother because she has a new job and is attending college at the same time, so she needed some help. Come to find out, her brother’s friend is insanely good-looking, so she is attracted to him immediately. There is something that this boy is hiding from her, but every time she tries to pry it from him, he immediately closes up. Warning: there is an EXTREMELY heart-breaking part in this book where I cried for a good ten minutes before continuing on with the rest of the book. The best part is that the movie is coming out in 2016 and I didn’t even know there was supposed to be a movie! So I’ve already made plans to go see it and determine if it will be as good as the book.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
I read this book shortly after I read Gone Girl, and this book was an intense, short read. I have always been intrigued with the most profuse, disgusting, murderous books I can find, and this book definitely hit that level. This family is based on a girl whose family was murdered when she was a little girl. Everyone in her family is dead except for her, her brother, and her deranged father. She lives by herself because her father fell off the face of the earth and her brother is in prison for supposedly murdering the rest of her family. Ever since she was young, this girl was told to believe that her brother was responsible for the murder of her family, but as she grows older, she begins to wonder whether or not her brother was actually capable of something so insidious. She starts to dig deeper into the history of the murder and discovers the real murderer, along with her family’s mysterious past. This book was simultaneously disgusting and captivating and I love how Gillian Flynn writes.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Everything I’ve ever read up until the point of reading Gone Girl didn’t matter to me (until I continued reading other books). This book was that good. I mean I’ve never read any type of thriller like this before in my life and I will never forget this book. It wasn’t the shortest book, but I finished it in two days, and that’s quick for me. The book is centered around this man whose wife goes missing and of course, he is the main suspect. He begins to find clues to lead him to his wife’s whereabouts, which become more gruesome as the “scavenger hunt” goes on. I REFUSE to watch the movie because I know nothing can beat the book. It was excruciatingly hard for me to set this book down. While some of the book was rather sexually descriptive and intense, I still loved it. The ending made me mad, but a good kind of mad.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
I read this book after I read Dark Places and while I liked this book a little less, it was still amazing. I don’t know how Gillian Flynn comes up with all the insane, nasty events that occur in her books, but it’s all brilliant. This girl is a journalist and lives by herself, but she just heard about a good story to write about back in her hometown, where her deranged mother, father, and younger sister. So she travels back to her hometown and is temporarily living with her family. As she does some research about the murders in town, she starts to link them back to her family. This girl is also not the most stable, so she has a terrible habit of making her body a canvas, and by this I mean she is constantly carving words into her body with any sharp object she can find. While the girl may seem somewhat crazy, it is nothing compared to her mother. One part of the book sticks out to me where the girl was spying on her mother who was taking care of a friend’s baby. When her mom thought no one was looking, the mom bit the baby’s cheek hard enough to draw blood. Obviously, the mother is crazy as well, but everything ties in at the end. The ending is the best part.
What titles do you and your students love that drastically alter your mood? Please share in the comments!