(Alysa's review here.) When the new math teacher embezzles most of the prom budget, a skeptical high school student from the wrong side of the tracks in
Pulling Princes by
(Alysa's review here.)Calypso, a teenager from
This book (and the others in the Calypso Chronicles) is completely frivolous fun for teenage girls. Most boys would never read again if you tried to make them read this, but for your average twelve or thirteen-year-old girl, it’s a great read. My personal favorite parts are the contemporary British slang (beware of some semi-inappropriate wording and implications) and the fencing matches. These books don’t really have much to them as far as morals, themes, symbolism, deep messages, or anything close to that, but if you’re trying to get a girl to like reading or you’re just looking for something completely frivolous and unintellectual, this is definitely what you’re looking for!
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Esperanza is jerked from the life of a privileged Mexican ranch owner’s daughter and transplanted into the life of a destitute migrant worker in
I think of this book as a kind of bubble gum version of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Esperanza Rising achieves the same feeling and messages without the uncomfortable swearing and semi-inappropriate situations of Steinbeck origins. Perfect for grades six to eight, I think this book can be used to explore Mexican immigration issues in our day as well as the classic coming of age experience. It isn’t a horribly high reading difficulty level, but the issues and themes are well-developed and deep. I recommend it for teaching as well as reading for fun.