Top 10 (or 11) #summerthrowdown Reads

Brian’s Note: This week marks the end of the second round of the #summerthrowdown challenge. To celebrate, each of the four organizers has invited 4 teachers and librarians to blog this week about their favorite reads from the summer. That’s a total of 16 guest posters! Be sure to check out their blogs to get the full effect: Heise Reads & RecommendsThe Brain Lair, and Library Fanatic. Check back here throughout the week for more fun!

Today’s post here on Wyz Reads comes to us from Jennifer Fountain.

When the call went out to sign up for the teachers vs. librarians #summerthrowdown competition, I was super excited to join in and participate. I follow both Brian and Jillian on Twitter, and I love seeing their interactions when their sister-classrooms have #throwdown challenges during the school year. While I don’t really need motivation to read, I knew that this would be a fun challenge to start the summer.

I read books from so many sources during #summerthrowdown: some were my books from my classroom library, some were from my school library, some were from the public library, and some were books that were sent from Twitter friends on ARC Tours. (Ir)Regardless* of the source, here are 10 books I read during round 1 that I can’t wait to share with my students this school year!

Clicking the cover of the book will take you to the Goodreads page where you can add it to your TBR!

While the story is “about” basketball, that’s just a surface level aspect of this book. Basketball : Boy21 :: football : Friday Night Lights tv show…the sport is just a vessel for telling a story that is truly about relationships. I’ll get students (especially boys) to buy in because of the basketball, but they’ll love the story for the characters, just like I did. Source: classroom library.

This series is a great new dystopian series that will appeal to boys and girls. The protagonist is Deuce, a strong heroine who grew in an underground Enclave after Topside became inhabitable. She has to battle Freaks (zombie-ish creatures) and faces the unimaginable when she and her hunting partner, Fade, are banished from the compound. This is one of my favorite new series (the series is called Razorland), and I’m hoping to get some of my students hooked as well! Source: school library.

Thanks to Kathy from The Brain Lair (and one of the “hosts” of the #summerthrowdown challenges!), I was able to read book 2 in the Razorland series. Sometimes the second book in a series can feel…stagnant? Like, it’s there, but not really doing anything for the story? Not Outpost. Characters grew and developed into even more complex (and sometimes sympathetic) characters. I have a couple of passages from Outpost that I’m going to share as examples of great “show not tell” writing. Source: ARC tour.

I read the whole Babymouse series (minus Babymouse for President which came out during round 2) during round 1 of #summerthrowdown. Babymouse is such a fun, quick read that appeals to people of all ages. I can’t wait to introduce this graphic novel series to my students! Source: public library.


Sonya Sones is fabulous. Before this summer, Ellen Hopkins was really the only verse author that I’d read. I always try to get my students to read her books because I know she tells real stories that they can relate to. However, my students are all at-risk students who come to me as dormant readers (love that term my Donalyn Miller!), and the sheer SIZE of a Hopkins novel…well, it freaks them out. I tell them, “Don’t worry! It reads FAST,” but they don’t believe me. Now that I’ve got some Sonya Sones under my belt, I have smaller, more bite-sized verse novels that my students can start with so the larger Hopkins books don’t seem so terrifying. Source: school library.

So, if you read my blog, you know I’m a sucker for books told with alternating POV. I love it. Love. It. Legend (and the sequel Prodigy, which I read during round 2) are both told from alternating POV, and it is done beautifully. You know so much more about the different classes within the dystopian world due to the two narrators being from two completely characters. You also come to love each character more, which is always great when you have wonderful characters like Day and June. Another series that I’m hooked on! Source: school library.

What Happens Next is a perfect pairing with Speak and Just Listen. Cassidy, or Sid, is date-raped by “Dax” (a man posing as a college student) while on a school ski trip. The book explores “what happens next” when Sid’s life is forever changed by this encounter. I really loved Sid’s voice in the book, and Corey was the perfect bad-boy-reputation/good-boy-inside character. I can’t wait to get this contemporary book because I know my girls will love it! Source: ARC Tour.

OMG, I love the cover of this book! It looks pretty amazing at surface level; however, when you look at the cover after reading, it is even more amazing! Each piece of the cover fits together in the story. I loved Legend and Enclave because each heroine is strong and highly trained. The Forsaken stuck out to me because the protagonist, Alenna, has to grow and learn on her feet. There’s a love interest, but it’s her friend on the island, Gadya, who Alenna relies on throughout the book. My dystopian shelf is going to be bursting at the seams! Source: ARC Tour.

This book scared me. Literally. If there is a super-volcano that shuts down the country, I’m VERY unprepared!! Hopefully I’ll find a Darla (who can literally do anything) like Alex does! My students are always obsessed with the end of the world and all that. I can’t wait for them to read this book (or Life As We Knew It which I read in round 2) to see what life would be like after a huge natural disaster! Source: public library.

This is such a powerful and emotional story about a son and his struggle with his mother’s cancer and looming death. I’ve had quite a few students over the years who have had family members who are sick and/or dying. This will be the perfect book to share with these students as they struggle with their emotions during such a difficult time. Source: public library e-book.

I will see my new students on August 28th, and I can’t wait to share these books and get them into the hands of my students. As I share with them my reading community that I’ve built through Twitter, I hope that they are as excited as I am about the reading community we will build in our classes throughout this school year!

*The English teacher in my knows this isn’t a word, but I love when people use it in actual conversation.

Jennifer Fountain is a high school English teacher in Houston, Texas. She tweets at @jennann516 and blogs over at Fountain Reflections. Brian thinks she is just the worst type of person for using the “word” irregardless in this post.


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