Summer has ended, and a new school year has begun. It was a great summer. Outstanding even. I miss not the season but the lifestyle more than in previous years. Most school years start and I’m firing on all cylinders, but this year I’m just starting to find my groove. Sort of. Maybe. I don’t know. I feel left of center. Whatever that means.
It could be teaching a brand new grade and a brand new curriculum for the second year in a row, but that doesn’t feel like the reason. Instead it feels like a perpetual itch I can’t figure out how to scratch. I just know it needs scratching.
Despite the itch, I’m drawing comfort from teaching the same group of students for the third year in a row. Just typing that sentence makes me smile. They make me smile. I’m sure come June, on the last day of school, as they leave the building for the buses one last time, I’ll be hiding tears with the biggest sunglasses I own. I try not to have favorites, but . . .
The Hate U Give movie adaptation is excellent. I think I was near tears for most of the 2+ hours, but the women next to me was openly crying and sniffling. Russell Hornsby is incredible as Maverick. I believed he was Maverick. It might be the purest book to movie adaptation I’ve ever seen. What was left in the book would likely have bloated a 2-hour movie, so I didn’t find myself missing much. I still wish Nick Robinson had played the boyfriend, but K.J. Apa wasn’t out of place, and his dance near the beginning was cute. I smiled. I might have to consider that I’ve judged him harshly because Riverdale is a steaming pile of trash.
I’m presenting at NCTE in November. I want to say I’m excited, but the 2018 Annual Convention planning seems chaotic. The behind the scenes disorganization has left me with questions, uncertainties, doubts, and a little disengaged. I’ll light up during the presentation, but for the moment I’m decidedly meh. The ALAN Workshop is the bright side of things, and I can’t wait to see what books land in my box.
I wrote another book review for ALAN. It was in the August ALAN Picks. I think it was my second this year and third overall, which is pretty exciting.
I’ve decided not to renew my OwlCrate subscription for 2019. They have actively ignored their own mission to expose readers to a variety of genres by championing fantasy. When it comes to the YA world, fantasy doesn’t need a champion. It dominates. OwlCrate is also lacking in diversity, but they make sure to give themselves a shout out when the books in the box feature diverse characters. I’m not impressed, but plenty of people are so they won’t miss me.
I’m going to see Jason Reynolds in October. I never grow tired of listening to him speak. I’m sure he’ll leave the audience inspired, impressed, and introspective. I’ll continue my season of Jason Reynolds by seeing a stage adaptation of his award winning Long Way Down in November at The Kennedy Center. If he attends ALAN it’ll be like the Triple Crown.
I'm writing a YA novel. If I put it here, I can't take it back. I mean I could delete the post and pretend it never happened, we'll see.
I’m dreading putting together my Top Ten Reads of 2018. There are only 93 days until December 31st, but I better get started. It’s time to separate what I love from what I liked from what I tolerated because 2018 has been such a bleak reading year. Some books that were questionable keep rising in my esteem with every terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, joke of a book I read. I’m looking at you People Like Us, S.T.A.G.S., Want, The Hazelwood, Ace of Shades . . . Just typing the title gives me a stomachache.
In case you were wondering, my reading apocalypse keeps on keeping on. I’m once again rereading the Alexander Armsworth and Blossom Culp series by Richard Peck (heart still broken), but I’ve also read some wickedly good graphic novels, including:
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld
Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Rise of the Dungeon Master by David Kushner and Koren Shadmi
Jonesy, Vol. I by Sam Humphries
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Bessie Stringfield by Joel Christian Gill
The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
Goldie Vance by Hope Larson
Becoming Unbecoming by Una
Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu
Run by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
Misfit City, Vol. I by Kristen Smith
Go grab some of these great graphic novels, enjoy the changing of the seasons, and go see The Hate U Give when it comes to a theater near you. Writing here feels a little like coming home, so I'll see you in October—pinky swear.