June 2020 Reads

I ended up reading a lot more this month because I dove into some old favorites for my new YouTube channel Summer Reading with Ms. Chaumont. I made the channel to read aloud some of my favorite novels from my childhood with my students over the summer. Not only has it been a fun project in quarantine this month, but it’s also been helping me keep up a consistent reading schedule, which has felt really good!

Stats

Number of books read: 8 📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘

Print books: 6 📚📚📚📚📚📚

Audiobooks: 2 🎧🎧

Kindle books: 0

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars books: 2

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 star books: 6

⭐⭐⭐ 3 star books: 0

⭐⭐ 2 star books: 0

1 star books: 0

😍 Favorite book: The City of Ember

☹️ Least favorite book: Among the Hidden (again, I still loved this book, it was just the one I loved slightly less than all the other amazing books I finished this month!)

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

the westing game by ellen raskin book cover

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from May 26, 2020 – June 1, 2020.

This was one of my favorite books growing up and it stands up to re-reading. It’s fast paced and the twists are perfect — unexpected but not so out there they’re unbelievable. Always on the hunt for more books like this. I genuinely believe this is one of the best mystery novels of all time for any audience.

Listen to me read it out loud here.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

the turn of the key by ruth ware book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from May 23, 2020 – June 2, 2020.

This book opens with our protagonist in prison, accused of killing one of the children she was caring for as a nanny. The Turn of the Key is told through her letter to a lawyer, trying to convince him to represent her by telling him the whole story from the beginning. I thought this was a unique format and really made me want to keep reading. It builds the sense of dread throughout the entire novel as you know a tragedy is coming, but you don’t know when or who will be affected.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Ruth Ware is great at creating atmosphere and I was really sucked in. The narrator of the audiobook was also quite good. I also loved the construction of the story. I love a book that starts at the end and only later shows you how it got there. That said, this book didn’t quite make it to five stars for me. One of the major twists was hinted at so heavily, I’m not sure you could even call it a twist and I had it figured out so early I was sure I must be wrong. In addition, the red herring was SO obviously a red herring, so aggressively dangled in front of the reader as the obvious answer, I was doing a complicated reverse psychology dance with myself trying to figure out if it was more complicated than I thought. But it wasn’t. I enjoyed the story and I would recommend it if you like Ruth Ware, however the predictability of some of the major elements made it good but not great for me. (Also, I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this!!)

**read as an audiobook**

Find this review on Goodreads here.

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

among the hidden by margaret peterson haddix book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from January 10, 2020 – June 5, 2020.

Luke is a third child in a society where people are only allowed to have two. For most of his life, this means he has to stay out of sight when strangers come around, but otherwise he can run around in the woods and play outside as he pleases. This all changes when a wealthy suburb is built next to his farmhouse. Suddenly, Luke has to stay inside all the time, hidden away from the world so as not to be taken by the Population Police. He feels all alone in the world … until he sees a face in the window of a house across the way.

I read this book aloud to my fourth graders and they LOVED it. We’d read a chapter or two after lunch every day and they clamored for more (seriously, it was the only time in the day I’d have everyone’s full attention). The short chapters that end on cliffhangers and the intensity really gripped them. I think some of them will definitely want to continue on with the rest of the series.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

found by margaret peterson haddix book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from June 4, 2020 – June 9, 2020.

A plane appears out of nowhere and contains no pilot, no crew, only 36 infants. Flash forward 12 years and middle schoolers Jonah and Chip are researching their own adoption history only to be met with FBI connections, secret files, and possible time travel.

I first read this book as an ARC when I was a kid and it FASCINATED me. Re-reading as an adult, it’s still a wonderfully compelling sci-fi thriller. Margaret Peterson Haddix is one of my favorite middle grade/YA authors because her books capture much of the essence so many of us love about adult thrillers, while still being appropriate and relatable for kids.

Listen to me read it aloud here.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

a wrinkle in time by madeleine l'engle book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from June 10, 2020 – June 16, 2020.

This book is a classic for a reason. I loved it when I first read it and I loved it as an adult too. I think part of what I love about A Wrinkle in Time is how different it is from so many of the books I loved at this age. It’s not quite fantasy, not quite sci-fi, the characters are so unique but lovable, and the settings are so unusual and immersive. This probably doesn’t even crack the top five of my favorite Madeleine L’Engle books but that’s because she’s such an incredible author that all her books are amazing.

Listen to my read it aloud here.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

your house will pay by steph cha book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from June 2, 2020 – June 16, 2020.

I borrowed this audiobook from my library on a whim because it sounded interesting and it ended up being incredibly relevant for this moment in history. (Black lives matter, by the way.) It’s the story of two families in Los Angeles — one Black and one Korean — and their interconnected histories of violence, secrets, loss, and family devotion. It was a powerful story and it made me think a lot.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

when stars are scattered by victoria jamieson and omar mohamed book cover

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Read from June 16, 2020 – June 18, 2020.

Wow.

Two brothers are Somali, growing up in a refugee camp in Kenya. Omar loves and cares for his disabled younger brother Hassan, but it’s hard being alone in the world and they never give up hope of being reunited with their mother. Omar has to decide what is actually best for Hassan — staying with him and tending to him all the time, or going to school to get an education and potentially better their situation.

This was a BEAUTIFULLY illustrated graphic novel and a well-told true story. I felt like I learned so much from reading this book and I’m so excited to add it to my classroom library!

Find this review on Goodreads here.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

the city of ember by jeanne duprau book cover

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from June 18, 2020 – June 25, 2020.

I love this book just as much every time I read it.

Ember is a city of light in a world of darkness. Except, lately it seems like that light is not so reliable. Blackouts are becoming more and more frequent and supplies that once seemed boundless are now completely gone. Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow are both turning 12 this year, which means they’re entering Ember’s workforce. Lina wants nothing more than to be a messenger and to run through the city she loves. Doon is more focused on the problems facing Ember and the perilous future ahead of them. Their paths intersect throughout the book and together, they have to find a way to save their city.

I remember the first time I read this book. Not to be dramatic, but it changed my life. I thought about it for so long. I reread it often. This is the first book I remember reading that had a major plot twist and it absolutely blew my mind. I still think this is one of the best pieces of dystopian fiction out there.

Listen to me read it aloud here.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

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