TASL Book Chat

Written by Julie Caudle


Here are some more book reviews for you to talk up to your students in the upcoming school year!  Know of similar titles that Tennessee students would enjoy as well?  Post in the comments with your own book suggestions!

Greetings From Witness Protection

Greetings From Witness Protection! by Jake Burt is an hilarious novel that is also nominated for a VSBA for middle school this year.  Nikki Demere is a sarcastic and snarky 13-year-old kleptomaniac, who receives an unusual proposition after she’s caught stealing.  Instead of going to juvie and obtaining a record, Nikki can instead live with a family of three who are in the Witness Protection Program and pose as their daughter, so that the criminal they’re hiding from will be less likely to find them.  Not wanting to go to jail and desperate for a normal family life, Nikki agrees and she moves to North Carolina to join her new family as their daughter and sister, “Charlotte”.  Nikki/Charlotte will make you laugh with her wry observations of the people around her, and make you want to hug her with her longing to belong and be loved by a family.  You’ll also laugh at the FBI agents’ bumbling attempts to teach Nikki about teenage slang and behaviors.  The novel is mostly a realistic, coming-of-age type of story until the book’s climax, where it becomes quite suspenseful and nail-biting.  Fans of Stuart Gibbs and Carl Hiaasen will especially enjoy this book, and would also be a great recommendation for Diary of a Wimpy Kid readers who are ready to for more mature reading.

One of Us is Lying

What do a Yale-bound overachiever, a homecoming princess, a star baseball playing athlete, and a drug dealing delinquent all have in common?  They were all upcoming subjects of classmate Simon’s gossip app, making them all suspects in causing Simon’s death, which occurs in front of them during detention one afternoon after school.  Which one killed Simon? Did any of them kill Simon? Did they all play a part in his death?

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus is a VSBA nominee for high school, and a real page-turner that will have you reading furiously to find out who’s responsible for Simon’s death.  Along the way, you will discover what secrets of Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper and Nate Simon knew and was about expose, giving each of these characters a very motivated reason to stop Simon by any means possible, including murder.  Each of the four main suspects/characters take turns narrating, which makes it even more difficult to predict who the murderer is, while simultaneously giving insight into what struggles and pressures many teens of today deal with.  Readers will be guessing until the very end! There’s also a sequel coming in January, 2020! Recommend this book to students who are fans of mysteries, true crime, the Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars series.

Read any good books lately that should be recommended to students?  Be sure to leave a book suggestion in the comments.

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