Ms. Schoening's Summer Reading

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Anything but a typical coming-of-age story, this epistolary novel tells the story of Charlie, an awkward but gifted teenager embarking upon his first year of high school. Charlie is coming to terms with his best friend's suicide while simultaneously attempting to navigate the murky waters of adolescence. He deals with truly overwhelming issues, and teenagers especially will appreciate the authenticity of the tone and language used by this author.

The Schoening Rating: 4/5 ****

The Fault in Our Stars

Hazel Lancaster is 16 and has been dying of cancer for most of her young adult life, and it's beginning to affect her outlook. In order to raise her spirits, her mother encourages her to attend weekly support groups for kids with cancer; as fate would have it, she meets Augustus Waters at one of these meetings, and he helps her to feel alive for the first time in her life. Hazel's witty, refreshing tone adds much needed humor to an emotionally turbulent novel. This is a must-read.

The Schoening Rating: 5/5 *****

Pretty Little Liars Books 1-4

Fans of the TV show will find the books that inspired ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars...different. These novels give us some of the back story that many are already familiar with; five girls were once best friends until one vanished during a sleepover. Now the remaining four, estranged ever since Ali's disappearance, are being harassed by messages from a mysterious, possibly dangerous, "A." The novels, however, have many dark, edgy turns that will surprise even the most avid fans of the television series. They are a fast read, and anything but boring.

The Schoening Rating: 3/5 ***


Lasky's novel is historical fiction, about the Holocaust, with a twist: her protagonist is not Jewish, and the Nazis are not yet in power. Through the eyes of Gabrielle Schramm, we get to see the world of Berlin as it was immediately between World Wars. Gaby comes from a family of academics, and her father is a scientist who works closely with Albert Einstein, a Jew who leaves Germany permanently before the Holocaust begins. Gaby and her family are all affected in different ways by the implementation of new laws, and readers can get a true sense of how Hitler's rise to power affected every aspect of first a whole country, and then the world.

The Schoening Rating: 3/5 ***