Rumors by Phil M. Williams gives a false impression that it is a very long novel. Kindle lists it as 492 pages and the novel’s Table of Contents presents the reader with 146 chapters. This is deceptive. It is a one-session read and I felt it was a page-turner. Students will like the portrayals of inter-teacher and administrative political bickering. Some teachers might read this and shake their heads at familiar situations. Just like the title indicates, this is a novel about gossip, rumors, and the tremendous amount of damage that can occur to careers and personal lives. The novel is up-to-date as there is school violence, school bullying, and liberal use of Facebook. It is easy to read the book as far as the complexity of language. Sexual situations are minimal and described in non-salacious terms. I will recommend Rumors to my English as Second Language learners.
Shark’s Instinct by Bethany Maines is Book One in The Shark Santoyo Crime Series. I note this because I like to start reading a series with Book One; I just never seem to succeed. The novel has helpful Chapters named by dates, so readers know when a backstory is about to happen. The entire novel takes place between 09 October and 21 October. After Chapter Monday—October 16, we have Chapter Two Weeks Ago which is in turn followed by Chapter Tuesday, October 17. We also have Chapter Thursday, October 19 followed by Chapter Five Years Ago followed by Chapter Thursday, October 19. A table of contents can be informative and not boring.
While readers may resist judging a book by its cover, a title like this one would get attention even without art. The Second Virginity of Suzy Green by Sara Hantz is a young adult (YA) novel about survival in high school. In Suzy’s case, this meant survival in two schools. It is not that she attended two schools at the same time, it is that she was trying to project two different personalities. Suzy had a sister, Rosie, who met a tragic end. Suzy and her family were predictably devastated. But Suzy had a reason to be devastated not shared by her parents. Suzy believed she caused Rosie’s death. Readers can decide whether they agree.