Somehow, in all of my reading, I have neglected to post about one of the greatest series of all time--Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I was introduced to the series by the mother of one of my students (thanks, Teray's mom!)--seriously one of the best recommendations of the century. I don't know that I would have picked the book up without the recommendation, as I'm not a big fan of romance novels, but that's the beauty of Outlander--it defies any one genre. It is certainly a love story, but it's also fantasy, AND historical fiction, AND adventure. The story follows Claire Randall Fraser as she travels back in time from the 1940s to the 1743 Scottish Highlands just prior to the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Battle of Culloden which wiped out the Scottish clans. There the married-in-the-present-time Claire meets the love of her life--Scottish outlaw Jamie Fraser. Once you get sucked in by this series, hold on, because you'll have to read them all.
Of course, by now everyone and her cousin has seen the STARZ Outlander series (which I must say is well-cast and follows the story pretty well). But I'll always be glad that I was first besotted by the novels. Of course, being of the romance variety, be aware of graphic love scenes (you can always flip past those parts)!
I read Levithan's young adult novel Every Day this summer while on vacation in Malta (which was experiencing its worst heatwave in 28 years). In the comfort of our air-conditioned hotel room, I could not stop reading the adventures of "A." Imagine waking up in a new body every day, one that you can only occupy for 24 hours and then it's on to the next body at the stroke of midnight (like Cinderella on steriods!) Levithan does a masterful job creating one life after another for A to inhabit (always the same chronological age, but that's the only similarity). Every size, shape and gender is a possibility in A's world. Then he becomes Justin and he meets Justin's girlfriend Rhiannon. As A struggles to find a way to stay in touch (and in love) with Rhiannon, his life becomes even more complicated as he finds out that there may be others like himself, doomed to shift from one life to another.
Book 2 - Another Day - is not a sequel, but rather a companion novel from Rhiannon's point of view. It was interesting to see the same events from another perspective, although personally I think Levithan did a much better job of capturing A's voice than he did that of Rhiannon. It seems clear at the end of Another Day that this is bound to be at least a trilogy, so stay tuned!