Saturday, October 30, 2010

Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne

The book Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne is the story of how thirteen year-old Celeste Harris becomes a Chubby Teen model.Celeste had always been comfortable with her weight and did not let anybody try to persuade her to change, until, her Aunt Doreen enrolled her in the Miss HuskyPeach contest and Celeste was mortified. In only eighth grade she was already having trouble with losing her best friend, Sandra, to the mean girl Lively Carson, and now she had to run in a contest for a plus sized clothing store. Celeste decides that the only way to lose the competition was to lose as much weight as possible so she was no longer eligible to run. She tries making diet drinks that taste horrible, but she finally decides to simply exercise and give up her beloved chocolate cookies until the contest is over. Then, on the first fashion show for the competition she had lost so much weight that her dress fell down. After that, Celeste realized that being skinny was not a bad thing and she liked feeling healthy and confident in her skin. She ends up losing the contest but was runner-up, and decides to still lay off the cookies every once in a while be cause she liked the way she looked.

In America today what is the reason being overweight is frowned upon?

Would Celeste have been as happy about her weight loss if she would have continued to use the diet drinks rather than just exercising and eating healthy?

Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, is a fictional story about a teenager named Clay. One day, he finds a box of mysterious cassette tapes on his front porch. As he begins listening to them, he discovers that they were recorded by Hannah Baker, a girl from his school who had committed suicide only a few weeks earlier. "I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why" (7). There were seven tapes, and on them, she explains the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Each person that is on the tapes are a reason, and made an impact on her life in some way. As Clay continues to listen to the tapes, he starts learning more and more about Hannah, who was his crush, and the situations she was dealing with.

Hannah informs her listeners that she expects them to pass along the tapes once they are done listening to them. "The rules are pretty simple. There are only two. Rule number one: You listen. Number two: You pass it on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy for you" (8). Her goal was to have everyone who "caused" her death to know how and why it did. Most of the people either started rumors about her, made lies about her, or didn't treat her in the right way. However, they never thought there would be such big consequences due to such little things. Clay himself doesn't know what he could've done to hurt her, and waits uneasily until it was the tape that shared his story. In the end, however, when all of the rumors, lies, and mistreatments added up, it was just too much for Hannah to handle.

1. The people on the tapes didn't do anything that they thought would lead to a suicide. Each person's actions snowballed into another's, and their end result was what made Hannah take her own life. Do you think that it is fair that Hannah blamed these people for her suicide? Why or why not?
2. If you were in Clay's position and were partially blamed for a death, how would you handle it? Would you believe it was truely your fault? Would you pass the tapes on, or end them so that the other's didn't have to feel the blame, too?

A Rose For Emily by William Faulkner

William Faulkner's short story A Rose For Emily tells the tragic life and death of a social enigma. Faulkner begins the story after Emily has died and periodically jumps around within a 50 year time span. The townspeople of Jefferson go to her funeral, the men mostly out of respect for her revered family and the women out of curiosity to see if she was really dead. To them, Miss Emily had represented the ideal Southern belle. She was beautiful and was very high class. Faulkner then skips two years to when Miss Emily's father had died. She had loved him so much that she was unwilling to give his body over to the mortician. It takes three days before Emily concedes and gives up her father's body. Instead of believing Emily to be mentally ill, they feel sympathy for her.

After that, Colonel Sartoris comes to Emily and cancels her taxes because her house is so run down, it's not worth paying taxes on. After that, Miss Emily is rarely seen. Only her manservant is regularly seen through out town as he buys groceries. The next time they see her, Emily looks sick and gaunt. It is around then that Emily meets a man named Homer Barron who came from the North to work on building sidewalks. He became very popular in town and soon Miss Emily and him were often seen together. At first they were glad she finally had an interest in someone, though many thought she wouldn't take him seriously because he was from the North and of a lower class. Soon the townspeople believe that Emily will remain single and unmarried. They begin to pity her and poke fun at her behind her back. But Emily paid them no mind.

A year later, Emily goes to an apothecary and buys arsenic. She is even thinner than the last time they had seen her and her face was even more gaunt. When she was asked what she needed it for, Emily just ignored the druggist until he gave up and sold her the poison. The next day the town is convinced that she'll kill herself. They believe it would be best because some time earlier Homer had remarked that he liked men and that he was not a marrying man. But Emily doesn't kill herself and she begins to spend time with Homer once more. The town starts to believe it is a disgrace and have Miss Emily's kin come to live with her.

A week later, the townspeople found out that Emily had been to the jeweler's to buy a man's toilet set that had the initials H.B. in graved on each piece. They conclude that Emily and Homer are now married. So they are not surprised when Homer disappears. They believe he had gone to prepair for when Emily came to him, or he was waiting until Emily's family left. A week later they leave and Homer comes back within three days.

One evening Homer goes over to visit Emily, and that's the last time the town ever saw him. After that they barely saw Miss Emily, save for the occasional glances of her in the windows. Some time after, men are sent to her house because of a foul smell and they sprinkle lime to hide it, too scared to confront Emily.

When they see Miss Emily again, she's fat and her hair is beginning to gray. From then on, Miss Emily's front door remains closed off for about six or seven years, during which she gave china-painting lessons. But soon she quit giving lessons and her door remained closed for good. They only saw her manservant when he left for supplies or random glimpses of Emily through a downstairs window (she had blocked off the top part of her house.) And then she died in one of the downstairs rooms years later.

On the day of her showing, the curious townspeople explore her home. They wanted to explore the upstairs of her home, but out of respect, they had waited until she was buried to do it. When she finally was put into the ground, they broke down the door. The room was covered in dust and smelled terrible. There was a man's silver toilet set on the dressing table, along with a collar an tie. On a chair there was a suit, a pair of shoes, and a pair of socks. The man that owned them was on the bed. For a long time the townspeople just stood and stared at the dead man before one of them noticed the indentation of a head on the second pillow beside him. One of them picked up something from it and held it up for everyone to see. It was a gray strand of hair.


1) Do you think Emily ever regretted her decision to kill Homer?
2) In the story it is known that Emily's father drove away all of her suitors and that Homer was accused of being homosexual. What do you think made Emily kill Homer and then place him in her bridal bed?

Friday, October 29, 2010

If I am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus

If I am Missing or Dead is about Janine Latus, and the story of her life growing up, becoming an adult, dealing with domestic violence and the struggles she had gone through up to this point. She grew up with a large family, she had four sisters, Jane, Pat, Amy, and Janette, which is Janines deceased twin sister. Throughout her life her family was always there for her with an exception of her father. Janine moved away from her family after a couple weeks of turning 18, she could not take her fathers attitude towards her anymore. So she took off but still kept in touch with her mother and sisters. Her youngest sister Amy always looked up to Janine and when she moved out it broke her heart. After graduating high school Janine went to college and graduated and went to community colleges and got many degrees and found the major she loved, journalism. She then gained a boyfriend Micheal.

Their relationship was perfect, until they went on a ski trip Janine made a ungrateful comment and Micheal blasted her many times in the face and ribs. He apologized, she took him back. Janine left Micheal after another incident like the last and called her collegue Dr.Kurt to look at her ribs, he determined that she had a broken nose and ribs and nothing much could be done. He apologized and throughout work days there was innocent flirting between the two. Soon enough her collegue tells her Kurt is married. "He's married, you know, his wife is pregnant".Later on Kurt says he will move out, divorce his wife, and be with Janine when the baby is six months. She is happy as can be, she has a family and gained two step kids, she is truly in love with Kurt, she marries him. After a while she makes him upset by looking at other men and he hits her.She is disappointed that this relationship might be like her last. She calls her sister every so often to ask for advice and see how she is doing.

Amy is married to an abusive alcoholic. He has lost all of his jobs and Amy realizes she cant keep paying all of their bills plus her husbands expenses, after a couple years Amy tells her self she has to divorce him and it is the right thing to do. She is lonely and battling obesity. She tries her best to lose weight she conquers her goals when she nearly loses 50 pounds. One day Janine calls her and Amy says she has met someone online and she offered for him to live with her, his name is Ron Ball. When talking to Amy, Janine thinks everything is fine. Amy tells her they leave love notes around the house and cuddle before amy goes to work but they are not involved physically and that he respects her too much. On the other hand Kurt and Janine are going through a so called "rough patch" in their marriage. He wanted her to be sexier and wear uncomfortable, and revealing clothes in pubilc, he also suggested she get a breat augmentation.

To make him happy she does everything he asks. But after awhile Janine gets sick of the pushing around, jealousy, and abuse. She Talks to Amy for the last time a couple days later, "He said he was going to kill me, but he was just kidding, i told him it wasn"t funny", says Amy. Janine tells Amy about her wanting to leave Kurt for the sake of their adopted daughter. She follows through, after all those excuses of "he loves me" and "he just wants to make sure i love him", she divorces him. A couple days later she gets a call from her sister Jane, she asks if Janine knows where Amy is or if she has talked to her because she hasn't been to work in three days. The family reunites and tries to find what happened to Amy when they come upon a mysterious, tell all note in her desk drawer.

1.Why do you think Domestic Violence is still an issue in our society today?

2.What do you think happened to Amy?

3.Why do you think Janine and Amy both leap from guy to guy after a divorce?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The story The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks begins in a rest home, where an elderly patien is telling us his story. Every morning he visits a women who often does not remember him and reads to her from a worn notebook containing the memories of his life and love. He hopes by reading her these memories that she will finally remember who he is, but she does not. The next part of the book takes place in 1946, Noah Callhoun has just returned from war and has bought his dream house in New Bern. This is his way of forgetting his past, busying himself in the resoring the house. After this, the story flashes back to when Noah meets his love Allie Nelson in 1935. Allie is 15 and Noah is 17. Throughout the summer they fall in love and it is clear that these two were ment for each other. When Allie returns home after the summer in New Bern, they loose touch. To move on, Noah enlists in the army. Back in 1946, Noah is living succesfully and Allie is engaged to a succesful lawyer. When Allie reads an article about Noah restoring the house he has recently bought, she decides that she has to go visit him back in New Bern. After spending two days together Allie has to return to her life and the man she is going to marry. The next quarter of the book, shows an elderly couple and their undying love. This elderly couple is Allie and Noah and is the same couple from the beginning of the book. Allie has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimers and often does not remember the life she shared with Noah. The novel does have somewhat of a bittersweet ending because sometimes Allie does remember the life she shared with him due to his undying love and the faith he has by returning everyday to read to her.

Discussion Questions
1) Do you think it was right for Allie to visit Noah, her former love, even though she was engaged to a different man?
2) If you were Noah trying to get Allie to remember you, would you ever give up or still keep trying to get her to remember like he does in the novel?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking For Alaska by John Green is the story of Miles Halter, a teenager who leaves for boarding school in search of the "Great Perhaps." The novel is split into two sections, Before and After. In Before, Miles meets his roommate Chip Martin, a genius called the Colonel. The Colonel nicknames him Pudge, ironically because of his lanky figure, and introduces him to Alaska Young. Alaska is beautiful and rebellious and Pudge quickly falls in love with her, but she has a boyfriend in college. Nonetheless, the three become close; the Colonel and Alaska show Pudge a new sense of danger through their mischief and tendency to drink and smoke on campus. Alongside two of their friends, they participate in a prank war against the privileged students in the school. After a prank, the five hide out in a barn and play a drinking game, during which Alaska reveals a guilt that she carried throughout her life: she watched her mother die of an aneurysm when she was eight years old, too shocked and panicked to call for help. From her confession Pudge realizes, "And when she said she failed everyone, I knew whom she meant. It was the everything and the everyone of her life" (120). She blames herself for her mother's death. Later, Alaska and the Colonel get drunk while playing Truth or Dare with Pudge. Alaska kisses Pudge in the midst of their game, but soon after she falls asleep. She is awoken by a phone call, from which she returns in a state of hysteria, crying and apologizing. She tells Pudge and the Colonel to distract the dean of the school, and they instantly obey without thinking, before she drives off campus extremely intoxicated.

After begins with the next day, when the dean announces that Alaska had been killed in a car accident. The entire school is devastated, and Pudge and the Colonel are, on top of their distress over the loss, horrified and ashamed that they contributed to their friend's death. While the Colonel blames it on his annoyance at Alaska's moodiness, Pudge admits to himself, "That night I let her go because she told me to. It was that simple for me, and that stupid" (149). In an attempt to deal with the overwhelming remorse, the two search for answers to the mystery of Alaska's life and death. They pull a final prank in her honor, and in the process of grief Pudge discovers a truth about his "Great Perhaps" and the meaning of escaping suffering in life.

1. Pudge takes great interest in famous people's last words. He believes that what people say in their final moments can determine the type of person that they were. He questions his theory at the realization that he could not even understand Alaska just by knowing her as well as he had, so maybe last words could not truly define a person. Do you think someone's character can be revealed in the last things they say?

2. Alaska herself was fascinated by the last words of Simón Bolívar: "How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!" Alaska compares the labyrinth, symbolic of suffering, to life; she felt that the way out was "straight and fast," through death. At the end of the book Pudge determines that the way to escape suffering is to forgive in order to continue living despite regrets. Who do you agree with?

A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah

In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael tells his story of his childhood and everything he went through. The book begins in Sierra Leone, in Africa. Ishmael is just a twelve year old boy when him and his brother, Junior, and friend set out for a music contest. As they leave, their village of Matrru Jong is attacked by the rebel soldiers. The village is destroyed leaving everyone who couldn't escape dead. The boys run for their lives and after hours they find three boys they know from their village. The boys make this journey together stopping at empty villages and find food where ever they can. The gruesome reality that these boys face is heartbreaking. Dead bodies are everywhere and the violence and cruelty is horrendous. The boys carry on and learn that their families are still alive, sadly one of the boys dies from unknown reasons. Junior has been taken by the rebels. The boys travel to find their families, just before they get to the village the rebels attack killing everyone. Ishmael will never see his family again. The boys then arrive in Yele, where they join the army to fight the rebels. There they are influenced by drugs, guns, and violence. On day the UNICEF takes many of the boys from Yele to a rehabilitation center, Benin Home. It is in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Over eight months, he recovers and goes to live with his uncle, the only family he has left. Benin Home recommended Ishmael to go to New York for a United Nations project. He does there and meets Laura Simms, a professional storyteller. After the convention he goes back home and shortly after his uncle dies. The new president of Sierra Leone announces that the city is in chaos and Ishmael fear of being a child soldier again. He calls Laura Simms and asks her if he can stay with her in New York. She says yes and he makes it safely to New York. Today, Ishmael is educating people about the harsh reality he had to deal with. He is able to talk to other families and children that have been in his situations and try to make an end to forced child military. Ishmael Beah is now a long way gone from his old life and fortunately one of the few to survive. He made it through all the inhumane violence and cruelty of the war in Sierra Leone.

1. If you were Ishmael Beah, how would you feel having been through all the things he has gone through? Explain why.

2. Imagine never seeing your family again, do you think you would be able to make it through? Do you think Ishmael could have lived throught the months and months without his friends?

White Fang by Jack London

White Fang by Jack London is the story of a sled dog named White Fang, who lived in the Arctic North. When White Fang was born, he was taken care by his mother, who was a wolf (his father was a dog so White Fang was half wolf half dog), and began learning about the world around him in several hunting experiences. Still early in his puppy-hood, White Fang was separated from his mother and was forced to be a sled dog. Because of constant bullying from a fellow dog named Lip-Lip, White Fang became very aloof and secluded, and vicious too. His master did not help this as he often beat him. White Fang grew up to be the nimblest dog any man ever saw; his amazing strength and speed made him an excellent fighter. Still early in his life, White Fang's first master sold him to a man named Beauty Smith. Smith was extremely cruel to White Fang as he would beat him and taunt him relentlessly. He kept White Fang in a cage, unless he was making White Fang fight, and allowed him to be constantly taunted turning White Fang into an extremely vicious dog. With his excellency in fighting, White Fang won almost all of his fights. He won all fights except one. It was his last. White Fang was caught by the neck by a bull dog who was slowly closing his grip to reach White Fang's vein. Just before life left White Fang, a mysterious man ran into the fight and broke it up. He condemned all the men present as "Beasts" and he took White Fang from Beauty Smith. This man, Scott, went about patiently soothing the emotional wounds White Fang had received in the past. White Fang became very close to Scott because Scott gave him something he had never experienced in his entire life: Love. Scott took White Fang down south to America and White Fang lived out the rest of his life very happily on a farm.

1. I think everyone would agree that forcing dogs to fight is wrong, but would you consider it wrong if a dog is punished by a beating after it has done something wrong on it's sled team? If so, is there a punishment more suitable? Explain.

2. White Fang was transformed by the patience of Scott. How hard do you think it is to respect any human after a lifetime of overly cruel abuse? Do you think you could bring yourself to do so?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs by Laurie Graff

In this book, the main character, Karrie Kline is an actor. Karrie appears on commercials or does radio commercials. Being left by her father at a young age, she has never truly experienced the love of a man. Though her mother remarries to a nice man named Harry, it is just not the same as having her own father. Throughout this novel, the reader experiences the trials and tribulations of a single, middle aged woman who struggles to find herself.
While being a youngster, Karrie's Grandma Rose always told Karrie she deserved a normal life, with a good father and a safe home. Her granmother also told her that, when she grew up, she would find a nice man to settle down with. Well here she is, thirty years old and spending Rosh Hashana with her boyfriend David, seems normal right? Wrong. David is a first year surgical intern and spends most of his off call time sleeping. To make things more complicated, David's father becomes deathly ill. David and Karrie have a very cloudy, distant and ambivalent relationship, which unfortunately leads to a break-up for Karrie.
Luckily for Karrie, she meets a new man named Roman. For the two of them, the relationship is pure bliss. As a couple, they just worked. But then reality came knocking and Roman remembered a sweet-heart back in his home town named Julie, who he decided to marry while seeing Karrie. In the middle of the book, Roman comes back to Karrie, but that's not all. Roman sees Karrie while he is on a business trip and incidently, Karrie becomes his love affair. With promises to leave his wife, Roman and Karrie pick up right where they got off and evidently they end with the same conclusion. Roman will stay with Julie.
And at the conclusion of the book, Karrie runs into a man named Jeff who she thinks they belong together. Somehow, when they first meet, Karrie gets this nagging feeling like Jeff still has some unresloved issues with his ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately, this means Jeff needs to take a break from their relationship. Almost a year later, Jeff writes Karrie a letter explianing everything and asking if Karrie would like to see him. Karrie decides to go with her judgement and not even bother to give Jeff the time of day. In conclusion, Karrie ends the book the same way she began it, single.

Do you think Karrie is ok with being single?

Do you think Karrie is searching for a relationship, or is she just going with the tide and doing whatever comes along?

Do you think Karrie will ever find Mr. Right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

All the Days of Her Life, Lurlene McDaniel

All the Days of Her Life is an
interesting drama about a young
girl's life that will keep your eyes
glued to the pages. Lacey Duval, the
main character of the story, is a 16-year-old girl dealing with the dramas of high school while trying to hide a big secret from the rest of the world. She has been a diabetic since the age of eleven. She has to give herself shots of insulin twice a day everyday and hates the whole business. "The needle made her feel like a prisoner, even though her doctor always said it made her life easier."(1) Lacey feels trapped. There is nothing she can do about her parent's divorse, the death of her of friend katie, or her disease. Lacy is also driven to become part of the "in crowd" in school to win the attention of the handsome, most popular Todd larson. To be like the other girls, Lacey feels like she needs to be just as skinny as them. She believes to be pretty and win Todd's attention she must be slim and have the perfect body. Lacey started skipping her insulin shots to drop some weight. She also started to become bulemic and anorexic at the same time. As a diabetic this was especially unhealthy for Lacey, and though she saw the results, she began to feel them too. One day at play practice, Lacey passed out and was rushed to the hospital. She was okay, but it almost cost her her life. When she had to return to school she had to face the students who all knew her secrets and what she had done. When she came back, she realized who her true friends really were. She did not win Todd over, but her true friends threw her a welcoming back party and were all glad she was back, they did not care about her secret. Her best friend, Terri, who was there for her all along told her nothing was worth losing her life over. "She'd been given a second chance for all the days of her life."(153)
1. Do you think that kids really have these types of pressures in school, to be part of the "in crowed?"
2. When something happens to a person that is life threatening, we begin to realize what is important in life. Has anything in your life ever made you stop and think, whats more imprtant?

Don't Choke by Gary Player

Don't Choke by Gary Player is an autobiography of a man going beyond his wildest dreams and achieving his lifetime goals. Gary Player is a successful golfer and businessman. South Africa was his home and he traveled to the United States to become a professional golfer. He won eighteen Majors in his golf career and continues to help underprivileged kids live normal and healthy lives through charities and fundraisers that he has set up. This book takes the reader through his successes and shows the great lessons he learned in his life due to his struggles. These difficulties shaped who he is and helped him overcome the physical and mental obstacles of life. "We learn the most through our mistakes, not our successes," writes Player, making the point that mistakes do not have to ruin us if we do not let them. In his book, he goes off the idea of individualism - the idea that a person can go as far as their will takes them. Gary Player grew up in the poorer part of South Africa and went further than anyone believed possible. He writes how he was able to achieve this success and states, "You have to stay hungry. No matter how much success you have achieved, you have to keep wanting to improve." Gary player shows all of his outlooks on life and how to go about it. He backs up these ideas with his personal experiences in golf and life. Eighteen Majors is impressive in itself, but he also went on to succeed in helping people live better lives through various charities he has set up. Golf is a game, but the things you learn from it stick with you and help you through the journey of life.

1. Gary Player says golf is a lesson in life. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

2. Do you believe any other sport, activity, or experience can teach life long lessons? Which ones?

A Walk To Remember , Nicholas Sparks

A Walk to Remember takes place in 1958 in a stereotypical small Southern town. It is Landon Carter's senior year at Beaufort high and he is in desperate need of a date for the homecoming dance. He is not the schools most popular guy that would be his best friend, Eric Hunter. With only a week left before the dance , Landon decides to ask Jamie Sulivan, a girl in his drama class. Landon is extremely nervous about his friends reaction to him taking Jamie. "Jamie didn't care much about outward appearances, because she was always looking for things like inner beauty, and i suppose that's part of the reason she looked the way she did," says Landon(Sparks 18). Jamie does not spend time at Cecils's Diner, the usual hang out of high school students. She is more concerned about visiting orphans and studying her Bible. To Landon's surprise taking her to the dance is not too terrible. He realizes their really is a normal person behind the bible. Even though he has a decent time at the dance, he still never wants to be seen with her again due to the embarrassment from all of his friends. Little does Landon know Jamie is going to be one of the most influential people in his life. "When i was seventeen, my life changed forever," says Landon(Sparks 201).
1. Have you ever experienced a situation like Landon's were you would not be friends with someone because of what your friends might think?
2. How do you think people would treat Jamie if she attended Mentor?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

"All Quiet on the Western Front" takes place on Germany's western front towards the end of World War 1. The story is narrated by a young German infantry soldier named Paul Bäumer. Paul and a group of his friends were "persuaded" to join the war by stirring nationalistic speeches glorifying war and making it out to be a wonderful event, given by their professor Kantorek. Though before long Paul and his friends realize that this is anything but true.
The first of the group of friends to die was Franz Kemmerich. Kemmerich dies not directly from wounds in the war, but a fatal gangrene infection from the terrible conditions the soldiers must endure on a daily basis. Before dying, Franz tells Paul that he wants his prized pair of boots to be given to a friend from their group Muller. This is when Paul learns to disconnect himself from his emotions in order to survive the war. Paul also learns from this how cruel war truly can be.
Later in the book when Paul and his comrades are sitting down to some stew made by a friend, the group discusses war. They believe that instead of going to war and losing hundreds of thousands of innocent lives for petty reason, the leaders of feuding nations should fight to the death to settle their differences.“The war has ruined us for everything. We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm" (87), is spoken by Paul. He is saying that if he does survive the war, he and his friends will not be able to live normal lives. The war has changed who they are and has destroyed any chances of them functioning normally in society.
After a short leave, Paul goes back to war and is caught behind enemy lines. This is when the climax of the book happens. When Paul is hiding in a mortar shell hole, a french soldier jumps in next to him without seeing Paul. Paul instinctively takes out his knife and cuts the Frenchman's throat. Although Paul has probably taken many lives during his fighting before this, this kill makes Paul feel a deep remorse. Before, Paul could not see the killing and damage he was doing to other soldiers, but now, he has personally seen a fellow soldier be killed. Paul reasons that he and the French soldier are the same because they are both in a war that they do not want to be in.
The theme of "All Quiet on the Western Front" is simply war is hell. Every single one of Paul's original group of friends dies by the end of the novel, including Paul himself. War does not care who dies or who lives, it just exists to kill. The day Paul dies, a field report is sent out reading only one sentence: "All quiet on the Western Front," as to say one death is an insignificant loss in war.

1.) Throughout the entire book, war is portrayed as a horrible thing that is an unnecessary abomination. Do you believe war is needed. If yes, why? If no, how can feuding countries settle their differences?
2.) "Now if we go back we will be weary, broken, burnt out, rootless, and without hope. We will not be able to find our ways any more (294)." Paul is describing what his life will be like after the war. Do you believe that soldiers after a war will be able to function normally in society after witnessing pain, suffering, and death?

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Summer is a great getaway for many people. Its the escape from school, work and issues for its the feeling of freedom and warmth. Summer is more then just a time for Belly, its her life. Every summer Belly, with her mother and brother, escapes and goes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer for her life. This is not just a summer house to her though this is her home away from home, with her favorite people there: Susannah, her mothers best friend, and her two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Conrad, Belly believes, is her true love. She has been chasing him for her entire life. This summer, like every summer, she hopes will be different and he will finally let her catch him. This summer is different though, Belly has matured and the boys, Jeremiah and Conrad including a new friend she meets, Cam, takes notice in these changes. Suddently this summer has become differnt. She is feeling somethings special towards Jeremiah, who has aways been like a brother to her, and met a new guy who she also has feeling towards but Belly's heart still belongs to Conrad. Belly isnt the only person changing this summer though. When Susanah gets sick with cancer again she trys to hide it from her sons but they find out. They deal with the situation in differnt ways though. Jeremiah tries to get closer to Belly but Conrad just becomes rebelious and hurts everyone who loves him emotionally. Belly must decide to give up her love on Conrad and go for his brother, Jeremiah, who cares for her very much or keep true to her heart and stick it out with Conrad, continuously trying to get closer to him as he pushes her away.

1) Do you think if a parent gets seriously sick they should hide it from there kids in hope they can enjoy there possibly last summer together like Susanah did or be upfront and tell them? Why?

2) What advice would you give Belly in which guy to choose: Jermiah who is sweet and cares for Belly very much or Conard, his brother, who Belly's heart seems to belong too but always ends up hurting her?

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key is about a Jewish family that is taken by the French police at night. Sarah wants to protect her little brother so she locks him in a bedroom cupboard and tells him she will be back for him. Sarah gets split up from her family and is put into a concentration camp. She meets a girl named Rachel there and one night they decide they are going to escape. On their way out, they got caught but they realized they knew this guard and he knew them to so he decided to let them go. They ran as far as they could and found a house that was in the forest. They slept outside over night and the owners of the house found them in the morning and the girls told the owners everything that had just happened to them. The man and woman knew the girls were not allowed to be there but they let them stay anyways. Rachel got very sick and the owners called a doctor but the police also came because they heard that Rachel ran away and they were also looking for Sarah. They never found Sarah because the owners hid her but the doctor wouldn't help Rachel so she ended up dying. Sarah knew she needed to go back and find her brother so the owners took her back to her old house. There was a new family that lived there now but they let Sarah look in the cupboard and when Sarah opened it she saw the remains of her brother. She was hoping that he would have escaped but he stayed and waited for Sarah to come back for him. Sarah had lost all of her family and friends so all she had left were the people she lived with. When she got older she moved away and never contacted them again. Eventually they learned that Sarah had died in a car accident but they thought she had killed herself because she couldn't deal with the pain and memories anymore.

1. Why do you think the guard had let the girls go? Do you think he felt guilty about how everyone was being treated in the concentration camps?

2. Do you think Sarah stopped talking to the people that raised her because she wanted to forget all those bad memories she had from being with them?