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Must Read lists were a challenge started by Carrie at There is a Book for That. She shares on her 2019 intro post:

“For anyone out there with a To Be Read list that seems like it will never end, this challenge is for you! This is all about making your own personal list of books that you want to commit to reading in 2019.

10? 20? 30? more? It’s up to you

Books can be published in any year, be from any genre, and from any category: adult, YA, MG, Graphics, NF, etc. .  All that matters is that they are books you want to be sure not to forget as that TBR list continues to grow! These aren’t the only titles you will read over the year, but a list to help guide your reading. A list to lure you back to a reading path you have set for yourself. Many, many new books will tempt you! Go ahead and read them but having a list like this ensures you will not forget some titles you were determined to read. That’s the intention and spirit of this challenge.”

Here at Unleashing Readers, we focus on novels and call our Must Read lists our HOPE TO lists 🙂

Without further adieu, here are our lists!


The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Completed February 3, 2019

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi Completed January 27, 2019

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Read: 2 of 16


I may have gone a bit crazy this year, and I know that I probably won’t get to all of these amazing titles, but I couldn’t cut any once I made this list. (Anyone who has been an UR reader for a while knows that I am not good at narrowing down lists.) This led to my list having FIFTY titles. I cultivated titles from my Kindle, my students, and my Goodreads TBR to complete the list. We’ll see what I can do this year!

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Chomp (and other Hiaasen books) by Carl Hiaasen

Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

Dash and Lilly’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan by Gia Cribbs Completed 1/13/19

Downsiders by Neal Shusterman

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Fallout by Todd Strasser

First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel Completed 1/19/19

I Survived books by Lauren Tarshis

Killing November by Adriana Mather

Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (and its sequels) by Chris Colfer
The Wishing Spell Completed
The Enchantress Returns Completed 2/9/19

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu Completed 2/4/19

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak by Pablo Cartaya

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina Completed 2/10/19

#MurderFunding by Gretchen McNeil

Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Nevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage by 48 Authors

Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd

Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo Completed 2/8/19

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Red Queen (and its sequels) by Victoria Aveyard

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Right As Rain by Lindsey Stoddard

Rowling’s Novellas and Short Stories from Pottermore

Rules of the Road (and other Bauer books recommended to me by a student) by Joan Bauer

The Seasons of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Selection (and its sequels) by Kiera Cass

The Selkie of San Francisco by Todd Calgi Gallicano

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Surface Tension by Mike Mullin

Survivor’s Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat

Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzner

Tradition by Brendan Kiely

Two Can Keep a Secret by Kerry M. McManus

Warcross (and Wildcard) by Marie Lu
Warcross Completed 1/26/19

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

Read: 7 of 50

What are your #mustreadin2019 titles? 


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#MustReadIn2018 is hosted by Carrie Gelson at There Is A Book For That:

“For anyone out there with a To Be Read list that seems like it will never end, this challenge is for you! This is all about making your own personal list of books (5? 10? 20? 30? more?) that you commit to reading in 2016. Books can be published in any year, be from any genre, and be from any category (adult, YA, MG, Graphics, NF, etc.).  As your TBR list grows, you promise you will get to the books on this list.”

To see our complete lists and our rationale, see our original post, and to see our other updates visit our Spring and Fall posts. Today we’re happy to share our final update on our 2018 lists!

Kellee’s #mustreadin2018

I have not read any from the list since our Fall Update so no reviews today, but I am still so happy with my progress this year!

Laurie Halse Anderson
Vet Volunteers #1: Fight for Life 6/14/2018
Vet Volunteers #2: Homeless 6/19/18
Vet Volunteers #3: Trickster 6/19/18
Twisted 6/20/18
Vet Volunteers #4: Manatee Blues
Vet Volunteers #5: Say Goodbye 
Vet Volunteers #6: Storm Rescue 7/27/18
Vet Volunteers #7: Teacher’s Pet 7/27/18
Vet Volunteers #8: Trapped 8/5/18

Joseph Bruchac
Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story 7/21/18
“Choke” from Guys Read: Sports Pages 7/21/18

Eric Gansworth
“Don’t Pass Me By” from Fresh Ink 2/26/2018

Dan Gemeinhart
Some Kind of Courage 
Good Dog 4/28/2018

Alan Gratz
Prisoner B-3087 2/8/2018

Mitali Perkins
Open Mic edited by Mitali Perkins including her story “Three-Pointer” 3/17/2018
Tiger Boy 5/15/2018
Rickshaw Girl 5/13/2018

Gae Polisner
The Memory of Things 1/22/2018

Rick Riordan
Reread The Lost Hero 7/13/18
Son of Neptune 7/29/18
Mark of Athena 8/16/18
House of Hades 9/1/18

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
“Confessions of a Black Geek” from Open Mic 3/17/2018
Two Naomis 3/27/2018

Eliot Schrefer
The Deadly Sister  2/11/2018
Mez’s Magic 2/25/2018
Orphaned 7/6/18

Laurel Snyder
Swan 1/6/2018
The Longest Night 1/6/2018
Forever Garden 1/11/2018
Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher
Any Which Wall 1/13/2018
Seven Stories Up 1/14/2018
Bigger Than a Breadbox (reread) 1/15/2018
Good night, laila tov 1/16/2018
Orphan Island 1/17/2018

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed 7/19/18

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan 7/15/18

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy 8/12/18

The False Prince trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The False Prince 3/4/2018
The Runaway King 3/13/2018
The Shadow Throne 4/3/2018

The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer
Started, but then my library loan expired. Will continue listening as soon as it is available.

Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn 1/27/2018

A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket
The Bad Beginning 2/14/2018

Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta
Decided to wait until more of the series is out.

Solo by Kwame Alexander 8/18/2018

Stung series by Bethany Wiggins
Stung 4/1/2018
Cured 4/4/2018

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman 1/5/2018

What Girls are Made of by Elana K. Arnold 7/25/18

Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu
Young Elites 9/27/18

Completed: 22 out of 33

Ricki’s #mustreadin2018

There’s a chance that my brother-in-law won’t read this post for the third year in a row and make fun of me for over-promising and underdelivering on my must read list. Ha!

When I create a list like this, I have a hard time reading the books because they feel like requirements. It really helps remind me that requiring reading (even of ourselves) is not the best practice. Instead, I end up circling around the books and reading other books instead. The funny part? For eight of the books on the list, I read half of the book. The eight books are still on my nightstand. I enjoyed them and was forced to read a different book that I assigned my students that week for classes.

The good news is that next semester, I am not teaching my YAL course, so I have much more time that I won’t need to reread YA texts that I love. Instead, I will be able to focus on the books I add to my #mustreadin2019 list! I am terrible at this list!

I read and loved Blood Water Paint and Ghost Boys since the final update. Perhaps I need to finish the others because I know I will love them. There are three or four that I will be moving to my next list. I am still sticking with 16, and I think I’ll actually make it this time. Other authors need to avoid publishing enticing books, please.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough December 2018

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes December 2018

Completed: 2 out of 16

Have you read any of these titles? What’s on your #mustreadin2018 list?


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Happy 2019! 

This year, I reread more books than any previous year. I am not including the billions of pictures books that I reread to my children in that statistic, either. 🙂 But for this list, I am focusing on my favorite reads of 2018. These are books that will stick to my bones for years to come!


Favorite Books Marketed Toward Young Adults

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, Edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

The Astonishing Color of After by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Pride by Ibi Zoboi


Favorite Books Marketed Toward Upper Elementary and Middle Grade

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya


Favorite Picture Books

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Drawn Together by Minh Lê

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoët

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

The Wall in the Middle of the Book by John Agee

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell


Which were your favorite reads of 2018?

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Happy 2019! 

I had one of my best reading years ever! My GoodReads goal was 300 which I exceeded!

I read 415 books this year!
(Though I will admit GoodReads adding the ability to add rereads really helped with the total; however, I was quite inconsistent with it– I marked re-reads sometimes and other times I didn’t, so I don’t know how accurate the count is, specifically picture books…)


It was almost exactly split between picture books and non-picture books with my novel, etc. total being a bit over 200.
My average rating for the year is 4.2 and my top shelves were: realistic fiction, nonfiction, Unleashing Readers, Trent 4-5 years, middle grade, audiobook, mg-ya picture books, picture book, and read to Trent. 

Today, I want to highlight my favorite reads from the year by sharing my 5 star reads from 2018
(the visual includes all while the list includes only newly read in 2018 books): 

Click on the photo above to see my 2018 Goodreads shelf to learn about any of these titles. If I’ve reviewed the book on Unleashing Readers, I’ve also hyperlinked it in the list. 

Picture Books & Early Readers (nonfiction & fiction)

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
Windows by Julia Denos
Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
Lights! Camera! Alice!: The Trilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
My Kite is Stuck! And Other Stories by Salina Yoon
Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon
Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude by Josh Funk
Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford
Square by Mac Barnett
Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
Mission Defrostable by Josh Funk 
What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers
Masterpiece Robot and the Ferocious Valerie Knick-Knack by Frank Tra
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët
A Place for Pluto by Stef Wade
Cute as an Axolotl: Discovering the Worlds Most Adorable Animals by Jess Keating
Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
One of a Kind by Chris Gorman
The Dinosaur Expert by Margaret McNamara
Memphis, Martin, and Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan
A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey
Ruby’s Sword by Jacqueline Veissid
Brave Molly by Brooke Boynton Hughes
Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
We Can’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins
Earthrise: Apollo 8 and the Photo That Changed the World by James Gladstone
Sun!: One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty
The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk
Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayred
Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi

Middle Grade

False Prince trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Granted by John David Anderson
Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Bat & the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold
Track Series: Sunny & Lu by Jason Reynolds
Breakout by Kate Messner
Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart
Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth
Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamura by Pablo Cartaya
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher
Garbage Island by Fred Koehler
The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez

Young Adult

American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner
Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles
Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
What Girls are Made of by Elana K. Arnold
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Here to Stay by Sara Farizan
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Internment by Samira Ahmed
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
Odd One Out by Nic Stone
Dry by Neal Shusterman
Another Day by David Levithan

Graphic Novels

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
The Divided Earth by Erin Faith Hicks
I Am Ghandi: A Graphic Biography of a Hero edited by Brad Meltzer
Illegal by Eoin Colfer
Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Monsters Beware by Jorge Aguirre
Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens by John Green
HiLo #4: Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick
Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable
Peter & Ernesto: The Lost Sloths by Graham Annable
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier


Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
Chasing King’s Killer by James L. Swanson
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette
Eavesdropping on Elephants: How Listening Helps Conservation by Patricia Newman
The Great Rhino Rescue by Patricia Newman
National Geographic: History’s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynka

All of these books are highly recommended by me, so if you haven’t read them and they interest you, they won’t let you down 🙂 Happy reading!

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We are starting In-Class Book Clubs in my Advanced Reading class this week, so students were able to browse 50 or so books that I have class sets of and choose the one that they are interested in being in a book clubs about. Here are the titles they chose this year:

6th Grade Class

8th Grade Class

7th Grade Class

I’m excited for the discussions these books will bring!
I’ll share after how I changed In-Class Book Clubs since last year and how it went!

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#MustReadIn2018 is hosted by Carrie Gelson at There Is A Book For That. We first shared our lists in January, and are excited to share our updates today:

Kellee’s #mustreadin2018 Update

As of the Spring Update in April, I’d read 12 of my 33 on my list; as of today, I am at 21 of 33–not too bad!

Laurie Halse Anderson
Vet Volunteers #1: Fight for Life 6/14/2018
Vet Volunteers #2: Homeless 6/19/18
Vet Volunteers #3: Trickster 6/19/18
Twisted 6/20/18
Vet Volunteers #4: Manatee Blues
Vet Volunteers #5: Say Goodbye 
Vet Volunteers #6: Storm Rescue 7/27/18
Vet Volunteers #7: Teacher’s Pet 7/27/18
Vet Volunteers #8: Trapped 8/5/18

Vet Volunteers is my new comfort series. I’ll definitely be reading more when I have time!

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson is phenomenal. I don’t know why it took me so long to read it; what a great look at the twisted world of boy teenage years and trying to be a “normal” family.

Joseph Bruchac
Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story 7/21/18
“Choke” from Guys Read: Sports Pages 7/21/18

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Code by Joseph Bruchac: Navajo Code Talkers should be part of common knowledge. They are heroes. And this picture book biography of Chester Nez is a wonderful introduction or enrichment of this knowledge.

I love Bruchac’s story of finding strength and overcoming bullying in Choke

Dan Gemeinhart
Some Kind of Courage 
Good Dog 4/28/2018

Dan Gemeinhart is another author who I am starting to realize is one I can trust to write a story I would love. Some Kind of Courage was some kind of book–just amazing. Wow! And the narrator for the audiobook was perfect! I cried of sadness and happiness while reading. Just so many emotions! Wow!

Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart is such an interesting look at the after life, and be on the look out for a tie-over from The Honest Truth.

Mitali Perkins
Tiger Boy 5/15/2018
Rickshaw Girl 5/13/2018

Mitali Perkins writes stories that all will connect to but will also give insight into lives that are very different than ours.

Rick Riordan
Reread The Lost Hero 7/13/18
Son of Neptune 7/29/18
Mark of Athena 8/16/18
House of Hades 9/1/18

I still love Percy Jackson better (I talked with a student on Friday, and we talked about the change of point of view and how the first person POV of the first series really sucked you in more), but man! Rick Riordan can write some epic stories! I cannot wait to see how this ends.

Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer

Have you read everything Eliot Schrefer has written? I have, and I cannot tell you enough to go get his books if you haven’t read them. His newest, coming out in September, is another brilliant book, and I need to tell you how unique and thought provoking it is! Fans of his and new Schrefer readers will not be disappointed. I’ll be reviewing it soon, too.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Amal Unbound reminded me so much of Sold, and I am so happy a middle grade story like this exists. Told in conjunction with other books that share stories stories that give windows into people that may be different than us, our world is going to be such a better place!

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amina’s Voice is a special middle grade novel about finding your voice in the midst of hate.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I LOVED Dumplin’, and I cannot wait to read Puddin’. I wish Will had existed when I was a kid.

Solo by Kwame Alexander

Solo is such an interesting look into a life of privilege that wasn’t what the protagonist thought it was. It also tackles poetry, addiction, family, adoption, teen pregnancy, and much more. It’ll be a great title to discuss at my faculty book club!

What Girls are Made of by Elana K. Arnold

What Girls are Made of by Elana K. Arnold is a book that I am so glad exists. It has so much that needs to be talked about that isn’t. It reminds me of Forever for modern day. And the Author’s Note at the end of the book is one of my favorite things ever written.

Ricki’s #mustreadin2018 Update

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

August 2018

This book is breath-taking. It is well worth the hype. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it highly! Everyone I know who has read this book raves about it. I loved this book so much that I added it to my Teaching Reading syllabus!

Piecing Me Together by Reneé Watson

July 2018

Yessss to this book. I added it to my Adolescents’ Literature course readings, and I will be rereading it again next week. It made me think about aspects of privilege in ways I hadn’t considered.

How is your #mustreadin2018 progress going?


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