New Book Read Alike Recommendations by Jillian Heise

When the call went out for volunteers for December guest posters, I volunteered and was told that they had a new book review spot available. The only problem was I had trouble figuring out which new book I’ve read recently to select, and since I’m never good at limiting my choices when it comes to books, I asked if I could do a little bit of a different take on a review post with a “If you liked this, try this…” read alike format. Thankfully Donalyn said that was okay, which is good because this is so often how I recommend books in my classroom to my students. What kind of book are you in the mood for? What book(s) have you really enjoyed recently? Based on the answers to those two questions, I would recommend this way…


If you liked I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, try The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (11/5/13)

This psychological thriller was more than I thought it would be. Suspenseful, intense, creepy, engaging…it was a page-turner for sure. I can see my students getting into this one. In fact, they’re already wanting to read it after seeing my reaction to the big reveal at the end in class. They all wanted to know what book made me gasp out loud with a “No way!” Student response has already been very positive.


If you liked Fracture by Megan Miranda, try Six Months Later by Natalie Richards (10/1/13)

Take a suspenseful medical mystery type of story, the stress of SATs, high school friendships, and throw in some romance and you get an engaging read. I liked the characters a lot, was creeped out when I should be, was surprised at some of the twists, and was rooting for them to figure it all out. And the writing is beautifully descriptive in a realistic high school voice. The plotting is well-paced to increase suspense and slowly reveal memories that screech toward an ending that shows the importance of relationships.


If you liked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins & Divergent by Veronica Roth, try The Testing (book 1 – 6/4/13) & Independent Study (book 2 – 1/7/14) by Joelle Charbonneau

the testing independent study

An engrossing, thrilling, intriguing, suspenseful story set in a well-built future world. An homage to those modern dystopian hits that have come before, but with it’s own twist. Fills the hole for a new dystopian trilogy (with only a six month wait between titles!) for those who want a new one, with a well-paced plot that keeps readers on their toes. Smart and scary in a world where only the best and brightest can make it to university to become the future leaders of this country, even if they don’t know they can’t trust their own memories of how they got there.


If you liked Across the Universe by Beth Revis, try These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner (12/10/13)

That was crazy-there were moments when I gasped out loud at what was happening in this story. This book was different than what I thought it would be, but was a highly readable space/sci-fi/romance/survival story. One of the best parts was the dual POVs with interstitials of an interview after the fact that helped put it all in perspective. I liked the characters very much and think that my students will enjoy this one, too. I will definitely be reading the next book.


If you liked The Selection by Kiera Cass, try Pawn by Aimee Carter (11/26/13)

Making decisions is not always easy in these dystopic future worlds of YA lit and in a world where it’s the haves vs. the have-nots depending on a single test, the stakes are high (higher than could even be imagined), and when given the chance to have it all, it’s hard to say no. It’s the exact kind of setup that teens eagerly read, and I bet they’ll be turning pages as fast as I was while trying to figure out what is really going on, see if Kitty will be able to pull it off, and find out if she will survive being a VII while still being true to the one she loves.


If you liked Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, try Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (11/26/13)

There’s something so addictive about Katie McGarry’s writing style…I’m drawn into these stories immediately and lose sleep staying up too late reading them. McGarry has a way of writing wounded, layered characters who are finding their first love in such a real way that you are rooting for them to work through their issues and find happiness. Her books are mature in the themes that they deal with, and her characters’ home lives are nowhere near perfect, and the way in which they struggle with their issues, feelings, and relationships feels very real. Once again, true to her style, we get the male voice and female voice in alternating chapters. Getting that first person voice of each main character as they delve into the relationship, and seeing how damaged they are, allows the reader to connect even more. They have romance. They have friendships. They have major family issues. They have excitement. Most of all, they have heart. If you’ve read the first two books (Pushing the Limits and Dare You To, you’ll love seeing the main characters from those books as major secondary characters here in Isaiah’s story).


If you liked The Program by Suzanne Young, try Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (1/28/14)

I really enjoyed this start of a new series by Sophie Jordan. It was an entertaining read, and an intriguing concept. A thought-provoking look at how you define yourself based on what the world around you assumes, and how you view yourself. Is it how others see you that makes you the way you are? I was involved in what was happening to the characters and the frightening dystopic future made me cringe at times. I really want to know what’s going to happen next.


If you liked The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan, try Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy (1/28/14)

Action, disbelief, pop culture, secrets, first amendment rights, friendships, patriotism, high school, country music, state’s rights, family, small town life, drones, rodeos, relationships, big government, honesty, shame, gun rights, bull riding, political maneuvering, technology, protesting, invasive newscasting, the price of war, social media commentary…and more are all elements of this new book. When Danny Wright gets called in for his National Guard duty at the Idaho capitol building, he has no idea that he will end up firing the shot that begins a civil war against America and puts him in the position of deciding whether his sworn duty to follow the orders of his President or Governor or his own safety will take priority.


Or just try all the new ones I mentioned as they’re ones I’m sure my students are going to enjoy.

Jillian Heise is a National Board Certified middle school language arts teacher allowing her to discuss thoughts about books with real teen readers, and all-around awesome 7th & 8th graders, every day of the school year. Her students are used to her sharing her reading life, book recommendations, appreciation for rockstar authors, and love of fictional characters with them. Heise Reads & Recommends is her blog where she shares her book recommendations beyond her classroom walls. Jillian is a self-admitted book pusher with towering TBR stacks and does not feel the need for a program to change that. On Twitter, she is @heisereads and is always happy to recommend a book to any reader in need.