30-Minute Response to a Novel

Quickly, quickly, tell me about a novel you’ve read!

A. Take out a novel you’ve recently read.

B. Take notes:

  1. Name of the main character
  2. Some distinguishing features of that character; e.g. age, appearance
  3. Place where the story takes place; e.g. name of city or country; countryside/town/city
  4. When the story takes place; e.g. winter/summer; World War 2; 1990s
  5. The life problem for the main character; e.g. parents get a divorce; has to make new friends in a new school; surrounded by war; meets 
someone who challenges their world view
  6. Who you think would like the story; e.g. students in grades 6 – 10; teenaged boys
  7. Some keywords that could be subject headings; e.g. Friendship; Family life; Schools; Dating; War; Historical fiction; Fantasy fiction; 

C. Look at some reviews. (See examples below.)

D. Write a short review of your novel.

This is due at the end of this class.

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2017 Sophie Rosen.]

A 30-Minute Book Response to a Novel

The books below are suggested for readers 12 years old and up.

Perkins, Mitali. Monsoon Summer. New York: 
Delacorte Press, 2004.

Jasmine unwillingly leaves California when her 
mother decides the family should spend the summer 
helping at an orphanage in India. She misses her 
best friend Steve and has no interest in her mother’s 
charitable projects. Of course, she changes her mind 
and all turns out well in this novel perfect for 
seventh to ninth grade students who want a story of 
adventure, mystery and romance. [California; India; 
Entrepreneurs; Mothers and daughters; Dating 
(Social customs); Friendship; Family life; Voyages 
and travels]

Perkins, Mitali. Bamboo People. Watertown, Mass.: Charlesbridge, 2010.

Chiko’s father is a doctor, imprisoned for resisting the Burmese 
government. Tu Reh’s father is a fighter with the Karenni 
resistance, a minority people persecuted by the Burmese 
government. The two boys meet in the jungle when Chiko is 
forced to join the army and Tu Reh runs away from a refugee 
camp to help his father. Readers of War Brothers by Sharon McKay and Shattered by Erica Walters will appreciate this political novel filled with compassion and hope. [Fathers and 
sons; Burma; Survival; Soldiers; Refugees; War stories; Courage]

Gavin, Jamila. See No Evil. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Twelve-year-old Nettie enjoys a wealthy life with her parents in 
London, England. There are servants, private ballet lessons and 
travels around the world. But when her favourite tutor 
mysteriously disappears and she meets the son of a household employee, Nettie starts to suspect that her father’s wealth is 
coming from trafficking in illegal aliens. Full of suspense, this 
story may appeal to readers who appreciated The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. [London (England); Illegal immigrants; Sex role; Suspense stories]


Paulsen, Gary. The Car. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1994.

Fourteen-year-old Terry wakes up one morning to discover that his 
parents have disappeared. The next day, his mother calls and says 
that she is tired of fighting with his father and is not coming back. 
She hangs up and his father calls. He is tired of being married to 
his mother and is not coming back. He hangs up, leaving Terry 
alone in a shabby rented house with only a little over a thousand 
dollars he has saved up from mowing lawns and a car kit his father 
does not want. Terry has his own mechanic’s set of tools, so he 
builds the car and sets off, leaving Ohio behind and heading west 
to find his uncle in Oregon. On the way, he meets two Vietnam 
War veterans who change his view of life. A young adult novel 
with some swearing and realistic references to the violence of war, 
this novel will be appreciated by readers of Sunrise over Fallujah 
by Walter Dean Myers, Shattered by Eric Walters and Purple Heart 
by Patricia McCormick. It might be helpful to look at the picture 
book Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean 
Myers before reading this memorable story by rightly acclaimed 
author Gary Paulsen. [Soldiers; Vietnam conflict; Automobiles; 
Voyages and travels; Young adult fiction]

Ruiz Zafon, Carlos. Prince of Mist. New York : Little, Brown, 2010.

Thirteen-year-old Max Carver and his fifteen-year-old sister 
Alicia, along with their friend Roland, battle for their lives against 
an evil magician in a small seaside town during World War II. 
While not as compelling as The Midnight Palace, another novel by the same author, this story is nevertheless full of action and 
suspense and will be enjoyed by readers twelve to fourteen years 
old. [Historical fiction; Supernatural; Shipwrecks; Friendship; 
Moving, Household]



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