The Selection Series Keeps Going Strong With Book #4, The Heir.

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Kiera Cass’s The Heir takes place many years after The Selection. King Maxon and Queen America rule a much different Illea.  The caste system is gone but there is much unrest.  Their daughter, Eadlyn is 18 and the heir to the throne.  To create a distraction for the troubled kingdom, they hold a male selection.  Thirty-five young men from across the kingdom are vying to be prince consort to the powerful and beautiful Eadlyn.  If you are hoping for more Maxon and American romance, you may be disappointed.  This book is all about their daughter and her quest to balance power, duty and her own desires.  She has no interest in finding a mate but she reluctantly agrees to this to ease her father’s worries about the kingdom.  The selection from the different perspective is interesting.  Eadlyn is a very different character than her mother.  Cass created a great group of side characters.  The men in the selection have very different personalities and motivations.  Some, like Henri are endearing.  The twist is that Marlee’s son, Kile is one of the selected.  He grew up in the palace and Eadlyn cannot stand him.  That dynamic is very interesting as well as her relationship with her brothers.  I was thrilled that Cass extended the trilogy.  I loved being back in this world of Illea.  Even though I saw less of my favorite characters, Eadlyn grew on me.  It asks questions about what a princess should be.  Should she have to get married at all? I am looking forward to Eadlyn’s story continue in The Crown that comes out in May of 2016.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss how Jack and Burke’s attacks made Eadlyn feel.

Discuss how Eadlyn’s relationship with Kile changes.

Discuss when Eadlyn thinks, “This was why love was a terrible idea:  it makes you weak.  And there was no one in the world as powerful as me.”

Discuss what a ruler should be?  Should Eadlyn have to get married?

Discuss what is appealing about Hale, Henri, Kile, Ean or any others.

Which of the selected would you pick?

Discuss how Eadlyn’s was surprised at how the subjects

What type of person would be best for Eadlyn?

Discuss how Eadlyn compares herself to Camille from France.

Discuss Eadlyn’s conversation with her maid, Neena about her fiance having a higher skill job than she does.

Discuss how America and Eadlyn are similar.  How are they different?

What do you think of Ahren’s letter?

 

New Teen Read About OCD Is Already One Of My Favorites For 2016.

25691836This is a fantastic new read for teens!  Daniel seems like an average teenage boy.  He plays football, is good looking and is semi-popular.  But he has a secret.  Daniel has severe OCD and has a nightly ritual that can take hours, robbing him of sleep. He feels very alone and desperate.  His family has no idea what he is doing each night.  The only person who notices is a girl who calls herself a fellow star child.  She is the girl that everyone thinks is weird.  Her name is Sara. She has an aide and an I.E.P. and no friends.  She asks for Daniel’s help to solve a mystery about her missing father.  Daniel isn’t sure what to do.  This is bound to make things weird with his friends and Raya, the cute girl who likes him.  The more his friendship with Sara grows, the more Daniel learns about himself.  This is a great story for teens who feel alone and different.  It also gives teens a glimpse into a very real and frightening condition.  I love both Daniel and Sara as characters and I enjoying watching their friendship grow.  One of my favorite moments is when they are lying in the grass looking up at the sky.  Another favorite moment is watching Daniel’s slow progression as he works as a kicker.  It shows how hard work can make a difference even when it seems like never will. I will highly recommend this book to many teens when it comes out in February.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss Daniel’s relationship with his sister and his other family members.

Discuss Daniel’s zaps and anxiety in general.  Do you ever feel like this?  What helps?

Discuss his nightly ritual.  What do you think that would feel like if you couldn’t stop?

Discuss his relationship with Max and the other boys on the football team.  Discuss his love of setting up the cups.

What do you know about OCD?

Discuss how the students view student like Sara.

Discuss Daniel’s awkward relationship with Raya.

Discuss Daniel’s relationship with football.

Discuss the moment when Daniel and Sara are lying on the grass.