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Review: Guys Read: Thriller

Cover © HarperCollins Publishers

Hey guys. I just recently finished up the second installment in Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read Library of Great Reading. We’ve got the first one, Funny Business, on our Guys Read shelf in Room 3. Check it out if you haven’t; there’s some good stuff in there.

This second volume is called Thriller. It includes ten stories from ten different writers, all in the “thriller” genre. Among them are past GR author Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts) and an author I’m planning to feature this year, Patrick Carman. There’s even a “graphic short story” from Jarrett J. Krosoczka, of Lunchlady fame.

I was hoping for some really scary stories. Some of them were. I’d say they were all a “thrill” to read. But they weren’t all “thrillers.” They were great page-turners, just not scary. Most of them were just as funny as they were scary, or perhaps funnier. After reading it, I don’t mind that most of the stories don’t quite fit my idea of the “thriller” genre. Jon Scieszka allowed his authors to interpret the genre their own way, and it made for a very varied collection.

The scariest story, for me, was by Bruce Hale (Chet Gecko series), “Nate Macavoy, Monster Hunter.” It involved dark, drippy tunnels. Who isn’t afraid of dark tunnels?

It’s tough to pick the funniest, since many of the stories at least had funny parts. If I had to choose, I’d probably go with “The Double Eagle Has Landed,” by Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider series). His story had tons of wordplay and double meanings that were pretty funny. Lots of them I didn’t catch right away. As a teacher, it would be a great story for showing how writing can be ambiguous.

One story was pretty serious. “Pirate,” by Walter Dean Myers, was definitely not funny. I was expecting Jolly Roger, peg legs, and cannon balls. But Myers wrote a pretty intense story about present day Somali pirates, from the pirates’ point of view. It was definitely a perspective I hadn’t really thought about. I’ve heard lots of news stories about pirate activities around Somalia. Now I want to know a little more about why piracy became such a common occurrence there.

I’d definitely recommend Guys Read: Thriller to anyone. Short stories are such a nice way to spend a few minutes, and this volume has something for everyone. Last year, one of the first book orders had Funny Business, so hopefully that will happen again. In any case, you’ll be able to find a copy in Room 3.

Keep reading!

Guys Read: Thriller

Edited by Jon Scieszka, featuring stories by M.T. Anderson, Matt De La Peña, Anthony Horowitz, Walter Dean Myers, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Gennifer Choldenko, Bruce Hale, James Patterson, and Patrick Carman.

288 Pages

Genre: Thriller

Publishes September 20.


3 Responses

  1. Hey there, Mr. 5th grade teacher! So good to be reminded of your blog and to read your review of Scieszka’s newest collection. I also notice that you enjoy Patrick Carman’s work so you’ll be thrilled that he’s going to be at the WWU Children’s Literature Conference on February 24, 2012. You MUST come. In fact, maybe you and your students could create a video introduction for the conference. What about it?

  2. Oh, I’ll definitely come if there’s a Guys Read author!

    My students would love to do a video intro. I’ll get my best guys on it! Thanks for the opportunity! I’ve always wanted to be involved in one of those… :^)

    Any suggestions for a Patrick Carman book for Guys Read 4th and 5th graders?

  3. Advance reader copy of Guys Read: Thriller now available in the Room 3 Guys Read library, courtesy of Jarrett J. Krosoczka, graphic novelist of Lunch Lady fame. It’s even autographed!

    Come check it out, if you want.

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