All Suggestions Welcome


For the third consecutive year the French Ministry of Education, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that they won’t leave me alone during the holidays and that they are responsible for keeping me busy – lest I get bored I suppose.

In other words, in early September (two days before Rosh Hashanah) I will be asked to provide three texts comprising of about 30-35 lines which will be turned into exam papers – complete with questions and essay titles – in the first term of school. Articles and novel excerpts are fine sources.

These texts are supposed to be authentic (ie written for an English-speaking audience) but also understandable by students whose level of English is not exactly brilliant as they specialize in the services and will do short courses after high school.

This is where you, my dear readers, come into action. Do you have any idea(s) of books that would be pleasant and with an exciting plot (I’ll obviously need to read them) as well as straightforward for the students concerned? I was thinking of novels aimed at young adults, although this is not an obligation, but have no idea what is popular at the moment.


19 thoughts on “All Suggestions Welcome

  1. Interesting novels for young adults (I’m not totally sure how to excerpt from novels, but I’m sure you are far more adept at that than I am!!!!)

    All are relatively popular among the young people I know as well, and I’ve read them all.

    The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (reading level might be too young? My 3rd grader has read these but he reads at about a 6th grade level)

    The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (first in a trilogy that actually has 4 books)

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (first in a trilogy – 3rd book coming out in August)

    Uprising by Margaret Petersen Haddix (a fictionalized story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire)

    Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz (okay, I actually haven’t read this one but my husband and son have – a teenage spy)

    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (the longest of all of these books but really an amazing series, well written.)

    The Giver by Lois Lowry

    Holes by Louis Sachar

    City of Ember by Jeanne duPrau

    Hope these help!!! 🙂

  2. Thank you folks for the suggestions; it was very kind of you.
    However I have a feeling I was wrong about what “young adult literature” is. The students concerned are 17-19 year olds and some of these stories would sound too babyish for them. That’s why it is difficult: the language shouldn’t be too elaborate (no lengthy descriptions for instance) but the overall story line should appeal to their age.

    • I first read Hitchhiker’s at the age of 16. Most of my friends read the series (touted as 6 books in the trilogy) while in their teens.

      My teenage daughters, who read English as a second language, love the Harlan Coben books. The English is not that difficult for them and they eat up the series, buying each new book as it comes out.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Review with Hollyhock « Ilana-Davita

  4. Long time no see! It’s been a while since I was in the blogosphere, and I am still kind of wondering what to do with my own blog.

    That said, and not knowing exactly what the students will have to do for this assignment, I think Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist is wonderful. The English is not too hard and the plot is beautiful yet easy, almost like a fairy tale.

    Are you allowed to use translated books, or should the original be written in English?

  5. How about “Once Upon a Marigold” (by Jean Ferris) and also Christopher Paolini’s “Eragon” books?

    My teenagers enjoy them, and so do I… 🙂

    Shabbat Shalom!

  6. Oh, I guess I was busy last week and missed this post.

    The books Phyllis mentions are ones our teen librarian has recommended. My middle son likes Anthony Horowitz. My oldest likes Neil Gaiman. My eldest had to read Book Thief for school. He had to read The Alchemist, too.

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