When I received the e-galley of Six Months Later from NetGalley, I was in the middle of reading another book–a print book. Now, I’m not the kind of reader who juggles more than one story at a time–once I enter one fictitious world, I prefer to stay in that world right through to the last page. But when I found myself waiting in a long line at the bank one day, I pulled my Kindle from my bag and opened the Six Months Later e-galley. And that was that. I didn’t go back to the print book until I’d finished my e-galley of Six Months Later. I was swept up into Chloe’s world and had to find out how it ended. As the mom of a teen girl, I knew that kids would be drawn to the mystery and intrigue of the plot. As a teacher-librarian, I was practically giddy at the possibilities for discussion that this book lends.
Publisher’s description: She Has Everything She Ever Wanted. But Not Her Memory…
When Chloe fell asleep in study hall, it was the middle of May. When she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life.
Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.
What happened to her? Remembering the truth could be more dangerous than she knows…
I’m happy to welcome author Natalie D. Richards to Biblio Links to talk about how Six Months Later fits into classrooms, libraries, and book clubs.
Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of Six Months Later. Who is this kid?
Natalie: This is a reader who likes puzzles, a teen who likes to unravel things and enjoys stories that keep them guessing. It might be a kid who struggles to get into “slow start” books, or maybe a kid who’s more bright and promising than she realizes. My main character struggles with her personal definition of success throughout the book, so I think it’s also a good book for readers who are thinkers and challengers, teens who are forge their own path through education.
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using Six Months Later in a lesson, or a librarian is discussing your book in a book club, what might we see?
Natalie: If we are in a literature classroom, she might be talking about how a writer can build different layers of suspense throughout a manuscript. In a guidance counselor’s office or a college prep class, you’d probably hear a conversation about the pressures of late high school life, and strategies for handling those pressures without losing yourself in them.
Biblio Links: What writing advice do you have for teens?
Natalie: READ READ READ. Oh, and read. Then read a little more. No joke, reading is key. And writing is a darn close second. There are also loads of amazing organizations depending on the genre you’re interested in writing. I’m always happy to recommend SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for anyone interested in writing for children or teens.
Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Hand this book to the kid who:
* might be a reluctant reader and needs a page-turner of a mystery (I would not be surprised if this book ends up on the ALA Quick Picks for Young Adult Readers)
* dreams of being accepted by the “in crowd” and needs some reminding that he or she can shine without the glitter of popularity
* could use a positive role model of a character with a disability. Chloe’s best friend, Maggie, stutters. While Chloe obviously realizes this, it is not a big deal at all. I love that. There’s a brief reference to one of the popular crowd who teases Maggie, but it’s not a focus of who Maggie is, and it’s not An Issue at all.
Use this to teach:
* Plot Structure–The opening of the book begins with Chloe waking up in study hall and having no idea what’s happened to her in the past six months. There are flashbacks, foreshadowing, and red herrings, oh my! Teens will enjoy piecing this plot together.
* Character Development--Chloe learns both who she was and who she is becoming, as well as the value of true friendship.
*Ethics–The Chloe who wakes up in study hall seems to have it all–top grades, dating the most popular boy in school, etc. After reading the book, discuss with kids the ethics behind drugs, procedures, etc. that are designed to bring us closer and closer to perfect. Pair this book with Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series.
Click here for the author’s website and reviews.
The Nitty Gritty~
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 336