Florida Teen Reads encourages students to explore new books

Taylor Morrison

*This story was originally published in the first quarter issue of the Eagle Eye*

Florida Teen Reads (FTR) is a list of 15 books constructed annually by a committee of media specialists. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Media Specialist Diana Haneski participates in the committee that selects these books.

“FTR is a statewide reading promotion or incentive to read for pleasure,” Haneski said. “I’m on the committee, so basically I read a lot of books to try to find the good ones.”

MSD promotes the books by hanging fliers and stacking the books near the entrance to the media center. The school also holds a lunch in for students that have reads some of the books.

Students are asked to fill out a form in which they summarize the book they read and write a question and answer related to the book.

“Once a student fills out the form, they’re invited to come to lunch with us,” Haneski said. “We treat kids to pizza, wings and chocolate cake and we play a kahoot game where they all win books.”

In addition, the MSD Book Club reads the entire list of books each year.

“[Book club members] read one or two a month or more,” Haneski said. “Then they come and discuss them.”

In the spring, the Book Club participates in a competition called Battle of the Books. Schools throughout the county come together and compete against one another to see who has the greatest knowledge of the FTR books.

Teams of four must identify quotes and match them to their respective FTR book. MSD has won the competition for the past two years in a row and hopes to continue on its winning streak this spring.

Book Club meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Media Center at 2:45 p.m.

Samurai Rising

Author: Pamela S. Turner

Length: 256 pages

Goodreads Rating: 3.7 stars

Summary: At a young age, Minamoto Yoshitsune’s family is ripped away from him, and he is sent to live in a monastery against his will. This novel details Yoshisune’s stuggle to learn the ways of a samurai and his fight toward immortality.

The Darkest Corners

Author: Kara Thomas

Length: 336 pages

Goodreads Rating: 3.77 stars

Summary: In this psychological thriller, Tessa Lowell confronts her dark past. Lowell returns to her hometown and discovers the truth surrounding the murder of her cousin. The closer to the truth she gets, the closer she is to the killer.

Kids of Appetite

Author: David Arnold

Length: 352 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Summary: In this coming of age novel, a teenager named Bruno Victor “Vic” Benucci III has an inability to move most of his facial muscles. While mourning the loss of his father, Vic runs away from home with his father’s ashes. This novel follows Vic on his journey of spreading the ashes in the places his father wished them to be.

My Lady Jane

Author: Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows

Length: 512 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4.1 stars

Summary: Inspired by “Lady Jane Grey,” also known as “The Nine Day Queen of England,” this romantic fantasy novel explores Grey’s experience being crowned queen and betrothed to a stranger.

Learning To Swear In America

Author: Katie Kennedy

Length: 368 pages

Goodreads Rating: 3.8 stars

Summary: Yuri, a een science prodigy, is brought in by NASA to aid in devising a plan to avoid an asteroid hurdling towards earth. He finds difficulty in being taken seriously by the older physicists despite his profound knowledge of asteroids. Yuri learns the importance of rescuing humanity and having a life worth saving through meeting an ordinary teenager named Dovie.

Salt To The Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Length: 448 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4.4 stars

Summary: The historical fiction novel follows the lives of four people during World War II. It surrounds the four protagonists’ common chance at freedom through the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German transport ship.

The Geek’s Guide To Unrequited Love

Author: Sarvenaz Tash

Length: 256 pages

Goodreads Rating: 3.8 stars

Summary: The novel follows the lovestruck teenager, Graham, as he embarks on a coming of age journey to realize the difficulty of love.

Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Length: 416 pages

Goodreads Rating: 3.9 stars

Summary: On the island of Fennbirn, a single set of triplets is born in every generation, each receiving individualized powers. This novel details the triplets’ fight against one another to be the last standing and to gain the title of queen.

Holding Up The Universe

Author: Jennifer Niven

Length: 400 pages

Goodreads Rating: 3.9 stars

Summary: The novel follows the relationship between Libby Strout, a girl previously known as “America’s fattest teen” and Jack Masselin, a boy who cannot recognize faces. In this novel, Niven shows the importance of finding someone who appreciates you as you are through the love story of two struggling teens.

The Serpent King

Author: Jeff Zentner

Length: 400 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4.2 stars

Summary: This novel chronicles three friends who are branded as outsiders and their journeys to following their dreams, maintaining their friendships and surviving their senior year of high school.

All We Have Left

Author: Wendy Mills

Length: 368 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4.4 stars

Summary: The novel presents the interweaving stories of two girls from the past and present. Jessie, a teenage girl who is angered over her brother’s death in the 9/11 attacks makes a hate-fueled decision that could reveal the truth about her brother’s death. Then Alia, a girl caught in the twin towers during the 9/11 attacks meets a boy that could change what little life she may have left.

Rebel of the Sands

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Length: 336 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Summary: The novel chronicles the story of Amani Al’Hiza, a teenage girl with the power to move the sands of the desert. The story follows Al’Hiza as she escapes her town to travel across the desert with a strange foreigner named Jin. The two encounter mythical creatures and face numerous dangers as they attempt to complete their journey.


Author: Neal Shusterman

Length: 448 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4.3 stars

Summary: The novel is about a utopian society that exists without hunger, war or even death. In this world, the only people that can end life are the Scythes. Citra and Rowan are reluctantly chosen to mentor with a Scythe and must learn to master the art of killing as well as face all the consequences that come with it.

Tell Me Three Things

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Length: 328 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4.1 stars

Summary: Jessie, a teenage girl, is forced to move across the country. She feels out of place at her new school and plans to run off back to Chicago. However, her plans change when she receives an anonymous email from someone claiming they can help her survive at her new school. This novel tells Jessie’s story as she begins to blindly trust and rely on someone she does not even know the name of.