5 Noteworthy Novella Collections

Apparently novellas are the new black. If you’re unfamiliar with a novella, it is a longer short story that accompanies a larger novel in some way. Sometimes you’ll see them listed as a “0.5” of a series, like a prequel, or a “1.5”, meaning that it comes after the first book, but before the second. I find that they tend to be hit or miss. I’ve compiled a list of 5 novella collections that I enjoyed reading.

four

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

This is probably my favorite novella collection. I enjoyed the Divergent series, but I strongly disliked the main character  – Tris. To my complete joy, Allegiant switched back and forth between Tris and Tobias’ POV, giving my favorite character – Four – some spotlight time. I was excited to read Four because I knew it would give me more insight into Tobias’ life before he met Tris. The Initiate was my favorite.

assassins blade

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

When this book was first released, it was just there for some bonus background information. Now that Queen of Shadows has released, I have to say that these novellas are just as important as the other books. I recommend to people when they start the Throne of Glass series, that they read The Assassin’s Blade after the third book, Heir of Fire. There are some things in QoS that you won’t be able to follow without having read these novellas. Overall, I really felt like I understood Celaena better because of these novellas. The Assassin and the Desert was my favorite.

bane chronicles

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

This book has ELEVEN novellas. I have mixed emotions about these stories. I love Magnus’ character, I really do, but I didn’t feel like these novellas told me anything about him that I didn’t already sort of know. It just didn’t thrill me. Plus, I had just finished The Assassin’s Blade and was all in love with it, so I couldn’t help but compare these stories to those. But in the end, I just liked getting to read some more of Clare’s writing and spend some more page time with Magnus. The Midnight Heir was my favorite because I love Will, Tessa, and Jem.

auggie and me

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio

I flew through the first of these novellas (titled The Julian Chapter), but then it took me forever to want to read the other two. While the others had interesting information and offered different points of view to the happenings of Wonder, I wasn’t thrilled by them. The Julian Chapter was fascinating to me for a few different reasons. It’s enlightening to get into the mind of a bully, but also his grandmother’s WWII story was SO interesting! This novella was clearly my favorite.

happily ever after

Happily Ever After: The Selection Novellas by Kiera Cass

I haven’t read this hardback edition (because it releases later this month), but I read the novellas individually as they were released as eBooks. I will probably read this at some point, in case there are new stories in it. The Guard was my favorite because I love Aspen.

How do you feel about novellas? Some people hate them, some like them…what about you?

Happy Reading! – Caitlyn

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

wonder

Synopsis: August Pullman has always been different. Born with a  facial abnormality, August is about to start fifth grade and will be going to a real school for the first time. All he wants is to be ordinary, but it’s hard to be when you stand out. Wonder by R.J. Palacio is told from multiple perspectives, following Auggie’s journey of learning what it truly looks like to be ordinary and the joy of being born extraordinary.

If you haven’t read this, please stand up. Great, now get your butt down to your local bookstore (preferably Half Price Books because reasons) and purchase it. Call in sick tomorrow and read it. You’ll thank me later. As Auggie’s friend Summer would say, “Cool beans.”

Feelings: I am feeling all of the feels. I loved everything about this book. I loved Auggie’s POV – his voice, his humor, his heart. I don’t always love multiple POV narrating, but this one was done right. When a new character took over, we backtracked just enough to see their side of what just happened, then the story continued forward. I wanted to wrap Auggie up in a warm hug, high five his friends, and text his mom, “You’re going to be ok.” I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to text a fictional character before…but somehow it feels normal right now.

Issues: I had zero issues. I didn’t feel as thought anything was missing or unrealistic. In fact, I felt the opposite. This story is so real and relevant in our world and in our schools, that I vote it should be mandatory for all humans of all ages to read it. Is that a thing? Can I make that a thing?

Characters: Somehow Palacio perfectly captures the minds of middle school students in her writing. All characters have their flaws, but thus is life. Everyone learns a lesson in some fashion and the reader is along for the journey, sympathizing and nodding in understanding. One incredibly moving aspect of this book is its message on kindness. It’s not enough to tell kids to be kind to each other anymore. Through the eyes of August Pullman, we see what it’s like to be on the other side of dirty looks, terrified staring, and ugly words.

Final thoughts: I’ve decided that this will be the book I read out loud to my students this year. This story is dripping with authenticity, which is my word for the year. It’s such a quick and easy read, but it packs a punch. I think this is not only a great read for middle school aged readers, but parents can benefit from picking it up as well. Being in middle school during this day and age is so different from how it was even 10 years ago. If you can get into the world and minds of your kids by simply reading a book, wouldn’t you?

Pick this up if you liked:

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (similar themes as Wonder)

Smile by Raina Telgemeier (a great, funny graphic novel about a middle grade kid’s everyday life)

Goodreads rating: 4.42/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.8/5

My rating: 5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn