This year, I taught a new book to my tenth graders. It's called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. Now, let me tell you. When teaching a novel to high school sophomores means I have to use all my tricks. Overall, teens groan when you mention you're about to start a new novel. In a world where they can tweet and change their FB status within seconds, committing to the time it takes to read a novel seems absolutely insane to them. You have to really "hook" them.
Overall, though, with this book....I didn't have to "hook" too much. It was amazing! The first thing we did before beginning to read, was I chose ten words from the first ten pages, and listed them on the whiteboard. They had to predict what they thought the first ten pages would be about, based on those words. We shared with our peers what we thought. Then we read those pages and talked about our predictions compared to what actually was written. It was fun. We had a good laugh or two. The kids were INTO it. The book did that from the beginning.
It's a great story about a boy with Asperger's who finds a murdered dog in his neighborhood and decides to play detective to find out who killed the dog. His journey, though, leads him to discover some incredibly powerful secrets about himself. Everyone should read it!