Yes, Adrien Alsobrook is teaching Beautiful Creatures to high schoolers in Tennessee! And there’s nothing we love more here at Novel Novice than awesome teachers like Adrien who use cool YA books like Beautiful Creatures in the classroom.
Adrien was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about her work. Here’s what she had to say:
I chose Beautiful Creatures to use in my Contemporary Literature class because it was a new class and I knew the the authors were coming to town! It is an easy read, I knew my students would enjoy the plot, and we studied it as a gothic novel.
2. What has the response been like from students & parents?
Most of the eighteen students in the class liked the novel and look forward to reading the sequel.
However, there are always differing opinions; one or two did not care for the genre and felt that it was not intellectually stimulating. These students, though, did like certain plot elements, especially the suspense.
I really have not had any responses from the parents. I think they trust my judgment.
3. How did you incorporate Beautiful Creatures into your coursework? What sort of assignments, projects, essays, etc. did you assign?
The entire class read this novel. We used a Book Club (literature circle) format with assigned reading deadlines, roles within the group, journal responses and an alternative assessment. I will be posting a few examples of the alternative assessments for you next week.
I reviewed the elements of a gothic novel on the first day. We also reviewed annotation skills, roles of the group members, suggestions on how to discuss a book, and suggestions on writing their journal responses.
4. Do you or have you ever used any other YA lit in the classroom before? If so, which books?
The Book Thief is a YA selection that my Contemporary Lit students can choose to read for the class.
I love this book! It is historical fiction and Death is the narrator!
5. What benefits do you see using a YA book like Beautiful Creatures in the classroom? What are the challenges?
I think the benefits are that the books are easy to read, and I do not have to worry too much about the content.
I am VERY picky about the language and graphic descriptions of sex , violence and drug use. Most YA fiction have read are fairly clean.
The challenge in using YA books is that the topics might not be intriguing to some high school students – especially those who are widely read and really appreciate classic literature. For instance, I thought Kami and Margaret captured the language of the teens in Beautiful Creatures; however, a few students complained that the character’s dialogue was mundane. They thought Ethan overused the word “like” too much. I told the students they should listen to themselves! So, we started counting how many times they use “like” in their speech. I have now declared my classroom a “NO “LIKE” ZONE”!
For the comments: Any teachers or students using Beautiful Creatures or other YA lit in the classroom? We want to know about it! Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org