Guest Post: Jamie Ayres, YA Author

Today I’m happy to feature a guest post by Jamie Ayres, author of 18 Things and 18 Truths. I enjoyed both books so much, and I’m happy to share some great ideas Jamie has come up with for using these books in your classroom. Here’s a little bit about 18 Truths, which was published on January 28, 2014:

“Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing which path to take is impossible.

Olga Gay Worontzoff ended her senior year as an eighteen-year-old girl totally in love with Nate, enjoying their new romance and about to attend the university of her dreams. Now she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, with charmingly witty and powerful angels, and problematic demons, trying to rescue Connor, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident.

But Nate has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides, and Olga’s feeling hurt and jealous. His mysterious behavior has Olga questioning everything she believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart.

Unfortunately, a series of mistakes threatens everyone around her and plants Olga in the center of cosmic events much larger than she ever imagined.

Only one thing is certain: the chilling truths uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched.”

18  Ways to Use The 18 Things Trilogy in Your Classroom










  1. Pick a theme in the novel (ex. Compassion, acceptance, friendship, cooperation, honesty, kindness, perseverance, responsibility, family, love, courage) and make a folded flapper to use for discussion in literature circles, literacy centers, or guided reading groups. Fold a blank sheet into 4 equal parts. Cut the top flap on each fold to create equal flaps. Open the flaps & draw a vertical line below each cut to divide the inside area into sections. Write the word ‘clue’ on top of each flap. On the last flap write ‘theme.’ Then lift up the flaps & write the information underneath.
  2. Make a T-chart for the 5 senses: 18 Things and 18 Truths makes me feel . . . sounds like . . . looks like . . . tastes like . . . smells like . . .
  3. Create a Story Map for 3 Themes, 3 Conflicts (Person Against Self, Person Against Society, Person Against Person), Characterization, and Settings
  4. Look up details about the setting (Michigan for 18 Things; North Carolina for 18 Truths) or facts about lightning strikes and list 18 tidbits of information.
  5. Create a Story Timeline—one event for each chapter
  6. Research details about sailing and make a chart comparing/contrasting it to another hobby/sport you can do on the water
  7. Make a Venn Diagram comparing two animals found in Lake Michigan or in the mountains on North Carolina.
  8. Create a Character, Trait, & Quote Map: List 5 character traits for one of the characters in the Jedi Order and then list quotes for that person, cited with their page numbers.
  9. Bring A Character To Life Poster: What _____ does, says, thinks, feels, and looks (how they see themselves)
  10. Look up obituaries online or in the newspaper and then write one for Olga.
  11. Find an example of figurative language in the novel: onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, alliteration, or idiom. Give the definition for whichever figurative language device you choose, write the example you found in the book, and then write your own example.
  12. Design a T-shirt for the fictional band in the book, Cantankerous Monkey Squad
  13. Students present a 3-minute persuasive speech addressing a social issue from 18 Things or 18 Truths: suicide, bullying, peer pressure, underage drinking, skipping school, drag racing, being dishonest. The purpose is to consider what they want the audience to do because of listening to their speech. Their position statement should be one sentence: As teens, we must take action against the issue of ________ because of _____, ________, and ______.
  14. Quotes played a big part in the telling of this trilogy. Find an inspirational quote that could be the theme for your life, and then write a paragraph explaining why you picked that particular quote.
  15. Find Someone Who (Kagan Structure) . . . Give each student a worksheet with 18 boxes to write in their life list. Then students mix with hand up until they find a partner—“Hi 5.” Students stay standing. Partner A and Partner B switch papers and initials or signs next to a life list item they either have in common, or would like to add to their own list. Switch papers again. Partners “Hi 5” or “Fist Bump” or “Shake Hands” ect . . . then raise their hand again to find a new partner. Each box should be initialed by a different person. When their worksheet is complete, they sit down at their seat, but classmates can still approach them to sign their own sheet. When time is up, teacher asks questions about the activity. For example, were they surprised by what item they had in common with a classmate? Will they make any plans to complete a particular item with a classmate?
  16. Work in teams to create a rap about 18 Things or 18 Truths. Each person writes 4 lines of rhyming verse. Team memorizes the rap and performs it in front of the class.
  17. Culminating Activity: Kagan “Graffiti Board”: 1) Place a large sheet of butcher paper and markers on each team’s table. Each team member takes a corner of the paper and begins writing and drawing their thoughts about the book in graffiti-like fashion. The responses, ideas, comments, sketches, quotes, and connections don’t need to be organized in any way. 2) Teammates round robin in their team to explain their graffiti. 3) Teams share by a “Gallery Tour”: graffiti posters can be displayed around the room or kept on tables. Students move around the room as a team to look over, discuss, and give positive feedback on the products of other teams by using sticky notes (or a blank feedback sheet is placed by each poster). *Provide time limitations for writing/drawing and sharing. Maybe use a sound or signal for changing during tour time.*
  18. Culminating Activity: Make a Video using Movie Maker. It could be a music video, a book trailer, a character interview, a slide show centering on life lists or the Underworld, a skit, etc . . . . email if you need directions on how to make a video using movie maker.

Teaching Resources were found at:;  and

About Jamie:

Jamie Ayres writes young adult love stories by night and teaches young adults as a middle school teacher by day. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband and two daughters. Her books include 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her website at

Thanks Jamie!


3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Jamie Ayres, YA Author

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