I hope this catches on this year. Write in with questions and comments about what you've done with research and outside reading. The in-class model of literature circles is artificial--your topics are diverse , as are your interests. The blog might connect two students researching the same topic or reading the same novel. The blog might spark discussion or iron out problems. That's the goal.
For example--I am reading and writing about high school students who are substance abusers--I'm not talking casual users. I find that the treatment options have changed drastically with the national healthcare changes. On one hand, there are more options; on the other, some of the treatment programs are so brief that they are doomed to failure. That's my current research focus--not symptoms, statistics or horror stories.
I'm reading Smack by Melvin Burgess because it deals with two teenagers in love with each other who use heroin. I'm also interested in Crank by Ellen Hopkins. Any suggestions?