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YALSA's Teens' Top Ten

My Fair Lady
It's that time of year again - time to vote for the top ten books from the past year. The survey is open now and will not close until September 16th.


To help you with your selections, here's a little about each of the nominees.



Drought by Pam Bachorz






From Booklist: For 200 years, Ruby and the Congregation have been enslaved by Darwin West and his Overseers, forced to harvest water for a mysterious  Visitor. Brutally beaten and starved, they struggle through each year while waiting faithfully for their savior, Otto, to return and free  them. Ruby’s duty to the Congregation keeps her from running: they would die without her, because only her blood can give the water its healing and life-sustaining properties. When she meets Ford, a new Overseer also trapped in his role, they fall in love and long for a life free of crushing obligations. Ruby is as much a slave to the Congregation as they are to Darwin, and she is believably conflicted, desiring change without losing hope. Bachorz uses this dystopian premise to explore powerful themes of faith and loyalty, freedom and slavery, but the integral supernatural and world-building elements are not fully developed, raising a host of interesting questions that are never answered. The unrelenting bleakness and slow pacing will further limit the audience for this brooding, thought-provoking story. Grades 7-10. --Krista Hutley







I Am J by Cris Beam






From Library School Journal: Gr 9 Up-When J reached adolescence, he quit the swim team and began covering his body with extra clothes to hide the fact that he had been born a girl. At 17, J dreams of being accepted as a boy, binding his
breasts and despising his monthly periods. His close friend, Melissa, a cutter, tries her best to understand and support him. His parents are confused, angry, and sad. He runs away from home and enrolls in a special school for gay and transgender teens, where he makes a helpful friend, a transgender girl. He also embarks on a shaky romance with Blue, a straight female artist who believes J is a boy and to whom he must eventually confess the truth. When he learns about testosterone and how it can help with his transformation, he is overjoyed, despite the obstacles he faces in getting the drug legally. Finally, J turns 18 and is able to begin getting his shots. He applies to and is accepted at college to study photography as a transgender young man, and holds out hope that one day his parents will accept him as well. Beam is the author of the informative adult book, Transparent: Love, Family and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers (Houghton, 2007). This novel is just as impressive. J is an especially vivid character, and the supporting characters are carefully drawn. Told in third person, the story is believable and effective due to insightful situations, realistic language, and convincing dialogue. Readers who relished Julie Anne Peters's Luna (Little, Brown, 2004) will snap it up. -Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.







You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin






From Booklist: *Starred Review* The cliques rule the rackets in Salt River High. The two top outfits, the Balls (football players, wearers of no-irony crew cuts) and Pinker Casket (thrash rockers, most appropriate for funerals or virgin sacrifices), are hurtling toward a turf war, and all the assorted mid-level cliques (and even the crooked Fack Cult T) are
constantly looking for an angle to ride to prominence. At the center of the maelstrom is a body, Wesley Payne, a former member of the Euclidians (nerds, fingertip sniffers), who was found wrapped in duct tape, hanging upside-down from the goalposts. Teenage private dick Dalton Rev arrives to sort out the murder, locate a missing hundred grand, and if
everything rolls his way, ride off into the sunset with the adorable Macy Payne, Wesley’s sister. Beaudoin plays a Chandler hand with a Tarantino smirk in this ultra-clever high-school noir, dropping invented brand labels on everything from energy-drink ingredients (Flavor Flavah) to the Almighty (Oh my Bob!). Ever checking his moves against what his crime-novel hero, Lexington Cole, would do, Dalton himself is so straight hard-boiled, it’s screwy: Dalton played it cool. He played it frozen. He was in full Deano at the Copa mode. But in the end, none of the stylistic pastiche and slick patter would matter if they weren’t hitched to such a propulsive mystery, with enough double-crosses and blindsiding reveals to give you vertigo. Moreover, the opening Clique Chart might just be the funniest four pages you’ll read all year. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman







Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier






From Booklist: Can the chatter of the YA nerdosphere launch a successful book? This imaginative collection answers with a resounding yes. Beginning in February 2007, editors Black and Larbalestier debated zombies’ and unicorns’ strengths and weaknesses on Larbalestier’s blog, and the resulting interest roped in stories from a number of impressive authors,
including Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, and Garth Nix. Handy icons make it easy to choose which stories each camp will want to read, but the book’s A-plus design—and the desire to know which team wins!—will have unicorn die-hards crossing over into flesh-eating territory, and vice versa. The standouts come from the authors who take their gimmicky mission the
most seriously: Carrie Ryan’s “Bougainvillea,” in which she continues the mudo mythology she began in The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009); Maureen Johnson’s highly unsettling “The Children of the Revolution”; Scott Westerfeld’s propulsive “Inoculata”; and Margo Lanagan’s “A Thousand Flowers,” in which she writes about unicorns with such freshness and fire, you’d think she invented them. Who ultimately wins? To reuse an old joke: everyone. --Daniel Kraus







The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card






From Publisher's Weekly: Card's newest series opener can't decide whether it's a thought experiment featuring a nifty magic system, a YA urban fantasy, or a series of fantasy interludes, so it settles for performing all three tasks satisfactorily, if not spectacularly. Danny North, descendant of exiled mages from another world, is taken aback when he comes into his true powers as a gatemage. He could reconnect his people with their long-lost home world, but gatemages are usually killed to maintain a fragile peace among the exiled clans. Fleeing his home, Danny finds refuge and slowly explores his potential, planning to open the first Great Gate in 14 centuries. Meanwhile, on the far-off world of Westil, a
young gatemage named Wad finds love, conspiracies, and betrayal in a remote castle while struggling to recall his hazy past. Though occasionally uneven and meandering, this ambitious tale is well crafted, highly detailed, and pleasantly accessible. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.







The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare






Amazon's Product Description: Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.


Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's
more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in
his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.







Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins






Amazon's Product Description: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.







Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins






Amazon's Product Description: Zahra, Kali, and Syd would never have met if their parents' marriages hadn't  fallen apart.  But when the three girls collide in group counseling, they discover they have something else in common: they've each been triple-timed by the same nefarious charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick.  Talk about eye-opening therapy.

Cheerful, diplomatic Zahra is devastated. Rico had been her rock and sole confidant. How could she have missed the signs? Folksy, flirtatious Kali feels almost as bad. She and Rick had only been on a few dates, but they'd felt so promising. Hardened vintage-vixen Syd is beyond tears. She and Eric had real history... Or so she'd thought. Now all
three girls have one mission: to show that cheater the folly of his ways.
Project Payback is such a success, the girls soon have clients lining up for their consulting services. Is your boyfriend acting shady? Dying to know if your crush is into you? Need match-making expertise? Look no further than Love, Inc.







Matched by Ally Condie






Amazon Review: For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice. When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her. As author Ally Condie’s unique dystopian Society takes chilling measures to maintain the status quo, Matched reminds readers that freedom of choice is precious, and not without sacrifice. --Seira Wilson







Nightshade by Andrea Cremer






From School Library Journal: Gr 10 Up–Calla Tor is the alpha female of her werewolf pack and is destined to wed the alpha male, Ren Laroche. While in the woods, she spares the life of Shay, the new boy at school whom she just can't
resist, and this act violates the laws of the Keepers. This may all seem familiar but what makes Nightshade new and refreshing is that the packs are ruled by the Keepers, who appear to be witches. Cremer has added a bit of superstition and the science of witchcraft that readers will find intriguing. However, they may feel that they have met these characters
before even though the author has done a good job of contrasting their strong personalities with their weaknesses for temptation and stepped up the pace of the action. The segregation of the humans versus the werewolves might remind readers of Romeo and Juliet–or is it just a typical love triangle? Readers may find the world that is created here is more interesting than the characters. The end of the book is a cliff-hanger and interested readers will anticipate the second book, Wolfsbane. Mature scenes make this a better choice for older students. –Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.







Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick






Amazon Product Description: The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.


The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?







Lies by Michael Grant






From Booklist: Shortly after the world-changing events of Gone (2008) and Hunger (2009), the young residents of the FAYZ face ominous new threats, including a death-obsessed cult leader and the resurrection of a buried girl. And remember Drake the Whip Hand? Yeah, he might be back, too. Grant continues to hurtle through an endlessly fascinating (and increasingly grim) story line; his chief achievement, though, is how the X-Men–style powers of his cast never overwhelm the mournful realization that their world is slowly degenerating into brutality. The vast array of characters will challenge newcomers; fans, though, will go bonkers. Grades 6-9. --Daniel Kraus







Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins






From Booklist: The second Hex Hall novel follows young demon Sophie Mercer to a huge, gorgeous English country estate with her powerful warlock father, where she can learn more about her heritage and decide whether to go through
with her decision to remove her magical powers. Sophie is surrounded by handsome boys: her crush, demon-hunter Archer Cross, and the hunky but taciturn magical healer Cal. Although this second title lacks the plentiful humor of the first, narrator Sophie's delivery is still delightfully brash, and the many action scenes lend a cinematic feel. An abrupt ending sets up readers for at least one more title. Grades 7-11. --Debbie Carton







Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins






From Booklist: If Meyer’s Twilight series embodies the romantic supernatural, Hawkins’ debut novel exemplifies the supernatural spoof. Sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer, whose absentee father is a warlock, discovered both her heritage
and her powers at age 13. While at her school prom, Sophie happens upon a miserable girl sobbing in the bathroom and tries to perform a love spell to help her out. It misfires, and Sophie finds herself at Hecate (aka Hex) Hall, a boarding school for delinquent Prodigium (witches, warlocks, faeries, shape-shifters, and the occasional vampire). What makes this fast-paced romp work is Hawkins’ wry humor and sharp eye for teen dynamics, especially between the popular and the misfit crowds. Sophie is a multidimensional character, both likable and believably flawed. Secondary characters lack her depth, but their more broadly drawn portraits are in keeping with narrator Sophie’s impressions of her teachers and classmates. Many clever touches (vampire Lord Byron teaches literature), spot-on depictions of classic teen situations
(crushing on the queen bee’s boyfriend), and an ending that leaves you hanging will have readers grabbing for the sequel. Grades 8-11. --Debbie Carton







The Iron King by Julie Kagawa






From School Library Journal: Grade 8 Up—On her 16th birthday, Meghan Chase's four-year-old half brother is exchanged for a changeling and she discovers that her best friend, Robbie, is actually Robin Greenfellow, aka Puck, from
Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is her guardian and will lead her into the faery world to rescue her brother. Once there, Meghan learns that she is a princess, daughter of Oberon, king of the Seelie Court. With a mortal mother and a faery king for a father, she is very powerful, and Oberon and Queen Mab, queen of the Unseelie Court,
are both fighting to keep her. With help from Puck and a talking cat, Meghan sneaks into the Unseelie Court to rescue Ethan, only to discover that he is held captive by more powerful forces that could destroy the entire fey world. Meghan is a likable heroine and her quest is fraught with danger and adventure. The action never stops, and Meghan's romance
with Ash, the handsome prince of the Unseelie Court, provides some romance that is sure to continue in the sequel. Faery books are in high demand now, and this is one of the better ones. Expect it to be popular with teens who liked Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely (HarperTeen, 2007). —Ginny Collier, Dekalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA







I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore






Amazon Review: John Smith has just arrived in Paradise, Ohio, just another stop in a string of small towns where the 15-year-old has been hiding out from the Mogadorians. Those terrifying aliens are hellbent on destroying him and
the other nine Loric children who have sought refuge on Earth. The Mogadorians are picking off the surviving kids in numerical order. The first three are dead and John's number is up. Will his Legacies, his defining super powers, develop in time for him to fight against the enemy? I Am Number Four is a breathless page-turner of a sci-fi novel that will have readers rooting for the teen alien who must unleash his fire power to save himself, his human friends, and the planet. This is the first of a slated multi-book series that, judging by this first book, will help reinvigorate a traditional YA genre that's
grown a bit light on strong character development. So, gear-up sci-fi fans, the battle for Earth is on and there's a new kid in town! --Lauren Nemroff







Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore






Amazon Product Description: Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human. Which is a good thing. Ever since the development of synthetic blood – SynHeme – vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods.  Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmates, forced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds. For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist.  But lately Danny's been having some weird symptoms -- fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon. Even though it's easy to be in denial, it's hard to ignore evidence.  There's only a month until the next few moon, and Danny's time is running out.







The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson






From Booklist: Lennie has always been the companion pony to her sister Bailey’s race horse. When Bailey dies suddenly while rehearsing the lead in Romeo and Juliet, Lennie is thrust into the spotlight. A normally reserved band geek who reads Wuthering Heights like a manifesto, Lennie is not prepared to deal with her grief. Nor is she equipped to confront the affection she feels for her dead sister’s fiancé. Adding to her emotional roller coaster is the gorgeous, musically gifted new boy in town who is clearly in love with her. Lennie is sympathetic, believable, and complex. Readers will identify with her and root for her to finally make the first steps toward healing. Nelson incorporates poems, written by Lennie and left for the wind to carry away, that help readers delve deeper into her heart. Bonus: teens unfamiliar with Wuthering Heights
will likely want to find out what all the fuss is about. A story of love, loss, and healing that will resonate with readers long after they have finished reading. Grades 8-11. --Shauna Yusko







Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver






From School Library Journal: Grade 9 Up—Samantha Kingston has worked her way up the popularity ladder; now a senior, she and her three best friends rule their school. On Cupid Day, Sam expects to receive Valentine roses, to party with her friends, and to finally (maybe) have sex with her equally popular boyfriend. The last thing she expects is that she will die, but in the final moments of her life, as she hears "a horrible, screeching sound—metal on metal, glass shattering, a car folding in two," everything turns to nothing. Only, it is not the end for Sam. She wakes up to start the same day over again, and again; in fact, she relives it seven times. At first, being dead has its advantages, as she realizes that nothing worse can happen to her. She first conducts herself with reckless abandon, seducing her math teacher and smoking marijuana. It is difficult to feel pity for Sam; she is snobbish, obnoxious, a cheater, and just plain mean. However, her gradual and complete transformation is so convincing that when she finally puts others before herself in order to save another life, it is moving and cathartic. The deepening relationship between Sam and Kent, her childhood friend, is sensitively described and the most complex and compelling relationship in the story. Although somewhat predictable, the plot drives forward and teens will want to see where Sam's choices lead. Fans of Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere (Farrar, 2005) will enjoy this almost-afterlife imagining. —Amy J. Chow, The Brearley School, New York City







The False Princess by Ellis O'Neal






Amazon Product Review: Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court.  But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the
real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection.  Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known. Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks.  But when Sinda
discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl. Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever. A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.







Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson






Amazon Product Description: In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse,
they're trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it. Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is "Save the planet: kill the humans." And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.







Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce






From Booklist: Pearce mixes werewolves and classic fairy tales to create a lushly romantic story of two sisters who hunt the Fenris, werewolves who roam in search of adolescent girls to eat. Along with her younger sister, Rosie, Scarlett March was orphaned and nearly killed at age 11 by a Fenris who destroyed her grandmother and left her missing an eye. Eight years later, the sisters have become fierce hunters, avenging their grandmother and protecting unknowing young women with the help of their neighbor, a young woodsman named Silas, who wields a mean axe. Silas loves Rosie, but hesitates to come between the sisters' strong bond. Scarlett and Rosie alternate narrating chapters, giving the reader a
clear view of their inner conflicts. Despite plenty of gore and werewolf transformations, it's the compelling love stories that drive the tale—the sisters' affection for each other, the first breathless flush of infatuation between Rosie and Silas, and Scarlett's love of the hunt. Readers of Stephenie Meyer, Donna Jo Napoli, and Shannon Hale will enjoy the excitement, romance, supernatural elements, and fairy tale references. Grades 8-12. --Debbie Carton







Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith






From Booklist: Quincie, the teen restaurateur last seen in Tantalize (2007), meets up with guardian angel Zachary from Eternal (2009) in this continuation of the Tantalize story line. Vamp chef Bradley may have been vanquished, but with the help of some mythic artifacts, he is coming back and this time he seems to be channeling Drac Prime (the original count written about by Bram Stoker). Sure, the vampires, werewolves, and angels provide the lure, but Smith's obvious affection for her characters makes this more than the typical cynical genre exercise. Pretty lengthy, but if this is your cup of tea, you'll relish it. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus







Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld






From Library School Journal: Gr 7 Up–This book continues the hard-driving, action-packed adventures of Alek, heir to the throne of the Austrian empire and current British prisoner of war, and Deryn Sharp, a midshipman assigned to the
Leviathan. Their loyalties to their respective governments and philosophies are tested as their friendship grows; Alek is an Austrian Clanker and Deryn an English Darwinist. After the Leviathan is damaged by a German attack, Alek and his personal guard escape the airship and join a revolutionary group dedicated to the overthrow of the sultan of Istanbul. Meanwhile Deryn has been sent to sabotage a key military blockade in the Istanbul harbor. But true havoc doesn't ensue until the teens are reunited. This dynamite novel incorporates factual events of the early months of World War I: the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Churchill's confiscation of an Ottoman Empire warship, and the instability and revolution within the Empire. However, the elements of steampunk, biological and mechanical technology, sheer over-the-top adventure, and great storytelling make this a must-have addition to any speculative fiction collection. Thompson's sumptuous full-page illustrations capture the goings-on and contribute to the cinematic feel of the book. Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK







Paranormalcy by Kiersten White






From Booklist: Sixteen-year-old Evie learns that she is not quite the person she thought she was in this creature-feature mash-up. Possessing the unique ability to recognize paranormals beneath their glamour, Evie has lived most of her life under the protection of the International Paranormal Containment Agreement (IPCA), an organization dedicated to the
cataloging and neutralizing of paranormal creatures. After a mysterious entity begins killing paranormals around the world, Evie discovers some startling truths about her own identity. This is a fast-paced, entertaining debut, reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series in its story of a seemingly normal girl coerced to work for a supernatural agenda that she doesn’t always understand. White creates compelling tension as Evie longs for a normal teenhood while trying to
preserve the humanity she has always believed to be her birthright; a love triangle adds further conflict, as Evie must choose between not only two different interests but two starkly different destinies. Alternately funny and tragic but never maudlin, White’s debut will have broad appeal among fantasy fans. Grades 9-12. --Kara Dean




Now that we've look at the nominees, it's time to VOTE!

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