Young Adult

This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. It’s the heart breaking story of one girl’s reasons for taking her own life, played on cassette tapes she recorded. This stunning work in no way glamorizes suicide, but instead makes you reevaluate your role in the lives of the people around you. This book has actually saved lives, and reading it, you can understand why.

Reviewed by: 
Flannery
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Th1rteen R3asons Why Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781595141880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Razorbill - June 14th, 2011

When his blowhard dad loses his job, Doug Swieteck’s family moves to tiny Marysville, a blue-collar town in upstate New York, far from his beloved Yankee Stadium. Doug is a smart, smart-ass 13-year-old. A new friend, Lil (Doug’s a delivery boy for her father’s grocery), refers to him as a “skinny thug.” Although Doug is secure in his mother’s quiet love, dodging his father’s blows (“He has quick hands,” Doug observed.), and his older brother’s rough bullying has made him careful. (It’s 1968. An older brother is in Vietnam. His gym coach has just returned. A man will soon walk on the moon.) Doug is used to navigating and observing. He’s very funny (he uses the language of baseball stats to chronicle life’s events). Slowly acclimating to the small town, Doug’s defensive humor gives way and he becomes complicit in his own learning. He learns to read in Miss Cowper’s detention class. (Schmidt barely reveals that Doug can’t read.) He learns to draw. Once a week Doug visits the library where Mr. Powell, the town librarian, teaches Doug to paint—really, how to see—using John James Audubon’s bird portraits as models. (An Audubon bird portrait introduces each chapter.) In fact, this costly portfolio is the key metaphor of the novel, a model for life as well as art. And this is also the key to Doug’s salvation, which is the point of this complex novel. This book, Okay for Now, unabashedly tackles very large ideas and several complicated plots. I’ve not mentioned most of them. The writing is unusually solid. There are a few plot contrivances; but I honestly don’t care. This story is among the most beautiful I’ve read and Doug’s voice sticks in my head like the voices of Salinger’s characters’ stuck so many years ago. Okay for Now is my selection for the 2012 Newbery Award. Grades 6–9.
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Okay for Now Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780547152608
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Published: Clarion Books - April 5th, 2011

Based on the true story of coauthor Farinango, this collaborative novel provides a nuanced look at race and class in late 20th-century Ecuador. Born in an impoverished Andean village but sent to work for a well-to-do family at the age of 7, Virginia finds herself at the nexus of two cultures as she enters her teens—that of her indígina heritage and that of her mestizo employers. The narrative voice overlaps, deepening our understanding of Virginia as she speaks in the present moment as well as retrospectively. The result is a fully fleshed-out coming-of-age/identity story. Ages 13 and up.

Reviewed by: 
Holly
The Queen of Water Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780385738972
Availability: Special Order
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - March 8th, 2011

In a not too distant future, 17-year old Nailer lives and works on the Gulf Coast salvaging scrap from defunct oil tankers with his crew of “ship breakers.” Like many works of science fiction, the premise of Bacigalupi’s Printz Award–winning YA debut is frighteningly plausible—dare I say imminent?—but what sets Ship Breaker apart is the vividness of Bacigalupi’s prose, and his thoroughly developed, diverse cast of characters. Ages 13 and up.

Reviewed by: 
Holly
Ship Breaker Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316056199
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - October 3rd, 2011

Briony believes she is a witch. In her backwater English village, a place that is reluctantly experiencing the Industrial Revolution and all of its change, this is an offense punished by hanging. Briony also believes that she is responsible for the death of her stepmother and the disabling of her sister, and as penance she forbids herself from visiting her beloved bog, where she once communicated with the Old Ones. The Old Ones, various witches, spirits, brownies, and other creatures, are none to happy about the dawning of the 20th century or the railroad that comes with it. When they place a curse on the town that sickens her sister, Briony knows that she is the only one who can intervene, but to do so would risk exposing her many secrets. With a viscerally earthy setting and a wry, passionate, and intelligent protagonist, Chime has the dark allure of an old English ballad, and the language is oddly new and beautiful. Ages 13 and up. —Kat & Ga

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Chime Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803735521
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Published: Dial Books - March 17th, 2011

You are “Blink”—runaway, scavenger, survivalist, whose precarious existence is overtaken and transformed by witnessing a (fake?) kidnapping of a high-profile CEO. You are not “Caution”—also a runaway, whose self-destructing life serves as a penance for the crimes of her past. While running from an abusive (ex)boyfriend, Caution’s path intersects with Blink’s mystery, from there entwining the two lives and stories into one incredible journey. Just try to catch your breath. Grades 9–12

Reviewed by: 
Jocelyn
Blink & Caution Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763639839
Availability: Special Order
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 8th, 2011

This young adult novel won the coveted Michael Printz award in 2009 and it proves to be deserving. A mystery that is part love story, part family drama, and part coming-of-age story, Marchetta weaves a tale that is as heart-felt as it is intriguing. Abandoned by her mother at age eleven, Taylor has scattered memories about her early childhood and past. At night she dreams of a boy in a tree who keeps trying to tell her something, in the day she is managing the complexities of the boarding school that has taken her in. Set in the Australian outback, nothing in this novel is what it seems, except for the scope of its friendships, the reach of its imagination, and the depth of its character—those are all true. This is a beautiful novel for all ages, one you don’t want to miss.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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Jellicoe Road Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780061431852
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen - March 9th, 2010

This is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Liesel’s experience in Nazi Germany unfolds with Death as a narrator—and tells of the power that friendship has to change lives, even under the worst possible circumstances. To be understood and accepted is a universal human need.   

Reviewed by: 
Kimberley
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The Book Thief Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780375842207
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Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 11th, 2007

Joe wants to play basketball so perfectly that he is willing to sell his soul to the devil to get there. But is it worth it to become a star player? On the Devil’s Court is a great basketball book for any tween or young adult who wants to combine their love of basketball with a complex plot filled with mind games, superstition, and interesting characters. Grades 7–12
On the Devil's Court Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316067270
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Published: Little, Brown Young Readers - September 2008

Sticky is a foster kid who faces challenges throughout his life. He turns to basketball and the streets to find out who he is and where he belongs. Selected by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults, Matt De La Pena’s gritty, urban novel demonstrates the depth of character found in the passion for a sport. Booklist says, “Teens will be strongly affected by the unforgettable, distinctly male voice; the thrilling, unusually detailed basketball action; and the questions about race, love, self-worth, and what it means to build a life without advantages.” Grades 9–12
Ball Don't Lie Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780385734257
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - March 13th, 2007

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