North Carolina School Library Media Young Adult Book Awards 2008-2009
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
This book is told from the perspective of a self-described 15-year-old high school geek with a comic book obsession. His story documents much of the drama and trauma that high school students face, including bullying, friends moving to new cliques, first time experience with girls and attraction, and the difficulties of a blended family. Throughout the novel, Fanboy develops a new sense of trust for his family and friends as he creates his own graphic novel and slowly shares it with the important people in his life. In doing so, his relationships become for more adult and his understanding of himself improves. The book incorporated the mention and discussion of many graphic novels and comic book series even posing the ideas of collecting versus pleasure reading against one another.
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Ben Wolf has gotten the ultimate punch in the gut. He's eighteen years old, a senior in high school, when he finds out that he has an incurable blood disease. He orders his doctor not to tell anyone (and because he's of legal age he gets away with it) and he sets out to have the best year possible. Ben has his reasons for making the decision not to tell anyone. His mother is bipolar, with nightmarish manic and depressive cycles. Ben has no idea how his mother will react to the news, except it won't be good. His father has all on his plate that he can handle. Ben also wants to be treated normally -- he doesn't want to be known as the "dying kid." Finally, he wants to do some things that he would never have had the nerve to do otherwise - such as playing football (at 123 pounds) and seeing how far he can go with Dallas Suzuki.
So Ben plays football with his brother, starts a relationship with Dallas, and continually irritates his government teacher by pointing out how bigoted he is. To Ben, "somehow I knew my chaces aren't about liviing, they're about living well" (p. 10) and that's what he does.
Echo by Kate Morgenroth
The story begins with a scene (not explicit) in which Justin witnesses his 12-year-old brother inadvertently killing himself. Fast-forward one year, and Justin, guilty, angry, and guided only by a voice in his head, readies himself for school, endures bullying classmates, and suffers a painful encounter with his former firlfirend. Then, during an angry confrontation, he watches his former best friend tumble down the school stairs. The following acts of an unstable mind will surprise most readers and frustrate some.
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
This book is a sequel to Twilight and New Moon. As graduation approaches and college looms in the near future, Bella is once again the center of danger. Trying to balance her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob amidst an age-old hatred, Bella faces dangers from old and new enemies - entangling Jacob and Edward in her protection as vampire and werewolf come to understand that both care for her deeply, The understanding leads to a new relationship between the Cullens and the Blacks, protecting Bella being their common goal.
Just Listen by Sharon Dessen
Starting her junior year, Annabel Green is ostracized by her friends because she will not confront her former best friend - mean and vindictive sophie - about what happened with Sophie's boyfriend at a summer party. Annabel does not want to disappoint her mother who is recovering from depression, so she continues to model part-time. She goes along with her family's cheerful attitude that everything is fine even though there is strife caused by her older sister deciding not to pursue a modeling career and her middle sister's severe anorexia. Annabel struggles throughout the story to avoid confraontation at all costs and shield her friends and family from any unpleasantness. This coping strategy has always worked before, but now seems to make things worse. AS her friendship with the school's most obnoxious loner, Owen develops, her carefully structured world begins to fall apart and keeping silent about issues no longer works. Owen, a part-time DJ at a community radio station, dealing with his own anger management, tries to broaden Annabel's music taste. he exhorts her to "Don't think, or judge. Just listen." With his advice and unfailing honesty, she begins to realize that recognizing her emotions and dealing honestly with issues and people is not as devastating as she feared.
November Blues by Sharon Draper
This is a sequel to Battle of Jericho: however, it is not necessary to have read that book first. Life doesn't go as planned in this realistic novel about at sixteen year old girl named November who has so many positive future plans, a great family, good friends, and is respected by her teachers. When she discovers she is pregnant 2 months after her boyfriend, Josh, died from a pledge stunt gone terribly wrong, she is truly unprepared and recognizes that she is not ready to have a child. Josh's cousin Jericho, is having a very difficult time after the death of his best friend, Josh; he gives up his trumpet to play football. To add to the problems, the father of the baby's parents find a way out of their depression by trying to adopt the baby. To keep the subplots goining we have an overweight, bullied girl who becomes a good friend to both November and Jericho. The ending is climactic, realisitic and satisfying. A must read for both sexes.
Other half of Me by Emily Franklin
Jenny is a struggling artist with many doubts about herself. The biggest doubt is whether her family cares about her interest as much as their athletic pursuits. She has known all her life that her biological father was a sperm donor. Her mother was concerned that she might not have a family and wanted a child very much. The mother soon married andhad three other children. Jenny has young twin sisters who are very much alike and enjoy each other's company; she also has a younger brother who is quiet and very athletic.
Her long time love interest begins to pursue her and encourages her to pursue the donor registry to see if she has a sibling from Donor 125. She does and the girl comes for a surprise visit, much to the dismay of some in her family. When the new girl wins over the family, she is crushed and sees that they are not as alike as she had hoped. The end of the story is relistic and one that the reader will accept.
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Sixteen-year-old Tyler has just completed his community service hours given to him by a judge after he wrote, misspelling many of the words, on his high school building. He is in love with Brittany, the most popular girl in school, whose father is his father's boss and whose brother is the leader of the group of athletes who constantly harass him. When Brittany makes a play for Tyler after drinking heavily at the party without adults, Tyler does the honorable thing and walks away, but Brittany is drunk and has no idea what shame awaits her. The events that follow are realistic and in Anderson's style of an important lesson learned the hard way. Twisted are the families, the way of thinking, and acting in this suburban high school.
The Way by Joseph Bruchac
One TO (trailer park) after another, Cody LeBeau remains unpopular and teased, often retreating into a fantasy world where he is always the unsung, no super-powers, martial art yielding hero. Long River High School seems to be no different, as Cody endures more torture at the hands of the jocks. To Cody's shock, he is greeted one afternoon at home by his mother and a stranger that she introduces as Uncle John, her brother. John has come to stay with the LeBeaus while he trains for an Ultimate Fight Contest being held at the local Native American owned casino. Uncle John begins to teach Cody aobut "The Way" - not necessarily of the fist or fighting, but a way of life that helps bring Cody into himself as a practitioner of self-healing and self-awareness..