2006 Best Books for Young Adults with annotations
Akbar, Said Hyder and
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow. Scholastic, 2005. illus. $19.95. (0-439-35379-3). “I begin with the young…What material! With them I can make a new world.” Adolf Hitler exploited the idealism of millions of
Blumenthal, Karen. Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in
Bolden, Tonya. Maritcha: A Nineteenth Century American Girl. Abrams, 2005. illus. $17.95. (0-8109-5045-6). Maritcha Lyons, born of a free African American family in
Deem, James M. Bodies From the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient
Dendy, Leslie and Mel Boring. Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine. Holt, 2005. illus. $19.95. (0-8050-7316-7). Extraordinary and often disturbing stories about ten people who cared so much about scientific exploration that they experimented upon themselves to test their theories.
Eisner, Will. The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of
Farrell, Jeanette. Invisible Allies: Microbes That Shape Our Lives. Farrar, 2005. $17. (0-374-33608-3). A lively examination of the beneficial and necessary microbes in our systems, tracing a lunch of a cheese sandwich and a chocolate bar from beginning to end.
Fleming, Candace. Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2005. illus. $19.95. (0-689-86544-9). This scrapbook-format biography of Eleanor Roosevelt covers her childhood, marriage, motherhood, and years as First Lady highlighting her accomplishments as an astute politician, writer, social activist, delegate to the UN, and champion of those in need.
Frank, Mitch. Understanding the
Giblin, James Cross. Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth. Clarion, 2005. illus. $22. (0-618-09642-6). Biography of two brothers, Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth, both famous actors, and the tragedy of John Wilkes Booth's assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Growing Up in Slavery: Stories of Young Slaves as Told By Themselves. Ed. by Yuval Taylor. Lawrence Hill, 2005. illus. $22.95. (1-55652-548-6). An intense collection of ten American slave narratives. This collection is sobering and brutal, but it also speaks to the triumph of the spirit and the determination to be free. These historical collection of primary source narratives are well executed by
Jurmain, Suzanne. The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students. Houghton, 2005. illus. $18. (0-618-47302-5). Inspiring true story of Prudence Crandall, a white woman who opened a school for African-American girls in Canterbury, Connecticut in 1833 despite vicious opposition from many of the townspeople.
Lavender, Bee. Lessons in Taxidermy. Akashic Books/Punk Planet Books, 2005. $12.95. (1-888451-79-3). Pushed around "like putty" by legions of doctors surgically attacking almost every body part at one time or another, Bee Lavender survived a childhood and adolescence battling multiple cancers and other diseases by relying on a family where "the women hit back" and by honing her own morbid and unique sense of humor.
Nelson, Marilyn. Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. Front Street, November 2004. illus. $16.95. (1-932425-12-8). A stunning mix of powerful poetry and history honoring Fortune, a slave, whose body was dissected and rendered after his death and his skeleton studied by his master and then put on display in a museum.
Nelson, Marilyn. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Illus. by Philippe Lardy. Houghton, 2005. $17. (0-618-39752-3). In a heartbreaking elegiac collection, a "heroic crown of sonnets", the death of 14-year-old Emmett Till is placed in historic and poetic context.
Zenatti, Valérie. When I Was a Soldier: A Memoir.
Adlington, L. J. The Diary of Pelly D. Greenwillow, 2005. $15.99. (0-06-076615-8). While working on a demolition crew after the war, Toni V finds the diary of Pelly D buried in an empty water can. The more he reads of the diary the more he begins to question what he has believed his whole life.
Bechard, Margaret. Spacer and Rat. Roaring Brook/Deborah Brodie, 2005. $16.95. (1-59643-058-3). Jack is all set to leave Freedom Station for a new job on Liberty when an Earthie Rat, Kit, and her bot who has named himself Waldo, endanger not only his plans but also his life.
Black, Holly. Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie. Simon & Schuster, 2005. $16.95. (0-689-86822-7). After catching her boyfriend cheating on her with her mother, Valerie runs away from home and slides into a seductively magical world full of betrayal and honor.
Bray, Libba. Rebel Angels. Delacorte, 2005. $16.95. (0-385-73029-2). Gemma's act of breaking the runes has given to magic to all. Does she have the strength and power to bind the magic and restore it to its rightful possessors, the Order?
Bruchac, Joseph. Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two. Dial, 2005. $16.99. (0-8037-2921-9). After years of mistreatment at white run boarding schools, Ned Begay and other Navajo are enlisted by the Army to use their special talents to develop an unbreakable code in World War II.
Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate.
Castellucci, Cecil. Boy Proof. Candlewick, 2005. $15.99. (0-7636-2333-4). Victoria Denton (Egg) hides behind her identity until she falls in love with an interesting new boy unlike all the others. Life becomes interesting when she learns to share her true self--her brains, her energy, her talents and love of the cinema-with others.
Coburn, Jake. LoveSick. Dutton, 2005. $16.99. (0-525-47383-1). Crippled in a drunk driving accident, Ted loses his basketball scholarship. Then a shocking offer to spy on a
Cummings, Priscilla. Red Kayak. Dutton, September 2004. $15.99. (0-525-47317-3). Brady, JT and Digger don't call out to the people in the red kayak as it heads out on a stormy morning, and Brady will regret it the rest of his life.
Delaney, Joseph. Revenge of the Witch. Greenwillow, 2005. illus. $14.99. (0-06-076618-2). Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has an aptitude for the supernatural. Thomas becomes an apprentice to the Spook who has the important, if feared, job of ridding the countryside and villages of pesky "ghouls, boggarts, and all manner of wicked beasties."
Every Man for Himself: Ten Short Stories About Being a Guy. Ed. by Nancy E. Mercado. Dial, 2005. $16.99. (0-8037-2896-4). Ten short stories that explore the issue of what it means to be a man.
Flake, Sharon G. Bang! Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, 2005. $16.99. (0-7868-1844-1). Mann, still mourning the senseless shooting of his younger brother, is left in the wilderness by his father in order to become a 'man.'
Fleischman, Paul. Zap. Candlewick, 2005. $16.99. (0-76362-774-7). Dead bodies, a sarcastic performance artist, an English country manor, bored Russians, Richard III, scheming writers and artificial buttocks are just a few things found in this play comprised of seven mini plays within a play.
Frank, E. R. Wrecked. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2005. $15.95. (0-689-87383-2). Anna, 16, develops post-traumatic stress disorder after being in a car accident where she feels responsible for killing her brother's girlfriend and seriously injuring her best friend.
Gaiman, Neil. Anansi Boys. HarperCollins/William Morrow, 2005. $26.95. (0-06-051518-X). Everyone's parents are annoying-- even when they're dead. Oh, and gods.
Galloway, Gregory. As Simple as Snow. Putnam, 2005. $23.95. (0-399-15231-8). High school student Anastasia (Anna) Cayne disappears, leaving behind her neatly placed dress lying near a hole in the ice.
Green, John. Looking for
Griffin, Adele. Where I Want to Be. Putnam, 2005. $15.99. (0-399-23783-6). Jane and Lily have always been close despite their differences. After Jane dies, both must come to terms with their troubled relationship.
Grimes, Nikki. Dark Sons. Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, 2005. $15.99. (0-786-81888-3). In a novel of free verse, Sam, a modern-day African-American teen copes with the break-up of his parents marriage and his changed relationship with his father. A parallel narrative explores the biblical story of Ishmael, son of Abraham, and his despair upon being replaced by Isaac.
Gruber, Michael. The Witch's Boy. HarperTempest, 2005. $16.99. (0-06-076164-4). A witch who knows little about the practicalities of daily life finds a hideously ugly baby boy in the woods and raises him as her son.
Halam, Ann. Siberia: A Novel. Random/Wendy Lamb, 2005. $16.95. (0-385-74650-4). Sloe, 13, treks through a cold dystopian wilderness full of thieves and outlaws in an attempt to find a safe haven for the DNA of genetically engineered lost animal species she's smuggling.
Hartnett, Sonya. Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf. Candlewick, 2005. $16.99. (0-7636-2644-9). Satchel O'Rye finishes work on possibly the very last job in his dying town. Social, religious, and economic forces are pushing for a whole new existence for Satchel. Meanwhile an animal long thought extinct blinks and yawns, "and breath billowing out between its great wide jaws would take form and swirl, an echo like memory of the animal itself." The two stories of life going away and life returning form the lyrical background for this beautifully told story.
Hautman, Pete. Invisible. Simon & Schuster, 2005. $15.95. (0-689-86800-6). 17-year-old Doug's teachers and parents think he is highly disturbed, and the kids at school find him creepy. Only his best friend Andy understands him, and together they harbor deep secrets that are eventually revealed in a most shocking way.
Hearn, Julie. The Minister's Daughter. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2005. $16.95. (0-689-87690-4). The fates of Nell the healer's daughter and merrybegot and the minister's daughters, Grace and Patience, are intertwined when Grace accuses Nell and her grandmother of witchcraft.
Hiaasen, Carl. Flush. Knopf, 2005. $16.95. (0-375-92182-6). FLUSH, the story of what happens after Paine Underwood pulls the plug on the Coral Queen, gets arrested for this act, and how this spurs his family and community to take action.
Holub, Josef. An Innocent Soldier. Translated by Michael Hofmann. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2005. $16.99. (0-439-62771-0). Conscripted in place of his farmer's son, farm hand Adam joins Napoleon’s march on Russia in 1811 and first serves, then becomes friends with a high-born lieutenant as they help each other survive the slog to Moscow and retreat home.
Jacobson, Jennifer Richard. Stained. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2005. $16.95. (0-689-86745-X). Why did Gabe suddenly disappear? Can Jocelyn put the pieces together and make it safe for his return or are they all forever stained?
Johnson, Maureen. 13 Little Blue Envelopes. HarperCollins, 2005. $15.99. (0-06-054141-5). The 13 blue envelopes Ginny receives from her Aunt Peg will take her through
Kass, Pnina Moed. Real Time. Clarion, October 2004. $15. (0-618-44203-0). Thomas Wanninger feigns interest in gardening as his motivation for wanting to work on the kibbutz. This modern German teen really wants to discover whether or not his grandfather was a Nazi war criminal.
Kibuishi, Kazu. Daisy Kutter: The Last Train. Viper, 2005. illus. $10.95. (0-9754193-2-3). Daisy Kutter is a reformed bandit in a strange wild west town where robots and cell phones are as common as corrupt poker games and shotguns. Her "reform" is short lived as she tries to pull off the ultimate heist and figure out how to maintain a relationship with her ex partner in crime and lover, Tom, who is now the Sheriff.
Krovatin, Christopher. Heavy Metal and You. Scholastic/Push, 2005. $16.95. (0-439-73648-X). METAL HEAD NOT GOTH and Sam likes his life LOUD until a very different straightedge girl starts whispering to him. Melissa tempts Sammy away from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco but can she turn down the VOLUME?
Lanagan, Margo. Black Juice. HarperCollins/Eos, 2005. $15.99. (0-06-074390-5). Ten stories from Down Under explore the darkness and the light of the human spirit.
Larbalestier, Justine. Magic or Madness. Penguin/Razorbill, 2005. $16.99. (1-59514-022-0). When fifteen-year-old Reason’s mother suffers a mental breakdown, Reason is sent to live with the grandmother they have evaded for years and she discovers that her grandmother truly is a witch, magic is real and runs in her genes as well and there is a terrible price to be paid for its use.
Larochelle, David. Absolutely Positively Not. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2005. $16.95. (0-439-59109-0). Steven has noticed that his new health teacher, Mr. Bowman, is extremely handsome, but he still tries to convince himself that he's not gay in this hilarious coming out story.
Lester, Julius. Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue. Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, 2005. $15.99. (0-7868-0490-4). After being sold in the largest slave auction in American history, Emma and Joe agonize whether to try to escape or remain chattel in this fact based novel told almost entirely in dialogue.
Levithan, David. Are We There Yet? Knopf, 2005. $15.95. (0-375-82846-X). Brothers Elijah and Danny travel through
Lubar, David. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie: A Novel. Dutton, 2005. $15.99. (0-525-47311-4). In a series of humorous diary entries, 9th grader Scott offers a list of "do's" and "don'ts" to his unborn sibling on surviving freshman year of high school.
Lynch, Chris. Inexcusable. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2005. $16.95. (0-689-84789-0). High school senior and football star Keir Sarafina says, “I hate it when people I love condemn me,” but has Keir done something inexcusable to Gigi Boudakian?
Lynch, Jim. The Highest Tide: A Novel.
McGhee, Alison. All Rivers Flow to the Sea. Candlewick, 2005. $15.99. (0-7636-2591-4). It’s always been Rose and Ivy, until that one fateful night when a blue truck slides into their car, and forever separates each sister into two hovering realities: one skirting a stupefying grief that acknowledged would mean an unbearable finality, the other to the farthest perimeter of life, dependent on the mechanized breathing of a ventilator to sustain her.
Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight: A Novel. Little, Brown/Megan Tingley, 2005. $17.99. (0-316-16017-2). Bella's move to rainy Forks, Washington is the most boring move she will ever make, until she meets Edward, the vampire love of her life.
Myers, Walter Dean. Autobiography of My Dead Brother. HarperCollins/Amistad, 2005. illus. $15.99. (0-06-058291-X). Jesse examines his life and the lives of those around him in words and art.
Oppel, Kenneth. Skybreaker. HarperCollins/Eos, 2005. $16. (0-06-053227-0). Matt Cruise is following his dream as a first-year student at the Airship Academy when during a two-week navigation training stint, he is part of the crew that sights the Hyperion, a legendary ship that never reached its destination and is reputed to be carrying great wealth. This sighting sets off a fierce competition among adventurers to reach the ship and seize her treasure. Matt finds himself aboard a special vessel with his old friend Kate, a mysterious young woman, and a rogue adventurer chased by murderous pirates, also seeking the wealth.
Pearson, Mary E. A Room on
Peet, Mal. Keeper. Candlewick, 2005. $15.99. (0-7636-2749-6). Holding the World Cup as he talks, El Gato, the great goalie, describes his early life in a remote South American village, the secret soccer field hewn from the jungle and the mysterious figure he knows only as the Keeper who trained him.
Peña, Matt de la. Ball Don't Lie. Delacorte, 2005. $16.95. (0-385-73232-5). Sticky, 17, foster care victim and talented white basketball player overcomes his tough upbringing with the support of his girlfriend and the older hoopsters at the local gym.
Perkins, Lynne Rae. Criss Cross. Greenwillow, 2005. illus. $16.99. (0-06-009272-6). Criss Cross is a radio show that Debbie and Hector and others listen to in the car. It also serves as a central metaphor for this rambling collection of thoughts centered on how unique individuals cross our paths or fail to cross our paths. Criss Cross explores the symbols and language, mostly through the voices of Debbie and Hector, of love and connections and just how beautiful and tenuous they can be.
Qualey, Marsha. Just Like That. Dial, 2005. $16.99. (0-8037-2840-9). Could 18-year-old Hanna have prevented the deaths of two teens? Her realization that life can change in an instant causes her to revaluate her life and relationships as she keeps her guilty secret.
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Hyperion, 2005. $17.95. (0-7868-5629-7). After dyslexic teen Percy Jackson vaporizes his Algebra teacher and is attacked by the Minotaur, he discovers that he is not who he thought he was!
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2005. illus. $29.95. (0-439-78454-9). In book 6 Harry is more contrary and less trusting yet a leader. Harry wants revenge against he who shall not be named and goes on a series of dark adventures to try and accomplish his goal.
Salisbury, Graham. Eyes of the Emperor. Random/Wendy Lamb, 2005. $15.95. (0-385-72971-5). Lying about his age, 16 year-old Eddy Okubo joins the U.S. Army in Honolulu in 1941, just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He wants to make his father proud and protect his country, the
Spillebeen, Geert. Kipling's Choice. Translated by Terese Edelstein. Houghton, 2005. $16. (0-618-43124-1). John Kipling, son of the famous writer, Rudyard Kipling, joins the British Army in World War I with help from his father.
Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Under the Persimmon Tree. Farrar/ Frances Foster, 2005. $17. (0-374-38025-2). Najmah, an Afghan girl, who witnesses her mother's and brother's deaths in an air raid and her father's and older brother's conscription by the Taliban, finds refuge in
Stein, Tammar. Light Years: A Novel. Knopf, 2005. $15.95. (0-375-83023-5). Maya Laor comes to Virginia to escape the tragic bombing that killed her boyfriend and for which she feels responsible-- but even that may not be far enough to escape from the grief and pain.
Thal, Lilli. Mimus. Translated by John Brownjohn. Annick, 2005. $19.95. (1-55037-925-9). A Prince must play at being a jester as he strives to rescue his imprisoned father.
Tiffany, Grace. Ariel. HarperCollins/Laura Geringer, 2005. $16.99. (0-06-075327-7). Behind Shakepeare's Tempest is the mysterious figure of Ariel. This is her story, of dreams and lies and madness.
Tingle, Rebecca. Far Traveler. Putnam, 2005. $17.99. (0-399-23890-5). After the sudden death of her mother, Athelflaed of Mercia, sixteen-year-old Aelfwyn disguises herself as a bard to escape marriage to an older man who is the king’s ally. A worthy sequel to The Edge on the Sword.
Vaughan, Brian K. Runaways: Volume 1 HC. Illus. by Adrian Alphona. Marvel, 2005. $34.99. (0-7851-1876-4). Six teenagers discover that their parents are super-villains, and after deciding to turn them in, fight for both their own survival and an end to the evil from which they were born.
Vaught, Susan. Stormwitch.
Volponi, Paul. Black and White. Viking, 2005. $15.99. (0-670-06006-2). For best friends and co-players on their High School basketball team, Marcus (AKA Black) and Eddie (AKA White), life looks good. Then an armed robbery goes terribly wrong and everything changes.
Waid, Mark and others. Superman: Birthright. DC Comics, October 2004. illus. $29.95. (1-4012-0251-9). The origin of Superman is updated in this graphic novel.
Weaver, Will. Full Service. Farrar, 2005. $17. (0-374-32485-9). When 16-year-old farm boy Paul Sutton takes a job at the full-service Shell station in town, he sees the town and its inhabitants through new eyes.
Westerfeld, Scott. Peeps. Penguin/Razorbill, 2005. $16.99. (1-59514-031-X). College freshman
Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, 2005. $6.99. (0-689-86538-4). Tally can't wait for her 16th birthday - and the surgery that will transform her into a "pretty". Because if everyone is beautiful, everything is perfect - right?
Whitcomb, Laura. A Certain Slant of Light. Houghton/Graphia, 2005. $8.99. (0-618-58532-X). Helen has been a ghost gently and anonymously haunting various hosts for 130 years until the day when a boy in a classroom lets her know that he can actually see her.
Wittlinger, Ellen. Sandpiper. Simon & Schuster, 2005. $16.95. (0-689-86802-2). Two lonely teens, each with secrets that set them apart, meet and their lives are changed completely.
Wooding, Chris. Poison. Scholastic/Orchard, 2005. $16.99. (0-439-75570-0). When Poison's sister is kidnapped by Phaeries, Poison is determined to get her back but she doesn't realize that she is part of a much larger, darker story.
Wynne-Jones, Tim. A Thief in the House of Memory. Farrar/Melanie Kroupa, 2005. illus. $17. (0-374-37478-3). When a dead man is found in his family's house, Declan finds himself drawn into a vortex of memories and lies.
Zusak, Markus. I Am the Messenger. Knopf, 2005. $16.95. (0-375-83099-5). Aimless, amiable 19-year-old cab driver, Ed Kennedy, foils a bank robber and then begins to receive mysterious messages assigning him to intervene in the lives of strangers.
Members of the 2006 Best Books for Young Adults Committee were Lynn M. Rutan, Chair, Macatawa Bay School, Holland, MI; Leslie A. Acevedo, Flint Public Library, Flint, MI; Edith E.H. Cummings, Allen County Public Library, Hessen Cassel Branch, Fort Wayne, IN; Gretchen Haynes, Kansas City Public Library Southeast Branch, Kansas City, MO; Lynn E. Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI; Rick Orsillo, King County Library System, Shoreline Branch, Shoreline, WA; Adela Peskorz, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN; Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped; Hollis Rudiger, Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; Karyn Silverman, Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York, NY; Edward A. Spicer, Reviewer, Michigan Reading Journal, Allegan, MI; Karen J. Tannenbaum, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, IN; Deborah Taylor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD; Cheryl Karp Ward, East Hartford High School, East Hartford, CT; Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT; Gillian Engberg, Consultant, Booklist, Chicago, IL; Cindy Dobrez, Administrative Assistant, Harbor Lights School, Holland, MI