2008 BBYA List with Annotations

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), today announced its 2008 list of Best Books for Young Adults. The list of 85 books, drawn from 216 official nominations, is presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The books, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. The list comprises a wide range of genres and styles, including contemporary realistic fiction that reflects the diversity of the teen experience, nonfiction that brings to teens an awareness of the world they live in and its history, and fantastical stories told in both narrative and graphic formats.

In addition, the Best Books for Young Adults Committee created a Top Ten list of titles from the final list that exemplify the quality and range of literature being published for teens. (Starred items denote Top Ten selections.)

“This year’s list demonstrates the variety of outstanding choices to entice and enrich teen readers,” said Holly Koelling, committee chair. “There is something here to appeal to every reader, and also to attract teens who don’t regularly read to the pleasures of a good book.”

The members of the Best Books for Young Adults Committee are: Holly Koelling, chair, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.; Angelina Benedetti, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.; Teresa Brantley, Salem Middle School, Apex, N.C.; Amy Chow, New York Public Library; Ashley Flaherty, Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library; Jacqueline Gropman, Fairfax County Public Library System, Fairfax County, Va.; Summer Hayes, King County Library System, Foster Library, Tukwila, Wash.; Andy Howe, Albuquerque (N.M.) Academy Library; Caroline Kienzle, Apalachicola, Fla.; Connie Mitchell, Carmel (Ind.) High School; Diane Roberts, St. Thomas High School Library, Houston, Texas; Elsworth Rockefeller, Ocean County Library, Point Pleasant Boro, N.J.; Karyn N. Silverman, Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York; Ed Spicer, Allegan, Mich.; Rollie Welch, Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library; Jennifer Mattson, consultant, Booklist, Chicago, Ill.; and Rick Orsillo, administrative assistant, King County Library System, Shoreline, Wash.

Fiction

* Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Illus. by Ellen Forney. Little, Brown, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-316-01368-0; $16.99.
Junior leaves the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school, where the only other Native American is the school mascot. Is he choosing his own destiny or betraying his heritage?

Alexie, Sherman. Flight. Grove/Atlantic Black Cat, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-8021-7037-8; $13.00.
Just as a cop’s bullet stops his wild shooting spree, Zits, an orphan who is half Native American, finds himself transported through space and time and into another body.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Twisted . Penguin Group USA/Viking, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-670-06101-3; $16.99.
Tyler begins his senior year transformed on the outside, going from geeky video gamer to buff hottie, but he still struggles internally with problems at home.

Asher, Jay. Thirteen Reasons Why. Penguin Group USA/Razorbill, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59514-171-2; $16.99.
When Clay receives a package of cassette tapes that explain his classmate’s suicide, he is forced to consider how his own actions, and those of others, may have contributed to her decision.

Brande, Robin. Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-94349-2; $15.99.
Timely, explosive issues come to the fore when Mena Reece, shunned by her church’s fundamentalist Christians, finds a kindred spirit in her quirky, brilliant lab partner.

Brooks, Martha. Mistik Lake. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Melanie Kroupa, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-374-34985-1; $16.00.
Seventeen-year-old Odella, an Icelandic Canadian, struggles to unlock the secrets behind her mother’s abandonment in this lyrical coming-of-age novel.

Burgess, Melvin. Bloodsong. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4169-3616-9; $7.99.
The heroic Sigurd slays a dragon, descends into the underworld, and rules over a tenuous peace in a post-Apocalyptic Britain peopled with genetic mutants.

Cameron, Peter. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You . Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Frances Foster, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-374-30989-3; $16.00.
Jaded, aloof James is tired of almost everything in his life. His perspective shifts when he attempts to connect with a co-worker and makes a grave error in judgment.

Carey, Janet Lee. Dragon's Keep. Harcourt, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-15-205926-2; $17.00.
Princess Rosalind’s atrocity—a dragon’s claw where her finger should be—makes her beautiful to Lord Faul, the fierce dragon who enslaves her in exchange for her people’s safety.

Carey, Mike. The Re-Gifters. Illus. by Sonny Liew and Mark Hempel.DC Comics/Vertigo, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4012-0303-0; $19.99.
Panels that explode with martial arts power energize this graphic novel about Dixie, who almost lets her killer crush on a boy in her hapkido studio ruin her shot at tournament glory.

Cassidy, Anne. Looking for JJ. Harcourt, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-15-206190-6; $17.00.
Recently released murderer JJ, a British teen whose childhood crime stirred a media frenzy, fears that her past will be discovered despite her new identity.

Castellucci, Cecil. Beige . Candlewick, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-7636-3066-9; $16.99.
Prim, proper Katy relaxes into a new identity when she is forced to live in L.A. with her father, a punk rocker and recovering addict.

Clarke, Judith. One Whole and Perfect Day. Front Street, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-932425-95-6; $16.95.
Lily, the sensible one in her quirky Australian family, longs to fit in with her classmates even while belittling their shallow interests. Then grandpa goes berserk and Lily falls in love. A 2008 Printz Honor book.

Compestine, Ying Chang. Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party . Henry Holt, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-8050-8207-4; $16.95.
China’s Cultural Revolution drastically alters the lives of Ling and her family as political oppression and violence sweeps away their comfortable, middle-class existence.

Cross, Shauna. Derby Girl . Henry Holt, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-8050-8023-0; $16.95.
Bliss, a smart, athletic Texas teen, forges an identity apart from her beauty-pagent–obsessed mother by secretly joining a roller derby team.

Cullen, Lynn. I Am Rembrandt's Daughter. Bloomsbury, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59990-046-9; $16.95.
Cornelia, illegitimate daughter of the great artist Rembrandt, strives to escape her life of poverty and low social status.

Dowd, Siobhan. A Swift Pure Cry. Random House/David Fickling, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-385-75108-7; $16.99.
Coolbar, Ireland, is a village full of secrets, and Shell is not about to reveal hers until suspicion falls on the wrong person.

* Downham, Jenny. Before I Die. Random House/David Fickling, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-385-75155-1; $15.99.
Tessa, who has terminal cancer, creates a list of ten things she wants to do in the months she has left to live. This fierce and devastating novel explores end-of-life realities with honesty and grace.

Doyle, Larry. I Love You, Beth Cooper. Illus. by Evan Dorkin. HarperCollins/Ecco, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-06-123617-4; $19.95.
In this offbeat, bawdy romance, Denis declares his love for a high school cheerleader in his valedictory speech—and lives with the consequences.

Ellis, Ann Dee. This Is What I Did. Little, Brown, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-316-01363-5; $16.99.
Logan, whose family has moved to a new neighborhood where he is bullied, won’t talk about a disturbing incident from his past until encouraged by a counselor.

Felin, M. Sindy. Touching Snow. Atheneum, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4169-1795-3; $16.99.
Thirteen-year-old Karina, a member of a large immigrant family from Haiti, deals with growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional home dominated by her horrifying stepfather.

Friesen, Gayle. For Now. Kids Can Press, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-55453-133-2; $7.95.
Sarcastic Jes and her blended family are back, and their lives are shaken up again when her mother announces that she is pregnant. This follow-up to Losing Forever (2002) stands alone.

Gipi. Notes for a War Story . Spectrum. Translated by Spectrum. Illus. by Gipi. Roaring Brook/First Second, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59643-261-1; $16.95.
Three young men struggle to survive the aftermath of war. The senseless violence of their underground crime ring comes through powerfully in this graphic novel’s nonlinear storyline and dark, gritty images.

Grey, Christopher. Leonardo's Shadow: Or, My Astonishing Life as Leonardo da Vinci's Servant. Simon and Schuster/Atheneum, 2006; ISBN13: 978-1-4169-0543-1; $16.95.
Young Giacomo, servant to Leonardo da Vinci, seeks to understand his past while caring for and contending with the brilliant, cantankerous artist in fifteenth-century Milan.

Hale, Shannon. Book of a Thousand Days. Illus. by James Noel Smith.Bloomsbury, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59990-051-3; $17.95.
Themes of friendship and loyalty elevate this fairy-tale romance, in which sensible, loyal maid Dashti serves a harsh sentence alongside Lady Saren, who has refused an arranged marriage.

* Hemphill, Stephanie. Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath . Random House/Alfred A. Knopf, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-83799-9; $15.99.
Most people know little about Plath’s biography apart from its tragic ending. Appropriately, this powerful portrait uses verse to shed light on the life of the gifted poet. A 2008 Printz Honor book.

Hinds, Gareth. Beowulf. Candlewick, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-7636-3022-5; $21.95.
Hinds’ graphic novel captures the passion and violence of the original Anglo-Saxon saga through masterful illustrations and a respectfully adapted text.

Hornby, Nick. Slam. Penguin Group USA/Putnam, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-399-25048-4; $19.99.
Stunned by his girlfriend’s pregnancy, Sam seeks direction from his (possibly) imagined conversations with skater idol Tony Hawk.

Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. Penguin Group USA/Riverhead Books, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59448-950-1; $25.95.
Two women born a generation apart witness the destruction of home and family in wartorn Kabul, testing the limits of their strength and courage.

Jenkins, A.M. Repossessed . HarperCollins/HarperTeen, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-06-083568-2; $15.99.
Even after escaping from hell, adolescence is a wild ride for this demon! A 2008 Printz Honor book.

Jocelyn, Marthe. How It Happened in Peach Hill. Random House/Wendy Lamb, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-83701-2; $15.99.
Annie gathers information for her mother’s séances by playing the village idiot. Then she meets Sammy, and now all she wants is to be a normal girl.

Johnston, Tony. Bone by Bone by Bone. Roaring Brook/Deborah Brodie, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59643-113-3; $17.95.
David’s interracial friendship with Malcolm is forbidden by David’s father, a small-town doctor who threatens to shoot any black person who comes into their house.

* Jones, Lloyd. Mister Pip. Dell Publishing/Dial Press, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-385-34106-6; $20.00.
In the midst of guerrilla warfare, 14-year-old Matilda attends school to hear Mr. Watts, the only white inhabitant on her Pacific island, read from Dickens’ Great Expectations. A 2008 Alex Award winner.

Key, Watt. Alabama Moon . Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-374-30184-2; $16.00.
Moon, having lived in isolation in Alabama’s deep woods until his father’s death, sets out for Alaska and discovers how little he knows about the outside world.

Klass, David. Firestorm. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Frances Foster, 2006; ISBN13: 978-0-374-32307-3; $17.00.
Everything Jack thinks he knows about his world is wrong in this science fiction adventure set in the present day.

Knox, Elizabeth. Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Frances Foster, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-374-31854-3; $19.00.
In the second volume of the Dreamhunter Duet, Laura searches for master dreams to reverse the effects of a government conspiracy, only to discover an even more sinister plot. A 2008 Printz Honor book.

Koertge, Ron. Strays. Candlewick, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-7636-2705-8; $16.99.
Trapped in the unwelcoming world of foster care, Ted relies upon his strong connection with animals as he struggles to determine his life’s direction.

Lanagan, Margo. Red Spikes. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-84320-4; $16.99.
In this collection of ten unsettling stories, a bogeyman, an angelic budgie, and souls in limbo are just some of the elements that will leave readers startled and intrigued.

*Landy, Derek. Skulduggery Pleasant. HarperCollins, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-06-123115-5; $17.99.
When Stephanie inherits her uncle’s’ estate, she also inherits his best friend: a walking, talking, crime-fighting skeleton.

Lat. Town Boy . Roaring Brook/First Second, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59643-331-1; $16.95.
The move from a small village to a growing Malaysian town offers Mat a chance to experience a wider world filled with exaggerated yet totally believable characters. A followup to graphic novel Kampung Boy (200?).

Lockhart, E. Dramarama. Hyperion, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-7868-3815-8; $15.99.
When friends Demi and Sarah both attend theater camp, their bond is tested when Demi meets his dream man and Sarah discovers that she may have misjudged her talents.

Lyga, Barry. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl . Houghton Mifflin, 2006; ISBN13: 978-0-618-72392-8; $16.95.
Fanboy, a comic-book nerd and perennial target of the Jock Jerks, finally takes charge of his destiny (with a little help from Goth Girl).

Lyga, Barry. Boy Toy. Houghton Mifflin, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-618-72393-5; $16.95.
Josh’s middle school teacher taught him more than history. Five years later, her release from jail forces him to confront the past in this frank depiction of sexual abuse.

MacCready, Robin Merrow. Buried . September 2006. Penguin Group USA/Dutton, 2006; ISBN13: 978-0-525-47724-2; $16.99.
As her obsessive-compulsive disorder spirals out of control, Claudine finds herself buried under home and school duties after her alcoholic mother appears to have abandoned her.

Marillier, Juliet. Wildwood Dancing. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-83364-9; $16.99.
Jena combats dark forces to protect all she holds dear, including her beloved Other Kingdom, in this magical steeped in fairy-tale lore.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. The White Darkness. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-06-089035-3; $16.99.
Battling an inscrutable villain in the frozen South Pole, Symone learns survival skills from her imaginary companion, the long-dead explorer Titus Oates. The 2008 Printz Award winner.

Mieville, China. Un Lun Dun . Random House/Del Rey, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-345-49516-7; $17.95.
When it turns out her friend isn’t the Chosen One after all, 12-year-old Deeba steps in to save Un Lun Dun—a bizarre and fantastical alternate London.

Miller, Sarah. Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4169-2542-2; $16.99.
New teacher Annie Sullivan struggles to unlock the mind of Helen Keller, a deaf and blind 6-year-old whose family is desperate to control her violent tantrums.

Moore, Perry. Hero . Hyperion, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4231-0195-6; $16.99.
Thom is keeping two very big secrets from his father—that he is a superhero in training, and that he is gay.

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. The Off Season. Houghton Mifflin, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-618-68695-7; $16.00.
In this standalone sequel to Dairy Queen, female linebacker DJ struggles to balance school, romance, and family responsibilities as she starts her junior year.

Myers, Walter Dean. What They Found: Love on 145th Street . Random House/Wendy Lamb, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-385-32138-9; $15.99.
From beauty shops and meat pies to war, drugs, and love between dying dogs, these fifteen interconnected stories explore life in Harlem with humor and sensitivity.

Olmstead, Robert. Coal Black Horse. Algonquin, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-56512-521-6; $23.95.
Carried by a mysterious horse, 14-year-old Robey Childs journeys to find his father in the grisly aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg.

*Peet, Mal. Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal . Candlewick, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-7636-3488-9; $17.99.
This sweeping thriller moves between World War II and the present day as 15-year-old Tamar uncovers her grandfather’s hidden past as a spy in the Netherlands.

Resau, Laura. Red Glass . Random House/Delacorte, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-385-73466-0; $15.99.
Fear has ruled the life of 16-year-old Sophie until dehydrated, speechless Pablo, a 6-year-old survivor of an illegal border crossing, is brought to her home.

Resau, Laura. What the Moon Saw. Random House/Delacorte, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-385-73343-4; $15.95.
Fourteen-year-old Clara spends the summer in a tiny Mexican village with grandparents she has never met, discovering a sense of belonging previously unknown to her.

The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural . Edited by Deborah Noyes. Candlewick, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-7636-2906-9; $16.99.
These original short stories feature a celebrated cast of young adult authors and invite readers to question whether the dead really do rest in peace.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Illus. by Mary Grandpre. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-545-01022-1; $34.99.
Harry fights to the death with Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the conclusion to this hugely popular series.

Schmidt, Gary D. The Wednesday Wars . Clarion, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-618-72483-3; $16.00.
Overseen by his seventh-grade English teacher, Holling Hoodhood spends Wednesday afternoons reading Shakespeare, hunting rats, and learning the consequences of the Vietnam War.

Sedgwick, Marcus . My Swordhand is Singing . Random House/Wendy Lamb, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-84689-2; $15.99.
When the dead of Chust begin to rise from their graves, Peter and his father, Tomas, must face a soulless enemy and a terrifying destiny.

Selznick, Brian. The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel. Illus. by Brain Selznick. Scholastic, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-439-81378-5; $22.99.
Combining words and black-and-white pictures inspired by silent films, Selznick reveals the connections between a Parisian orphan and an elderly toymaker. The  The 2008 Caldecott Medal Winner.

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Adapted by Richard Appignanesi. Illus. by Sonia Leong. Abrams/Amulet, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-8109-9325-9; $9.95.
Manga meets the bard! The classic, doomed love story gets a fresh look in this contemporary retelling set in Japan.

Sharenow, Robert. My Mother the Cheerleader. HarperCollins/Laura Geringer, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-06-114896-5; $16.99
Thirteen-year-old Louise is thrust into an ugly confrontation due to her mother’s activism against the 1960s integration of New Orleans schools.

Shusterman, Neal. Unwind. Simon & Schuster, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4169-1204-0; $16.99.
This is a future world where teens are “unwound”—their body parts are harvested for use by others. Conor, Risa, and Lev will go to extreme lengths to avoid this fate.

Smith, Roland. Peak. Harcourt, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-15-202417-8; $17.00.
His name is Peak and his destination is Everest. But is this avid climber ready to fulfill his father’s dream?

Sonnenblick, Jordan. Notes from the Midnight Driver . Scholastic, 2006; ISBN13: 978-0-439-75779-9; $16.99.
Alex’s drunken joyride in his mother’s car lands him with 100 hours of community service mentoring a cantakerous elderly man.

St. James, James. Freak Show. Penguin Group USA/Dutton, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-525-47799-0; $18.99.
Cultures collide when teen drag queen Billy moves from the northeast to a staid Florida community, where he is determined to disrupt the status quo.

*Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. Illus. by Shaun Tan. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-439-89529-3; $19.99.
Without a single word, Tan’s extraordinary images express the loneliness, sadness, anxiety, and wonder of the immigration experience.

Thompson, Kate . The New Policeman. HarperCollins/Greenwillow, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-06-117427-8; $16.99.
In search of the perfect gift for his mother, J. J., an Irish 15-year-old, must save the inhabitants of another world and solve an ancient mystery.

Wallace, Rich. One Good Punch. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-81352-8; $15.99.
Seemingly straightlaced Mike has never been in trouble—until police find four joints in his locker, forcing him to choose whether or not to betray a childhood friend.

Weinheimer, Beckie. Converting Kate . Penguin Group USA/Viking, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-670-06152-5; $16.99.
Kate has only known a world where her church is the ultimate authority, but after her father's death she begins to question her allegiance.

Wiess, Laura. Such a Pretty Girl. Simon & Schuster/MTV, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4165-2183-9; $12.00.
Having lost all faith in the justice system, Meredith tries to save herself and others from her father, a child molester recently released from prison.

Wizner, Jake. Spanking Shakespeare . Random House, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-375-84086-9; $15.99.
With humor and pathos, Shakespeare Shapiro chronicles the absurd events his senior year and his obsession with sex.

Zarr, Sara. Story of a Girl. Little, Brown, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-316-01453-3; $16.99.
When Deanna’s dad catches her having sex with an older guy, the consequences are greater than she ever could have imagined.

Zevin, Gabrielle. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-374-34946-2; $17.00.
After falling down some steps, Naomi can’t remember the past four years of her life. Now she must discover who she really is.

Nonfiction

Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Sarah Crichton, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-374-10523-5; $22.00.
A former child soldier in Sierra Leone recalls the heart-wrenching experiences that transformed him from an innocent 12-year-old into a cold-blooded killer. A 2008 Alex Award winner.

Crisler, Curtis L. Tough Boy Sonatas. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. Boyds Mills Press/Wordsong, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-932425-77-2; $19.95.
Poems about boys growing up poor and black vividly show the constant threats of ghetto life, as well as the positive relationships that help sustain them.

The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss . Edited by Claire Nouvian. University of Chicago Press, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-226-59566-5; $45.00.
Amazing photographs and essays by scientists introduce the strange, beautiful, and sometimes terrifying deep-sea creatures that live in the largest, most mysterious ecosystem on the planet.

Fradin, Judith Bloom and Dennis Brindell Fradin. Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy. Clarion, 2006; ISBN13: 978-0-618-50436-7; $21.00.
In a time when women had little control over their lives, Addams became a powerful force for good by helping the poor and disadvantaged and fighting for peace.

Helfer, Andrew. Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography. Illus. by Randy Duburke. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Hill & Wang, 2006; ISBN13: 978-0-8090-9504-9; $15.95.
The events and controversies of Malcolm X’s life, culminating in his assassination, are presented with unblinking realism in a bold, graphic-novel format.

Marrin, Albert. The Great Adventure: Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of Modern America . Penguin Group USA/Dutton, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-525-47659-7; $30.00.
Roosevelt rides to life in this intimate yet historically revealing book about the man who redefined the United States presidency.

* Polly, Matthew. American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China. Penguin Group USA/Gotham Books, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-59240-262-5; $26.00.
On a quest to transform himself from a scrawny weakling into a kung-fu master, Polly drops out of Princeton and journeys to the legendary Shaolin Temple. A 2008 Alex Award winner.

Raddatz, Martha. The Long Road Home A Story of War and Family . Penguin Group USA/Putnam Adult, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-399-15382-2; $24.95.
An investigative journalist contrasts the physical brutality of the Iraq War with homefront loved ones’ stress when an American platoon is trapped in a firefight.

Reef, Catherine. e.e. cummings: a poet's life. Clarion, 2006; ISBN13: 978-0-618-56849-9; $21.00.
This well-rounded portrait skillfully examines the culture in which poet e. e. cummings lived as he developed his craft.

Sis, Peter. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. Illus. by Peter Sis. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Frances Foster, 2007; ISBN13: 978-0-374-34701-7; $18.00.
Through spare text and bold, powerful illustrations, Sis tells of his life in communist Czechoslovakia, especially his yearning for freedom, his attraction to Western pop culture, and his determination to embrace his creativity. The 2008 Sibert Award winner and a Caldecott Honor book.

Tammet, Daniel. Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant . Simon & Schuster/Free Press, 2007; ISBN13: 978-1-4165-3507-2; $24.00.
Recounting his long struggle to emotionally connect with others, Tammet vividly describes his childhood and adolescence as an austistic savant.