2001 Best Books for Young Adults

Seventy-six books were chosen as Best Books for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. The list of titles includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and biography recommended for young adults ages 12-18. Five titles received a unanimous votes from the 15 member committee: Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, a novel set in the household of the Dutch painter Vermeer; 145th Street: Short Stories, a collection set on a single block in Harlem by Walter Dean Myers; The Beet Fields, an autobiographical coming-of-age novel by Gary Paulsen; Homeless Bird, a novel by Gloria Whelan about a teenage widow in India struggling to make a life for herself; and Miracle's Boys by Jacqueline Woodson, which explores how three brothers cope with the death of their mother.

Committee members were Alice F. Stern, Chair, The Winsor School, Boston, MA; Margaret Butzler, Bethel Park Public Library, Bethel Park, PA; Valerie Diamond, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD; Katherine Fitch, Rachel Carson Middle School, Herndon, VA; Susan Geye, Crowley Ninth Grade Campus, Crowley, TX; Donna Gilliland, University of St. Thomas Minnesota, MN; Nancy Maltby Henkel, Maple Valley Library, King County Library System, Maple Valley, WA; Jan Hoberecht, Newton High School, Newton, KS; Andrea Howe, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM; Susan Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT; Donna McMillen, Algona-Pacific Pacific, WA; Diane Monnier, Bethesda Regional Montgomery County, MD; Rosemary Moran,Tulsa City-County Library Tulsa, OK; Andrew Parson, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY; Sandra Schultheis, Evansville-Vanderburgh County, Evansville, IN; Stephanie Zvirin, Consultant, American Library Association,Chicago, IL; Douglas Uhlmann, Administrative Assistant, William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA.

View the  top ten list.


Almond, David Kit's Wilderness $15.95 Random House- Delacorte Press 0-385-32665-3 Kit finds ghostly young coal miners in the abandoned mines of Stoneygate when he plays the game of Death with the roughneck John Askew.

Anderson, Laurie Halse Fever 1793 $16.00 Simon and Schuster 0-689-83858-1 16 year old Matilda survives the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia and learns important lessons of perseverance and self-reliance.

Appelt, Kathi Kissing Tennessee and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance $15.00 Harcourt 0-15-202249-X A collection of stories about the lives of the unique kids that attended the Stardust Dance help in the gym of their middle school.

Bagdasarian, Adam Forgotten Fire $17.95 DK 0-7894-2627-7 A twelve to fifteen-year-old's account of the Armenian Massacres from 1915 to 1918 based on the author's great uncle's life.

Bauer, Cat Harley, Like a Person $16.95 Winslow Press 1-890817-48-1 (hc)1-890817-49-x (sc) When an artistic fourteen-year-old straight-A student believes she must be adopted, her search for her identity tears her world apart before she and her family can begin to come to terms with the truth.

Bauer, Joan Hope was Here $16.99 G. P. Putnam's Sons 0-399-23142-0 When sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as a waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways Diner they become involved with the diner owner's political campaign to oust the towns corrupt mayor.

Blackwood, Gary Shakespeare's Scribe $15.99 Dutton 0-525-46444-1 In 1602, when the plague in London closes Shakespeare's Globe Theater, the bard and his troupe of players take to the road, playing in small towns not yet menaced by disease. Widge, a young actor, grows up during this journey as he struggles with his issues of identity and self-worth.

Brooks, Martha Being with Henry $17.95 DK Publishing, Inc 0-7894-2588-2 Seventeen year old Laker Wyatt runs away from an unhappy home and is taken in by an elderly man who has family problems of his own.

Cabot, Meg The Princess Diaries $15.95 HarperCollins 0-380-97848-2 When Mia is a freshman in a New York City high school, she learns that her father can have no more children and that makes her the heir to the throne of Genovia.

Calhoun, Dia Aria of the Sea 15.95 Winslow Press 1-890-817-25-2 Since her mother's death, Aria has refused to use her talent for healing. As one of the few "commoner" students at the royal school for dancers, she fails to feel the joy she expected her dance career to bring.

Chevalier, Tracy Girl with a Pearl Earring $21.95 Dutton, 052594527X In Holland in 1664, a girl named Griet leaves her family to become a maid in the household of the painter Vermeer, but the passion she inspires in him and the passion art inspires in her end in sorrow.

Coman, Carolyn Many Stones $15.95 Front Street 1-886910-55-3 (From the jacket) A father and daughter confront each other and their own wounds in a land pulsing with loss and reconciliation

Creech, Sharon The Wanderer $15.95 trade, $15.89 library HarperCollins: Joanna Cotler Books 0-06-02773-0 trade, 0-06-027731-9 While sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in Uncle Dock's reconditioned sailboat, Sophie and Cody keep a detailed log of the perilous journey, both in the water and in their lives.

Crichton, Michael Timeline $26.95 Knopf 0-679-44481-5 Imagine yourself transported to the year 1357, a time when cruel lords, power-hungry abbots, scheming ladies, and fighting knights ruled. Modern scientists find danger both in their method of transport and in the medieval past in this suspenseful adventure.

Cross, Gillian Tightrope $16.95 Holiday House 0-8234-1512-0 While taking care of her sick mother and being an all-around "good girl," Ashley gets her thrills by secretly tagging neighborhood buildings until she is frightened by a stalker who watches her and sends her bizarre threatening things. She seeks help from a neighborhood tough guy, but learns she is the only one who can stop the stalker.

Dessen, Sarah Dreamland 15.99 Viking 0-670-89122-0 After her sister runs away, Caitlin decides to forge her own identity and gets involved with a dramatic and mysterious guy who turns out to be abusive.

Deuker, Carl Night Hoops $15.00 Houghton Mifflin 0-395-97936-6 Nick Abbott makes the varsity basketball team his sophomore year, but must hone his skills as a point guard while also learning to get along with Trent Dawson, his arrogant, brutish nemesis, in order to meet the challenges of growing up and playing championship ball.

Fienberg, Anna Borrowed Light $14.95 Delacorte 0-385-32758-7 Sixteen year old Callisto May believes she is a moon--a borrower of light, rather than a source of it. She also has an interest in astronomy. She is also pregnant.

Fogelin, Adrian Crossing Jordan $14.95 Peachtree 1-56145-215-7 When African-American Jemmie moves in next door, Cass's father is horrified and builds a fence separating the houses. Despite their family's prejudices, the girls form a friendship based on running and become the "chocolate milk" team.

Giff, Patricia Reilly Nory Ryan's Song $15.95 Delacorte 0-385-32141-4 Nory, 12, lives with her motherless family on the west coast of Ireland in the mid-1800s. While her father is away fishing at sea, a blight strikes their potato crop, and their harsh English landlord begins destroying neighbors' cottages for non-payment of rent. When severe hunger threatens, Nory's resourcefulness and loyalty help those she loves to escape to a better life in America.

Glenn, Mel Split Image $15.95 HarperCollins 0-688-16249-5 A story in poems about a young girl and her seemingly perfect life told from the point of view of the people that thought they knew her.

Gray, Dianne E. Holding up the Earth $15.00 Houghton Mifflin 0-618-00703-2 Fourteen year old Hope visits her new foster mother's Nebraska farm and through old letters, a diary, and stories, gets a vivid picture of the past in the voices of four girls her age who lived there in 1869, 1900, 1936, and 1960.

Haruf, Kent Plainsong $24.00 Alfred A. Knopf, 0-375-40618-2 The lives of two young boys, two old farmers, and a pregnant teenager, intersect in this deceptively simple story about family, love, and loyalty.

Hyde, Catherine Ryan Pay It Forward $23.00 Simon and Schuster 0-684-86271-9 Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy accepts the challenge that his teacher gives the class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better - and put that plan into action.

Isaacs, Anne Torn Thread $15.95 Scholastic Press 0-590-60353-9 "Whenever you can, ask yourself which choice might keep you and Rachel alive for one more hour". These are the words of wisdom spoken to Eva by her father when she and her sister were sent to a Nazi work camp in 1943. There they endured the horrors of the Holocaust and fought daily for that "one more hour".

Karr, Kathleen The Boxer $16.00 Farrar Straus Giroux 0-374-30921-3 Having learned how to box while in prison, fifteen-year-old Johnny sets out to discover if he can make a decent living as a fighter in late nineteenth-century New York City.

Kessler, Cristina No Condition is Permanent $17.99 Philomel 0-399-23486-1 When Jodie's anthropologist mother decides they are moving to Sierra Leone, Jodie is worried about finding friends until she meets Khadi, a village girl who will soon be joining the mysterious "Secret Society."

Konigsburg, E. L. Silent to the Bone $17.00 Jean Karl Book, Atheneum Books 0-689-83601-5 Thirteen year old Branwell becomes unable to speak when the au pair accuses him of hurting his baby step-sister.

Koss, Amy Goldman The Girls $16.99 Dial 0-8037-2494-2 Five girls in a middle school clique reveal how their manipulative leader exerts control over the group and causes hurt and self-doubt in their midst.

Lawrence, Iain Ghost Boy $15.95 Delacorte Press 0-385-32739-0 Constantly taunted by everyone in his small prairie town because of his strange white hair and ghostly pale skin, Harold runs away and joins a down-on-its-luck traveling circus where he meets a host of characters who will change his life.

Lebert, Benjamin Crazy $17.95 Knopf 0-375-40913-0 Sent to a boarding school to turn around his grades, and perhaps to spare him from seeing his parents' marriage fall apart, 16-year-old Benni, partially paralyzed on his left side, fells in with a group of misfits who are eager to fill their youth the thrills of being alive.

Logue, Mary Dancing with an Alien 14.95 Trade/14.89 Library HarperCollins 0-06--028319-X After a virus kills all the females on his planet, Brnako falls in love with Earthperson Tonia and wants her to return with him to his planet.

Lynch, Chris Gold Dust $15.95 HarperCollins 0-06-028174-X Richard believes that learning to love baseball will help a Black Caribbean boy fit in to a racial charged Boston neighborhood in the 1970s.

Marillier, Juliet Daughter of the Forest $25.95 TOR 0-312-84879-x Twelve-year-old Sorcha faces a nearly impossible task as she works to rescue her six brothers from their stepmother's magic spell.

Morris, Gerald The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf $15.00 Houghton Mifflin Company 0-395-97126-8 Annotation: Lynett, a feisty young woman, journeys to King Arthur's court in order to find a knight to rescue her beautiful older sister, and she is joined in her quest by a clever dwarf and a bold kitchen knave, neither of whom are what they seem.

Murphy, Rita Night Flying $14.95 Delacorte Press 0-385-32748-X The relationships in this strong, unique family of women threaten to destroy them, but when Geoargia turns sixteen events happen that bring them together.

Myers, Walter Dean 145th Street Short Stories $15.95 Delacorte Press 0-385-321376 A collection of short stories about life on a block in Harlem.

Oughton, Jerrie Perfect Family $15.00 Houghton Mifflin 0-395-98668-0 Welcome is 15 years old and living in a conservative North Carolina small town when she find herself pregnant, not by the boy of her dreams but by long time friend. She tells neither of the boys and leaves town to wait with relatives for the baby's arrival.

Paulsen, Gary The Beet Fields $15.95 Delacorte Press 0-385-32647-5 Gary Paulsen tells the story of his sixteenth summer, running away from home to experience life by working in the beet fields, witnessing death, helping an old woman on her farm, and working in a carnival for two brothers.

Peck, Richard A Year Down Yonder $16.99 Dial 0-80372518-3 Mary Alice is sent to live with her feisty grandmother during the Recession. She is reluctant to spend a year with her grandmother in her "hick" town but finds there are many lessons to be learned from her.

Peters, Julie Anne Define "Normal" $14.95 Little, Brown and Company 0-316-70631-0 When she agrees to meet with Jasmine as a peer counselor at their middle school, Antonia never dreams that this girl with the black lipstick and pierced eyebrow will end up helping her deal with the serious problems she faces at home and become a good friend.

Philbrick, Rodman The Last Book in the Universe $16.95 Blue Sky Press, an Imprint of Scholastic Inc. 0-439-08758-9 In this futuristic urban dystopia an epileptic gang member, together with an old man and an orphan, travels over hostile turf to visit his sister before she dies. A chance meeting with one of the genetically improved members of the ruling class causes major changes in society.

Platt, Randall Beth The Likes of Me $15.95 Delacorte Press 0-385-32692-0 In 1918, half-Chinese albino, Cordelia, runs away from the Pacific Northwest logging town where she lives with her father and step-mother, Babe, (aptly named after Paul Bunyon's ox) and begins a career as a side show act in a Seattle carnival.

Plum-Ucci, Carol The Body of Christopher Creed $17.00 Harcourt 0-15-202388-7 Class freak, Christopher Creed is missing. What happened and why has his small town in an uproar, but where is Chris Creed's body?

Plummer, Louise A Dance for Three $15.95 Delacorte Press 0-385-32511-8 When fifteen-year-old Hannah becomes pregnant and her rich, popular boyfriend claims he is not responsible, Hannah and her mother must face the problems they refuse to admit they have.

Rennison, Louise Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson $15.95 Trade/$15.89 Library HarperCollins, 0-06-028814-0/0-06-028871-X A year-long comic romp with Georgia as she flips from soaring joys to bottomless angst.

Ryan, Pam Munoz Esperanza Rising $15.95 Scholastic Press 0-439-12041-1 Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go to work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Schwartz, Virginia Frances Send One Angel Down $15.95 Holiday House 0-8234-1484-1 Abram, a young slave tries to protect his younger cousin Eliza from the hardships of slavery.

Spinelli, Jerry Stargirl $15.95 Alfred A. Knopf 0-679-88637-0 The eccentric new student, Stargirl, sees life differently than any of the students at Mica High School, and her non-conformist behavior changes her classmates and their perceptions of what it costs to be popular.

Trueman, Terry Stuck in Neutral $14.95 HarperCollins 0-06-028519-2 Fourteen-year-old Shawn suffers from a debilitating disease and thinks his father may be planning to kill him.

Wallace, Rich Playing Without a Ball $15.95 Knopf 0-679-88672-9 Jay McLeod, who lives alone above a bar and works in the kitchen to help pay his rent, joins the church basketball team and discovers friendship in various forms as the season progresses.

Wells, Ken Meely LaBauve $19.95 Random House 0-3755-0311-0 The short saga of 15 year old Meely's adventures with bullies, a crooked cop, alligators and an exploding cow.

Whelan, Gloria Homeless Bird $15.95 HarperCollins 0-06-028454-4 Summary: Koly, a thirteen-year-old girl in modern India, is forced into an arranged marriage with a dying boy. As a teenaged widow, she finds herself abandoned by her mother-in-law in a strange city where she must make a life for herself or die.

White, Ruth Memories of Summer $16.00 Farrar Straus Giroux 0-374-34945-2 In 1955, thirteen-year-old Lyric finds her whole life changing when her family moves from the hills of Virginia to a town in Michigan and her older sister Summer begins descending into mental illness.

Williams, Lori Aurelia When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune $17.00 Simon & Schuster 0-689-82468-8 When Shayla befriends the new girl next door who tells great stories about lizard people and memory beetles, she doesn't realize the desperate and dangerous situation Kambia Elaine is in or how to help her.

Wittlinger, Ellen What's in a Name $16.00 Simon & Schuster 0-689-82551-X While a town debates whether to change its name, the lives of ten of its teenage residents are changing as well.

Woodson, Jacqueline Miracle's Boys $15.99 Putnam 0-399-23113-7 Three brothers cope with their mother's death, each in his own way.

Yolen, Jane and Robert J. Harris Queen's Own Fool $19.99 Philomel Books 0-399-23380-6 When twelve-year-old Nicola leaves Troupe Brufort to serve as the fool for Mary, Queen of Scots, she experiences political and religious upheaval in France and Scotland.


Armstrong, Lance with Sally Jenkins It's Not About the Bike...My Journey Back to Life $24.95 G.P. Putnam 0-399-14611-3 Olympian Lance Armstrong's biography of his life before and after his horrific struggle against cancer and as a world famous cyclist.

Bachrach, Susan D. The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936 21.95 Little Brown 0-316-07086-6 0316070874p A history of the 1936 Olympic Games hosted by Berlin features the "Aryans only" and anti-semitic stance of the Nazi Party and how much of the world participated in the games.

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell Kids on Strike! $20.00 Houghton Mifflin Company 0-395-88892-1 The text relates the working world of children in the 1830s through the turn of the century and conditions that drove them to go on strike.

Beckett, Wendy My Favorite Things: 75 Works of Art from Around the World $29.95 Harry Abrams, Inc. 0-8109-4387-5 Sister Wendy Beckett introduces 75 works of art from around the world. Includes lavish illustrations and short accompanying essays of each work.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell, and Judith Bloom Fradin Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement $18.00 Clarion Books 0-395-89898-6 Ida B. Wells, born a slave, was a ferocious fighter against lynching, and an early leader in the fight for civil rights.

Franco, Betsy (editor) You Hear Me?: poems and writings by teenage boys $14.99 Candlewick Press 0-7636-1158-1 Teenage guys tell it like it is in their collection of recent poetry and writings.

Freedman, Russell Give me Liberty!: The Story of the Declaration of Independence 24.95 Holiday House 0-8234-1448-5 From the night in December three years before when the tea went into Boston Harbor to July of 1776 events rolled forward which were to change the world.

Glover, Savion and Bruce Weber Savion: My Life in Tap $19.95 Morrow 0688156290 This colorful and inspiring biography chronicles the rise to fame of hugely-talented, Tony Award-winning tapper Savion Glover.

Gottlieb, Lori Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self $22.00 Simon & Schuster 0-684-86358-8 One year in the life of a girl with anorexia.

Katz, Jon Geeks: How two boys rode the Internet out of Idaho $22.95 Villard 0-375-50298-X Trapped in rural Idaho, two 19-year-old, self-proclaimed geeks use their computer skills to land jobs, an apartment, and a new lives in Chicago.

Lalicki, Tom Spellbinder:The Life of Harry Houdini $18.95 Publsiher: Holiday House 0-8234-1499-X The life of the world famous escape artist is told through wonderful descriptions of his feats and what it took to pull off his world of magic and entertainment. Excellent photographs help to reveal the exciting exploits of Houdini.

Lanier, Shannon and Jane Feldman Jefferson's children: The story of One American Family 19.95 Random House 0-375-80597-4 A journey across the country and through the ages reunites the two branches of the Jefferson family, one Black the other White.

Levine, Ellen Darkness over Denmark : The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews $18.95 Holiday House 0-8234-1447-7 Retells events in Denmark during WW II as the Danes risked their lives to protect and rescue Jews from the Nazis.

Marrin, Albert Sitting Bull and his world $27.50 Dutton 0-525-45944-8 illustrated: yes (photos, drawings, maps) Explores the life and times of Sitting Bull and provides a context for historical events in the West.

St. George, Judith In the Line of Fire: Presidents' Lives at Stake $18.95 Holiday House 0-8234-1428-0 The story of four presidential assassinations is told through

Turner, Ann Learning to Swim 14.95 Scholastic Press 0-439-15309-3 A series of poems convey the feelings of a young girl whose sense of joy and security at the family's summer house is shattered when an older boy who lives nearby sexually abuses her.

Ung, Loung First They Killed My Father : A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers $23.00 HarperCollins 0-06-019332-8 Memoir of a young girl whose life and family was torn apart by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

Winick, Judd Pedro and Me $15.00 Henry Holt and Co. 0-8050-6403-6 Told in graphic format, Winick chronicles his friendship with AIDS educator Pedro Zamora and their time on MTV's Real World.