2002 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

The Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA), announced its 2002 selections finalized at the ALA Midwinter meeting, held January 18 - 23 in New Orleans. This year's committee produced four lists of selected titles. This year's lists are:  Relationships: Friends and FamiliesWar: Conflict and Consequences; Tales of the Cities; and Graphic Novels: Superheroes and Beyond.

Relationships: Friends and Families is comprised of 24 titles concerning relationships that are something other than romance. "The list's strongest asset is its variety - fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry, comedy and tragedy are all represented," said Shari L. Johnson, coordinator of this subcommittee.

War: Conflict and Consequences was conceived at last year's midwinter meeting, and has proven to be more timely than any of us could have predicted. According to Barbara Meisenheimer, who coordinated the War subcommittee, "Since September 11th, we've seen an increase in requests for war-related materials, about historic conflicts as well as the current one. This list represents 23 of the best and most popular titles available for teens." Included are fiction and nonfiction paperbacks from a variety of perspectives.

Tales of the Cities are stories of urban life. From Bristol to Brooklyn with numerous stops along the way, these 24 titles reflect varying ways teens experience life in the City. Formats and genres also vary, including horror, memoirs, and even a picture book. Bill Stack coordinated this list.

Graphic Novels: Superheroes and Beyond marks the second list PPYA has created made up exclusively of illustrated materials. These 25 titles cover a broad spectrum of current materials popular with teens. Subcommittee coordinator Mike Pawuk said, "There is something here for everyone, from the 12-year-old just moving out of the comic strip collections to the 18-year-old who has read almost everything else. We even have titles to appeal to people who have never tried out the format."

Sarah Dentan, committee chair, was enthusiastic about the selections on all four lists: "I'm very pleased with the quality and breadth of these lists. I'm confident both older and younger teens will find something new to try." The members of the 2001-2002 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee are: Sarah A. Dentan, chair, Berkeley, CA; Dawn Rutherford, Bellevue, WA; Emily Dagg, Seattle, WA; Rhonda Glazier, Emporia, KS; Shari L. Johnson, Pearl River, NY; Brenda S. Kilmer, Miami, FL; Eileen M. Kuhl, Towson, MD; Barbara Meisenheimer, Vancouver, WA; Michael G. Pawuk, Brooklyn, OH; Nancy Reich, Los Angeles, CA; Tom K. Reynolds, Edmonds, WA; Gail A. Richmond, San Diego, CA; Bill Stack, Jamaica, NY; Tricia A. Suellentrop, Kansas City, KS; and Sally Anne M. Thompson, Scottsdale, AZ.

Draft - January 2002

Relationships || War || Tales of the Cities || Graphic Novels


Bauer, Cat
Harley, Like a Person
Artistic Harley suspects the unimaginative people she lives with are not her real parents.

Chbosky, Stephen
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
A new school year, new friends, and new experiences trigger a repressed trauma.

Draper, Sharon M.
Forged by Fire
Gerald risks physical assault whenever he tries to protect his sister from his abusive stepfather.

Ewing, Lynne
Party Girl
Kata plots revenge when her best friend is killed by a rival gang.

Hawes, Louise
Rosey in the Present Tense
Romantic Franklin refuses to give up on the girl he loves - even if she is dead.

Hobbs, Will
The Maze
A wilderness biologist befriends a runaway deliquent.

Jenkins, A.M.
Breaking Boxes
An unlikely friendship begins in detention.

Johnson, Angela
Toning the Sweep
Emily helps her dying grandmother pack up a lifetime of memories.

Koller, Jackie French
A Place to Call Home
Distrustful of the foster care system, Anna keeps her mother's disappearance a secret.

Letts, Billie
Where the Heart Is
Girl gives birth at Walmart!

Mah, Adeline Yen
Chinese Cinderella The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
Adeline is an outcast within her own family.

Marsden, John
Letters from the Inside
Teen penpals slowly discover the disturbing truth about each other.

Mikaelsen, Ben
A bond develops between Trevor and 70 year-old Petey, who has cerebral palsy.

Myers, Walter Dean
Somewhere in the Darkness
Jimmy and his long-absent father share a tense road trip from New York City to Arkansas.

Nye, Naomi Shihab
An Arab-American girl finds St. Louis and Israel are worlds apart.

Pelzer, Dave
A Child Called "It"
When a child's worst nightmare is his mother.

Philbrick, Rodman
Freak the Mighty
Best friends Max and Freak become one mind, one body, one superhero.

Rinaldi, Ann
The Coffin Quilt The Feud Between the Hatfields & the McCoys
Romeo and Juliet, Appalachian style.

Sones, Sonya
Stop Pretending What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy
A poetic and painful story of an adored sister's mental breakdown.

Thomas, Rob
Rats Saw God A Comic Emotionally Charged Tale
Can Steve write his way out of the mess he has gotten himself into this time?

Voigt, Cynthia
Izzy, Willy-Nilly
When popular Izzy loses her leg, she loses her friends.

Wells, Ken
Meely La Bauve A Novel
Every time his alligator hunter father runs from the law motherless Meely must fend for himself in the bayous of Louisiana.

Wittlinger, Ellen
Hard Love
How do you stop yourself from falling in love with your best friend?


Aaseng, Nathan
Navajo Code Talkers
During World War Two, Navajos use their unique language to fight the enemy.

Brown, Dee
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee An Indian History of the American West
Battle by battle, how the West was lost.

Edelman, Bernard
Dear America Letters Home From Vietnam
War through the eyes of G.I.s.

Eisner, Will
Last Day in Vietnam A Memory
Comic book veteran Will Eisner draws on his wartime experience.

Holliday, Laurel
Why Do They Hate Me? Young Lives Caught in War & Conflict
In their own words.

Hunter, Mollie
The King's Swift Rider A Novel on Robert the Bruce

Martin spies for Scotland in its war against England.

Huth, Angela
Land Girls
As World War Two rages three city girls become women on an English farm.

Kubert, Joe
Fax from Sarajevo A Story of Survival
Trapped in his home during the sieges in Sarajevo, Ervin Rustemagic communicated to the world through his fax machine.

Mazer, Harry
The Last Mission
War ain't like in the movies - they use real bullets.

Mead, Alice
Adem's Cross
Death is arbitrary in Yugoslavia.

Miklowitz, Gloria D.
Masada The Last Fortress
Never surrender.

Mitchell, Margaret
Gone with the Wind
Seen the movie? Now read the book.

O'Brien, Tim
The Things They Carried
They carried all they could to survive, but sometimes it was too much.

Opdyke, Irene Gut
In My Hands Memories of a Holocaust survivor
She risked her life daily to save the lives of people Hitler was determined to exterminate.

Orlev, Uri
The Man From the Other Side
The road to freedom is through the sewers.

Paulsen, Gary
Soldier's Heart Being the Story of the Enlistment & Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers
Bullets, blood, boredom and bodies.

Pausewang, Gudrun
Final Journey
The last train ride of a Jewish girl.

Remarque, Erich-Maria
All Quiet on the Western Front
Loss of innocence in the trenches of World War One.

Reuter, Bjarne
The Boys from St. Petri
Danish teens take on the Nazis.

Rostkowski, Margaret I.
After the Dancing Days
World War One. Was it worth the pain?

Rylant, Cynthia
I Had Seen Castles
First love and young dreams are destroyed by the effects of war.

Sacco, Joe
Safe Area Gorazde The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995

A personal experience.

Wallace, Terry
Bloods An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans
Guys with guts.


Block, Francesca Lia
Missing Angel Juan
Witch Baby goes to the Big Apple to find her boyfriend.

Burgess, Melvin
Britpunks on dope.

Cross, Gillian
Tagging's her game. What's his name? And why is he following her?

Fleischman, Paul
Garden transforms a neighborhood.

Fong-Torres, Ben
The Rice Room Growing up Chinese-American - From Number Two Son to Rock 'n' Roll
From Oakland to Rolling Stone magazine.

Frank, Lucy
Oy, Joy!
How many relatives does it take to help a girl get a date?

Hamill, Pete
Snow in August
In 1940's Brooklyn a Irish-Catholic teen befriends a Rabbi.

Hinojosa, Maria
Crews Gang Members Talk to Maria Hinojosa
Latino voices - and it's all true.

Johnson, Stephen T.
Alphabet City
City scenes.

Levy, Marilyn
Run for Your Life
Kisha and her friends get on the right track team.

Mowry, Jess
Babylon Boyz
Can you build your life on a suitcase on cocaine?

Myers, Walter Dean
145th Street Short Stories
Ten stories, one block.

Rodriguez, Luis J.
Always Running La Vida Loca: Gang Days In L.A.
Passion and anger in Watts and East L.A.

Santiago, Esmeralda
Almost a Woman
Lives and loves of a Puerto Rican family.

Shusterman, Neal
Another world under the streets of New York City.

Sinclair, April
Coffee Will Make You Black
Growing up African American in 1960s Chicago, Stevie dreams of being cool.

Smith, Betty
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The classic story of a teenage girl in historic Brooklyn.

Soto, Gary
Buried Onions
Eddie drops out of junior college and tries to make it in Fresno.

Vizzini, Ned
Teen Angst? Naaah... A Quasi-Autobiogrphy
Teen tells his own story. It's funny.

Whelan, Gloria
Homeless Bird
Within a year, a young Indian teen is married, widowed and abandoned.

Williams-Garcia, Rita
Fast Talk on a Slow Track
Young man sells candy door to door in Queens, New York.

Wolff, Virginia Euwer
Make Lemonade
Two teenagers, a mother and her babysitter, help each other move on.

Woodson, Jacqueline
If You Come Softly
Miah and Ellie explore New York City, and their feelings for each other.

Zindel, Paul
Mutant rats take over garbage landfill on Staten Island New York.


Bendis, Brian-Michael
Ultimate Spider-Man Power and Responsibility

Spider bite leads to superpowers. Can Peter handle the responsibility?

Brennan, Michael
Electric Girl
Virginia is a normal teen with electric powers, an invisible gremlin "friend" and a dog named Bammo.

Busiek, Kurt
Kurt Busiek's Astro City Life in the Big City
What it's like to live in the city of superheroes.

Clowes, Daniel
Ghost World
Best friends Enid and Becky face the prospects of growing up and growing apart.

Dixon, Chuck and Jordan Gorfinkel
Birds of Prey
Superhero Oracle leads the fight against crime from her wheelchair.

Fujishima, Kosuke
Oh My Goddess! 1-555-GODDESS
Keiichi dials a wrong number and reaches the goddess Belldandy who grants him one wish.

Death The High Cost of Living
Once every 100 years, Death takes on human form to remember just what it is she is taking away.

Groening, Matt
Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror Spine-Tingling Spooktacular
A collection of twisted stories served up Simpsons style.

Hosler, Jay
Clan Apis
The life story of a honeybee named Nyuki.

Kudo, Kazuya
Mai the Psychic Girl
Mai reluctantly accepts her destiny as protectress of the earth.

Loeb, Jeph
Batman: the Long Halloween
The Dark Knight takes on the Mob.

Medley, Linda
Castle Waiting Lucky Road
A young woman seeks sanctuary for herself and her unusual newborn.

Millar, Mark
Ultimate X-Men The Tomorrow People
The next evolution of humanity is here. Be prepared.

Miyazaki, Hayao
Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind Perfect Collection Vol. 1
A young princess leads the battle for scarce natural resources.

Moore, Alan
Promethea Book One
College student Sophie is swept into the realm of the ancient gods.

Moore, Terry
Strangers in Paradise High School!
A sheltered suburbanite and a "bad girl" become best friends.

Nishiyama, Yuriko
Harlem Beat No. 1
Nate enters the cut-throat subculture of street hoops.

Petrie, Doug
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Ring of Fire
How will Buffy and her friends beat the bad guys this time?

Sakai, Stan
Usagi Yojimbo Grasscutter
A ronin warrior rabbit finds himself in the care of a legendary blade forged by the gods.

Smith, Jeff
Bone Out from Boneville
The Bone cousins lose themselves in a valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures.

Smith, Kevin
Daredevil Visionaries Kevin Smith
Blind law partner by day, crime fighter by night.

Takahashi, Rumiko
Ranma 1/2 Volume 1
A young martial artist turns into a girl every time he is splashed with cold water.

Watson, Andi
An android teenage girl tries out her human family's business.

Winick, Judd
Pedro & Me Friendship, Loss, & What I Learned
MTV's "Real World" cast member shares the story of his roommate Pedro, who died of AIDS.

Winick, Judd
The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius
Off-color tales of a boy genius's misadventures.