YALSA announces Best Books For Young Adults

Contact: Nichole Gilbert



For Immediate Release

January 2002

YALSA announces Best Books For Young Adults

Eighty-four books were chosen as 2002 Best Books for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The list of titles includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and biography recommended for young adults ages 12 to 18. Sixty-one fiction and 23 non-fiction titles were recommended as representing the best in young adult literature for the year.

The committee has chosen the following books as its Top 10 Young Adult Books:

  • "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Ann Brashares
  • "The Rag and Bone Shop" by Robert Cormier
  • "Whale Talk" by Chris Crutcher
  • "Breathing Underwater" by Alex Flinn
  • "Damage" by A.M. Jenkins
  • "Zazoo" by Richard Mosher
  • "Lireal" by Garth Nix
  • "The Land" by Mildred Taylor
  • "Every Time a Rainbow Dies" by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • "True Believer" by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Thirteen titles received unanimous votes from the 15-member committee: "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," four girls' adventures with a pair of magical pants; "Whale Talk," the triumph of diversity and non-conformity over prejudice; "Breathing Underwater," one boy's struggle with his own anger; "Damage," a teen's downward spiral into depression; "You Don't Know Me" by David Klass, where a teen copes with his mother's boyfriend's abuse; "Cut" by Patricia McCormick, in which a teen overcomes her obsession with self-mutilation; "Touching Spirit Bear" by Ben Mikaelsen, one boy's survival on a remote island where he confronts his inner demons; "The Greatest: Muhammad Ali" by Walter Dean Myers, the biography of the famous fighter; "The Amber Spyglass" by Philip Pullman, the third book in the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy; "What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones, free verse celebrating a teen girl's coming-of-age; "The Land," the prequel to "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"; "True Believer," where a teen works hard for success and learns hard truths about love; and, "Fighting Reuben Wolfe" by Markus Zusak, in which two brothers join an illegal fight circuit to help their family survive.

Members of the Best Books for Young Adults Committee include: Donna McMillen, chair, Fairwood Library, King County Library System, Renton, Wash.; Nicolas Buron, Queens Borough Public Library, New York City; Margaret Butzler, Bethel Park Public Library, Bethel Park, Pa.; Nicole Cooke, Montclair, N.J.; Valerie Diamond, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md.; Cynthia Dobrez, Harbor Lights School, Holland, Mich.; Donna Gilliland, University of Saint Thomas, Keffer Library, Minneapolis, Minn.; Nancy Maltby Henkel, Maple Valley Library, King County Library System, Maple Valley, Wash.; Diana Tixler Herald, Grand Junction, Colo.; Jan Hoberecht, Newton, Kan.; Andrea Howe, Albuquerque Academy Library, Albuquerque, N.M.; Susan Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, Vt.; Betsy Levine, San Francisco Public Library; Diane Monnier, Bethesda Regional Library, Bethesda, Md.; Cindy Welch, Harold Washington Library, Chicago Public Library; Stephanie Zvirin, consultant, American Library Association; Angelina Benedetti, administrative assistant, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash. A list of the 2002 Best Books For Young Adults is available
online. An annotated list will appear in the March 15 issue of Booklist and on the YALSA Member's Only Web site. For more information, contact the YALSA office by phone at 800-545-2433 x 4390 or e-mail