2005 Best Books for Young Adults honors 86 books

Contact: Nichole Gilbert


For Immediate Release
January 21, 2005

2005 Best Books for Young Adults honors 86 books

CHICAGO - The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has announced its 2005 recommended list of Best Books for Young Adults.
The list, prepared annually, was released during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, January 14-18, 2005.

The 15-member committee narrowed its list of 214 official nominations to the final list of 86 significant adult and young adult titles recommended for ages 12-18. Despite the cold temperatures outside of the Hynes Convention Center, an audience warmed to 65 teens representing five states who traveled to Boston to attend a special committee session where they shared their love of books. A crowded audience of committee members, publishers, authors and librarians listened, laughed and cheered on these passionate readers. Most of the teens had prepared for a year or more to attend the conference. A second group of 10 New Jersey teens created a videotape to present at the session. A third group from Washington State assisted with committee administration behind-the-scenes.

The 86 winning titles make up a diverse list that features science fiction and fantasy, nonfiction, novels in verse, cutting-edge contemporary fiction and graphic novels.

Fourteen books received a unanimous vote from the committee.

  • "Wake Up Our Souls: a celebration of Black American Artists" by Tonya Bolden. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., $24.95. (0-8109-4527-4).
  • "Tending to Grace" by Kimberly Newton Fusco. Alfred A. Knopf, $15.95. (0-375-82862-1)
  • "Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop" by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. Delacorte, $16.95. (0-385-73056-X)
  • "The Race to Save the Lord God Bird" by Phillip Hoose. Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Melanie Kroupa Books, $20. (0-374-36173-8)
  • "The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place" by E.L. Konigsburg. Simon & Schuster: Atheneum, $16.95. (0-689-86636-4)
  • "B for Buster" by Iain Lawrence. Delacorte Press, $15.95. (0-385-73086-1)
  • "The Realm of Possibility" by David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf, $15.95. (0-375-82845-1)
  • "Saving Francesca" by Melina Marchetta. Alfred A. Knopf, $15.95. (0-375-82982-2).
  • "Airborn" by Kenneth Oppel. HarperCollins Children's Book Group: Eos, $16.99. (0-06-053180-0).
  • "How I Live Now" by Meg Rosoff. Random House Children's Books: Wendy Lamb Books, $16.95. (0-385-74677-6).
  • "Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood" by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Cinco Punto Press, $16.95. (0-938317-81-4).
  • "The Radioactive Boy Scout: the true story of a boy and his backyard nuclear reactor" by Ken Silverstein. Random House, $22.95. (0-375-50351-X).
  • "Chanda's Secret" by Allan Stratton. Annick Press, $19.95. (1-55037-835-X)
  • "Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?" by Eleanor Updale. Orchard Books, $16.95. (0-439-58035-8).

Aside from the books that received a unanimous vote, the committee also selected a Top Ten list of titles that showcases the quality and diversity of literature being published for teens.

This year's Top Ten list includes: "The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green" by Joshua Braff, where a teen copes with his abusive family situation through humor. A son takes revenge on his slumlord mother in "Bucking the Sarge" by Christopher Paul Curtis. "The Race to Save the Lord God Bird" by Phillip Hoose details the tragic extinction of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. "The Realm of Possibility" by David Levithan is a verse novel told from the many viewpoints of suburban high school students. A girl struggles to understand her mother's depression while being one of the first girls to integrate an all-boys school in "Saving Francesca" by Melina Marchetta. In "Private Peaceful" by Michael Morpurgo, a World War I foot soldier stands watch through the night. Pirates attack a luxury airship in "Airborn" by Kenneth Oppel. In "Under the Wolf, Under the Dog" by Adam Rapp, a teen shares the events leading up to his breakdown and hospitalization. "Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood" by Benjamin Alire Saenz chronicles the lives of teens in a 1960s New Mexico barrio. Finally, "So B. It" by Sarah Weeks tells of a daughter's journey to uncover her mother's past.

Members of the 2005 Best Books for Young Adults committee are:
Angelina Benedetti, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash., chair; Leslie A. Acevedo, Flint (Mich.) Public Library; Edith E. H. Cummings, Allen County Public Library, Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Lynn E. Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, Wis.; Betsy J. Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Calgary, Canada; Jennifer Hubert, Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York City; Cindy Lombardo, Tuscarawas County (Ohio) Public Library; Kimberly L. Paone, Free Public Library of Elizabeth (N.J.); Richie Partington, Richie's Picks, Sebastopol, Calif.; Adela Peskorz, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minn; Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway (N.J.) Public Library; Lynn Rutan, Macatawa Bay School, Holland, Mich.; Karen J. Tannenbaum, Evansville (Ind.) Vanderburgh Public Library; Deborah Denise Taylor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore; Cheryl Karp Ward, East Hartford (Conn.) High School; Gillian Engberg, consultant, Booklist, Chicago; and Rick Orsillo, Shoreline Library, Seattle.

For the complete list, please visit the YALSA Web site at:
An annotated list will appear in the February 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,