YALSA names 2009 Best Books for Young Adults

Contact: Stephanie Kuenn

YALSA Communications Specialist

(312) 280-2128



For Immediate Release

January 28, 2009

DENVER —The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), today announced its 2009 list of Best Books for Young Adults. The list of 86 books, drawn from 224 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.

“The committee is very proud of the final list,” said Rollie Welch, committee chair. “There was a tremendous level of professionalism and cooperation, as committee members discussed titles while deciding where they fit in the BBYA guidelines.”

A teen session held on Sunday drew 70 teens to speak to the committee about their favorite books. A crowded audience of committee members, publishers, authors and librarians listened to these passionate teen readers who came in groups from Fort Collins, Eagle and Boulder, Colo. The committee was thrilled by the depth of literary knowledge the teens expressed.

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:

Bowman, Robin. It's Complicated: The American Teenager. Umbrage Editions. 2007. 978-1-884167-69-0 $40.00

Conner, Leslie. Waiting for Normal. HarperCollins. 2008. 978-0-06-089088-9 $16.99

de la Pena, Matt. Mexican WhiteBoy. Delacorte. 2008. 978-0-385-73310-6 $15.00

Dowd, Siobhan. Bog Child. Random House/David Fickling Books. 2008. 978-0-385-75169-8


Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic. 2008. 978-0-439-02348-1 $17.99

Fletcher, Christine. Ten Cents a Dance. Bloomsbury. 2008. 978-1-59990-164-0 $16.95

Monninger, Joseph. Baby. Front Street/Boyd Mills Press. 2007. 978-1-59078-502-7 $16.95

Pratchett, Terry. Nation. HarperCollins. 2008. 978-0-06-143302-3 $17.89

Tamaki, Mariko. Skim. House of Anansi Press / Groundwood Books. 2008. 978-0-88899-753-1 $18.95

Voorhees, Coert. The Brothers Torres. Hyperion. 2008. 978-1-4231-0304-2 $16.99

The complete list, with annotations, can be found at

The members of the Best Books for Young Adults Committee are: Rollie Welch, chair, Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library; Jeana Actkinson, Bridgeport (Texas) High School; Martha Baden, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Porter Branch, Stafford, Va.; Jerene Battisti, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.; Teresa Brantley, Salem Middle School, Apex, N.C.; Louise Brueggeman, Morton West High School, Forest Park, Ill.; Summer Hayes, King County Library System, Foster Library, Tukwila, Wash.; Connie Mitchell, Carmel (Ind.) High School; Christy Mulligan, Hennepin County Public Library, Minneapolis, Minn.; Ann Pechacek, Worthington (Ohio) Public Library; Diane Roberts, St. Thomas High School Library, Houston, Texas; Elsworth Rockefeller, Martin Luther King Library, Washington, D.C.; Terri S. Snethen, Blue Valley North High School, Overland Park, Kans.; Cassie Wilson, Rowlett (Texas) Public Library; Brooke Young, Salt Lake City (Utah) Public Library; Gillian Engberg, consultant, Booklist, Chicago, Ill.; and Linda Uhler, administrative assistant, Westerville (Ohio) Public Library.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to
www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,