2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

The list of 93 titles, drawn from 177 official nominations, is presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. This year’s PPYA committee produced four lists of titles arranged by the following topics:

  • Death and Dying : Death can be an adventure, but not everyone lives to tell about it.
  • Fame and Fortune : Stardom! Wealth! Notoriety! Read all about teens aspiring to make it big.
  • Journey > Destination : Life is an open road when the journey is greater than the destination.
  • Spies and Intrigue : Political intrigue, daring deeds, great escapes, and more in this thrilling list of fiction and nonfiction about those who operate within the world of shadow.

“Librarians and teens alike are always looking for an easy way to find books they’re sure to enjoy,” said Karen Brooks-Reese, committee chair. “These themed lists will help librarians develop collections and displays and lead teen readers towards titles that may be unknown to them but are beloved to others.”

Members of the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee are: Karen Brooks-Reese, chair, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Teresa Allen, Colorado State Library, Denver; Kristin L. Fletcher-Spear, Foothills Branch Library, Glendale, Ariz.; Jane Ellen Gibson, Seattle (Wash.) Public Library; Megan Honig, New York Public Library, Seward Park Branch; Todd Krueger, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Md.; Dawn McMillan, Boone County Public Library, Burlington, Ky.; Elizabeth Saxton, Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library; Elizabeth Schneider, Pasadena, Calif.; Ann Sloan, Leonard Middle School, Fort Worth, Texas; Jillian Subach, Boise (Id.) Public Library; Melanie Wachsmann, Lone Star College Cyfair Branch, Cypress, Texas; Carlisle Kraft Webber, Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Hackensack, N.J.; Snow Wildsmith, Mooresville (N.C.) Public Library; Shauna Yusko, Evergreen Junior High, Redmond, Wash.; and Jennifer Paluda, administrative assistant, Trinity Area School District, Washington, Pa.

   Death and Dying

Death can be an adventure, but not everyone lives to tell about it.Â

Megan Honig, Chair
Karen Brooks-Reese
Kristin L. Fletcher-Spear
Dawn McMillan
Ann Sloan
Jillian Subach
Melanie Wachsmann
Carlisle Kraft Webber

Anderson, M.T. Thirsty. 2003. Candlewick. 978-0-763-62014-1 $7.99
Turning into a vampire really sucks for Chris.

Brooks, Kevin. The Road of the Dead. 2007. Scholastic. 978-0-439-78624-9 $7.99
Two brothers investigate their sister’s brutal murder.

Cabot, Meg. Shadowland: The Mediator Book One. 2004. HarperTeen. 978-0-060-72511 $7.99
Suze forces ghosts to move on, whether they want to or not.

Colfer, Eoin. The Wish List. 2004. Scholastic. 978-0-439-44336-4 $6.99
Heaven doesn’t want her. Hell spits her out.

Draper, Sharon M. Tears of a Tiger. 1996. Simon Pulse. 978-0-689-80698-8 $5.99
The death of a star basketball player shocks a school.

Freymann-Weyr, Garret. Stay with Me. 2006. Graphia. 978-0-618-88404-9 $8.99
After her sister kills herself, Leila wants to know why.

Green, John. Looking for Alaska. 2007. Penguin. 978-0-142-40251-1 $7.99
First friends, first love, first great tragedy.

Klause, Annette Curtis. Silver Kiss. 2007. Delacorte Press. 978-0-385-73422-6 $8.99
Who knows more about death than the undead?

Kubo, Tite. Bleach, Volume 1. Illus. by Tite Kubo. 2004. VIZ Media. 978-1-591-16441-8 $7.95
It’s Soul Reapers vs. Hollows, and Ichigo is in the middle.

Leavitt, Martine. Keturah and Lord Death. 2006. Red Deer Press. 978-0-889-95370-3 $11.99
Love, death and lemon meringue pie.

Marrone, Amanda. Uninvited. 2007. Simon Pulse. 978-1-416-93978-8 $8.99
Jordan’s ex comes to her window at night. She’d be thrilled, if he wasn’t dead.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Jade Green: A Ghost Story. 2001. Simon Pulse. 978-0-689-82002-1 $5.99
Green silk awakens a ghost.

Nix, Garth. Sabriel. 2008. Eos. 978-0-061-47435-4 $9.99
Sabriel steps in when the dead won’t stay dead.

Ohba, Tsugumi. Death Note, Volume 1. Illus. by Takeshi Obata. 2005. VIZ Media. 978-1-421-50168-0 $7.99
Writing gives Light the power to kill.

Price, Charlie. Dead Connection. 2006. Roaring Brook Press. 978-0-312-37966-7. $7.99
She’s been murdered, and he talks to dead people.

Shan, Darren. Lord Loss. 2006. Little, Brown. 978-0-316-01233-1 $8.99
Grubbs is normal until demons kill his family.

Shiomi, Chika. Yurara, Volume 1. Illus. by Chika Shiomi. 2007. VIZ Media. 978-1-421-51350-8 $8.99
One girl, two hot boys, and a whole lot of ghosts.

Shusterman, Neal. Everlost. 2006. Simon Pulse. 978-0-689-87238-9 $6.99
Welcome to the world of the in-between.

Singleton, Linda Joy. Dead Girl Walking. 2008. Flux. 978-0-738-71405-9 $9.95
The only thing worse than being dead is being popular.

Takami, Koushun. Battle Royale. 2003. VIZ Media. 978-1-569-31778-5 $15.95
One ninth-grade class, three days, one survivor.

Whitcomb, Laura. A Certain Slant of Light. 2005. Graphia. 978-0-618-58532-8 $8.99
Sex, drugs and restless spirits.

Zevin, Gabrielle. Elsewhere. 2007. Square Fish. 978-0-312-36746-6 $6.95
Death is the beginning of Liz’s new life.

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. 2007. Knopf. 978-0-375-84220-7 $11.99
In a time of war, Death is haunted by humans.

   Fame and Fortune

Stardom! Wealth! Notoriety! Read all about teens aspiring to make it big.

Todd Krueger, Chair
Teresa Allen
Elizabeth Schneider
Elizabeth Mary Saxton
Melanie Wachsmann
Carlisle Kraft Webber
Snow Wildsmith

Cabot, Meg. Teen Idol. 2004. Harper Trophy. 978-0-060-09618-2 $8.99
Nice girl meets Hollywood hunk.

Calonita, Jen. Secrets of My Hollywood Life. 2007. Poppy. 978-0-316-15443-7 $7.99
Teen television star wants a normal live.

Collins, Yvonne and Sally Rideout. The Black Sheep. 2008. Hyperion. 978-1-423-10160-4 $8.99
Swapping families shows Kendra the unreality of reality TV.

Davis, Joyce E. Can’t Stop the Shine. 2007. Kimani Tru Harlequin. 978-0-373-83078-7. $9.99
Everybody wants to be the next Alicia Keys.

Dean, Zoey. Zoey Dean’s Talent. 2008. Razorbill. 978-1-595-14178-1 $9.99
All you need to make it is the right agent, even if she’s in middle school.

Dhami, Narinder. Bollywood Babes. 2006. Yearling. 978-0-440-42020-0 $5.99
They thought she’d be the life of the party . . . until she moved in.

Diamond, Cheryl. Model:Â A Memoir. 2008. Simon Pulse. 978-1-416-95904-5. $9.99
Being pretty isn’t enough.

Ferrer, Caridad. Adios to My Old Life. 2006. MTV. 978-1-416-52473-1 $9.95
Good Cuban daughter or next Latin superstar?

Godbersen, Anna. The Luxe. 2008. HarperCollins. 978-0-061-34568-5 $9.99
Gossip. Marriage. Murder. They’re going to party like it’s 1899.

Lockhart, E. Dramarama. 2007. Hyperion. 978-0-786-83817-2 $7.99
But what she really wants to do is direct.

Manning, Sarra. Guitar Girl. 2005. Puffin. 978-0-142-40318-1 $6.99
Rock stardom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Millner, Denene and Mitzi Miller. Hotlanta. 2008. Point. 978-0-545-00308-7 $8.99
The hottest brands, the best schools, the darkest secrets.

Nakamura, Yoshiki. Skip Beat, Volume 1. Illus. by Yoshiki Nakamura. 2006. VIZ Media. 978-1-421-50585-5 $8.99
Fame is the best revenge.

Nichols, Travis. Punk Rock Etiquette: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Punk, Underground, DIY, and Indie Bands. 2008. Roaring Brook Press. 978-1-596-43415-8 $12.95
From roadie to rocker: how to get your gig.

Perkins, Mitali. First Daughter:Â Extreme American Makeover. 2008. Puffin. 978-0-142-41154-4 $7.99
They’ll repackage her for the campaign trail, whether she needs it or not.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 2002. Scholastic. 978-0-439-13960-1 $9.99
The pressures of fame are the least of Harry’s problems.

St. James, James. Freak Show. 2008. Penguin. 978-0-142-41231-2 $8.99
Billy Bloom is a FABULOUS choice for homecoming queen.

Shin, Ji-Sang and Geo. Chocolat, Volume 1. Illus. by Ji-Sang and Geo Shin. 2005. Yen Press. 978-8-952-74453-1 $10.95
How can a fan show her love?

Shull, Megan. Amazing Grace. 2006. Hyperion. 978-0-786-85691-6 $6.99
Tennis star gives up the court for anonymity in Alaska.

Tamaki, Mariko and Steve Rolston. Emiko Superstar. Illus. by Steve Rolston. 2008. Minx. 978-1-401-21536-1 $9.99
One summer to discover your inner artist.

Taylor, Chandra Sparks. Spin It Like That. 2007. Kimani Tru. 978-0-373-83080-0 $9.99
The club scene is a DJ-eat-DJ world.

Tharp, Tim. Knights of the Hill Country. 2008. Laurel Leaf. 978-0-553-49513-3 $6.99
A star linebacker tackles the expectations of his town.

von Ziegesar, Cecily. Gossip Girl. 2002. Little, Brown. 978-0-316-91033-0 $10.99
Good morning, Upper East Siders. What are B and S up to today?

Walker, Melissa. Violet on the Runway. 2007. Berkley Trade. 978-0-425-21704-7. $9.99
She walked out of the movie theater and strutted into the spotlight.

    Journey > Destination

Life is an open road when the journey is greater than the destination.

Jane Ellen Gibson, Chair
Megan Honig
Todd B. Krueger
Elizabeth Schneider
Elizabeth Mary Saxton
Ann Sloan
Jillian Subach
Shauna Yusko

Acampora, Paul. Defining Dulcie. 2008. Puffin. 978-0-142-41183-4 $6.99
She stole her dead father’s truck for a cross-country trip home.

Barnholdt, Lauren. Two-Way Street. 2007. Simon Pulse. 978-1-416-91318-4 $8.99
Driving to college with your ex is never a good idea.

Bauer, Joan. Rules of the Road. 2005. Penguin. 978-0-142-40425-6 $7.99
A trip to save a shoe store helps Jenna find her fit.

Brashares, Ann. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 2004. Laurel Leaf. 978-0-440-22970-4 $6.99
Have jeans, will travel.

Carlson, Melody. Road Trip:Â Diary of a Teenage Girl (Chloe Book 3)Â 2003. Multnomah. 978-1-570-52142-3 $12.99
Christian rock stars on tour.

Cassidy, Cathy. Dizzy:Â A Novel. 2005. Puffin. 978-0-142-40474-4 $6.99
Mom nabs Dizzy for a summer of hippie festivals.

Cooney, Caroline B. Hit the Road. 2008. Laurel Leaf. 978-0-440-22929-2 $6.50
There’s a breakout at the retirement home, and Brit’s the getaway driver.

Ehrenhaft, Daniel. The After Life. 2006. Razorbill. 978-1-595-14080-7 $8.99
Drunk brother, hot sister, $2 million road trip.

Friedman, Aimee. South Beach. 2005. Scholastic Point. 978-0-439-70678-0 $8.99
Miami’s hottest Spring Break spot.

Green, John. An Abundance of Katherines. 2008. Puffin. 978-0-142-41070-5 $7.99
What is the formula for not getting dumped?

Johnson, Maureen. 13 Little Blue Envelopes. 2006. HarperTeen. 978-0-060-54143-9 $8.99
Ginny’s dead aunt sends her on a scavenger hunt across Europe.

Johnson, Maureen. Girl at Sea. 2007. Harper Teen. 978-0-060-54146-0 $8.99
Clio is looking for more than just treasure.

Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. 1957. Penguin. 978-0-140-04259-7 $15.00
Sal and Dean’s classic road trip across America.

Kiyuduki, Satoko. Shoulder-a-Coffin, Kuro Volume 1. 2008. Yen Press. 978-0-759-52897-0 $10.99
And you thought your backpack was heavy.

Korman, Gordon. Born to Rock. 2008. Hyperion. 978-0-786-80921-9 $8.99
Young Republican seeks punk rock father to pay tuition.

Kurata, Hideyuki. Train + Train, Volume 1. Illus. by Tomomasa Takuma. 2007. Go Comi! 978-1-933-61718-3 $10.99
School’s a rush when it’s on a high-speed train.

Let’s Go Europe 2009: On a Budget. 2008. Let’s Go. 978-0-312-38708-2 $15.99
Whether you’re planning a trip or just dreaming of one.

Levithan, David. Are We There Yet? 2007. Knopf. 978-0-375-83956-6 $8.99
The executive and the slacker: brothers stuck on a vacation in Italy.

Sanchez, Alex. Rainbow Road. 2007. Simon & Shuster. 978-1-416-91191-3 $8.99
The Big Gay Road Trip!

Simmons, Michael. Finding Lubchenko. 2006. Penguin. 978-1-595-14075-3 $8.99
Evan’s shady dealings lead him to Paris to clear his dad’s name.

Sloan, Brian. A Really Nice Prom Mess. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 978-1-416-95389-0 $8.99
Cameron and his boyfriend’s night to remember: puke in the fish tank is only the beginning.

Steinberger, Aimee Major. Japan Ai:Â A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan. Illus. by Aimee Major Steinberger. 2007. Go Comi! 978-1-933-617831 $16.99
Traveling to Japan is a fangirl’s dream come true.

Vorwald, John. MTV Roadtrips U.S.A. Go Stay Play. 2007. Wiley Publishing. 978-0-764-58776-4 $21.99
Hip hot spots across the country.

Weeks, Sarah. So B. It. 2005. Harper Trophy. 978-0-064-41047-2 $6.99
Heidi lives with her disabled mother but starts to wonder about her past.

   Spies and Intrigue

Political intrigue, daring deeds, great escapes, and more in this thrilling list of fiction and nonfiction about those who operate within the world of shadow.

Snow Wildsmith, Chair
Teresa Allen
Karen Brooks-Reese
Kristin L. Fletcher-Spear
Jane Ellen Gibson
Dawn McMillan
Shauna Yusko

Barnes, Jennifer Lynn. The Squad: Perfect Cover. 2008. Random House Children’s Books. 978-0-385-73454-7 $6.99
James Bond meets Bring it On.

Carroll, Michael. Quantum Prophecy 1: The Awakening. 2006. Puffin. 978-0-142-41179-7 $7.99
Your developing super powers better stay a secret.

Carter, Ally. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. 2007. Hyperion. 978-1-423-10004-1 $8.99
Kicking butt is easy but kissing is hard.

Cole, Stephen. Thieves Like Us. 2007. Bloomsbury. 978-1-599-90041-4 $7.95
Kidnapped from prison to steal ancient treasures.

Colfer, Eoin and Andrew Donkin. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel. Illus. by Giovanni Rigano. 2007. Hyperion. 978-0-786-84882-9 $9.99
No one steals from the fairies and gets away with it.

Craig, Joe. Jimmy Coates: Assassin? 2006. Harper Trophy. 978-0-060-077265-9 $7.99
Jimmy finds out he’s not his parent’s son – or even completely human.

Greenland, Shannon. The Specialists: Model Spy. 2007. Speak. 978-0-142-40849-0 $6.99
Genius, gorgeous and alone: spying is the only option.

Hale, Shannon. River Secrets. 2008. Bloomsbury. 978-1-599-90293-7 $8.99
Razo’s espionage is the only hope for peace.

Higgins, Jack (with Justin Richards). Sure Fire. 2008. Putnam. 978-0-142-41213-8 $7.99
Meet your father. He’s a spy.

Higson, Charles. SilverFin:Â A James Bond Adventure. 2006. Hyperion. 978-0-786-83866-0 $6.99
Everyone starts somewhere.

Horowitz, Anthony. Stormbreaker. 2006. Puffin. 978-0-142-40611-3 $7.99
Spying runs in the family.

Jinks, Catherine. Evil Genius. 2008. Harcourt. 978-0-152-06185-2 $7.95
Axis Institute Class Schedule: Infiltration, Manipulation, Assasination, Lunch.

McNab, Andy and Robert Rigby. Traitor. 2006. Puffin. 978-0-142-40727-1 $6.99
Where do your loyalties lie?

Miller, Kirsten. Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City. 2006. Bloomsbury USA. 978-0-599-90092-6 $7.95
Renegade Girl Scouts explore a hidden city beneath Manhattan.

Moran, Lindsay. Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy and Other Misadventures. 2005. G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 978-0-425-20562-4 $14.00
Life as a CIA applicant, trainee and case officer – and it’s all true.

Muchamore, Robert. CHERUB, Mission 1: The Recruit. 2005. Simon Pulse. 978-0-689-87779-7 $6.99
Criminal. Recruit. Spy.

Snyder, Maria V. Poison Study. 2007. Mira. 978-0-778-32433-1 $13.95
Food tasters have a very short life expectancy.

Spradlin, Michael. Spy Goddess, Book One: Live and Let Shop. 2005. Avon Books. 978-0-060-59409-1 $5.99
Prison or spy school: it’s her choice.

Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society. Illus. by Carson Ellis. 2007. Little, Brown. 978-0-316-00395-7 $7.99
The fate of the world’s minds lies in the hands of four unlikely children.

Updale, Eleanor. Montmorency and the Assassins: Master Criminal Spy? 2007. Scholastic. 978-0-439-68344-9 $5.95
Spying and anarchy, 19th century style.

Walden, Mark. H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous Education. 2008. Aladdin. 978-1-416-93572-8 $6.99
The students of today are the supervillains of tomorrow.

Yancy, Rick. The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp. 2006. Bloomsbury. 978-1-599-90044-5 $7.95
Fast cars, monks with swords, and an unexpected destiny.