Monday, October 17, 2011

Teen Read Week!

It's Teen Read Week so let's talk about great books! I'll skip the ones you've all read like The Hunger Games and Uglies (though they are both fantastic books.) Here are a dozen of my favorite young adult books, in no particular order, with links to the library catalog so you can find or request them easily.

What are some of your favorite books written for teens?

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Meet Will Grayson. To get through high school, he tries to abide by two rules: 1. Don't care too much, and 2. Shut up. He's convinced that everything bad that's ever happened to him has been the result of not following these rules. Though Will tries to keep a low profile, his efforts are undermined daily by his proximity to his best friend, Tiny cooper. Tiny is the size of a refrigerator, flamboyantly gay, and writing an autobiographical musical entitled Tiny Dancer.

Meet Will Grayson. He's angry, disappointed, and very private. The person he hands out with the most is Maura, a similarly gloomy and cynical girl who seems to think of herself as Will's girlfriend. But every day Will looks forward to the one bright spot in his life: chatting online with Isaac, the only person Will feels truly comfortable with. Although their relationship is purely virtual, Will is madly in love.

One night, through a series of rather unfortunate events, the two Will Graysons meet face to face and the result is the most important musical of our time.

Told in a series of letters to an unnamed friend, this novel begins as 15-year-old Charlie struggles to deal with the aftermath of his best friend's suicide and his favorite aunt's death. Shy and introspective, Charlie befriends Patrick and Samantha who draw him into a new world of drugs, love, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. One of my most favorite books ever.

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

In 1941 Chicago, Ruby Jacinski works her fingers to the bone stuffing hogs feet into jars in a factory until she meets Paulie, who tells her about an opportunity as a taxi dancer. Trading in her brine-soaked rags for glamorous gowns, she’s soon out all night dancing with men for money. Her mother would not approve, so Ruby says she’s working as a telephone operator at night, and in the afternoons claims to be going to the movies with a friend when in fact she’s spending the time with Paulie in the back seat of his lime green convertible. She knows her double life can’t go on forever, but she loves finally having good food on the table and coal to heat their apartment, not to mention the nice clothes and nights out at after-hours jazz clubs. A great story about a rather obscure part of history.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Logan is still trying to get over his ex-girlfriend when he meets Sage, who just moved to his small Missouri town. Sage is like nobody else he has ever met- she is loud and wacky and sews her own wild clothing. She also has incredibly strict parents, isn’t allowed to date, and has been homeschooled for the last five years. Although Sage tries to keep her distance, Logan finally kisses her – a wonderful, perfect kiss that leaves him wanting more. And that’s when Sage tells him the truth about herself. She is really a boy. Feeling angry and betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage. Later, he tries again to reach out to Sage and understand her situation, but there is a rocky road ahead for their relationship.

The Patterns of Paper Monsters by Emma Rathbone

7:30 Lights on. 8:00 Breakfast. 9:30 Class. 11:30 Lunch. 5:30 Dinner. 6:30 Chores. 9:30 Lights out. It is always freezing and Jacob always has to pee at the worst possible time, when he surely won’t be granted permission. His bleak outlook on life isn’t improved by the conditions here at the juvenile detention center, nor does he respond to sessions with his therapist Lane. Only when he meets Andrea does he start to feel some hope, and eventually they kindle a bit of a romance, as much as they can in a place where boys and girls are almost always separated. When he meets the creepy new inmate David, Jacob must chose whether to remain indifferent or stop David’s violent plan from becoming reality.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

When Jennifer Harris was a kid, her best friend was Cameron Quick. Jennifer was a compulsive eater, Cameron lived in an abusive home, and neither of them fit in at their school. One day Cameron just disappeared and Jennifer learned that he had moved. Her devastation was complete a few months later when she heard that he was dead. Years later she is reinvented as Jenna Vaughn, and lives a seemingly perfect life with her mom and stepfather, lots of friends, and super hottie boyfriend Ethan. But when Cameron suddenly resurfaces, Jenna is forced to confront her past and reconcile Jenna Vaughn with Jennifer Harris. (Every one of Sara Zarr's books is as good at this one!)

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

When Audrey ends her relationship with aspiring rock star Evan, he writes a song about their breakup called "Audrey, Wait!" It shoots to the top of the charts, shooting his band to stardom. Unfortunately, it creates a great deal of notoriety for Audrey as well, and she finds herself hunted by fans and paparazzi, making normal life impossible.

The admissions department at Alabaster Prep had no idea what they were getting into by admitting Frankie Landau-Banks to their school. Sure, Frankie was following family tradition by attending the school, but there were other traditions she was less content to follow. Take the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, for instance. This secret society was responsible for many brilliant pranks over the years, but its male-only membership insured that Frankie could never take part. Or did it?

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

This story takes place in 1899 Manhatten, and centers around some young society girls who are always dressing up to attend fancy balls and charm the available young men. But it's not quite the easy life we might imagine, as evidenced by the first pages of the book, which describes the funeral of main character Elizabeth Holland. The story then backs up, describing events leading up to the funeral. There are various romantic twists and entanglements, peppered with a healthy dose of teenage backstabbing and even a servant girl gone wild.

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Last May, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend opened fire in their school cafeteria, killing several students and a teacher before turning the gun on himself. Val was shot in the leg when she attempted to stop the shooting, inadvertently saving the life of a classmate. Considered a hero by some, she is still implicated in the murders. Nick Levil was aiming for people on a list that Valerie created – the Hate List, a lengthy record of all the people who bullied them or wronged them in some way. A few months after the shooting, Val is returing to school and facing some of the very same people she helped to endanger. Though cleared of any charges many still blame her for the tragedy, and Val struggles to come to grips with her role in the tragedy and move on with her life.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

We meet Vera Dietz at her best friend Charlie’s funeral. At least they were best friends until a few months earlier when Charlie began hanging out with a new crowd, a crowd decidedly unfriendly to Vera. Things between them steadily grew worse, and then suddenly, unexpectedly, Charlie was dead. Now Vera spends her days trying to finish high school and her evenings working at the Pizza Pagoda, picking up more and more hours in an effort to fill her time and avoid dealing with what has happened. But Vera is haunted by thoughts of Charlie and the awful things he has been blamed for, by the memories of the violence in his household when they were growing up, and by the secrets he was hiding as their friendship started to fall apart.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

When her family moves to Baltimore, Beatrice is the new kid at a school in which everyone has known each other since kindergarten. She soon befriends the social outcast Jonas, also dubbed Ghost Boy. He introduces Bea to a late-night radio call-in show, Night Lights, and they meet a group of quirky fans of the show while their own friendship deepens. But Jonas has a dark past and troubling home life, which worsens as he uncovers secrets his father has been keeping from him about his family. Bea struggles with her own family problems and difficulty expressing her emotions – dubbing herself Robot Girl - and her friendship with Jonas becomes tumultuous.