Friday, January 24, 2014

Spotlight on Teen Reads

As chair of the nominating committee for the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers in 2013, I had the responsibility (and joy!) of reading nearly 100 teen books. Some of my favorites are in this blog post.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

 Two tortured prisoners escaping, on the same mission they’ve failed many times before. An idealistic young congressman, shot. A lonely girl and a lonely boy, both devoted in their ways to the same flawed genius. The doctor, who can’t be convinced that the end doesn’t justify the means. A vortex of action in which time itself can’t be trusted.I was blown away by All Our Yesterdays, with its new and sinister twist on time travel. Its double-trio of complex characters kept me guessing until the last page. First-time author Cristin Terrill has written a page-turner for fans of mystery, action, and time travel, with a little romance.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

When red-haired, rebellious Eleanor gets on the school bus to head for Park’s high school for the first time, nobody suspects they’ll be together in a few weeks—least of all Eleanor and Park themselves. But a shared love of comics and the habit of challenging each other’s musical tastes slowly blossoms into a spunky and dangerous romance. If you like punchy dialogue and smart, courageous characters who go against the grain to stand by their
values,you may enjoy Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell, as much as I did.

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang


Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Boxers and Saints, two closely related graphic novels of the Boxer Rebellion in China, are a mixture of superheroism, adventure, and historical fiction. Each of the companion volumes focuses on a young person caught up in one side of this struggle among peasants, religious converts, Chinese nationalists, revolutionaries, and mercenaries.  The author, Gene Luen Yang, won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award for young adult fiction and the 2007 Eisner Award for graphics for American Born Chinese. Like that earlier book, Boxers and Saints blend fantasy and folklore with depictions of actual events.

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian

Tom Bouchard has just about everything he needs—respect as soccer team captain, a hot girlfriend, and a family with French-Canadian roots well established in his small Maine town. He welcomes the mad skills of Saeed and other refugee players who arrive seemingly out of nowhere, challenging Chamberlain High’s social and academic order but shining on the soccer field. The team might even challenge their well-funded rival, Maquoit High, this season. But a stint of community service brings Tom into closer contact with the newly-arrived Somalis and with a pretty, idealistic college student, upending his comfortable world. Sports, contemporary issues, romance—Out of Nowhere, by Maria Padian, has it all.

Vanessa Cowie
Information Specialist-Youth Services