#95 Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols (2009)
[73 points – 2 #1s, 3 #3s, 1 #4, 1 #5, 4 #7s]
"Simmering damn hot chemistry, dialogue that kicks butt, brilliantly paced and surprisingly deep." Naomi Rees, Teacher.
"A book that is perfect because of the characters, who walk out of the pages and pull you inside, so you don't feel like your reading about them, but sat in the backseat of the car, a witness to everything. A character driven novel that makes me feel like I have just read perfection put into words." Carla Black, The Crooked Shelf.
All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn’t make it back.Going Too Far was Jennifer Echols’ first step away from her popular Simon Pulse romantic comedies titles towards a more dramatic tone and subject matter. Currently in its seventh print run, Going Too Far has been announced as a finalist in the 2010 RITA, the National Reader's Choice Award, and the Book Buyer's Best.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge—and over... Jennifer-Echols.com
#94 Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (2008)
[ 73 points – 1 #1, 1 #2, 2 #3s, 1 #5, 2 #7s, 5 #8s, 4 #9s, 1 #10]
"It's an intense, powerful story that captured me from the very first page. It's everything you could want in a novel." Sophie Waters, So Little Time For Books.
“...sizzling romance, touching story, relatable characters - what more could you want?" Sarah James, reader.
At Fairfield High, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners, the results are bound to be explosive.The second author with a degree in psychology on the list, Simone Elkeles set her contemporary romance amidst racial and class conflict. Perfect Chemistry was a finalist in the Kentucky Bluegrass High School Book Awards and was nominated for the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers. Perfect Chemistry is also the first (possibly only) YA title on this list that has its own book trailer performed completely in rap!
Neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all – love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart? PerfectChemsitryTheBook.com
#93 Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher (2001)
[74 points – 3 #1s, 2 #3s, 1 #4, 2 #5s, 1 #6, 2 #9s]
“Crutcher has this talent for tackling every issue imaginable without making me hate him for being preachy. This book covers racism, intense instances of bullying, physical and mental disability, and child abuse, contrasting those ugly parts of the world with the banding together of unlikely friends who share a common love of swimming, and with parents who will do absolutely anything, and risk absolutely everything, for the safety and well-being of their adopted child..." Katie Ahearn, YA/Reference Librarian
“Gritty, realistic, hopeful, and hilarious. It may sound like an odd combination, but this book is fabulous. Deals with tough shit in an utterly real way but maintains a pitch-perfect sense of humor throughout." Natalie Schmidt, reader.
There's bad news and good news about the Cutter High School swim team. The bad news is that they don't have a pool. The good news is that only one of them can swim anyway.Inspired by the notion of outsiders, Crutcher decided to delve away from status quo and “an adult understanding of ....the adolescent experience.” A family therapist, Chris Crutcher has authored seven YA titles and received many of awards for his collected works. In 2000 Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) presented Crutcher with the American Library Association Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime contribution to young adult literature.
A group of misfits brought together by T. J. Jones (the J is redundant) to find their places in a school that has no place for them, the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to carve out their own turf. T. J. is convinced that a varsity letter jacket--unattainable for most, exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T. J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter High--will be an effective carving tool. He's right. He's also wrong.
Still, it's always the quest that counts. And the bus on which the Mermen travel to swim meets--piloted by Icko, the permanent resident of All, Night Fitness--soon becomes the cocoon inside which they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to bloom. ChrisCrutcher.com
#92 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1994)
[74 points – 2 #1s, 2 #2s, 1 #3, 1 #4, 2 #6s, 1 #7, 1 #8, 2 #9]
"A beautiful, poignant story that is never overshadowed by sadness." Erin Fitzpatrick-Bjorn, Middle School Librarian
“I always really loved this book. It made me hug my Mom a little tighter every time I reread it.” Kayla, English and American Literature student.
This is the story of thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, from Bybanks, Kentucky, who is traveling across the country to Idaho with her grandparents. Along the way, she tells them the story of "Phoebe Winterbottom, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic." She also tells you, the reader, another more serious story about her own mother and herself. SharonCreech.comThe third title on the list to have been a recipient of the Newbery medal (1995), Creech’s Walk Two Moons was inspired by a cross-country trip taken as a child. In an interview with Teacher Librarian, the authors acknowledged that the character of Gram and Salamanca shared characteristics with various female in her immediate family (including herself).
#91 The Astonishing life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party (2006)
[75 points – 2 #1s, 2 #2s, 1 #3, 2 #4s, 1 #5, 1 #6, 1 #7]
It sounds like a fairy tale. He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother — a princess in exile from a faraway land — are the only persons in their household assigned names. As the boy’s regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians’ fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments — and his own chilling role in them. MT-Anderson.comMT Anderson’s multi-award winning tome challenges readers with its thought provoking approach and questions about morality. I had the pleasure of hearing Anderson speak of the writing process for this book and how music had a large part in the technical side of his writing at the Reading Matters conference in Melbourne last year. Accompanied by a violist he demonstrated this with passages from this book. That experience alone was award winning. Credited for challenging the concept of the YA novel it received recognition as one of the Michael L. Printz Honor Books for 2009.
- To visit the author’s (AWESOME) website click here.
- Discussion Guide – Candlewick
- Teachers’ Notes – Walker
- Video of M. T. Anderson speech upon accepting the 2009 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award for Fiction
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