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January 2005

Librarians’ Choice 2004 · Books for Teens

Fiction

cover of Sign of the Qin Sign of the Qin: Outlaws of Moonshadow Marsh #1
L. G. Bass
When Emperor Han’s son, Prince Zong, is born with the mark of the Qin, the sign of an outlaw destined to overthrow the Emperor and restore justice to the Empire, the Emperor begins plotting the murder of his only heir. But more is riding on Prince Zong than the future of the Empire. The forces of good and evil are about to begin a battle that will decide the future of the universe, and the prince’s fate may decide the fate of everyone.

cover of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
Deb Caletti
Ruby has always been the “quiet girl.” But when she meets rich, gorgeous, motorcycle-riding Travis, Ruby seizes the opportunity to change her image and her life. Ruby’s divorced librarian mom, less than thrilled by Ruby’s new romance, begins to take Ruby to her book club, full of feisty seniors who just might have a thing or two to teach Ruby about true love.

cover of Al Capone Does My Shirts Al Capone Does My Shirts
Gennifer Choldenko
When Moose’s parents decide to move the family to San Francisco so they can be closer to a special school for Moose’s autistic older sister, Natalie, Moose’s life is turned upside down. But the school does not accept Natalie, and Moose is left to look after her all the time. If things weren’t tough enough already, Moose’s dad’s new job at the Alcatraz prison means the whole family must live on Alcatraz Island, home to the most famous criminals alive-including Al Capone.

cover of Red Kayak Red Kayak
Pricilla Cummings
When thirteen-year-old Brady rescues a young boy during a kayak accident, he does his best to resuscitate the child. Despite Brady’s efforts, the little boy dies and Brady is wracked with guilt. His sorrow and grief are multiplied when he discovers the boy’s death was the result of a prank pulled by Brady’s two best friends. Should Brady tell the truth about the part his friends played in the little boy’s tragic death?

cover of Bucking the Sarge Bucking the Sarge
Christopher Paul Curtis
Luther is trapped. He lives under “the Sarge,” his mother, who is a tough slumlord working him to the bone. When Luther tries to find an escape, he has the help of his best friend, Sparky, who comes up with crazy plans. Luther’s in love with his archrival, Shayla, the undertaker’s daughter. Can he become the philosopher he wants to be; can he escape the life of group homes and bad jobs? All he knows is he must get out from under the thumb of the Evil Empire of the Sarge.

cover of The Truth about Forever The Truth about Forever
Sarah Dessen
After the tragic death of her father, Macy Queen finds her summer plans lacking. While her genius boyfriend is away at “Brain Camp,” she takes his position at the library and fills her evenings studying for the SATs. But all hope is not lost. Macy gets involved with the wacky Wish Catering crew, watches her sister renovate their dilapidated beach house, and meets a boy who turns her world upside down.

cover of Playing in Traffic Playing in Traffic
Gail Giles
High school senior Matt Lathrop is stunned when Goth girl Skye Colby takes an interest in him. What would someone like Skye possibly see in Matt? She’s sexy, independent and a rebel; he’s the guy no one ever notices. Matt wants to believe Skye is sincere, but he can’t shake the feeling there’s more to Skye’s sudden interest in him than meets the eye. For older teens.

cover of Pagan’s Vows Pagan’s Vows
Catherine Jinks
Pagan and Roland, sick of the death and war they witnessed in Pagan in Exile, have decided to devote themselves to God. But after they join the Abbey of St. Martin and begin their training as monks, they soon discover life in a twelfth-century monastery isn’t as idyllic and quiet as they expected.

cover of Bird Bird
Angela Johnson
Thirteen-year-old Bird is on a mission. She is determined to find her stepfather and make him come back home to Ohio with her. Her mission takes her to an Alabama farmhouse, the home of her stepfather’s sister. Bird hides near the house, convinced that her stepfather will soon arrive. But while she’s waiting, Bird is drawn into the lives of the unusual cast of characters who call the Alabama farmhouse their home.

cover of Bittersweet Bittersweet
Drew Lamm
Taylor Rose is an artist, or at least she was. Taylor’s mom died when she was a baby, and a distant father and a loving, vibrant grandmother have raised her. But one day, Grams has a stroke, and she is no longer the same person that Taylor grew up loving and adoring. Grams is withdrawn and is no longer aware of her environment or of Taylor. Now, Taylor must build a new relationship with her father, rekindle relationships with old friends, come to terms with her Grams as she is, and rediscover her creativity.

cover of B Is for Buster B Is for Buster
Ian Lawrence
Sixteen-year-old Kak wants desperately to join the fight in World War II, so he decides to lie about his age and enlist in the Canadian Air Force. He’s convinced that the war will offer him the chance to prove he is a hero, just like his idol, Captain Marvel. But after his first nighttime mission flying bombing raids over Germany, Kak begins to understand that real war is very different from comic book battles between good and evil.

cover of A Crack in the Line A Crack in the Line
Michael Lawrence
Alaric’s mother died in a tragic car accident two years ago. But during a terrible snowstorm, Alaric makes an amazing discovery: a parallel universe where his mother did not die at all, but lived through the accident. While the parallel world is identical to Alaric’s in almost every way, there is one major difference. Someone else is living Alaric’s life.

cover of Messenger Messenger
Lois Lowry
In this sequel to The Giver and Gathering Blue, Matty carries messages from The Village to other communities. In an increasingly hostile world, The Village has always welcomed strangers, but with the upcoming vote this may all change. The Forest, which has always allowed Matty to pass safely, is becoming dangerous, even to him. This third book in the series ties up the loose ends of the previous books and lets you find out what happened to The Boy from The Giver.

cover of Saving Francesca Saving Francesca
Melina Marchetta
Transferring to a new school is tough enough, but when you are one of only a handful of girls in a previously all-boys school, things can be nearly impossible. High school junior Francesca is having trouble at her new school and at home, where her mother has sunk into a deep depression and refuses to get out of bed. But Francesca’s salvation may come from the most unlikely people, including the amazingly annoying Will Trombal—a guy who infuriates Francesca, but also gives her goosebumps every time he walks by.

cover of Fleshmarket Fleshmarket
Nicola Morgan
In 1822, eight-year-old Robbie heard the screams of his mother as she suffered through a painful surgery with no anesthesia. She died less than a week later. Robbie is now fourteen, and his father has disappeared, leaving Robbie and his little sister to fend for themselves. To make money, Robbie takes a job delivering corpses to the surgeon who operated on his mother years before. Soon he discovers that the surgeon may be involved in more than just surgery—he may be a murderer.

cover of Past Perfect, Present Tense Past Perfect, Present Tense: New and Collected Stories
Richard Peck
Featuring stories set in the past, stories involving the supernatural, and stories set in the present, this collection by award-winning author Richard Peck even includes “Priscilla and the Wimps,” the first story Peck ever wrote. Helpful hints and advice on writing short stories are also offered.

cover of Predator’s Gold Predator’s Gold
Philip Reeve
Hester Shaw and Tom Natsworthy are back in this sequel to Mortal Engines. Two years have passed since Hester and Tom’s last adventure, and “traction cities” still stalk the globe, looking for other towns to gobble up. Even though the heroic duo now live as traders aboard their own airship, they can’t escape the violence of the world. Soon they are stranded in Anchorage, fighting a radical environmental group and three very dangerous and familiar thieves.

cover of One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies
Sonya Sones
After her mother’s death, Ruby is sent to L.A. to live with her estranged but famous actor father, Whip Logan. Ruby is furious about being torn away from her best friend and her first love by the man who cruelly deserted her mother so long ago. She is determined to hate her father and Hellywood, er, Hollywood. Is it possible that her new life (with neighbors like Cameron Diaz) might have a happy ending?

cover of Chu Ju’s House Chu Ju’s House
Gloria Whelan
When Chu Ju is fourteen years old, her family receives very bad news: her mother has just given birth to another daughter. Because Chinese law allows a family to have only two children, Chu Ju’s grandmother convinces the parents to give the new baby up for adoption in the hopes that another pregnancy might finally mean a son. Should Chu Ju stay with her family or run away to make room for her new baby sister?

cover of Emako Blue Emako Blue
Brenda Woods
Everyone in Emako’s world is drawn to her. She’s the beautiful new girl in school with an incredible singing voice. Her confidence and sweet personality attract a variety of friends: Monterey, whose world opens up as she learns about a life so different from hers; Eddie who knows she’s down, since he too is from South Central and has a brother in a gang; and Jamal, who tries to play Emako but falls in love when she calls the shots. These friends tell Emako’s story as her singing starts to take her to higher places, until one horrible day when the violence of the streets catches up with her.

Nonfiction

cover of Thura’s Diary Thura’s Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq
Thura al-Windawi
Nineteen-year-old Thura al-Windawi describes life in Baghdad during the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Her diary reveals the complicated feelings she and many Iraqis have about the war, including the mixed emotions she felt when Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad was destroyed, despite her knowledge of the pain and suffering he caused so many people in her country.

cover of The Burn Journals The Burn Journals
Brent Runyon
When Brent Runyon was fourteen years old, he decided to commit suicide, and set himself on fire. It didn’t work, and he was left terribly burned over most of his body. This riveting true story follows his recovery through the next year and his struggle back toward normality and toward an understanding of why he tried to kill himself.

cover of Secrets of the Sphinx Secrets of the Sphinx
James Cross Giblin
The great Egyptian Sphinx did not always look as it does today. Giblin traces the history of the Sphinx, explaining how wars, weather and time have drastically altered the face of one of the world’s best-known structures. Amazing illustrations and lots of information about burial customs and construction bring to light what a truly monumental task it was to build this magnificent structure.

cover of To Establish Justice To Establish Justice: Citizenship and the Constitution
Patricia McKissack and Arlene Zarembka
The Supreme Court has played a big role in establishing civil and human rights throughout U.S. history. Discover the details of Court decisions on such issues as the removal of Native Americans to reservations, the legal rights of African-Americans after the Civil War, and the establishment of internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II. How did the Supreme Court rule on important cases that affected these and other civil rights? How consistent has the Court been over the years? Included are several personal stories associated with many significant Court rulings.

cover of Worlds Afire Worlds Afire
Paul B. Janeczko
When a fire ripped through the canvas tent of a Barnum & Bailey circus in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 6th, 1944, 167 people died and more than 500 were injured in just a few short minutes. Based on the eyewitness testimony of kids and adults in the audience and performers in the circus, this account of the horrible disaster is told in short poems.