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January 2004

Librarians’ Choice 2003 · Books for Teens

Teen Fiction

the cover of Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell

Goblin Wood
Hilari Bell
YA Fiction
When Makenna, a young hedgewitch, witnesses the murder of her mother, she takes to the woods and begins gathering an army of goblins to avenge the death.

Begging for Change
Sharon Flake
YA Fiction
In this sequel to Money Hungry, Raspberry Hill is back and still obsessed with money. Using both legal and illegal means, Raspberry tries to build up enough cash to make her feel safe. When a vengeful neighbor assaults her mom, however, Raspberry finds that money can’t fix everything.

Breakout
Paul Fleischman
YA Fiction
Seventeen-year-old Del has just escaped her latest foster home and is trapped in the middle of a huge traffic jam. To pass the time, Del decides to get out of the car, see what’s going on, and meet some of the drivers around her. That’s when things get really interesting…

the cover of Inkheart by Cornelia Caroline Funke

Inkheart
Cornelia Caroline Funke
YA Fiction
Maggie’s father, Mo, has an unusual talent. When he reads a book aloud, the characters from the book become real. Years ago, Mo accidentally released several characters—some careless, others cruel and evil—from a particularly rare book. Now those characters have come calling, and Meggie and her father must find a way to return them to their proper place before it’s too late.

Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters
Gail Giles
YA Fiction
Sunny’s beautiful, perfect sister Jazz recently died in a fire. So why is Sunny getting mail from her dead sister? How is that possible? Something seems very, very wrong and if Sunny’s suspicions are right, her family could be in for a terrible surprise.

Sweetblood
Pete Hautman
YA Fiction
Teenage diabetic Lucy Szabo has an unusual theory—she believes that diabetics were the original “vampires.” Lucy becomes fixated on her theory and starts hanging out with a Goth crowd that shares her obsession with vampires. When she meets a man who claims to be a real vampire, Lucy finds herself in over her head.

the cover of The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

The Whale Rider
Witi Ihimaera
YA Fiction
Kahu, a young Maori girl whose people claim she is one of the legendary “whale riders,” is loved and valued by everyone in her family except her grandfather, the aging chief. But when the future of the Maori is threatened, it is Kahu who must use her ancient gift of communicating with whales to save the tribe.

Out of Order
A. M. Jenkins
YA Fiction
Sophomore Colt Trammel is a superstar baseball player, dates beautiful, smart Grace, and is part of his high school’s elite social group. But when his girlfriend dumps him and his mom tells him to improve his grades or quit the baseball team, Colt is forced to turn to green-haired, social outcast Corrine for help.

First Part Last
Angela Johnson
YA Fiction
Raising a newborn baby is hard under any circumstance, but sixteen-year-old Bobby is trying to do it alone while still in high school. Both his parents and his girlfriend’s parents have strongly advised Bobby against trying to raise the baby, but Bobby refuses to give up on his daughter.

the cover of Alice I Think by Susan Juby

Alice I Think
Susan Juby
YA Fiction
Ever since her parents let her start first grade dressed as a Hobbit in a burlap-sack, wearing felt slippers with fake fur on the toes, Alice has been somewhat of a misfit. At fifteen, Alice is still outside the norm as she struggles to deal with her hippie parents, her therapist, and the messed-up guys she always seems to attract.

Twists and Turns
Janet McDonald
YA Fiction
Keeba and Teesha Washington have graduated from high school and are proud to say that they’ve never been pregnant, aren’t doing drugs, don’t belong to a gang, and generally stay clear of crime and criminals. When the girls decide to use their hair-braiding skills to start a beauty salon, things really seem to be looking up. But greed and jealousy are about to turn their world upside down.

Birdland
Tracy Mack
YA Fiction
Unable to deal with the death of his brother directly, fourteen-year-old Jeb begins to film a documentary about his East Village neighborhood featuring all of the things Zeke loved about New York. But when Jeb tries to help a homeless girl whom Zeke knew, the results aren’t what he had expected.

the cover of Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Abhorsen
Garth Nix
YA Fiction
The highly-anticipated, action-packed conclusion to Nix’s trilogy (Sabriel, 1996; Lirael, 2001) finds Lirael and Prince Sameth, along with their unusual companions the Disreputable Dog and the cat Mogget, trapped by Chlorr the Mask. Meanwhile, the evil necromancer Hedge has tricked the Prince’s friend, Nick, into digging up The Destroyer, whose release from his ancient prison will mean the destruction of all life.

The River Between Us
Richard Peck
YA Fiction
It’s 1916 and fifteen-year-old Howard Leland Hutchings is on his way to visit his Grandma Tilly in a small Illinois town on the banks of the Mississippi River. Grandma Tilly is the keeper of many family secrets and Howard is about to learn how ghosts, soldiers, seers, racism, and the mighty Mississippi River shaped his family’s past.

Shatterglass
Tamora Pierce
YA Fiction
Fourteen-years-old Tris is a powerful mage able to control lightning and earthquakes. Keth is a glassmaker who also has great power, but his quick temper makes it difficult for him to control his magic. The two must learn to work together in order to stop a brutal serial killer who is terrorizing Tharios.
(Selected by Lea, age 14, member of the Library’s Official Teen Advisory Board)

the cover of Finding Our Way by René Saldaña, Jr.

Finding Our Way
René Saldaña, Jr.
YA Fiction
If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you? If you were expelled from school, how would your future change? Does the idea of going to your prom make you want to throw-up? In this collection of short stories, teenagers deal with these and other difficult questions as they struggle to find their own way in life.

Dangerous Girls
R. L. Stine
YA Fiction
When pretty, popular sisters Livvy and Destiny Weller started their summer jobs as camp counselors, they never imagined that by the end of the summer, they would be wondering if they might have turned into vampires.
(Selected by Taylor, age 13, member of the Library’s Official Teen Advisory Board)

Sword of the Rightful King
Jane Yolen
YA Fiction
Many people are plotting to remove newly crowned King Arthur from his throne, including his half-sister Morgause. With treachery and treason lurking around every corner, the king’s trusted advisor creates a stone pierced by a sword that only the rightful king can remove. But what happens when someone else removes the sword before Arthur?

Nonfiction

the cover of lose to Shore by Mike Capuzzo

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
Mike Capuzzo
597.31566 C255c 2003
In 1916 a Great White Shark attacked swimmers along the new Jersey Shore, killing three men and one boy during a one-month period. Details and photographs reveal the gripping tale of America’s first documented shark attacks.

Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case
Chris Crowe
364.152309 T574Zc 2003
While visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955, Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, allegedly whistled at a white woman. Three days later his brutally beaten body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River. The gruesome, racially motivated crime and the failure to gain convictions for the white murderers, who later confessed, was a powerful catalyst for the national Civil Rights Movement.

Ben Franklin’s Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman’s Life
Candace Fleming
973.3092 fF831Zfl 2003
The amazing life and countless accomplishments of one of America’s greatest and most progressive statesmen are detailed in this fascinating scrapbook-style biography.

In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America’s Bill of Rights
Russell Freedman
342.73085 qU582Zf 2003
Can schoolchildren be required to salute the American flag? Can musicians be prosecuted for “obscene” lyrics? Does the Constitution allow school officials to use physical punishment? This new look at the Bill of Rights offers insights into these questions (and many others) as the origins, history, and meaning of the first ten amendments to the Constitution are examined.

the cover of Facing the Lion by Joseph Lekuton

Facing the Lion: Growing up Maasai on the African Savanna
Joseph Lekuton
937.62004965 L536ZL 2003
Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton, a teacher in Virginia, gives a firsthand look at his life growing up as a member of one of Kenya’s poorest nomadic tribes. He recalls the traditions of his Maasai roots and recounts his journeys back to Kenya as an adult.

Hana’s Suitcase
Karen Levine
940.5318092 B812ZL 2003
The arrival of a suitcase at the Holocaust education center in Tokyo, Japan, in March of 2000, launched a search for information about the owner of the suitcase. Led by Fumiko Ishioka, the center’s curator, an investigation uncovers details about the owner, Hana Brady, and the truth about Hana’s life and death at the hands of the Nazis.

Creature Tech
Doug Tennapel
741.5 aT296 2002
In this graphic novel of science fiction for older teens, teenage scientist and Nobel laureate Michael Ong is the only thing standing between an evil sorcerer, his giant space eel, and the destruction of the world.

At the End of Words: A Daughter’s Memoirs
Miriam R. Stone
362.196994 S879Zs 2003
In this moving testament, the author chronicles her struggle during high school and college to cope with the diagnosis of her mother’s deadly cancer.