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Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
Chosen from the many adult books published during 1996, the following titles have been earmarked as top choices for teenagers’ personal reading by the Books for Youth editorial staff and contributing reviewers Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Leone McDermott, Candace Smith, and Karen Simonetti. Check previous full-length Booklist reviews for additional information on audience appropriateness, content, and theme.
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem and Steinberg, Alan. Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement. Morrow, $28.95 (0-688-13097-6).
An enlightening, informative overview of the accomplishments of significant African Americans in history, made to order for YA readers.
Chambers, Veronica. Mama’s Girl. Putnam/Riverhead, $22.95 (1-57322-030-2).
Teens will grab this honest, contemporary memoir by a young Glamour editor whose relationship with her mother is at the core of her search for her identity as a woman and as an African American.
hooks, bell. Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood. Holt, $20 (0-8050-4145-1).
In this stirring memoir of growing up, hooks writes about fear, love, and sexuality; about the pain of racism; and about the joy she found in books.
Humes, Edward. No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court. Simon & Schuster, $23 (0-684-81194-4).
Humes’ riveting look at America’s lost youth ventures into the dark, violent world of five teens, a world with a constantly revolving door that leads from juvenile court to group homes to jail.
Leno, Jay and Zehme, Bill. Leading with My Chin. HarperCollins, $22 (0-06-018694-1).
In a book for older teens, the popular nighttime host tells his life story, focusing on his growing-up years and his struggles as a young comedian.
Lewis, Sydney. “A Totally Alien Life-Form”: Teenagers. New Press, $25 (1-56584-282-0).
Teens will find themselves or someone they know in the stark, plainspoken words of these young adults—some of whom are happy and hopeful, some of whom are on the edge of violence and in pain.
Mandela, Nelson. Mandela: An Illustrated Autobiography. Little, Brown, $29.95 (0-316-55038-8).
Adapted from Mandela’s memoir and containing more than 200 photos, this accessible, dramatic introduction will be a first choice for reading about the man and his country.
Moore, Michael. Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American. Crown, $21 (0-517-70739-X).
In a book that makes you think as hard as it makes you laugh, film director Moore uses his outrageous wit to skewer countries, corporations, political parties, and private citizens.
Ribowsky, Mark. The Power and the Darkness: The Life of Josh Gibson in the Shadows of the Game. Simon & Schuster, $23 (0-684-80402-6).
Into this account of the tragic life of Josh Gibson, the Babe Ruth of black baseball, Ribowsky seamlessly weaves the fascinating history of the Negro Leagues.
Weir, Alison. The Children of Henry VIII. Ballantine, $25 (0-345-39118-7).
A vivid look at the lives of the heirs of Henry VIII, this is historical writing at its best: both fascinating and informative.
Wise Women: An Anthology of Spirituality. Ed. by Susan Cahill. Norton, $27.50 (0-393-03946-3).
Pagan to Hindu, Native American to Muslim, Jewish to Christian—voices from around the world in a fine anthology of works by women across 2,000 years.
Chappell, Fred. Farewell, I’m Bound to Leave You. St. Martin’s/ Picador, $21 (0-312-14600-0).
Homespun wisdom, lively language, and strong, colorful female characters distinguish Chappell’s collection of interconnected stories.
Cook, Thomas H. The Chatham School Affair. Bantam, $22.95 (0-553-09652-4).
Passion, murder, suicide, secrets, and a teenage boy are but a few of the tantalizing elements in this stunning thriller, set at a private boys’ school in the 1920s.
Crichton, Michael. AirFrame. Knopf, $26 (0-679-44648-6).
Destined for the big screen, this fast-paced thriller draws its story about airline safety right from the headlines.
D’Amato, Barbara. KILLER.app. Tor/Forge; dist. by St. Martin’s, $22.95 (0-312-85991-0).
A team of dedicated cops takes on a deadly cyberspace villain in a can’t-put-it-down read.
Grimes, Martha. Hotel Paradise. Knopf, $24 (0-679-44187-5).
A quirky, bittersweet tale, both funny and suspenseful, in which a lonely 12-year-old plunges into the cobwebby remains of a past tragedy.
Keyes, J. Gregory. Waterborn. Ballantine/Del Rey, $24 (0-345-40393-2).
In a wonderfully detailed leadoff for a planned fantasy saga, the daughter of an emperor and a young man embarking on his manhood quest are caught up in an eons-old battle between two brother gods.
Livesey, Margot. Criminals. Knopf, $23 (0-679-44487-4).
Scotland is the setting for a poignant, involving novel that begins when a stuffy London banker en route to visit his troubled sister discovers an abandoned baby.
Maron, Margaret. Up Jumps the Devil. Mysterious, $20 (0-89296-568-1).
The warm, smoky flavor of the South pervades this thriller in which a straight-talking woman judge faces off against murder and greed.
McKillip, Patricia A. Winter Rose. Berkley/Ace, $19.95 (0-441-00334-6).
Lush imagery and a compelling plot are but two of the drawing cards in a fantasy about a mysterious stranger who touches the lives of two sisters.
Sheffield, Charles and Pournelle, Jerry. Higher Education. Tor; dist. by St. Martin’s, $21.95 (0-312-86174-5).
Centering on a scofflaw student training for a job in space mining, this rousing coming-of-age-in-space adventure boasts the sort of technical details teen sf fans adore.
Shinn, Sharon. Archangel. Berkley/Ace, paper, $13.95 (0-441-00330-3).
In an exquisite novel with vividly imagined settings, the angel Gabriel finds that his wife-to-be is a common slave girl.
Volsky, Paul. The Gates of Twilight. Bantam, $12.95 (0-553-37394-3).
Two likable protagonists join forces to defeat a bloodthirsty cult in a first-rate fantasy with something for everyone—suspense, romance, a briskly paced plot, and the occult.
Welter, John. I Want to Buy a Vowel. Algonquin, $18.95 (1-56512-118-X).
This thoughtful novel is both irreverent and witty, and it is peopled with several young characters—including an 11-year-old who learns how complicated life can be during one long, eventful summer.
Wojtasik, Ted. No Strange Fire. Herald, paper, $14.95 (0-8361-9041-6).
When a series of barn fires devastates a Pennsylvania Amish community, suspicions turn toward young Jacob Hostetler. A suspenseful Christian mystery.
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