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Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
Selected by the Books for Youth editors, the following titles constitute the year’s best personal reading for teenagers among adult books published in 2000. More on suggested audience, content, etc., can be found in the full-length Booklist review.
Choy, Wayson. Paper Shadows: A Memoir of a Past Lost and Found. Picador USA, $24 (0-312-26218-3).
Family secrets are at the heart of this extraordinary account of Choy’s immigrant childhood in Vancouver’s Chinatown and his discovery of his real mother’s identity.
Colton, Larry. Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn. Warner, $24.95 (0-446-52683-5).
A girls’ high-school basketball team on the Crow reservation in Montana is the focus of this realistic account of the players’ lives, on and off the court. Colton finds grim social conditions but also joy, humor, and ethnic pride.
Conley, Dalton. Honky. Univ. of California, $19.95 (0-520-21586-9).
Highly readable and thought-provoking, this personal story of growing up white in a mainly black and Hispanic housing project in Manhattan is frank, funny, and honest.
Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers. Ed. By Kevin Young. HarperCollins/Quill, paper, $14 (0-688-16876-0).
This outstanding anthology of poems, essays, and fiction groups together 35 African American writers, all 40 years old or younger. The diverse voices are direct, sexy, provocative, lyrical, political, personal, Ivy-educated, and straight from the street.
Katz, Jon. Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet out of Idaho. Villard, $22.95 (0-375-50298-X).
With respect, empathy, and compelling insight, Katz writes about two young “computer-centered obsessives” and about the geek nation’s blend of alienation, fanatacism, and improvisation. These quintessential outsiders are radically altering how we communicate and what we own.
Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember Their Mothers. Ed. By Esmeralda Santiago and Joie Davidow. illus. Knopf, $20 (0-375-40879-7).
The immigrant experience is at the heart of these 14 memoirs that speak with guilt, rage, humor, and love about mothers who came here from Latin America. The combination of family folklore and self-discovery makes these stories universal.
Lauck, Jennifer. Blackbird: A Childhood Lost. Pocket, $23.95 (0-671-04255-6).
With remarkable lucidity and forgiveness, Lauck documents her brutal coming-of-age. She writes from her young self’s perspective and portrays her innocence, vulnerability, strength, moral clarity, and will to survive world-shattering loss.
Longman, Jere. The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and How It Changed the World. illus. HarperCollins, $24 (0-06-019657-2).
This dramatic retelling of the 1999 Women’s World Cup championship match between the U.S. and China weaves together gender issues, the influence of Title IX, and biographies and interviews with key players.
Nasdijj. The Blood Runs like a River through My Dreams: A Memoir. Houghton, $23 (0-618-04892-8).
Born on the Navajo reservation in 1950 to migrant workers (a Navajo storytelling mother and a white cowboy father), Nasdijj has spent his life on the move. His simple, poetic, personal essays are both funny and heartbreaking.
Niven Jennifer. The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk. Hyperion, $24.95 (0-7868-6529-6).
This is riveting adventure drawn from the diaries and firsthand accounts of the scientists and crew on the ship trapped in a giant ice floe. Teens will be thrilled by the immediacy of the survival story.
Philbrick, Nathaniel. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. illus. Viking, $24.95 (0-670-89157-6).
History and adventure are smoothly entwined in this accessible narrative of the 1820s whaling voyage whose disastrous, violent encounter with a sperm whale inspired Moby Dick. Accounts by the ship’s cabin boy as well as by the first mate add to the immediacy of the adventure.
Pollack, William S. and Shuster, Todd. Real Boys’ Voices. Illus. Random, $22.95 (0-679-46299-6).
Teenage boys of all races and economic backgrounds speak about sex, drugs, parents, religion, violence, emotions, and the changing view of maleness. Boys (and girls) will hear some familiar voices in the poignant poems, essays, journals, and interviews.
Rekdal, Paisley. The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In. Pantheon, $22 (0-375-40937-8).
In this often painful account of growing up biracial in America and overseas, half-Chinese, half-Norwegian Rekdal artfully describes how her dual identity has affected her experiences as lover, friend, and daughter.
Chevalier, Tracy. Girl with a Pearl Earring. Dutton, $23.95 (0-525-94527-X).
Inspired by Vermeer’s painting of the same name, this is an elegant and intriguing story of a young peasant girl’s coming-of age in seventeenth-century Holland.
Dallas, Sandra. Alice’s Tulips. St. Martin’s, $22.95 (0-312-20359-4).
When her husband enlists in the Union army, newlywed Alice is left to mind the family farm with her cantankerous mother-in-law. Alice’s matter-of-fact, sometimes funny letters to her sister tell of the uncertainty and daily hardships of women on the home front. Then Alice becomes prime suspect in a local murder.
Earley, Tony. Jim the Boy. Little, Brown, $23.95 (0-316-19964-8).
Growing up in rural North Carolina in the 1930s, 10-year-old Jim Glass has no father but he’s guided by the love of his mother and uncles. Earley’s plain prose will draw teens to this stirring novel.
Ford, Peter Shann. The Keeper of Dreams. Simon & Schuster, $24 (0-684-87219-6).
Adopted as a child from his Australian Aboriginal home and raised by a white family, Dr. Robert Erhard is working in Texas as an astrophysicist; then he’s called back to his ancestral home by visions and haunting images. A gripping story of action and mystery.
Fromm, Pete. How All This Started. Picador USA, $23 (0-312-20933-9).
Austin and his college dropout sister sneak away whenever they can to the abandoned airstrip near their Texas home to practice pitching and play their own version of baseball, but he can’t bear to face the fact that she’s mentally ill. The strong brother-sister bond is drawn with subtle humor and complete honesty and so are Austin’s baseball dreams.
Marillier, Juliet. Daughter of the Forest. Tor, $25.95 (0-312-84879-X).
Marillier’s absorbing and tender novel draws on the fairy tale about the girl who weaves shirts that restore her bewitched brothers from swans to human form.
Massey, Sujata. The Floating Girl. HarperCollins, $24 (0-06-019229-1).
This compelling mystery is for fans of graphic novels and comic books. Rei Shimura, an American writer living in Japan, enters the fascinating, secretive world of animation, or manga.
Siegel, Jan. Prospero’s Children. Ballantine/Del Rey, $24 (0-345-43901-5).
A strong sense of foreboding permeates this powerful, fast-paced fantasy about 16-year-old Fern, who discovers that she’s not the matter-of-fact person she thought she was, but a descendant of ancient Atlantis, one of Prospero’s children, and possessor of the Gift.
Watt, Alan. Diamond Dogs. Little, Brown, $23.95 (0-316-92581-0).
The father-son relationship is at the heart of this powerful novel told in the immediate voice of 17-year-old Neil Garvin who blames his abusive, hard-drinking father for driving Neil’s mother away. Then Neil gets in deep trouble and his father covers up for him.
Wright, Bil. Sunday You Learn How to Box. Scribner, paper, $12 (0-684-85795-2).
In an unsentimental portrait of a vulnerable teenager, this poignant coming-of-age story tells of a black youth’s discovery of his homosexual longings. His mother wants to move out of the housing project, and she wants her son to be a fighter, but Louis Bowman, 14, has a crush on a local tough.
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