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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 2013. More on each book’s content and suggested audience
can be found in the full-length Booklist review.
Chance to Win: Boyhood, Baseball, and the Struggle for Redemption in the Inner City.
By Jonathan Schuppe. Holt, $26 (9780805092875).
After Rodney Mason was shot and confined to a wheelchair, the former gang member, dope dealer, and high-school baseball player focused his energies on helping kids avoid gangs by getting them interested in playing ball.Gaddafi’s Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya.
By Annick Cojean. Tr. by Marjolijn de Jager. Grove, $24 (9780802121721).A horrifying inside look at the lives of Libyan women under the Gaddafi regime, in which Cojean, a special correspondent for Le Monde, draws on the personal story of a teenage girl, Soraya, who caught Gaddafi’s eye at a school event. March: Book One. By John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illus. by Nate Powell. Top Shelf, paper, $14.95 (9781603093002). The first of three volumes about Lewis’ journey from sharecropper’s son to U.S. senator, this exceptionally illustrated graphic novel focuses on his boyhood through his college years, when he met nonviolent activists who showed him a means of undermining segregation.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. By Lucy Knisley. Illus. by the author. First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781596436237).
Knisley delightfully explores how food shaped her family life, friendships, travel experiences, and early career as a cartoonist in this graphic novel collection of memories studded with recipes. FictionBrewster. By Mark Slouka. Norton, $25.95 (9780393239751). Jon Mosher has always felt like an outsider because of his parents’ roots as German-Jewish émigrés and the accidental death of his older brother. This poignant coming-of-age story, set in the small blue-collar town of Brewster, New York, in 1968, captures the burning desire of four teens to leave their hardscrabble past behind.
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. By Isabel Greenberg. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown, $23 (9780316225816).
Greenberg’s first graphic novel isn’t an encyclopedia at all but an intricately crafted mythology told from within a young man’s grand adventure. Split into three beings as a baby, the boy(s) finds his (their) way back into one, though he is missing a tiny but crucial piece of his soul—which he goes in search of.The Gamal. By Ciaran Collins. Bloomsbury, paper, $17 (9781608198757).
In Ballyronan, young Charlie McCarthy is called “the gamal,” Irish for (roughly) village idiot. But Charlie is no dummy, and it’s he who tells, in his sometimes idiosyncratic voice, the sad, sad story of what happens to his best friends, James and Sinead.
Golden Boy. By Abigail Tarttelin. Atria, $24.99 (9781476705804).
Sixteen-year-old Max is a golden boy who seemingly has it all. But he also has a closely guarded secret that only his family knows: he is intersex. Max’s desperate search for identity is gripping, emotionally engaging, and genuinely unforgettable.Help for the Haunted. By John Searles. Morrow, $26.99 (9780060779634).
With a cleverly conceived plot and a fascinating cast of characters, Searles introduces fearless 14-year-old Sylvie Mason, who stares down the police, as well as the bullies at school, in her determined quest to find her parents’ killer.
Lexicon. By Max Barry. Penguin, $26.95 (9781594205385).
Streetwise teenager Emily is recruited to join a clandestine international organization that seems bent on taking over the world through the power of language—the reason, perhaps, that its members call themselves poets.
A Map of Tulsa. By Benjamin Lytal. Penguin, paper, $15 (9780142422595).
Returning home from college to Tulsa for the summer, teenage Jim encounters bohemian Adrienne, a distant acquaintance from high school, and falls in love. Five years after losing touch with her, he receives an e-mail out of the blue that impulsively sends him back to Tulsa.
Maya’s Notebook. By Isabel Allende. Tr. by Anne McLean. Harper, $28.99 (9780062105622).
As Maya’s grandmother, Nidia, sends her into protective custody on Chiloé, an island off Chile’s southern coast, she hands Maya a notebook in which this imperiled and irascible 19-year-old records her wrenching story. The Ocean at the End of the Lane. By Neil Gaiman. Morrow, $25.99 (9780062255655).
A never-named fiftyish narrator is back in his childhood homeland in rural England. After delivering a funeral elegy, he drives until he arrives at a farmhouse, where, when he was 7, the Hempstocks lived: a crone, a housewife, and an 11-year-old girl. A graceful exploration of childhood magic and innocence lost.
Reconstructing Amelia. By Kimberly McCreight. Harper, $25.99 (9780062225436).
Kate believes that her daughter, 15-year-old Amelia, has committed suicide, jumping from the roof of her private school—until she receives an anonymous text saying, “Amelia didn’t jump.” Elaborately plotted, the mystery tells Kate’s story but also includes Amelia’s own first-person narrative.
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