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Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
Chosen from the many adult books published during 1999, the following titles have been earmarked as top choices for teenagers’ personal reading by the Books for Youth editorial staff and contributing reviewers. More on suggested audience, content, etc., can be found in the full-length Booklist review (see our cumulative index online at http://www.ala.org/booklist).
Americans’ Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology. Ed. by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz. Norton, $25 (0-393-04820-9).
People across America, including many teens, share the poetry they love, and talk about what it means in their lives. Their choices—from John Keats to Lucille Clifton—defy stereotypes, and their comments are heartfelt.
Bond, Peter. Zero G: Life and Survival in Space. Cassell; dist. by Sterling, $29.95 (0-304-35075-3).
Spectacular photographs, an enthusiastic, informative text, and outstanding graphic design make this an awe-inspiring account of space travel and exploration.
Breashears, David. High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places. Simon & Schuster, $26 (0-684-85361-2).
Breashears, who was lucky enough to com¬bine his personal passion, mountain climbing, with his profession, filmmaking, gives teens first-row seats as he recalls some of his personal history and details the rigors of making his spectacular IMAX movie about Everest.
Green, Alan. Animal Underworld: Inside America’s Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species. PublicAffairs, $25 (1-891620- 28-2).
Based on hundreds of interviews and public records from 48 states, this troubling report on the exotic animal trade will concern all animal lovers.
MacDonald, Michael Patrick. All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. Beacon; dist. by Ballantine, $24 (0-8070-7212-5).
In a heartrending memoir reminiscent of McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, MacDonald recalls growing up poor and proud in Southie, an Irish housing project in south Boston.
Ray, Janisse. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. Milkweed, $19.95 (1-57131-234-X).
A spellbinding memoir entwines family, cultural, and natural history in a story of a tomboy who grew up in a junkyard, loved the outdoors, and heard riveting stories across generations.
A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Voices of an American Community. Avon, $24 (0-380-97664-1).
A dynamic anthology of Harlem in the 1920s brings together unpublished material by Ralph Ellison and Dorothy West as well as the stirring voices of ordinary people, including peddlers, prostitutes, Pullman porters, and domestic workers.
Swift, Edward. My Grandfather’s Finger. Univ. of Georgia, $24.95 (0-8203-2100-1).
Funny and poignant, this anecdotal memoir of a World War II childhood in an isolated hamlet in east Texas avoids nostalgia and reveals a darkness on the edges of the town and on the edges of the stories.
Velmans, Edith. Edith’s Story. Soho; dist. by Farrar, $25 (1-56947-178-9).
This quiet, gripping Holocaust memoir about a young Jewish girl in Holland under the Nazis combines the immediacy of the teenage viewpoint with the adult writer’s hindsight and restrained commentary.
Ward, Geoffrey C. and Burns, Ken. Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Knopf, $35 (0-375-40560-7).
The history of women’s rights in the nineteenth century is told through this eloquent dual biography with many exciting pictures that capture the differences between the two leaders and their political struggle.
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Shadow. Tor; dist. by St. Martin’s, $24.95 (0-312-86860-X).
Teenagers who enjoyed Ender’s Game won’t be disappointed by this equally skillful “companion” novel that tells the story of precocious Bean, who escapes the streets to become first a student in Battle School and then Ender Wiggin’s ally.
Crichton, Michael. Timeline. Knopf, $26.95 (0-679-44481-5).
In a thrilling time-travel rescue adventure that combines the latest quantum technology with historical fiction, a group of historians from the year 1999 find themselves trapped in a medieval civil war.
Fuqua, Jonathan Scott. The Reappearance of Sam Webber. Bancroft, PO Box 65360, Baltimore, MD 21209, $23.95 (1-890862-02-9).
Sam’s father and namesake has disappeared, leaving 11-year-old Sam profoundly saddened. It’s the nurturing friendship of wise Greely, an African American janitor at Sam’s new school, that keeps the boy anchored. A warm, rich novel.
Gaiman, Neil. Stardust. Avon, $22 (0-380-97728-1); paper, $6.99 (0-380-80455-7).
Skillfully borrowing from a wealth of fairy tales and folklore, Gaiman’s fresh and funny tale of romance and fantasy focuses on 17-year-old Trystran, who leaves the world of mortals to mingle with creatures in Faerie and follow the path of a falling star.
Growing Up Ethnic in America: Contemporary Fiction about Learning to Be American. Ed. by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan. Penguin, paper, $16.95 (0-14-028063-4).
Great stories personalize what you lose by crossing borders, what you leave behind, what you gain, what America gains. Without overt messages or any idealization of ethnicity, some of our best writers speak with humor and poignancy about dislocation at school, in the neighborhood, and at home.
Haruf, Kent. Plainsong. Knopf, $24 (0-375-40618-2).
Seventeen-year-old Vicky, pregnant and with nowhere to go, finds a home for her baby and herself with the elderly, salt-of-the-earth McPheeron brothers, in an unforgettable novel that is both emotionally complex and elemental.
Hoffman, Alice. Local Girls. Putnam, $22.95 (0-399-14507-9).
It’s not only her parents’ divorce that complicates Gretel Samuelson’s adolescence, as readers will gather from the poignant, funny perspectives in these interconnected coming-of-age stories.
Kim, Nancy. Chinhominey’s Secret. Bridge Works; dist. by National Book Network, $22.95 (1-882593-28-6).
In a powerful story of an immigrant family across generations, a Korean woman visits her son and his two teenage daughters in America and reveals a secret that brings them together.
King, Stephen. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Scribner, $16.95 (0-684-86762-1).
Alone and lost in the Maine woods with only her Walkman for company, a nine-year-old girl survives illness, insect attacks, and an encounter with a mysterious creature by imagining that her favorite baseball pitcher is with her. A taut, gripping adventure.
Munroe, Jim. Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gas Mask. Avon, paper, $12.50 (0-380-81043-3).
Witty and sensitive, this outrageous coming-of-age story of an average college student who can turn into a fly, is a warmly written Gen-X novel that covers the fears and joys of falling in love, discovering sex, helping a gay friend come out, and subverting authority.
Porter, Connie. Imani All Mine. Houghton, $23 (0-395-83808-8).
In a stark, unpretentious narrative that reflects the language of the street, 15-year-old Tasha reveals her delight in her baby girl, Imani, whose absolute devotion helps Tasha deal with the rape that lead to Imani’s birth and the tragedy that takes her life.
Smith, Diane. Letters from Yellowstone. Viking, $23.95 (0-670-88631-9).
Professor Merriam thinks Cornell University student A. E. Bartram will be a wonderful addition to his Yellowstone National Park field expedition—until he finds out Bartram is a strong nineteenth-century woman who is willing to trade comfort for adventure. A thoroughly enjoyable epistolary novel that mixes history, romance, and science.
Sparks, Nicolas. A Walk to Remember. Warner, $19.95 (0-446-52553-7).
Landon is just a regular guy in his senior year in high school, but when he runs for class president, falls in love, and stars in the Christmas play, he discovers a heartbreaking secret. Told in Landon’s down-home voice, this bittersweet tale will enthrall teen readers.
Troy, Judy. From the Black Hills. Random, $23.95 (0-375-50230-0).
In the summer after high-school graduation, Mike’s carefree life spins out of control when his father murders his secretary and disappears. Should Mike help his father or turn him in? This simple, poignant story is a terrific page-turner for mature readers.
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