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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 2007. More on each book’s content and suggested audience can be found in the full-length Booklist review.
Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo. By Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $23.95 (9780312358327).
This remarkable story recounts the recent wartime rescue of the once-world-renowned Baghdad Zoo through the experiences of a South African conservationist and heroic Iraqi zookeepers.
Child of the Jungle. By Sabine Kuegler. Warner, $24.99 (0-446-57906-8).
In her extraordinary, heartfelt memoir, Kuegler describes her tranquil youth spent among Indonesia’s Fayu tribe and then her painful shock when she reentered modern civilization as a teenager.
Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories. Ed by Adriana Lopez. HarperCollins/Rayo, $14.95 (0-06-124192-X).
Fifteen writers tell personal, often irreverent stories about quinceañeras, the traditional celebrations that mark a Latina’s fifteenth birthday.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. By Ishmael Beah. Farrar/Sarah Crichton, $22 (0-374-95191-8).
In spare, direct prose, Beah speaks about his harrowing life as a teen soldier in Sierra Leone and shows the reality of civil war, behind the headlines.
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. By Ann Marie Fleming. Illus. by the author. Riverhead, paper, $14 (9781594482649).
Fleming retraces her Chinese-born great-grandfather’s career as an internationally celebrated magician in this deft, kaleidoscopic graphic-format biography.
The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring. By Richard Preston. Random, $25.95 (9781400064892).
With clarity and drama, Preston profiles three champions of the coast redwood—the world’s tallest trees—and reveals the rarely seen world of the forest canopy, 300 feet above the ground.
The Amnesia Clinic. By James Scudamore. Harcourt, $23 (0-15-101265-2).
After Anthony moves with his family from England to Ecuador, he meets Fabían, a local teen with whom he trades wild, invented tales that lead to a life-changing quest. Scudamore’s spellbinding debut novel explores the power of storytelling.
AYA. By Marguerite Abouet. Illus. by Clément Oubrerie. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (9781894937900).
Set in West Africa during the late 1970s, this engaging graphic novel about an older teen girl who is frustrated by less-forward-thinking friends and family is strengthened by memorable characters and universal emotions.
Baltimore; or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire. By Mike Mignola. Illus. by Christopher Golden. Bantam/Spectra, $25 (9780553804713).
Atmospheric, minimal black-and-white spot art illustrates this chilling vampire story that combines the horrors of World War I’s western front with fairy-tale elements.
The Beautiful Miscellaneous. By Dominic Smith. Atria, $24 (0-7432-7123-8).
In this unusual, beautifully written novel, 17-year-old Nathan develops synesthesia and an encyclopedic memory after an accident, which dramatically changes his relationship with his brilliant father.
The God of Animals. By Aryn Kyle. Scribner, $25 (1-4165-3324-9).
After her sister elopes with a rodeo cowboy, 12-year-old Alice tries to cope with her increasingly adult responsibilities on her father’s struggling Colorado horse ranch. Kyle tells a powerful story of coming of age amid isolation and hardship.
Mary Modern. By Camille DeAngelis. Crown/Shaye Areheart, $24 (9780307352583).
DeAngelis’ riveting debut applies modern science to Frankenstein themes in a story about a young woman whose cloning experiments result in strange new family bonds.
Mister Pip. By Lloyd Jones. Dial, $24 (0-385-34106-7).
Traumatized by her tropical Pacific island’s civil war, 13-year-old Matilda finds unexpected solace in her class’ study of Great Expectations. A moving story about growing up in the aftermath of imperialism and the redemptive power of art.
Nineteen Minutes. By Jodi Picoult. Atria, $26 (9780743496728).
This harrowing novel about a school shooting, narrated from multiple perspectives, flashes back to the bullying and cultural influences that lead teenage Peter to open fire on his classmates.
Petropolis. By Anya Ulinich. Viking, $24.95 (9780670038190).
First-novelist Ulinich blends satire, farce, and heart-wrenching realism in this original coming-of-age story about a Russian Jewish teenager who enters America as a mail-order bride.
The Silver Ship and the Sea. By Brenda Cooper. Tor, $25.95 (9780765315977).
Distinctive characterizations distinguish this exciting story, set in a human colony on a dangerous planet, that explores the evils of prejudice.
Swim to Me. By Betsy Carter. Algonquin, $23.95 (1-56512-492-8).
In this warm novel, set in the 1970s, teenage Delores trades her dismal Brooklyn family life for Florida, where she reinvents herself as a mermaid in a water show.
A Thousand Splendid Suns. By Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead, $25.95 (1-59448-950-5).
The intertwined lives of two very different young women form the heart of this deeply affecting novel, from the author of The Kite Runner (2003).
When We Get There. By Shauna Seliy. Bloomsbury, $23.95 (9781596913509).
After losing his father in a mining accident, Lucas, 13, begins a search for his long-departed mother. The subtly drawn entanglements of small-town families and neighbors inform this sensitive debut.
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