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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
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 2002. More on suggested audience, content, etc., can be found in the full-length Booklist review.
Barry, Lynda. One Hundred Demons. illus. Sasquatch, $24.95 (1-57061-337-0).
Barry calls these vivid color comic-strip stories autobifictionalgraphy, and she confronts childhood memories and events that haunt her, including old boyfriends, mothers and grandmas, people who lied to her, people she lied to, hippies, abused dogs, and doing acid.
Ben Jelloun, Tahar. Islam Explained. Tr. by Franklin Philip. New Press, $19.95 (1-56584-781-4).
Taking the form of a conversation between a progressive Muslim father and his daughter, this short book explains Islamic history and discusses the religious implications of 9/11 with a rare mix of elegance and accessibility.
Bradsher, Keith. High and Mighty: SUVs—the World’s Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way. Public Affairs, $28 (1-58648-123-1).
The excitement for drivers, the danger for the environment: both are of passionate interest to teens, and Bradsher explores the facts and the issues with depth and insight.
Ellis, Gerry. Wild Orphans. Welcome Books; dist. by Andrews McMeel, $24.95 (0-941807-58-4).
With heartwarming text and photographs, this beautiful book follows eight small young elephants through their first years of 24-hour care and attendance in a wild animal orphanage in Kenya.
Fire Fighters: Stories of Survival from the Front Lines of Firefighting. Ed. by Clint Willis. Thunder’s Mouth, paper, $17.95 (1-56025-402-5).
Two World Trade Center heroes are among the more than 20 brave men and women profiled in these harrowing stories that also include moving accounts of firefighters who battle forest flames and lightning flare-ups on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Highfield, Roger. The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works. Viking, $23.95 (0-670-03153-4).
Whether dealing with flying broomsticks, Quidditch, or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, science journalist Highfield uses the Potter magic as the launching pad for a wonderful foray into genetics, quantum theory, behaviorism, folklore, and more.
Irwin, John P. Another River, Another Town: A Teenage Tank Gunner Comes of Age in Combat—1945. Random, $21.95 (0-375-50775-2).
“In spite of the disaster, it seemed almost glorious.” This spare, honest memoir of an 18-year-old G. I. on the German front in 1945 conveys the romance of combat as well as the fear and the slaughter.
Lovenheim, Peter. Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf: The Story of One Man, Two Cows, and the Feeding of a Nation. Harmony, $23 (0-609-60591-7).
In a compelling personal narrative that follows his farm animals from birth to death, journalist Lovenheim brings home the story of the milk and the beef we eat, and he does it by honoring the cattle and the people whose labor and lives feed a nation and a world.
Morton, Alexandra. Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us. illus. Ballantine, $26.95 (0-345-43794-2).
Morton weaves together her own exciting fieldwork with scientific discoveries about the huge black-and-white dolphins known as killer whales. This is biographical natural history at its best.
Nuwere, Ejovi and Chanoff, David. Hacker Cracker: A Journey from the Mean Streets of Brooklyn to the Frontiers of Cyberspace. Morrow, $24.95 (0-06-621079-8).
Nuwere grew up poor in a violent New York; by the time he was 15, he had become a computer hacker and sleuth. The mix of coming-of-age memoir and computer technology makes for an exciting cyber adventure.
When Race Becomes Real: Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories. Ed. by Bernestine Singley. Lawrence Hill; dist. by Independent Publishers Group, $26.95 (1-55652-448-X).
In this riveting collection of personal essays about racial identity, blacks and whites, young and old, talk with candor and passion about both the privilege and the prejudice, and how they are negotiated, challenged, or ignored.
Wieviorka, Annette. Auschwitz Explained to My Daughter. Tr. by Leah Brumer. Marlowe & Co., $14.95 (1-56924-516-9); paper, $7.95 (1-56924-552-5).
“So are all Germans from that time guilty?” A Jewish teenager asks blunt questions about the Holocaust, and her mother, a French Holocaust scholar, answers with the same directness. This small, spacious book, in question-and-answer format, provides an honest introduction to the historical facts and the elemental moral issues.
Barnes, John. The Sky So Big and Black. Tor, $24.95 (0-765-30303-5).
She hates school; she saves lives—every teen will want to know 15-year-old Teri, an “ecoprospector” on Mars who must take on a painful but inspiring rescue mission. Highly suspenseful sf.
Cisneros, Sandra. Caramelo. Knopf, $24 (0-679-43554-9).
On her family vacation from Chicago to Mexico City, Celaya (“Lala”) Reyes begins her journey from girl to young adult as she weaves together wild, beautiful, cruel, and tender stories of ancestors and family members and especially her connections with her papa and the Awful Grandmother. The lies tell the truth, and the stories catch your heart.
Crichton, Michael. Prey. HarperCollins, $26.95 (0-06-621412-2).
In a perfect blend of science and terror, this gripping sci-tech thriller is a wild ride not to be missed; it’s also a cautionary tale of the danger that lies in carelessly used technology.
Jackson, Jeremy. Life at These Speeds. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $24.95 (0-312-28808-5).
After everyone else on the track team is killed in a van accident, high-school star athlete Kevin copes with the tragedy by running track and setting new records. The smart-mouthed teen is a complex, unforgettable character, and his first-person narrative captures his struggle to find his way through all the noise of the outside world.
Lickiss, Rebecca. Never After. Berkley/Ace, paper, $6.50 (0-441-00907-7).
Charming and clever, this fractured fairy tale is about Princess Vevila, who has had enough of dancing with doltish prospective husbands and seeks adventure, while her cousin fights through yards of brambles before reaching a somnolent castle where he discovers three sleeping princes.
Malloy, Brian. The Year of Ice. St. Martin’s, $22.95 (0-312-28948-0).
In a wonderfully direct teenage voice, both passionate and vulnerable, tall, handsome, high-school senior Kevin tells how he spends his time dodging girls because he knows he’s gay. Meanwhile, he uncovers family secrets that make him furious with his binge-drinking dad.
Otsuka, Julie. When the Emperor Was Divine. Knopf, $18 (0-375-41429-0).
In the simplest words, this small, beautiful novel captures the anguish of Japanese American internment through the separate viewpoints of one family: the mother as they leave home, the daughter on the long train journey, the son in the camps, the father returning to his family. The particulars make universal the experience of prejudice and disenfranchisement.
Schroeder, Karl. Permanence. Tor, $27.95 (0-765-30371-X).
Rue flees her bullying brother after their parents die and stumbles on an abandoned starship that might make her rich, or might get her killed. For strong readers, this is coming-of-age sf that grabs the imagination and emotions.
Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. Little, Brown, $21.95 (0-316-66634-3).
After 14-year-old Suzie Salmon is murdered, she goes to heaven and is able to observe her family, friends, and even her murderer dealing with the aftermath of her death. Sebold’s beautiful debut novel is a powerful and unique coming-of-age story.
Tartt, Donna. The Little Friend. Knopf, $26 (0-679-43938-2).
Very long, but compelling for strong readers, this story is told from the viewpoint of 12-year-old Harriet, who is haunted by the murder of her older brother in small-town Mississippi.
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