Best Books for Young Adults, 2014

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
— George Orwell, 1984

YA_1 RAGING STAR (DUST LANDS SERIES) “This is the concluding and most absorbing book in the Old West–flavored Dust Lands trilogy, and Young has done a stellar job populating a spare yet beautiful landscape with flawed, heroic characters…settle in for a heartbreaking and satisfying conclusion.” (Booklist)

LOVE IS THE DRUG by Alaya Dawn Johnson “Like leaping into cold water on a hot day, this original dystopian novel takes the breath away, refreshes, challenges, and leaves the reader shivering but yearning for another plunge.” — BOOKLIST, starred review

“An art project, a rebellion and a sacrifice make up this nuanced, original cyberpunk adventure…. Luminous.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review,Longlisted for the National Book Award. This is the author’s first novel for Young Adults.

GRADUATION DAY (The TESTING SERIES, part 3) The stakes are higher than ever—lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day. ( Autographed copies available.)


GIRL DEFECTIVE by Simmone Howell (Ages 14 and up) “Funny, observant, a relentless critic of the world’s (and her own) flaws, Sky is original, thoroughly authentic and great company, decorating her astute, irreverent commentary with vivid Aussie references; chasing these down should provide foreign readers with hours of online fun.” (Kirkus Reviews, May 2014, *STARRED REVIEW*

“Charming, funny, fun…a delightful journey through an Australian teenager’s summer of weird and cool.”

AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld. (Ages 14 and up) A suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. “A masterful accomplishment . . . unmistakably Westerfeld, in full command of a prodigious talent, doing something complicated and difficult and making it look easy, even as it grabs you and drags you through its dark streets, laughing and crying along with both Darcy and Lizzie.” –Cory Doctorow

BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater (Book III of the Raven Cycle, ages 12 and up) “Richly written and filled with figurative language . . . this story of secrets and dreams, of brothers and of all-too-real magic is an absolute marvel of imagination and an irresistible invitation to wonder.” — BOOKLIST, starred review

I believe in one day and someday and this perfect moment called Now.”
–Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

browngirl_dreamingw BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jaqueline Woodson. Winner of the National Book Award. (Ages 10 and up) “The writer’s passion for stories and storytelling permeates the memoir, explicitly addressed in her early attempts to write books and implicitly conveyed through her sharp images and poignant observations seen through the eyes of a child. Woodson’s ability to listen and glean meaning from what she hears lead to an astute understanding of her surroundings, friends, and family.” –Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Jacqueline Woodson: On Being A ‘Brown Girl’ Who Dreams, npr


THE MADMAN OF PINEY WOODS by Christopher Paul Curtis (signed copies available. Ages 8-12) “Rich, masterful storytelling. . . . This is Curtis’s best novel yet, and no doubt many readers, young and old, will finish and say, ‘This is one of the best books I have ever read.'” –KIRKUS, starred review

UNDER THE EGG by Laura Marx Fitzgerald When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen. (Ages 8-12)

GREEN GLASS HOUSE by Kate Milmord It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves. (Ages 8-12)


GUYS READ: TRUE STORIES Various writers edited by John Scieszka. A star-studded group of award-winning nonfiction authors and journalists provides something for every reader, all aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Compiled and edited by real-life literature legend Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: True Stories is a mind-blowing collection of essays, biographies, how-to guides, and more, all proving that the truth is most definitely out there.

UNSTOPPABLE OCTOBIA MAY by Sharon Flake. Octobia May is girl filled with questions. Her heart condition makes her special – and, some folks would argue, gives this ten-year-old powers that make her a “wise soul.” Thank goodness for Auntie, who convinces Octobia’s parents to let her live in her boarding house that is filled with old folks. That’s when trouble, and excitement, and wonder begin. “Brilliantly realized…An uplifting story that convincingly celebrates the power of perseverance.”–KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

“…constructing two authentic, distinct voices that expose the strengths and flaws of both teenagers…”–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

NUTS TO YOU by Lynne Rae Perkins. How far would you go for a friend? In Nuts to You, the funny and moving new novel by Newbery Medalist Lynne Rae Perkins, two squirrels go very far indeed to save a friend who has been snatched up by a hawk. Nuts to You is short, funny, and surprising—an Incredible Journey with squirrels. It features black-and-white art by the author on every page and will appeal to fans of animal fantasies by Kate DiCamillo, Kathi Appelt, and Avi. (Ages 8-12)

“Perkins uses language like the best toy ever. …The book begs to be read aloud, except that you’d miss the wacky digressions, the goofy footnotes, and the black-and-white illustrations with their built-in micro-plots. Another completely original and exceptional package from Perkins.” (Horn Book (starred review)

BAD MAGIC by Pseudonymous Bosch “Bosch employs, to great effect, his signature irreverence and hilarity… a delight to read. Bad Magic is a clever and playful novel. An excellent addition to middle grade fiction collections.”—School Library Journal

“Enjoyable…Bosch’s arch narrative voice carries over from his previous books…From The Tempest and Lord of the Flies to shows like Gilligan’s Island and Lost, cultural allusions abound as Clay tries to understand the island’s many mysteries and meets his fellow campers. Gilbert’s watercolors bring in additional humor.”
—Publishers Weekly

THE RED PENCIL by Andrea Davis Pinkney. New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney’s powerful verse and Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist Shane W. Evans’s breathtaking illustrations combine to tell an inspiring tale of one girl’s triumph against all odds.”Pinkney uses deft strokes to create engaging characters through the poetry of their observations and the poignancy of their circumstances… A soulful story that captures the magic of possibility, even in difficult times.”—Kirkus Reviews (Ages 9 and up)


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