HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-122009 Summer Reading Suggestions: Young Adult

2009 Summer Reading Suggestions: Young Adult

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: June 16, 2009

What does a teenager (Young Adult) need from a book?

  • An engaging story
  • A topic of interest
  • A strong Voice
  • A “cool” cover

Please remember that all children develop at a different pace and learn in different ways. If you have a teenager whom you deem a “reluctant reader”, consider an electronic reader. It just may have the right amount of edginess to make reading seem more contemporary and interesting.

 Waiting for Normal

by Leslie Connor

Reading level:
Ages 10+

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; 1 edition (February 5, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis: Addie is waiting for normal.

But Addie’s mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way.

All or nothing never adds up to normal.

All or nothing can’t bring you all to home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her half sisters, every day.

In spite of life’s twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday, maybe, she’ll find normal.

Leslie Connor has created an inspiring novel about one girl’s giant spirit. waiting for normal is a heartwarming gem.

Publishers Weekly review: “[Leslie] Connor treats the subject of child neglect with honesty and grace in this poignant story. Characters as persuasively optimistic as Addie are rare, and readers will gravitate to her.”

Add this book to your collection: Waiting for Normal

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look At Abraham And Mary

by Candace Fleming

Reading level:
Ages 12+

Hardcover: 200 pages

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (October 14, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis: THE AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR of Ben Franklin’s Almanac and Our Eleanor has created an enthralling joint biography of our greatest president and his complex wife unlike any other—a scrapbook history that uses photographs, letters, engravings, and even cartoons, along with a fascinating text, to form an enthralling museum on the page. Here are the extraordinary lives of Abraham and Mary, from their disparate childhoods and tumultuous courtship, through the agony of the Civil War, to the loss of three of their children, and finally their own tragic deaths. Readers can find Mary’s recipe for Abraham’s favorite cake—and bake it themselves; hear what Abraham looked like as a toddler; see a photo of the Lincolns’ dog; discover that the Lincoln children kept goats at the White House; see the Emancipation Proclamation written in Lincoln’s own hand. Perfect for reluctant readers as well as history lovers, The Lincolns provides a living breathing portrait of a man, a woman, and a country.

New York Times Book Review: “The format of ‘The Lincolns’ may be aimed at young readers, but, given Candace Fleming’s unerring eye for the dramatic quotation (with the Lincolns, there were a lot of those), this birth-to-death biography of Mary and Abraham is hard to put down even for readers who know the story.”

Add this book to your collection: The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look At Abraham And Mary

 Melting Stones

by Tamora Pierce

Reading level:
Young Adult

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Press (October 1, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis: Four years have passed since Evvy left the streets of Chammur to begin her training as a stone mage. At fourteen, she’s unhappy to be on a new journey with her mentor, prickly green mage Rosethorn, who has been called to the Battle Islands to determine why the plants and animals there are dying. Evvy’s job is to listen and learn, but she can’t keep quiet and do nothing. With the help of Luvo, the living stone heart of a mountain, Evvy uncovers an important clue. Now, with the island on the brink of disaster, it’s up to Evvy to avert the destruction that looms ahead.

Kirkus Reviews review: “… Related in a strongly individual voice, expertly set in context without longwinded explanations and well-stocked with nuanced characters of several ages and species, this suspenseful tale is lit up with magic.”

Add this book to your collection:
Melting Stones

Pretty Monsters: Stories

Pretty Monsters: Stories

by Kelly Link (Author), Shaun Tan (Illustrator)

Reading level:
Young Adult

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Viking Juvenile (October 2, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis: Kelly Link has lit up adult literary publishing—and Viking is honored to publish her first YA story collection. Through the lens of Link’s vivid imagination, nothing is what it seems, and everything deserves a second look. From the multiple award-winning “The Faery Handbag,” in which a teenager’s grandmother carries an entire village (or is it a man-eating dog?) in her handbag, to the near-future of “The Surfer,” whose narrator (a soccer-playing skeptic) waits with a planeload of refugees for the aliens to arrive, Link’s stories are funny and full of unexpected insights and skewed perspectives on the world. Her fans range from Michael Chabon to Peter Buck of R.E.M. to Holly Black of Spiderwick Chronicles fame. Now teens can have their world rocked, too!

School Library Journal review: “This compilation of intricate, transfixing selections succeeds in making the weird wonderful and the grotesque absolutely gorgeous.”

Add this book to your collection:
Pretty Monsters: Stories


by Terry Pratchett

Reading level:
Young Adult

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (September 30, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis: The sea has taken everything.

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne’s sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . .

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.

Kirkus Reviews review: “A searching exploration of good and evil, fate and free will, both as broad and as deep as anything this brilliant author has produced so far.”

Add this book to your collection: Nation

Here Lies Arthur Here Lies Arthur

by Phillip Reeve

Reading level:
Young Adult

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Press (November 1, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis: Gwynna is just a girl who is forced to run when her village is attacked and burns to the ground. To her horror, she is discovered in the wood. But it is Myrddin the bard who has found her, a traveler and spinner of tales. He agrees to protect Gwynna if she will agree to be bound in service to him. Gwynna is frightened but intrigued-and says yes-for this Myrddin serves the young, rough, and powerful Arthur. In the course of their travels, Myrddin transforms Gwynna into the mysterious Lady of the Lake, a boy warrior, and a spy. It is part of a plot to transform Arthur from the leader of (con’t)

(con’d from summary) a ragtag war band into King Arthur, the greatest hero of all time.

If Gwynna and Myrrdin’s trickery is discovered, what will become of Gwynna? Worse, what will become of Arthur? Only the endless battling, the mighty belief of men, and the sheer cunning of one remarkable girl will tell.

Publishers Weekly review: “… Nodding to canon and history while not particularly following either (Lancelot and Morgan le Fay are notably absent), Reeve, like Myrddin, turns hallowed myth and supple prose to political purposes, neatly skewering the modern-day cult of spin and the age-old trickery behind it. Smart teens will love this.”

Add this book to your collection:
Here Lies Arthur

 The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie (Author), Ellen Forney (Illustrator)

Reading level:
Young Adult

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 2009)

Publisher’s synopsis: Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie’s YA debut, released in hardcover to instant success, recieving seven starred reviews, hitting numerous bestseller lists, and winning the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

USA Today review: Sure to resonate and lift spirits of all ages for years to come.

Add this book to your collection:
The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian

 Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

by Alison Goodman

Reading level:
Young Adult

Hardcover: 544 pages

Publisher: Viking Juvenile (December 26, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis:
Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he’ll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragon-eye, the human link to an energy dragon’s power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. After a dazzling sword ceremony, Eon’s affinity with the twelve dragons catapults him into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where he makes a powerful enemy, Lord Ido. As tension builds and Eon’s desperate lie comes to light, readers won’t be able to stop turning the pages…

Publishers Weekly review: The author’s plotting is elaborate, smart and capable of taking the audience by surprise. Enthralled readers will be hard-pressed to wait for the story’s second half, Eona: The Last Dragoneye, scheduled for 2010.

Add this book to your collection:
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

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  • These are some great suggestions! My son really enjoyed The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

    This post comes just in time for summer reading. I’ll have to take a look at some of your other posts as well. Thank you!

    June 17, 2009
  • I’m so happy you like the suggestions!Your son may also enjoy (if he hasn’t read them already) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer. I haven’t read the latter, but it comes highly recommended!

    June 17, 2009

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