25 December 2008

My Favorite Teen Reads of 2008

This list is not only books that were published in 2008, but Teen books that I read for the first time in 2008. Therefore, I must begin my list with Twilight , New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer.

Followed closely by Safe by Susan Shaw, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Next, we have Boy Toy by Barry Lyga and Prey by Lurlene McDaniels

Finally we have Nancy Werlin's Rules of Survival and Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl.

My Favorite book of 2008 does not deal with vampires of werewolves, but with weight and the human condition.
The winner of my first annual best Teen book award for 2008 is Big Fat Manifesto
by Susan Vaught.

And the final book in my Favorite Teen Reads of 2008 is on the list because as a Floridian, I like the idea of my governor becoming president especially if it's a woman. And it was a great book all together, fellow Floridian, Donna Gephart's As if Being 12 3/4 isn't bad enough, My Mother is Running for President!

18 November 2008

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Platinum Edition)

Melinda Sordino has a terrible secret. Something happened to her at a summer party and when she tried to report it, she became the school outcast. All of her "friends" turned their backs on her, the adults in her life effectively ignore her and everyone else simply stops "listening". So, Melinda stops speaking. When everyone seems to turn a deaf ear, when everyone seems to stop caring, one teacher reaches out to her-- her art teacher, Mr. Freeman. Eventually, Melinda finds strength inside of her to defend herself and tell her secret, even when her best friend initially refuses to believe her.
Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak is a haunting tale of isolation-- self-imposed or otherwise-- and the desire to have someone notice and care about the hell one girl was dealing with. Melinda is a believable character to whom girls or victims in general can relate. (Let's face it, this can happen to boys too, read Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson's Target for a boy's perspective.)
I found it DEVASTATING that most of the adults in Melinda's life were too busy to care about what was happening to her, including her own parents. The adults in her life simply chalked her moodiness, silence and general apathy to being an angtsy teenage girl. I did rally behind Mr. Freeman when he attempted to reach out to Melinda through Art. Kudos to him for that!
One of my favorite aspects of this book has to be that Melinda finds her courage and strength from a poster of Maya Angelou-- a woman who shares a similar frightening experience. Though Melinda doesn't know her personally, she is able to harness strength and find her voice again. And this time when she Speaks, someone finally listens.

24 October 2008


Okay, so I read this one about 8 years after it was published, but who cares. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! Stargirl is a book that will forever live with me. The story is told from Leo Borlock's point of view, but the story is really about the odd girl known as Stargirl. Stargirl is not like the other students at Mica Area High School, she's different. She wears crazy clothes and carries a ukelee and her pet rat Cinnamon with her to school. She doesn't allow other people to dictate the way she acts and some kids at school hate her for it.
Will Stargirl continue to be her own person, or will she fall into the trap of conforming to the status quos of high school?

09 September 2008

Target by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson is a genius with this short novel.
Grady is your typical highschool junior. Crushing on a girl in his group of friends, hanging out and just being a guy. Then one night his life is completly changed when two men attack him.
Grady's life falls apart. He stops talking, going to school and eating. His parents are nervous and don't know what to do and his friends are pushed away.
The next school year arrives, and Grady starts going to a new school across town to avoid the people who knew him "before". Grady tries to keep his secret but one nosy high school reporter is determined to make his life more miserable by finding out his secret.
I absolutley love this book. It takes a subject matter that we don't always associate with boys and shows that tragic events affect them just as they do girls.


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