Teen Summer Reads 76

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Oates was a runaway #1 pick.

The Summer Teen pad is going to press and will be in the July box, but a PDF will be posted at BookWeb.org soon, in the event you’d like to print and photocopy some sooner.

P.S. The Mystery 76 Top Ten is mailing now, and the top five will be featured in a USA Today snapshot on Wednesday, July 3!

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1. BIG MOUTH & UGLY GIRL, by Joyce Carol Oates (HarperCollins, $16.99, 0066237564; May) "Matt makes an 'innocent joke' in the lunch room and the police come for him, his friends are kept away, and his dad is in danger of losing his job. Only one person, Ursula, stands by him. This is a fabulous story with interesting characters and a plot that will ring true right up until the satisfying end. This is Oates’s first book for teens, and I hope it’s not her last." --Jean Ernst, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, MN Also a HarperAudio read by Hilary Swank & Chad Lowe (0060089695)

2. GINGERBREAD, by Rachel Cohn (Simon & Schuster, $15.95, 0689843372; March) "This is a sharply funny and refreshingly angst-free book, with the most electric female protagonist I've ever found in young adult fiction. Cohn has such a spectacularly unique voice that by the end of the first paragraph, one realizes it is something energetic and special. What a great summertime read!" --Carla Jeffries, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, Shorewood, WI

3. THE LAST BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE, by Rodman Philbrick (Scholastic, $4.99 paper, 0439087597; March) "In a degraded future, where normals live like animals in urban ruins and genetically improved people live in Eden, a boy called Spaz must cross several warring latches to visit his dying sister. Philbrick, author of Freak the Mighty, brings us his most magnificent, imaginative, and philosophical tale to date." --Ellen Skagerberg, Copperfield’s, Sebastopol, CA

4. LIFE IS FUNNY, by E.R. Frank (Puffin, $7.99 paper, 0142300837; April) "This is a book that might be too raw for an adult to recommend to a teen, but it is the kind of book that teens pass around to each other and devour. It tells the stories of some New York teens, a multidimensional group of kids dealing with real life. An intense book for the teen interested in social issues. " --Margot Sage-EL, Watchung Books, Montclair, NJ

5. ARTEMIS FOWL: The Arctic Incident, by Eoin Colfer (Hyperion, $16.95, 0786808551; May) "Young Artemis’s character growth and development are remarkable, and the action, humor, and high-tech plot twists are plentiful, adding a great deal to this fast-paced escapade. I liked it even better than the first book!" --Jill Brooks, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

6. STRAYDOG, by Kathe Koja (Farrar, $16, 0374372780; April) "My favorite teen novel of the season. Koja’s writing sings with sweetness and honesty, and it will make your heart ache. An angry young girl, a dog, and a caring teacher all add up to a great read. Give this book to any YA reluctant reader. But first, read it yourself!" --Carol Schweppe, Hicklebee’s Children’s Books, San Jose, CA

7. KNOCKED OUT BY MY NUNGA-NUNGAS: Further, Further Confessions of Georgia Nicholson, by Louise Rennison (HarperCollins, $15.99, 0066236568; May) "Rennison has done it again! Georgia is in another pickle. Will she stay with the ‘Sex God’ or go back to her ex, OR find someone completely new? This book is ‘double cool with knobs!’" --Joseph Lappie, Danner's Books & CoffeeShop, Muncie, IN

8. GIRLOSOPHY: A Soul Survival Kit, by Anthea Paul (Unwin, $16.95 paper, 1865084328; October 2001) "This is the book for any young woman going through anything traumatic, from breaking up to changing schools. It is a sampler for life filled with no-nonsense sayings and articles on being true to yourself, without being sentimental or sweet. Many young women I have given this to have said it has changed their lives." --Rene Kirkpatrick, All for Kids Books and Music, Seattle, WA

9. THE SEEING STONE, by Kevin Crossley-Holland (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $6.99 paper, 0439263271; August) "This Book One of The Arthur Trilogy tells of two Arthurs whose thrilling stories are woven together to form an unforgettable tale of medieval life. Crossley-Holland never disappoints!" --Sue Carita, Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH

10. LUCY THE GIANT, by Sherri L. Smith (Delacorte, $15.95, 0385729405; February) "This story of six-foot-tall, 15-year-old Lucy grabbed me right from the first page. It’s a wonderful story of a girl, mature beyond her years, who finds inner strength and learns to face life head on. I look forward to recommending this book to our customers." --Vince Desjardins, Snow Goose Bookshop, Stanwood, WA

Listening Library Audio has been doing a fantastic job of putting contemporary novels for teens on audio. Two of our picks above are on tape: THE SEEING STONE (0807205389) and THE LAST BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE (0807288438). And don’t miss the very powerful WHALE TALK, by Chris Crutcher, also on tape (080720708X). AND ... Listening Library also issued this year’s Book Sense Book of the Year Winner, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS, on audio (0807205893).


Two gems due out in September; be on the lookout:

OF BEETLES AND ANGELS is Mawi Asgedom’s story of leaving Ethiopia and coming to Chicago … and going on to Harvard. An inspirational story, and one he told on Oprah last year. (Little, Brown, $9.95 paperback, 0316826200)
And independent booksellers LOVE Joan Bauer's books and are looking forward to her new one, STAND TALL (Putnam, $16.99, 039923473X).