Reluctant Reader Awards
1996


No Top 10 list this year

Nonfiction

Aitkens, Maggi. Kerry, a Teenage Mother. 
The book is clearly written for teens and intended to make them aware of the responsibilities and life changes that accompany motherhood. Aitkens describes 18-year-old Kerry's life since her daughter's birth 15 months earlier, reflecting both the positive and the negative changes.

Alicea, Gil C. The Air Down Here: True Tales of a South Bronx Boyhood. 
A sixteen-year-old Puerto Rican-American boy presents witty, intelligent reflections on such subjects as drugs, violence, dating, music, clothes, and school, offering both young and adult readers an inspiring perspective on inner-city life 

Ballinger, Erich. Monster Manual: A Complete Guide to Your Favorite Creature 
Ballinger has written the perfect book for monster fans who don't really want to be scared. Flip and funny, his A-to-Z roundup is a catchall of monsters from literature, film, and television that includes both the expected (Dracula, King Kong) and the unusual (Sesame Street's Cookie Monster. Mixed in are thumbnail introductions to people associated with monsters, such as Boris Karloff and Steven Spielberg and an assortment of activities.

Bode, Janet. Trust & Betrayal: Real Life Stories of Friends and Enemies. 
Teenagers talk about their best friends, worst enemies, and the importance of peer acceptance, offering young adult readers advice on how to deal with fitting in and making the right choices about friendships.

Brandenburg, Jim. An American Safari. 
Besides describing the experiences that led him to hunt with his camera rather than with traps and guns, he introduces various types of prairies, the animals that live there, what threatens their habitat, and how it can be saved. The descriptions of bison and prairie dogs are quite informative, but young readers will probably find Brandenburg's encounter with a rattlesnake the most memorable part of the book. 

Chaiet, Donna. Staying Safe on Dates. YA 613.6 Chaiet, D. 
A series that concentrates on violence prevention for teenage girls in a variety of situations. Sample scenarios encourage discussion on what the young woman could do or did correctly in various situations. All young women should be encouraged to browse through these books in an effort to keep them selves aware and informed on personal safety.

Cheney, Glenn Alan. Teens with Physical Disabilities: Real-life Stories of Meeting the Challenges. 
Daily life is the central concern, and the young adults profiled express a wide range of typical teenage attitudes--from belligerence to cynicism to idealism. The narrators, each of whom is introduced by a photo and a thumbnail biography, aren't poster children. Each chapter concludes with a short question-and-answer section about the disability in focus. A gritty, tough collection of stories, the book will provide a strong complement to theoretical discussions of the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities

Coleman, Lori. Fundamental Soccer
This popular series features a winning combination of action photos and easy-to-follow instructions that will enable young sports enthusiasts to become champions at their sport of choice.

Cumming, Robert. Annotated Art. YA 750.1 CUM
Art provides a deeper understanding and richer enjoyment of 45 works from the world's greatest artists. 

Dicks, Ian and Hawcock, David. Unwrap the Mummy. 
A sarcophagus-shaped interactive book teaches young archaeologists all about mummies, enabling them to ""unwrap"" the head to see the centuries-old skull underneath, and pull moveable tabs to discover which organs were preserved in jars.

Erlbach, Arlene. Video Games. 
Packed with facts and photos, Video Games is your source on this amazing technology. Look inside a game pak and deck, and see how graphics and sound are designed and programmed. Read tips on how to win. Power up, and discover the secrets to the hottest action around! 

Herzog, Brad. HoopMania! The Jam-packed Book of Basketball Trivia. 
Facts, scores, statistics, profiles, photographs, and little-known specifics--organized by decade--provide all the scoop on the game of basketball. From the early days of two-handed set shots to today's monster slam dunks; this fast break book of basketball trivia gives you the inside scoop on hoops. Find out how 7' 1" Wilt Chamberlain scored an amazing 100 points in a single game! Read about the acrobatic moves of Doctor J, the game's most famous dunk master. Relive the championship runs of Magic, Larry, and Michael, and learn funny but true stories about Shaq, Hakeem, and your other favorite stars. Jam-packed with memorable moments.

Johnson, Anne. Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles. YA 646.7 JOH
A gorgeous book of hairstyles and braids designed for teens and beyond, with styles ranging from formal elegance to casual flair.

Maisner, Heather. The Magic Globe: An Around-the-World Adventure Game. 
An entertaining and informative tour through the world and its cultures invites young readers to find hidden items in colorful, busy spreads, and offers additional facts on the sought items that promote learning.

Maisner, Heather. The Magic Hourglass: A Time-Travel Adventure Game. 
In Hourglass, readers select the ``remarkable moment'' they would like to travel to from a time chart at the beginning of the book. After turning to the page as directed, they are given things to look for, each of which offers information about the period or culture visited. Cartoon drawings and balloon-enclosed messages add humor and some essential facts. Finally, the hourglass must be spotted, since its color determines the next ``trip.'' 

Murphy, Jim. The Great Fire. YA 977.3 Murphy, J. 
A young reader's account of the Great Chicago Fire combines archival photographs and drawings with personal accounts by its survivors and carefully researched historical documents.


Pellowski, Michael Morgan. The Art of Making Comic Books. YA 741.5 PEL
This book has great appeal to kids who want to know about their production or are budding comic creators. Pellowski begins with a brief historical overview, followed by an explanation of jobs in large companies, and then focuses on the "how" of comic-book production. Specifics include the visual and written development of character, plot, and setting; book format, panels, and layouts; the writing process, including story line, boxed captions, and dialogue balloons; and the art of drawing, such as practice, equipment, layout, etc. 

Platt, Richard. Pirate j 364.1 Platt 
Platt looks at the subject of piracy from the time of ancient Greece to the 19th century in double-page topic treatments. Readers are introduced to privateers, buccaneers, and corsairs, and told how they differ. Illustrations of various types of pirate ships, and the merchant vessels that were most often their targets, are particularly effective.

Porter, Cheryl. Gross Grub: Wretched Recipes That Look Very Yucky but Taste Yummy 
From Cat Litter Casserole to Hairball Salad with Saliva Dressing, here are 38 of the most yucky-sounding--but yummy-tasting--recipes anyone out of their right mind could possibly imagine. Instructions for each easy-to-prepare dish are accompanied by thoughtful serving suggestions.

Posey, Carl. Big Book of Weirdos
A volume of comic-strip biographies of a motley assortment of 67 crackpots, visionaries, despots, prophets, performers, and others whose peculiarities supposedly elevate them above mere eccentricity into the realm of the truly bizarre. 

Power, Vicki. Vanity. 
Presents an overview of trends, customs, and fashions relating to the pursuit of physical beauty from ancient times to the present including such topics as body shape, clothing, cosmetics, and hair fashions.

Putnam, James and Pemberton, Jeremy. Amazing Facts about Ancient Egypt.   YA 932 PUT
Did you know that in ancient Egypt ritual, false beards were worn by queens as well as kings? Or that the Egyptians were the first people to hatch eggs artificially? These, with hundreds of other curious, zany, and extraordinary facts fill this unique and wittily illustrated book.

Salinger, Adrienne. In My Room: Teenagers in Their Bedrooms. 
This book gives a variety of stories of kids their brief history of why their room is like it is. It's like being a fly on the wall. In the sometimes confusing time of being a teenager you realize you are not alone.

Schleifer, Jay. Daytona: Thunder at the Beach! 
No reference found 

Shepherd, Sandy. Myths and Legends from around the World. 
A collection of boldly illustrated stories of people from all places and times groups myths according to kind instead of focusing on one culture--for example, a chapter on Heaven and Earth includes tales from Nigeria, China, and India.

Steiger, Sherry Hansen and Steiger, Brad. Mysteries of Animal Intelligence. 
Includes such true accounts as a dog that guided a blind man 2,400 miles down the Appalachian Trail, a cat that defended a sleeping infant from a poised rattlesnake, and a dolphin that saved a human from drowning.


Talbot, John. It’s for You: An Amazing Picture-Puzzle 
Talbot's intriguing (at times confounding), visually arresting picture book runs the risk of losing all but serious puzzlers. The adventure begins with the arrival of a mysterious package, which contains a strange box. Each turn of the page reveals an array of riddles, clues, math problems, mazes-even mini-board games-which readers must solve in order to discover the box's contents.

Taylor, Barbara. Arctic & Antarctic. j 508.2 TAY 
Discusses such topics as the physical features, climate, plant and animal life, and environmental concerns related to the earth's polar regions 

Taylor-Gerdes, Elizabeth. Straight Up! A Teenager's Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life. 
A teenager's guide about truth combining practical approaches and spiritual principals. Shows teenagers how to meet demands take charge of their lives and overcome obstacles.

Vancil Mark. NBA Basketball Basics. j 796.323 VAN 
Color photos profile NBA players and achievers, with accompanying specific directions on passing, shooting, and team lay-up providing the basics of NBA sports. This is a learning-oriented title players will find easy to use: the techniques are well described while the photos add the instructional excitement necessary to learn.

Williams, Marcia. The Adventures of Robin Hood 
Recounts the life and adventures of Robin Hood, who, with his band of followers, lived in Sherwood Forest as an outlaw dedicated to fighting tyranny.

Wilson, Hugo. The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle. 629.227 WIL
An extensive reference features a photograph gallery of classic motorcycles, a manufacturer listing that profiles every maker in the industry, design blueprints for special models, and production histories.

Fiction

Anderson, Wayne. The Perfect Match. 
No reference found

Applegate, Katherine. Sharing Sam YA APP
Alison and Sam have fallen in love, but when they learn that Alison's best friend Isabella, who also loves Sam, is dying, Alison pretends to step aside so Isabella can be happy in her final days.

Banyai, Istvan. Re-Zoom. 
Open this wordless book and take off on a mind bending visual journey full of twists, turns, and surprises. Zoom from an Egyptian pyramid to an exotic jungle to a sandy beach. But if you think you know where you are, guess again. For in Istvan Banyai's mysterious landscapes of pictures within pictures, nothing is ever as it seems.

Bates, Michael. Reckless. 
No reference found

Brown, Susan M. You're Dead, David Borelli. 
After his mother dies and his father disappears with company funds, David moves from wealth and comfort to a foster home, an inner-city school, an environment of bullies and uncaring teachers, and new opportunities.

Burks, Brian. Runs With Horses. j BUR 
Sixteen years old in 1886, Runs With Horses is a member of the last small band of Apaches continuing to resist the U.S. Army. His training for manhood as a Chiricahua Apache has been difficult but thrilling, and he is eager to accomplish the final two of the four raids required to be a warrior. Sadly, this is not possible when they at last surrender to the U.S. Army.

Cat-Dogs and Other Tales of Horror. Ed. by A. Finnis. 
No reference found
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Cofer, Judith Ortiz. An Island like You: Stories of the Bario. YA ORT
Stories of life in a Puerto Rican barrio in New Jersey focus on the young people of El Building, who, caught between two cultures, confront life in various ways.

Cole, Sheila. What Kind of Love? Diary of a Pregnant Teenager. 
Fifteen-year-old Valerie finds her romance with Peter and her ambitions of becoming a musician shattered when she discovers that she is pregnant, a situation that forces her to make uncomfortable choices.

Cooney, Caroline. Flash Fire. j COO 
Disaster strikes on a Wednesday afternoon when a huge orange fireball emerges from the top of the canyon, and fifteen-year-old Danna Press begins a long and terrifying journey to safety. 

Cormier, Robert. In the Middle of the Night. YA Cormier, R. 
Denny Colbert is forced to move frequently and forbidden normal teenage privileges because of an incident that took place before his birth, during which his father was involved in an accident that killed twenty-two children.

Coville, Bruce. Into the Land of the Unicorns. j COV 
This is the magical story of Cara, a girl sent on a mission by her grandmother to the land of the unicorns. Only Cara can protect the unicorns and their world from invasion.

Crutcher, Chris. Ironman. YA Crutcher, C. 
Bo Brewster has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. Following angry outbursts at his football coach and English teacher that have cost him his spot on the football team and moved him dangerously close to expulsion from school. Relegated to Mr. Nak's before-school Anger Management group Bo meets a hard-edged, down-on-their-luck pack of survivors with stainless steel shields against the world that Bo comes to see are not so different from his own. 

Deaver, Julie Reece. Chicago Blues
What would you do if you were told to kidnap your sister? Lissa Hastings has a big problem. Her mother, who used to be a semi-well-known cabaret singer, has now become a very well known alcoholic who realizes that she can't take care of Lissa's eleven-year-old sister Marnie any more. She tells Lissa that if she can't trick Marnie into leaving home and going to live with her, she's going to turn Marnie over to Social Services. 

Dexter, Catherine. Alien Game. 
Christina, a popular new girl at Oak Hill Academy, enrolls just in time to play Elimination, in which the students and teachers pretend to ""kill"" each other, but Zoe, a fellow student, soon learns that Christina is playing for real

Galloway, Priscilla. Truly Grim Tales. 
These eight chilling tales are based on the well-known fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen. Each offers perspective that is hideously fascinating, startlingly imaginative, and beautifully written. In a futuristic retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" a young girl named Ruby inhabits a frightening world in which clever mutated beasts stalk humans. In a poignant version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" the giantess explains her people's urgent need for the ground bones of the lesser species they hunt.

Geary, Rick. Jack the Ripper. YA Graphic Novel 741.5 GEA
Rick has researched this book extensively and presents, with his own inimitable tongue-in-cheek style, the Jack The Ripper mystery as told through a journal of a fascinated Englishman of the day. Both factual and darkly funny, Geary¹s personal take on this story shines an ironic light on the repressive society that spawned such a monster

Goldman, E. M. The Night Room
A high school student's participation in a computer program that predicts the future involves him and friends in a dangerous experiment gone awry when a revenge-seeking man decides to tamper with the program. Dreams of the future turn into a nightmare all work to prevent as suicide and death seem to intrude in dreams.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Running Out of Time. YA Haddix, M. 
Believing her self to be a frontier child in 1840, Jessie is shocked when her mother reveals a secret--it's really 1996. After a diphtheria outbreak strikes the village children, Jessie must venture out into the modern world where she faces a wealth of confusing 20th century innovations and the sinister man who will stop at nothing to make sure the village residents remain locked in their 19th century world.

Hahn, Mary Downing. Look for Me by Moonlight  YA HAH
Cynda's mother and stepfather are traveling, leaving her with her father and his second wife in a remote inn. When a strange older man comes to stay, Cynda becomes involved in his otherworldly charm, entering a dangerous world where she becomes more alienated from her family and in deeper trouble than ever. A tense plot evolves. 

Hall, Barbara. The House Across the Cove. 
Tyler, 16, and Abby, 15, meet one August at Flanders Lake, a resort area in western Virginia. Tyler, who is staying in a friend's trailer while coping with his father's apparent suicide and a mentally unstable mother, sees lights late at night coming from a supposedly unoccupied home across the cove. Investigating, he breaks in and discovers crates of wine, possibly stolen from Abby's wealthy uncle's winery. The strange story continues from Abby's perspective as she attempts to decipher a young man's disappearance and its connection to his investigation. 

Jennings, Paul. Unbearable! More Bizarre Stories. 
Jennings rejuvenates his talent for turning what seems normal into something wickedly funny and surprising. "Licked," one of the more successful stories, has a great middle-school gross-out factor: a flyswatter becomes the instrument of revenge for a child tired of his father's harangues about table manners. Kids will also like the neat reversal in "Only Gilt," in which a boy blames his lively dog for killing the parakeet belonging to a girl that the boy has a crush on.

Kehret, Peg. Danger at the Fair. j KEH 
Ellen Streater and her brother Corey should have had a great time at the county fair. After all, the fair is packed with rides, games, food and a thief. Or so Corey claims. Ellen doesn't believe his wild story that he saw a pickpocket while he was on the Ferris wheel or the fortune teller's warning that "the smaller one faces great danger"-until Corey disappears. Ellen knows she has to find her brother before anything happens to him, but she doesn't realize someone is stalking her. As Ellen wades through the terrifying River of Fear ride, desperately searching for Corey, someone is following her-someone who is willing to go to any length to protect a deadly secret.

Lester, Julius. Othello. 
Though he follows the original story line, Lester has made significant changes in the characterizations. Now Iago and Emilia (Emily in the play), like Othello, are black. Lester wanted race to be a more central theme of his novel, and by repositioning these characters, he brings a new and powerful dimension to that aspect of the story. In portraying Othello, Iago, and Emily as Africans who have come to England (the new setting) together, Lester gives them a mutual history that also adds psychological depth to his new conceptualization

Lynch, Chris. Slot Machine. 
All incoming freshmen at Flagship Academy’s summer program are suppose to find an athletic ‘slot’ for themselves. But there is no slot for Elvin, a wise-cracking, overweight sports incompetent who bounces from one humiliating game to another. How he discovers his own place for himself—with grit and humor—makes for "a funny, poignant coming-of-age story.

McCants, William D. Much Ado about Prom Night. YA McCants, W. 
Advising her classmates on their daily problems, peer counselor Becca Singleton struggles with her own difficulties when Jeff Gardiner, the gorgeous editor of the school paper, attacks the peer counseling program.

McDaniel, Lurlene. A Season for Goodbye.   YA MCD
Returning to Jenny House as Big Sister counselors to a new group of terminally ill teens, Katie, Chelsea, and Lacey are challenged by the death of one of the girls in their group and must rebuild the morale at Jenny House. It's been a year since three friends have each spent time adjusting to a healthy life after struggling with deadly illnesses: now all are working on their relationships and reflecting on the newcomers to a home for ill children in this latest "One Last Wish" story; part of a series revolving around issues of life and death.

Miklowitz, Gloria. Past Forgiving. 
Overlooking her new boyfriend's quick temper and dark personality, Alexandra convinces herself that his possessiveness is just his way of demonstrating love, but when Cliff rapes her she realizes that certain limits cannot be crossed.

Neenan, Colin. In Your Dreams 
Fifteen-year-old Hale's life becomes very complicated when he helps his older brother woo the girl he is secretly in love with himself.

Peck, Richard. The Last Safe Place on Earth. YA Peck, R. 
Todd, 15, thinks life in the quality community of Walden Woods is perfect, until Laurel, his dream girl, comes to baby sit for his sister and reveals the forces of fundamentalism and censorship at work in the town. In this perceptive, chilling look at censorship and religious fanaticism, tenth-grader Todd and his family discover that their secure suburban community is no protection against obsessive, destructive ideas. 

Powell, Randy. Dean Duffy. 
Dean, 18, is a baseball player whose glory days are behind him. At 15, he pitched for the world championship Little League team, and as a freshman he hit a game-winning grand slam. But after his arm gave out, he moved to first base and plunged into a two-year batting slump, losing any hope for a college scholarship. Since graduation he’s been sliding sideways, wondering what his future holds. Dean Duffy, a Seattle high schooler who has always been brilliant at baseball, desperately struggles to put his life and his potential career back on track after his pitching goes bad and his batting slumps.

Randle, Kristen D. The Only Alien on the Planet. 
Ginny feels like an outsider when her family moves from their native California to a new home on the east coast, but once she starts attending the local high school she finds someone even more alien than herself. Smitty Tibbs is an honor student who never speaks, makes eye contact, or allows anyone to touch him. Ginny feels oddly drawn to the strange boy, and learns that his long-time defender, Caulder Pretiger, is not only a fellow student but also her next-door neighbor. They form a solid friendship, often joined by Ginny's two brothers and Caulder's sisters in a comfortable sixsome. When Caulder decides that he and Ginny will crack Smitty's silent armor and bring him back into the world for his own good, their awkward attempts at communication and real friendship cause serious problems.

Scott, Michael. Gemini Game. 
When players of their virtual reality computer game fall into a coma, Liz and BJ O'Connor, teenage owners of a computer games company, flee from the police in an attempt to locate a copy of their game and correct the programming.

Steele, Danielle. The Gift. STE 
A magical love story told with stunning simplicity and power. A young woman's arrival in a small Mid-western town touches and irrevocably changes the lives of everyone she meets.

Strasser, Todd. How I Changed My Life. 
A knee injury has left football star Kyle Winthrop sitting on the sidelines of high school life. Bolita Vine has vowed to change her image. She loses weight and works on becoming more assertive. She even lands the job of stage managing the school play. When Kyle tries out for the play, he and Bo become friends. But when Bo tries to take the relationship one step further, she soon learns the difference between fantasy and reality. 

Taylor, Miriam. The Well. 
No reference found.

Testa, Maria. Dancing Pink Flamingos and Other Stories. 
A collection of stories about teenagers dealing with crime, violence, sexual harassment, self-realization and growing up. These young adults are trying to survive and find some meaning in their unique yet realistic experiences. In one story, an average teenage girl stabs a young man; in another, three teens await sentencing for a crime that only two of them committed. 

Thesman, Jean. Summerspell. 
Jocelyn, 15, runs away to escape the sexual advances of her brother-in-law and legal guardian. Gerald is a cruel, gun-toting fundamentalist minister. Jocelyn seeks refuge at Summerspell, a cabin by a lake, where she had spent happy times with her grandparents before their deaths. Baily, a classmate, insists on coming with her and things are further complicated when a mysterious, hyperactive, black teen named Spider, who is a girl disguised as a boy, also shows up at the idyllic, deserted spot.

Vande Velde, Vivian. Companions of the NightYA VAN
The romantic horror genre reaches a new level of complexity in this novel, which manages to be simultaneously thought provoking and blood-curdling. Kerry becomes the unwitting accomplice of an attractive, mysterious boy on the run, only to discover that he is a vampire. Can she trust her feelings for someone so alien to her? Or has she been "seduced by the glamour of evil"?

Veitch, Tom and Kennedy, Cam. Star Wars: Dark Empire. 
Six years after the Battle of Endor, the fight for freedom rages on! Darth Vader is dead, but a reborn Empire--under a mysterious new leader--strikes at the struggling Rebel Alliance. Graphic novel format.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. Like Sisters on the Homefront. 
When Gayle gets into trouble with her boyfriend, her mother sends the street-smart 14-year-old--and her baby, Jose--down to Georgia to live with Uncle Luther and her family. There, Gayle meets Great, the family matriarch, whose stories of the past begin to change how Gayle sees her future.

Yolen, Jane. Here There Be Witches. 
A collection of folktales and poetry explores the magical world of witches and warlocks, from Baba Yaga and Merlin to a Native American shape shifter and the witch from Hansel and Gretel. 

Zindel, Paul. The DoomStone. YA Award Zindel, P
It's inhuman and dangerous, and it's after young Jackson, who has witnessed a savage attack on his anthropologist aunt. A new kind of dangerous beast is prowling, and it's up to Jackson to stop it before it kills again and injures his aunt. A chilling thriller for YA enthusiasts of monster tales.

Zweifel, Karyn. Southern Vampires. 
It’s true. They do exist. They suck the red out of watermelons, prey on the meatiest of Southern debutantes, and out-do even the nastiest mosquitoes at a Baptist Church picnic. You’ll meet the charming lady form New Orleans who collects husbands, and a modern-day young vampire who’s working to put herself through, (what else?) nursing school at night. They’re vampires of the South and there’s more out there on your front porch than you may think. So y’all indulge in some Southern-fried, bloodcurdling terror and take a stroll through these captivating tales of carnivorous Southerners with unquenchable thirst!