Reluctant Reader Awards
2004

Top Ten 

Jacob Hoye, editor Boards: the Art and Design of the Skateboard  YA 796.22 BOA
Boards is the first book to focus on the unique art of skateboard design, featuring hundreds of color photos covering the work of today's hottest board designers, including Birdhouse (Tony Hawk's company), Girl (Spike Jonze's company), Chocolate, Zoo York, Enjoi, and 5Boro. As most boards are produced in limited runs and distributed locally, even the most die-hard boarders will have only seen a fraction of the decks included here. In addition to Q&A's with the designers, Boards features action shots of some of today's hottest boarders, making it a must-have for every fan.

Ashanti Foolish/ Unfoolish: Reflections On Love 
This book contains many of the highly successful singer's poems, written when she was a teen, complete with the stories behind them and her thoughts on relationships and friendships. Small black-and-white photos of Ashanti as a child are sprinkled throughout. The selections aren't very distinctive, but teen fans will still enjoy this title.

Gail Giles  Dead Girls Don't Write Letters  YA GIL

Andy Macdonald Dropping In With Andy Mac: Life of a Pro Skateboarder YA 921 MAC
Andy's made the road to sweet, sweet success look easy. But this behind-the-scenes look takes you onto the platform of the vert ramp -- to the competitions, the long hours of practice, and more. It reveals a bumpy road to the top that, as Andy will tell you, could be reached only with the guts that skateboarding gave him. 

Angela Johnson The First Part Last  YA JOH
Bobby's a classic urban teenager. He's restless. He's impulsive. But the thing that makes him different is this: He's going to be a father. His girlfriend, Nia, is pregnant, and their lives are about to change forever. Instead of spending time with friends, they'll be spending time with doctors, and next, diapers. They have options: keeping the baby, adoption. They want to do the right thing. Bobby's carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter. 

Terry Truman  InsideOut

Mike Seate  Jesse James:  The Man and His Machines

Nancy Rica Schiff Odd Jobs: Portraits of Unusual Occupations
People get PAID for this?  Who blows the bugle at the Kentucky Derby? Who dusts the dinosaur bones at the Smithsonian? Who sniffs dog breath for a living? ODD JOBS introduces you to the real people who perform these truly peculiar jobs. In 65 intimate portraits, photo essayist Nancy Rica Schiff captures the personalities and occupations of these oddball professionals, providing a short profile of each.

Larry Platt Only the Strong Survive: The Odyssey of Allen Iverson
Defiantly tattooed, with his hair in cornrows, the six-foot Philadelphia 76ers point guard is one of the most recognizable and controversial stars of the sports world. His meteoric rise from a troubled childhood in the ghetto to NBA superstardom has been marked by five straight playoff appearances, including a finals berth in 2001 and an MVP award. From his rap sheet to his rap album, fans and journalists alike hound his every move. But never before has a biographer presented a full portrait of this complicated and intensely private star -- a man whose loyalty to his family, the streets, and his friends trumps any other concern. Filled with exclusive interview material and unprecedented access to many of Iverson's inner circle, Only the Strong Survive is the first in-depth look at the truth behind this newly minted legend.

Anthony Horowitz Skeleton Key: An Alex Rider Adventure  YA HOR
Reluctant teenage-spy Alex Rider, on a routine mission at the Wimbledon tennis championships, gets caught up in Chinese gangs, illegal nuclear weapons, and the suspect plans of his Russian host, General Sarov.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers 

Nonfiction

Scott Beatty  JLA: The Ultimate Guide to the Justice League of America  YA 741.5 BEA
For the last 40 years, DC Comics' Justice League of America has united the most powerful superheroes -- Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern -- against some of the most diabolical villains in comic book history. The Ultimate Visual Guide tells the history of the Justice League of America; their epic battles against awesome adversaries such as The White Martians, The Key, and Megaddon; and includes specially commissioned, spectacularly detailed artwork revealing JLA's brand--new headquarters on the moon, Wonder Woman's island home, Aquaman's undersea base, and more.

Brian Michael Bendis  Ultimate Spider-Man, v. 2 YA GRAPHIC NOVEL 741.5 ULT
This excellent book features two great Ultimate Spiderman stories: his first battle with Dr. Octopus and his second face off with the Green Goblin. Not to be missed by anyone who has ever enjoyed Spiderman!!

Jennifer Bonnell  D.I.Y. Girl:  The Real Girl's Guide to Making Everything from Lip Gloss to Lamps YA 745.5 BON
A step-by-step guide to making clothes, beauty products, fashion accessories, and decorative items for the home using commonly available materials.

Ian Christe  Sound of the Beast:  The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal
Welcome, all ye who dare enter Sound of the Beast, the first definitive look at the madness and mayhem of heavy metal. From its cataclysmic beginning with Black Sabbath over 30 years ago to the hyperactive nu metal bands ripping apart the charts today, heavy metal has become the dominant musical force around the globe. Yet despite selling over a quarter-billion albums and breaking into new markets wherever it can be heard, there has never been a complete overview of metal's dark, powerful, and untamed history -- until now.

Kristi Collier-Thompson  The Girls' Guide to Dreams
In those turbulent teenage years, girls need help making sense of the world. Dreams could be the key to figuring out what's happening in their lives--but only if they can properly decode the symbols, images, and actions that play out in their unconscious minds every night. Now, there's a guide just for teenagers, with advice on how to tailor the interpretations to their own personal situation. Scary and threatening explanations are out, along with concepts and events that may not be relevant or easily grasped by young people. Instead, they'll find comforting guidance and a path to self-understanding

Richard Platt  Crime Scene:  The Ultimate Guide to Forensic Science  363.25 PLA
Case studies document the forensics behind the controversial O.J. Simpson trial, the Hitler Diaries fraud, and other high-profile crimes where forensic evidence has proved crucial to the case. Details the methods and describes the highly specialized equipment that today's forensic investigators use to sift through crime scenes and examine the findings. Fully illustrated in color. 

Tom DeFalco  The Hulk:  The Incredible Guide YA 741.5 DEF
Capturing the legend of this amazing Marvel Comics superhero, Hulk: The Incredible Guide traces the Hulk's 40 year career, with special emphasis on the latest developments and characters. Each chapter deals with a different decade of the Hulk's story, from the original comic book to the long running 1970's television series, as well as focusing on the upcoming feature film. Discover the secret of the Hulk's superhuman powers, the terrifying multiple personalities that manifest from deep within Bruce Banner's tormented psyche, and much more.

Tali Edut  Astrostyle:  Star-studded Advice for Love, Life, and Looking Good
Will a Leo-Scorpio match spawn a royal rumble or a sweet success? Why do some Tauruses seem more in love with their reflections than with you? Which clothes will maximize your sign's mojo and which will prompt the fashion police to put you under house arrest? Dishing the hottest advice under the sun signs, AstroTwins Tali & Ophira Edut -- the official astrologers for Teen People -- will guide you through the wild world of relationships, personal style, and everyday life -- with glamour, style, and a pinch of celebrity stardust.

Jim Fricke  Yes, Yes Y'all: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip-Hop's First Decade.
Old School!

The first and only account of hip-hop's birth, told in the never-before-published words of its founders and stars, and highlighted by almost 200 photos and flyers

Hunter Fulghum  Don't Try This at Home:  How to Win a Sumo Match, Catch a Great White Shark, and Start an Independent Nation and Other Extraordinary Feats (For Ordinary People) YA 904 FUL
The result of persistent probing, diligent research, and outrageous phone calls to institutions like Fort Knox and the Pentagon, Don't Try This at Home gives thrill seekers everywhere the insider information they crave to show them how to perform feats. Filled with step-by-step instructions, including lists of necessary tools, timing tips, and helpful illustrations, Don't Try This at Home provides the ultimate guide to doing the impossible.

Leland Gregory  Hey Idiot!  Chronicles of Human Stupidity YA 081 GRE 
It's not feelings of superiority that make us suspect the universe is filled with dumb people: The universe really is filled with dumb people, as it"s easy to see in the pages of Leland Gregory"s sharp new offering, Hey Idiot!Gregory, a former Saturday Night Live writer, is the smart cookie who"s previously showed us gray matter"challenged examples in everything from the criminal world to the hallowed halls of government. This time, though, everyone, everywhere is fair game if they"ve exhibited outrageously stupid behavior

Leland Gregory  Stupid Crook Book YA 364.1 GRE
If stupidity were lethal, all of the criminals highlighted in The Stupid Crook Book would be dead. This latest book from highly successful author Leland H. Gregory III captures hilarious tales of captured criminals who are so dumb you almost feel sorry for them.

Matt Groening  Simpsons Comics:  Madness YA GRAPHIC NOVEL 741.5 GR
From the madcap mind of Matt Groening comes the kookiest collection of Simpsons Comics yet! Outrageous tales from the ridiculous to the bizarre fill every page with the classic comedy you have come to expect from The Simpsons.

Christopher Hart Manga Mania Fantasy Worlds:  How to Draw the Enchanted Worlds of Japanese Comics
Artists will learn how to illustrate detailed backdrops and landscapes, rugged weaponry, and, of course, fearsome creatures-aliens, faeries, ogres, and much more. In the straightforward style that is his trademark, Christopher Hart teaches the basics and the intricacies of creating manga fantasy illustrations that practically jump off the page.

Christopher Hart  Manga Mania Villains: How to Draw the Super Villains of Manga and Anime
With Christopher Hart’s Manga Mania Villains: How to Draw the Dastardly Characters of Japanese Comics, everyday artists and manga/anime fans can have fun, as they capture the worst guys the art form has to offer in all their nefarious glory.

How to Hold a Crocodile, Plus Hundreds of Other Practical Tips, Fascinating Facts and Wicked Wisdom
This book is jammed full of simple instructions for many situations in life. Need to roast an ox? Repel cavalry? Tie a bow tie? All instructions are here, clear, concise, and fully illustrated. This remarkable reference book explains how to: - Build a log cabin - Catch a cockroach - Magnetize a walnut - Play the castanets - Ride a dolphin - Drill for oil - Meet the Pope - Find a blind spot - Become a saint 

Mark Huebner  Sports Bloopers:  All-Star Flubs and Fumbles YA 796 HUE
Irreverent... Crashes, collisions, streakers and much more show that sometimes sports can be more entertaining than intended.

Japanese Comickers: Draw Anime and Manga Like Japan's Hottest Artists
Where else can you find such an incredible collection of 14 young comic, anime and manga artists willing to share the secrets of their techniques? Each artist includes a brief biography, the most representative work and a gallery of their best work with step-by-steps on how to create the work. The last chapter features a who’s who in the industry or "Tree of Japanese Comickers" and information about the art materials used by each artist along with a glossary of terms unique to Japanese comic/anime illustrations.

Cindy Kleh  Snowboarding Skills:  The Back-to-Basics Essentials for All Levels  YA 796.73 KLE 
With its breakneck speed, upstart attitude and stunning locales, snowboarding is the definitive sport for those who thrive on adrenaline rushes and winter activities. No longer the exclusive province of renegade hot-doggers, huckers and shredders, snowboarding earned its own venue for the 1998 Nagano Olympics and was very popular at the Salt Lake City Olympics 2002. Today people of all ages are participating in this sport of athletic prowess and extreme spirit. 

Jeff Koon and Andy Powell  Wearing of  This Garment Does Not Enable You to Fly: 101 Real Dumb Warning Labels  YA 818.602 KOO
The infamous 1994 McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit has spawned a veritable industry of "hot" warnings, from Kellogg's Pop-Tarts admonition that "[i]f pastry is overheated, frosting/filling can become extremely hot and could cause burns" to the Black Cat Fireworks label: "Caution: flammable. Do not put in mouth." If, on the other hand, you manage to escape the heat with a trip to the beach, be warned that a twenty-inch beach ball is "NOT a lifesaving device." Kids (and maybe even parents) might be forgiven, however, for thinking that Mr. Bubbles Body Wash for Kids of All Ages would be okay to use if they missed the warning label: "Caution. Keep out of reach of young children." 

Joel Levy  Really Useful:  The Origins of Everyday Things YA 609 LEV
Some ordinary items possess more interest than others--say, the invention of the refrigerator, which traces its origins back to the Chinese habit of cutting and using blocks of ice to preserve foods in 1,000 B.C.E. Others have beginnings that many of us are already familiar with--such as Post-It notes born in the fertile minds of 3M scientists. And still others count in the "who cares?" category, varying from Tupperware to the invention of fireworks. 

Bonz Malone  Hip-Hop Immortals, v.1: The Remix
From street shots of Kool Herc and Kurtis Blow to elaborate stage shoots of Lil' Kim and Eminem, hip-hop photography has been the foundation for some of the most stylish photographs of the past two decades. Iconic images like Ice T’s menacing affront to the camera while donning a full LAPD uniform, Flava Flav of Public Enemy sporting his trademark alarm clock around his neck and flashing his personalized gold teeth, and Notorious B.I.G. counting his loot, are placed side-by-side with lesser-known and previously unpublished photographs of hip-hop’s biggest figures.

Selene Milano  Unforgettable Color: Revlon Makeup with Confidence
Unforgettable Color is divided into seven color chapters: red; orange and coral; yellow and gold; green and blue; purple and lilac; pink; and neutral. Each color chapter covers: - basic healthy and beauty advice - step-by-step applications and treatments - tips on using color on eyes, lips, face, and nails - analysis of how shades and palettes of a color can work with different skin tones and hair colors 

Dave Mirra  Mirra Images: The Story of My Life YA 796.6 MIR 
Since age ten, Dave "Miracle Boy" Mirra has been defying gravity and changing people's minds about what can and can't be done on a bike. But in 1993 he lived up to his nickname in ways that his fans could never have anticipated. Six months after he was injured by a drunk driver and told by his doctors that he would never ride again, he was back on his bike, competing in -- and winning -- high-profile BMX events. Since then he has gone on to win more X Games medals than any other competitor -- in any event -– and has inspired a devoted following always hungry for a new miracle.

Mark Montano  Super Suite:  The Ultimate Bedroom Makeover Guide for Girls
Teen girls want their bedrooms to be more than places to sleep. Now the author of the hit column "Cool Room" has created the ultimate bedroom makeover guide. With a little paint, a bit of glue, and some creative thinking, Montano shows girls how to transform rooms so that they reflect blossoming individuality. Featuring the makeovers of fifteen bedrooms of real girls, each chapter includes an interview, before and after shots, and step-by-step instructions for completing the inexpensive projects, and a comprehensive resource guide! 

Jennifer Corr  Scholastic Book of World Records, 2004 YA 031 MOR 2004 
Each of the 300 records in the book has its own page that includes a full-color photograph and a detailed description of the record. A colorful bar graph that ranks other record holders in the same category is also included for every record.Created by Georgian Bay.

Davey Coombs  MX: The Way of the MotoCrosser  796.7 MX
MX: The Way of the Motocrosser is a photo-driven essay that documents this explosive sport, its major personalities--including Jeremy "Showtime" McGrath, X Games champion Travis Pastrana, and record-shattering champion Ricky Carmichael--and the subculture that surrounds the pro circuit. This extreme trek through the world of motocross will be sought after by every follower of the sport and offers a great introduction to this rapidly growing phenomenon for new fans.

Paint Me Like I Am:  Teen Poems from Writer Corps, 2003
Paint Me Like I Am is a collection of poems by teens who have taken part in writing programs run by a national nonprofit organization called WritersCorps. To read the words of these young people is to hear the diverse voices of teenagers everywhere. 

Simone Payment  Navy SEALs: Special Operations for the U.S. Navy
A look at the Special Forces, better known as the Navy SEALs, including their purpose, history, missions, requirements, training, and equipment.

Richard Roeper  Ten Sure Signs a Movie Character Is Doomed and Other Surprising Movie Lists
Roeper, the syndicated movie critic who replaced the late Gene Siskel as Roger Ebert's TV partner, certainly has the credentials to craft a handful of insightful movie lists. He also has the wit to make this book fun enough that you don't have to be a movie buff to appreciate it.

Tucker Shaw  "What's That Smell?" (Oh It's Me): 50 Mortifying Situations and How to Deal with Them

Genie Shields Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand YA 398.45 FAI  
Fairies hover in a handful of enchanting offerings this fall. It's the materials that make the clothes so special. Organic offerings include Seashell Sandals, Harlequin Bell Bottoms made from red and yellow gerbera petals cinched with a daisy belt and, of course, the wedding dress, its gauzy train a delicate construction of goose feathers and calla lily, with a snail shell waistline and fluffy rabbit's foot clover rimming the bodice. The oversize edition is designed as an haute couture catalog; with saucy copy.

Jessica Simpson Jessica Simpson I Do:  Achieving Your Dream Wedding
This book is pretty, however, its basically Jessica's wedding album with a few notes. Good if you're a Simpson fan, not too helpful when planning a wedding, especially planning a wedding on a budget.

Spoken Word Revolution:  Slam, Hi Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation
"Accompanied by a terrific CD that showcases the great variety of styles performance poetry embraces, from the purest of recitations to seductive musical presentations, this dynamic anthology embodies the thrilling and mutually beneficial rapprochement between the traditionalists and the slammers, something that seemed about as likely 10 years ago as that proverbial cold day in hell." -Chicago Tribune 

Tattoo Nation: Portraits of Celebrity Body Art
Tattoos, rock and roll, and Rolling Stone-the ideal combination for the ultimate book on celebrities and their tattoos. Rolling Stone's TATTOO NATION exposes this dynamic art form in all its glory as embodied by the biggest pop icons of our time, from Drew Barrymore to Eminem, Melissa Etheridge to Ozzy Osbourne, Busta Rhymes to Mary J. Blige. TATTOO NATION features candid and never-beforeseen photographs and equally revealing interviews that chronicle the gradual emergence of this evocative art form into mainstream society via pop-culture icons.

Jennifer Traig  Makeup: Things to Make and Do YA 646.7 TRA
Outlines how to apply makeup and maintain healthy skin, provides recipes for making cosmetics, and demonstrates how to achieve certain looks, from Indian Princess to Geisha Girl, and from Peachy Keen to Goth Girl.

Tupac: Resurrection, 1971-1996
In many ways the autobiography he never got to write, Tupac: Resurrection features the artist in his own words, examining his complicated life and the controversial decisions that plagued him while he was alive. Tupac: Resurrection captures, as never before, his boundless passion, searing honesty, and stunning intelligence, and showcases a range of never-before-seen writings, letters, screenplay ideas, lyrics, poems, photographs, and personal effects, and stands as an indelible testament to the artist's astonishing cultural legacy.

Nick Wood  360° New York
360º New York visits some of the city's major landmarks as well as favorite spots of New York insiders. Among the many scenes captured are the Empire State Building, Wall Street, Times Square, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Waldorf Astoria, as well as the Empire Diner, the Chelsea Hotel, a firehouse, a neighborhood bar, and even a salon for New York's most pampered dogs. The book is a virtual visit to the city in which the vibrant diversity and sense of bigness is clearly conveyed, particularly in a marvelous panoramic foldout of the skyline at twilight.

Fiction

Carrie Asai  Samurai Girl Series:  The Book of the Shadow  YA ASA
The old Heaven Kogo died weeks ago. I am a new person -- training to stay alive. The people I trusted, I now fear. The people I trust now, I am placing in danger. I'm told a good Samurai can make herself invisible, and I want to be invisible right now. To every person except one. I am Samurai Girl.

Carrie Asai  Samurai Girl Series: The Book of the Sword  YA ASA
They say your life begins on your wedding day. Here's what happened on mine: I lost the person I love most. I learned that everything I knew about my family was a lie. Now I'm being hunted. I must fight back, or die. My life ended that day. The old Heaven is gone. I am Samurai Girl. 

Kate Brian  The Princess and the Pauper  YA BRI
Julia Johnson isn't like the other students at the Rosewood School. She takes a bike to school, not a BMW. She goes home every night to a run-down apartment that she shares with her mom and her cat. While the other girls obsess over the upcoming visit from some princess, Julia is trying to find the money to keep a roof over her family's heads.  Then Carina, the Crown Princess of Vineland, shows up at Rosewood for a speech, and Julia finds her answer. The thing is, Julia's a dead ringer for Carina. And when Carina offers her ten thousand dollars to switch places for one day, Julia can't say no.  But when the real princess doesn't come back from her day off, Julia finds herself on a plane to Vineland. How long before her cover gets blown? What will Carina's almost-fiancé, Markus, say when he finds out she's been lying to him? And how in the world is she going to explain all this to her mother?

Meggin Cabot  The Boy Next Door CAB
An entertaining romp told entirely through e-mails. Melissa Fuller, celebrity-gossip columnist for the New York Journal, lives a relatively shallow existence until her elderly neighbor is attacked and sent to the hospital in a coma, leaving behind her Great Dane and two cats. Melissa gets help in caring for them from the man who is supposedly Mrs. Friedlander's playboy nephew Max, but who is actually his college buddy doing him a favor, and it all becomes a bit complicated when Melissa falls in love with "Max." Every loose plot thread comes into play in the highly satisfactory conclusion, with just enough twists on the way for a fun ride. The format fits perfectly with the gossipy nature of the book and moves the story along; readers are privy to all of the e-mails, but the characters only get the bits addressed to them. This book has the same breezy style as Cabot's "Princess Diaries" series (HarperCollins) for younger readers.

Elizabeth Chandler  Dark Secrets:  The Deep End of Fear YA Mystery CHA
Twelve years ago Kate's family left the Westbrook estate on a stormy night, just after young Ashley Westbrook drowned in an icy pond. Now kate, alone in the world, has returned to the estate to tutor another spoiled Westbrook child, Patrick. The seven-year-old says he talks to Ashley by the pond. He does dangerous, deadly things because, he says, "Ashley dared me to." Just as Ashley once dared a shy, little Kate twelve years ago.

But at seventeen Kate is not so easily intimidated by "Ashley" or hostile members of her family or the forbidding housekeeper. Then Sam, the handsome stranger to whom kate is irresistibly drawn, reveals a tragic piece of the puzzle that connects him to Kate. Sam tells Kate to leave -- either out of concern for her or due to a festering anger, she's not sure. But kate will not abandon Patrick to the evil that is haunting him and threatens to destroy them all.
 

Miranda Clarke  Night of a Thousand Boyfriends
Like an interactive version of Sex and the City or Bridget Jones’s Diary, this romantic comedy follows a young woman’s quest for love in the big city, amid the dangers of torn stockings, maxed-out credit cards, obnoxious roommates, adulterous husbands, dark alleys, and worse.
On every page, YOU have control of the story: If you suggest that your date’s hands are moving too fast, turn to page 128. If you insist that he run to Rite-Aid for protection, turn to page 51. If you throw caution to the wind and unfasten his belt, turn to page 117.

Choose wisely, and you could wind up with the love of your life. Choose poorly, and you could wind up on the Internet, in a series of lurid photographs that would make your other blush. Anything can happen—and it’s all up to you!

Zoey Dean  The A-List
Moving from Manhattan's elite world to "Hollyweird" presents Anna with quite a culture shock, but one that she's ready for. White gloves and tea give way to her drugged-out dad in the gazebo and a Hollywood celebrity's wedding where she is introduced to Ahi rolls. She discovers that all is not without controversy in LaLa land, and that beautiful girls are not always welcome in the inner circle, especially those who pick up the hunk whom all the insiders are lusting after. After surviving the evil competitors, bad yogurt, and a vengeful seatmate on the plane, Anna proves that gorgeous good girls can, and do, survive in L.A. All of those nasty, high-society types that populate the "Gossip Girl" series (Little, Brown) can be found here in bikinis and Oakleys instead of wool pashminas and Blahnik boots.

Sharon Flake  Begging for Change  YA FLA
Raspberry Hill, who once was homeless, vowed never to end up on the streets again. To her, money equals security. But when a troubled neighborhood teenager attacks her mother, Raspberry is desperate for things in her life to change and ends up stealing from her best friend. But nothing good comes from bad money. And as her thoughts alternate between the two men in her life-as her relationship with Sato blossoms and her relationship with her drug-addicted father erodes-Raspberry must finally confront the biggest of all her fears: is she really much different from her thieving father after all? How will her friends react when they find out what she's done? Raspberry is certain. . .something's got to change.

John Halliday  Shooting Monarchs  YA HAL
Macy grew up unwanted, unloved, and alone. By his teens he had quit school and begun stealing. In and out of juvie, Macy is a shoplifter, a car thief, and, by age eighteen, a murderer.

Danny grew up physically disabled, raised by his grandmother, and a loner. Now sixteen, he finds solace in taking photographs, particularly of monarch butterflies, and thinking about Leah, the most beautiful girl in town.

It is Leah who unwittingly causes these two very different boys, who share some startling similarities, to meet in a first and final terrifying encounter.

Marilyn Halvorson  Bull Rider
In spite of his father's death at the National Finals six years earlier, Layne is determined to become an award-winning bull rider. His mother is adamant that he not ride, so the 16-year-old must practice in secret at a friend's family arena. When a rogue bull, Rhino, nearly finishes him off, Jana's grandfather agrees to train Layne. A convenient wedding gets his mom out of the way so that the teen can ride in the local rodeo, predictably, on Rhino. He survives, his mom loves him anyway, and he gets a nice kiss from Jana.

Cathy Hopkins  Mates, Dates Series:  
Mates, Dates and Cosmic Kisses , Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras  YA HOP
These two titles join the recent British invasion of funny, on-the-mark novels that read like a junior Bridget Jones' Diary. Centered on a trio of high-school friends, each book is told from a different character's point of view. Cosmic Kisses is Izzy's story, and she describes her first painful obsession over a boy. Luckily, her concerned pals are waiting when she comes to her senses, and she moves on. Inflatable Bras is narrated by Lucy, who, at 14, feels flat-chested and immature in comparison to Izzy and Nesta, her two gorgeous best friends. A what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up assignment exacerbates Lucy's identity crisis, but she finds direction and confidence (and even a cute guy) when her friends encourage her sewing talents and fashion flair.

Mates, Dates, and Designer Divas
  YA HOP
This third installment in the hip series spotlights Nesta, an extraordinarily beautiful and high-spirited 14-year-old whose family is undergoing relatively hard financial times. Falling for ultra-wealthy Simon, she thinks she needs to pretend to be someone she's not in order to keep him. When her pretenses catch up to her, and she is at the risk of losing him and her best friends Lucy and Izzie, she must tell the truth. In the end, the teen learns that it's best to be yourself.

Tanya Lloyd Kyi  Truth
When an adult neighbor is brutally murdered during a high-school house party, everyone in school seems to have an idea who did it, but no one will go to the police. Jen was there and saw the body and she has her own ideas about who is responsible. As a reporter for the school TV show, she decides to try and uncover the truth and discover if a classmate’s increasingly violent behavior is to blame. When she and others begin digging too deeply, violence flares in the small community. Finally, Jen is forced to take a stand, one that may cost her more than she could imagine.

David Levithan  Boy Meets Boy
This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

Jason Little  Shutterbug Follies
Shortly after starting work at a photo-processing shop in downtown Manhattan, Bee, 18, develops several pictures of dead bodies, some brought in by crime-scene photographer Oleg Khatchatourian. Now, developing pictures of "cats, babies, birthdays and vacations" isn't exciting, so she becomes a detective in the spirit of Nancy Drew, to determine whether or not Khatchatourian had something to do with his wife's demise.

Ron Marz  The Path: Crisis of Faith
This first installment in The Path graphic-novel series explores the crisis of faith confronting Obo-san, a monk disillusioned by the gods' murder of his brother, and also General Ryuchi, Obo-san's boyhood friend, who serves the mad emperor of Nayado. After his brother's death, Obo-san swears revenge against the gods. His vow and his newfound cynicism lead him to question the decisions of the emperor, putting him at odds with Ryuchi.

Janet McDonald  Twists and Turns
It may have taken them an extra year or two to do it, but the Washington sisters finally graduated high school, and this definitely calls for a celebration. But after the party ends, then what? The girls have no plans. Unlike their smart best friend Raven Jefferson, who’s away at college, and their nerdy best friend Toya Larson, who’s in computer training, and their overall best friend Aisha Ingram, who's rocking in TV commercials, Keeba and Teesha are still hanging out on neighborhood benches as if nothing's changed. Then an older friend convinces the sisters that they, too, have a skill – braiding hair – and why not make a business of it? With a loan from Aisha, the Washingtons open TeeKee’s Tresses in a rented storefront, and the future looks pretty solid . . . that is, until a rival’s jealousy, a landlord's greed, and a politician’s scheme turn the sisters' world upside down.

Graham McNamee  Acceleration  YA MCN
It’s a hot, hot summer, and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority’s Lost and Found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging lost things and sifting through accumulated junk. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan’s just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book. It’s a diary filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can’t make himself stop reading.

What would you do with a book like that? How far would you go to catch a madman?

And what if time was running out. . . .

Joan Nixon  Nightmare YA MYSTERY NIX
Emily has never fit in her overachieving family. Instead of getting straight As, she sits in the back row and hides behind her hair. As a result, her parents have enrolled her at Camp Excel—an academic camp for underachievers—for the summer. Emily doesn’t want to go, and not just because she feels it isn’t necessary. She’s been plagued by a recurring nightmare since she was a child. And there’s something about this camp that feels familiar—has she been there before? Why can’t she remember?

With the help of two new friends, Emily discovers that her nightmare is not just in her head. Someone at Camp Excel has a secret—and will do anything, even murder, to keep Emily from uncovering the truth.

Frank Peretti  Nightmare Academy (Veritas Project, no 2)  YA CHRISTIAN PER
Nightmare Academy is a frightening thrill-ride that takes a realistic look at right and wrong, as Elijah and Elisha seek to find the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of two runaways. The Springfield twins go undercover and end-up in a strange academy where Truth is continually challenged, a gang-like war develops, and Elijah is taken to an ominous mansion from which no one has ever returned.

Douglas Rees  Vampire High  YA REE
It doesn’t take long for Cody Elliot to realize that his new high school is a little different. The other students are supernaturally strong, don’t like the sunlight, and are always placing orders at the local blood bank. When his new friend shows him his fangs, Cody doesn’t need any more clues—these kids are vampires! As Cody struggles to fit into this secretive community, he disrupts centuries of human-vampire segregation, with some serious—and some seriously funny—consequences.

Cynthia Rylant  God Went to Beauty School
In God Went to Beauty School Cynthia Rylant imagines a God whose curiosities about the world He created inspire Him to go out and experience human things. But what would God do if He could live in a human world? Would He write a fan letter? Get a dog? Make spaghetti?

God Went to Beauty School celebrates the simple things in life while taking a long, hard look at what it means to be human. Rylant's soft, reflective, and often humorous verse glimpses everyday life through wide and wondering eyes and blends the familiar with the profoundly spiritual.

Ellen Schreiber  Vampire Kisses  YA SCH
In her small town, dubbed "Dullsville," sixteen-year-old Raven -- a vampire-crazed goth-girl -- is an outcast. But not for long...

The intriguing and rumored-to-be haunted mansion on top of Benson Hill has stood vacant and boarded-up for years. That is, until its mysteriously strange new occupants move in. Who are these creepy people -- especially the handsome, dark, and elusive Alexander Sterling? Or rather, what are they? Could the town prattle actually ring true? Are they vampires? Raven, who secretly covets a vampire kiss, both at the risk of her own mortality and Alexander's loving trust, is dying to uncover the truth.

Gary Soto  The Afterlife YA SOT
You'd think a knife in the ribs would be the end of things, but for Chuy, that's when his life at last gets interesting. He finally sees that people love him, faces the consequences of his actions, finds in himself compassion and bravery . . . and even stumbles on what may be true love.
A funny, touching, and wholly original story by one of the finest authors writing for young readers today.

Nancy Springer  Blood Trail  YA SPR
Aaron and Jeremy are neighbors and best friends. After spending the afternoon together, Aaron is murdered, brutally stabbed over and over. Earlier, Aaron confessed to Jeremy that he wasn't getting along with his brother, Nathan. Later, Nathan becomes the prime suspect, is convicted of murdering Aaron, and is sent to jail. As time passes and things quiet down, however, Jeremy becomes convinced that Nathan isn't guilty. He thinks that his own bad-tempered sister, Jamy, is responsible, but he can't bring himself to tell anyone about his suspicions.

R. L. Stine  Dangerous Girls  YA STI
Destiny Weller and her twin sister Livvy are beautiful, smart, and popular. But a summer at Camp Blue Moon changes their lives forever. When they return home from camp, Destiny and Livvy exhibit an inhuman craving to drink blood by night, compelled to satisfy their overpowering thirst.

Have they turned into vampires?

Can they keep their terrifying secret from their family and friends? Can they evade the vampire hunters who are determined to destroy them? Destiny desperately wants to find a way to stop the horror. Livvy is intoxicated by her new powers. Will Destiny regain her life -- only to lose her sister forever?

Bill Willingham Animal Farm (Fable Series)  YA GRAPHIC NOVEL 741.5 WIL
Although quite political, the second story-arc (as they felicitously call a plot in comics land) from Willingham's Fables comics isn't a version of Orwell's political parable. In it the scene shifts from the New York enclave of the human Fableland exiles to the upstate farm their animal and insufficiently human-appearing fellows inhabit. Snow White, who runs things for King Cole, makes her biannual farm visit, with fractious sister Rose Red in tow. There they find manager Weyland Smith nowhere in evidence and many nonhuman Fables talking up repatriating Fableland by force. What has actually happened is a still-covert coup led by animal-rights-spouting revolutionary Goldilocks. Snow and Rose get significantly up a creek before learning what's afoot from loyal Reynard, who, though a genuine fox, isn't above ogling those of other species.

Bill Willingham  Legends in Exile (Fable Series)  YA GRAPHIC NOVEL 741.5 WIL
Once upon a time--recently--Jack, not that much older looking than when he climbed the beanstalk, rushes breathlessly into the office of Woodland Luxury Apartments security chief Bigby Wolf to report that his girlfriend Red Rose's Village pad is awash with blood and she is missing. That gives Wolf a case to investigate--a rare occurrence during the centuries that he and other refugees from Fableland have lived in their Manhattan colony since being harried from their world. Of course, Wolf has to put up with his boss, Snow White, long divorced from Prince Charming, dogging his heels because, after all, Rose is her sister. The mystery is solved in a classic Agatha Christie-ish parlor-room confab, displaced to King Cole's penthouse, but not before milking gallons of good entertainment from the conceit of fairy-tale characters as fully human and full of human weaknesses, prominently including lust.