Reluctant Reader Awards
1999

Top 10


Arnoldi, Katherine. The Amazing "True" Story of a Teenage Single Mom. 
An inspirational and poignant pictorial memoir that chronicles a teenage mother's sentimental education, as told through cartoons and searing text.

Hamilton, Jake. Special Effects in Film and Television, YA 791.43 HAM
For the first time, special effects experts allowed a photographer to go behind the scenes to reveal the fascinating secrets of their work, step-by-step. In this explosive introduction to the world of illusion, young readers discover how Steven Spielberg created the dinosaurs for "Jurassic Park", how Jim Carrey's eyes popped out in "Mask", and how the spectacular arrival of alien spaceships was staged in "Independence Day". Full-color photos.

Hesser, Terry Spencer. Kissing Doorknobs, YA HES
Fourteen-year-old Tara describes how her increasingly strange compulsions begin to take over her life and affect her relationships with her family and friends.

Pratt, Jane. Beyond Beauty. 
Twenty-five teenage girls from varying backgrounds reveal their personal thoughts about beauty, style, health, fitness, individuality, and self-acceptance.

Reynolds, David West. Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections, j 791.43 REY
Incredibly detailed original art showcases thirteen of the most popular STAR WARS vehicles. Exploded, 3-dimensional views show us the inner workings of each ship, including the X-wing, the Death Star, Boba Fett's SLAVE I, and more. Color throughout.

Reynolds, David West. Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, j 791.43 REY
Fabulous photographs illustrate the paraphernalia of Rebels, Imperials, bounty hunters, and more. Painstakingly researched, this book presents both basic information and minute details about famous and infamous STAR WARS characters and their equipment. Color illustrations throughout.

Sleator, William. The Boxes. j SLE
When Annie's Uncle Marco goes on one of his mysterious trips, he leaves her in charge of two sealed boxes she is forbidden to open. But temptation gets the better of her. And soon she is surrounded by grotesque creates with the power to transmute time.

Smith, Roland. SasquatchYA SMI
Thirteen-year-old Dylan follows his father into the woods on the slopes of Mount St. Helens, which is on the brink of another eruption, in an attempt to protect the resident Sasquatch from ruthless hunters.

Squires, K.M. NSYNC: The Official Book. j 782.42 NSY
Meet Justin, J.C., Lance, Chris, and Joey--the talented guys who make up *NSYNC. In their own words they discuss their music, their friendships on and off stage, their families, favorites, and much more. Full-color.

Werlin, Nancy. The Killer's Cousin. YA MYSTERY Werlin, N.
Recently acquitted of murder, 17-year-old David goes to live with his aunt and uncle. In his attic apartment, he sees ghostly shadows at night and the hostile behavior of his 11-year-old cousin, Lily, becomes more threatening. Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. 


Nonfiction

Alabiso, Vincent, Kelly Smith Tunney and Chuck Zoelle. Flash! The Associated Press Covers the World. 070.4 FLA 
The most unforgettable moments in the twentieth century. More than 150 of the Associated Press's greatest photographers, including many Pulitzer Prize winners, are brought together in this moving and historic record of the major events and personalities of the 20th century.

Ash, Russell. The Top 10 of Everything: 1998. 031.02 ASH
The ultimate illustrated book of lists. An irresistible mix of facts and trivia, this intriguing book is impossible to put down. Covering every area of human achievement and the natural world, the depth and breadth of the information presented is unmatched by any other publication. More than 1,000 lists revised and updated annually.

Ballard, Robert D. and Rick Archbold. Ghost Liners: Exploring the World's Greatest Lost Ships. 
It was said they would never sink...but they did. Presenting the stories of five great ships lost at sea--including "Titanic"--Ballard and Archbold shows readers what it's like to dive down to a gigantic wreck. Marschall's thrilling color illustrations enhance the fateful tales of these majestic vessels.

Boitano, Brian and Suzanne Harper. Boitano's Edge: Inside the Real World of Figure Skating
What it takes to be a champion figure skater. Olympic Gold Medalist Brian Boitano offers lively expert commentary on the popular sport of figure skating in this distinguished and inviting volume. Over 100 full-color photos as well as personal anecdotes illustrate this informative, in-depth, inside look at everything about the sport, from a first lesson to competing at an international level National publicity.

Deem, James M. Bodies from the Bog. 
This is how you'll look a thousand years from now. Describes the discovery of bog bodies in northern Europe and the evidence that their remains reveal about themselves and the civilizations in which they lived.

Elffers, Joost. Play with Your Food.
Just because you were told never to play with your food doesn't mean you can't. Play with Your Food give readers permission to take nature’s healthiest foods and make them into quirky animals and people, encouraging readers to unlock their imaginations and see the world in a whole new light. 

Guzzetti, Paula. Jim Carrey. j 921 Carrey, J., Guz
As a young boy, Jim Carrey wanted to make people laugh. Today, as one of Americans hottest comics, he has made his dream come true. His journey there wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Jacobs, Thomas A. What are my Rights? 95 Questions and Answers about Teens and the Law YA 346.730 1 JAC. 
Following the law is important for teenagers. an exceptionally solid guide for teens....The scope of information is comprehensive, including issues of family, school, employment, the body and growing up, crime, punishment, and the legal system....Every chapter ends with a list of questions and thought-provoking activities that encourage readers to examine the relevance and the ethics of the law as it affects them.

Jenkins, Martin. Vampires: Informania 
Bloodsuckers--everything you want to know. The first section is a graphic-novel version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Section two, "Animal Bloodsuckers," recounts the misguided and humorous travels, findings, and reports of "field agents" assigned to the "Vampire Investigation Project. "A History of Bloodsucking" examines legendary creatures from Babylonian, Greek, Roman, and especially Eastern and Central European traditions. A special treat is the "Movie Mania" section. Synopses and ratings of 15 films and television series.

Jewel (Kilcher). A Night Without Armor: Poems. 811 JEW
"Not all poetry lends itself to music." Singer/songwriter Jewel Kilcher has been writing since she was a child. In this 87-poem collection, she reveals herself as an accomplished free-verse poet, alternately witty and serious, writing about true love, second thoughts, and broken relationships.

Kahl, Jonathan. First Field Guide Weather: National Audubon Society. 
Part I provides detailed color spreads that aid children in observing and understanding weather. Part II is a field guide that identifies every weather condition, from stratus clouds to cold fronts. Part III contains a wealth of reference sources and a waterproof, portable spotter's guide.

Masoff, Joy Fire! 
Firefighters today.

Maynard, Christopher. Informania: Sharks
Sink your teeth into SHARKS! Sharks will seize the attention of young readers with a yen for the sensational. Providing the latest news and views on the ocean's fiercest hunters. The book is arranged into four startling sections--each marked with a tab for easy reference and each offering a different reading experience.

Newson, Lesley. Devastation: The World's Worst Natural Disasters. 363.32 NEW
Natural disasters in words and pictures. Beautifully illustrated with color photos, this book vividly describes various catastrophic events that have occurred and continue to happen throughout the world. The events showing nature's often-horrific power include hurricanes, floods, volcanoes, fire, etc. Also discusses plagues, including AIDS, and the Black Plague.

Packer, Alex J. Ph.D. How Rude! The Teenager's Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out. 395.1 PAC
The proper techniques for civilized spitting, scratching, sneezing, yawning, coughing, hic-cupping, and nose picking. Wonderful! Very witty, quite clever, and presents etiquette in a non-threatening, humorous, Still, the message to the adolescent is clear. It is in your own best interest to be polite, courteous and responsible. That is ultimately the best way to get what you want. 

Paulsen, Gary. My Life In Dog Years. YA Paulsen, G.
There's no such thing as too many dogs. Paulson devotes each chapter to one of several dogs that played an important role in his life. An animal lover to the hilt, Paulsen will introduce you to dogs that protected him, hunted with him, played with him and just hung out with him on his ranch.

Pfetzer, Mark and Jack Galvin. Within Reach: My Everest Story. 
What is it like to be the youngest high-altitude climber ever? Mark describes in great detail the physical and mental toughness it takes to climb the world's highest mountains. He also does not shy away from informing readers about failures and deaths that occur on the mountains that he climbs

Rolling Stone: The Complete Covers 1967-1997
A vivid reflection of rock and roll. The book is a graphical historical document, showing all the covers from Rolling Stone magazine until the time of its edition.

Tanaka, Shelley. Lost Temple of the Aztecs.
Who were the Aztecs, and what happened to wipe them out? Tanaka attempts to portray Cortez's invasion of Mexico from the perspective of the Aztecs. Illustrations are vivid and there is lots of information and food for discussion in these pages.

Turner, Ann. A Lion's Hunger: Poems of First Love. 
First love, from beginning to end.

Wick, Walter.
Optical Tricks. J 152.14 WIC
Illustrations to trick the eye. With this book I think we can now understand that our eyes are not as reliable as we would hope

Williams, Stanley "Tookie". Life in PrisonYA 365.6 WIL
It's a great book for the purpose -- kind of a "scared straight" book, written by a life-term inmate with the street credibility of a co-founder of the Crips.

Fiction

Bauer, Joan. Rules of the Road. YA Bauer, J.
Road trip? Jenna Boller is an employee at Gladstone's shoe store in Chicago, IL. This summer she take the job of driving the President, Ms. Gladstone to her other outlets in different states. Jenna has to act as a spy and observe employees’ actions and customer's reactions. She is trying to save the stores from Ms. Gladstone's evil son Elden who has bad plans fro the stores. 

Block, Francesca Lia
. I Was a Teenage Fairy. BLO 
Fairy with an attitude. This book catches the pain and anguish of the teen model Barbie Marks and a fairy named Mag.

Butts, Nancy. The Door in the Lake.  YA Sci-fi BUT
Alien abduction? Who is going to believe that? A kid named Joey shows up in a store and realizes that he has been missing for two years. The strange thing is he does not look a day older that the day he dissapeard. Now Joey is faced with a lot of decisions,(does he fit in?) Joey starts getting hints through dreams he has during seizers he has been having. He finds some information that leads him to believe he was abducted by aliens. Joey is on a big adventure that leads to a unexpected ending!

Conford, Ellen. Crush. YA Conford, E.
The Sweetheart Stop is just around the corner. Do you have a date? The entire book is set around a Valentine's Day dance at Cutter's Forge High School called the Sweetheart Stomp. There are ten stories in all. In order, the titles of these stories are: 'Room 202', 'The Gifts of the Mangy', 'Have a Heart', 'Metamorphosis', 'Two Coins in the Fountain', 'Russian Overture', 'Call Waiting', 'Cross Out Where Not Applicable', 'Lucky Break', and 'At the Stomp'.

Cormier, Robert. Heroes. YA Cormier, R.
Why would anyone kill a hero? This book is about a man who got his face blown off in a war. He still has eyes, nose, mouth, and ears but nothing else. He has come back to the town where he used to live fulfill a mission he has had for a while. To kill a man. He wants to kill him because when they were kids the man tried to take advantage of his old girlfriend.

Cray, Jordan. Gemini 7. (Book 1 of the danger.com series). 
Nightmare cyberdate. Jonah and Jen are in love but secretly Jonah has an online life were he talks to women and gets to know them. Nicole the one Jonah is most fond of shows up at his house one-day and they hit it off even more. While she is there strange coincidences happen that are unexplainable. Nicole acts very innocent and it is very difficult to think that Nicole is doing all of this. Jonah will go hunting for clues to try to get Nicole off the hook.

Danziger, Paula and Ann M. Martin. P.S. Longer Letter Later. YA Danziger, P.
Sometimes letters are all two friends have left. This book was a wonderful book about two girls, despite their differences, remain friends throughout middle school. This book has many exciting events and letters. This explains the influence of peer pressure at parties and it shows how strong a friendship can be

Dessen, Sarah. Someone Like You. YA Dessen, S.
Halley and Scarlett have been best friends forever, but can their relationship stand the ultimate test? Hallley and Scarlett are best friends and Scarett discovers something that can either make or break her life. Halley has her own problems too, but she was always there for Scarlett?

Ewing, Lynne. Party Girl. YA Ewing, L.
Is it possible for Kara to dream of a future while she's living a nightmare of gang violence and drive-by killings? "Party Girl" is the gripping story of a girl trying to find her way out of her gang life in the aftermath of a best friend's death in a drive-by shooting. Filled with atmosphere as well as action, this novel has a sensual, cinematic quality that vividly evokes Kata's crumbling world. It is an affecting portrait of gang life and the terrible struggle of a girl trying to find some reason to hope for a future.

Ferris, Jean. Bad. YA Ferris, J.
Is a life of crime really what Dallas wants? Dallas is a 16 year- old criminal convicted of armed robbery. It wasn't really her fault was it? Her boyfriend pushed her to do it and then un-loyally ran from the cops when they came. So Dallas gets put in GRC to try and turn her rebellious ways around. While in GRC she meets a large variety of people such as Darius, a Neo-Nazi, and her roommate Shatasia, a single mother. Her visit at GRC forces her to deal with problems rooted deep in her soul-like the death of her mother when she was only 4, and why she did bad things.

Flake, Sharon G. The Skin I'm In. YA Flake, S.
Can Maleeka love herself and the skin she's in? Maleeka Madison is an intelligent young girl who suffers from having a low self-esteem because of her extraordinarily dark skin tone and the homemade clothing that her mother forces her to wear. To help cushion the brunt of the teasing of her peers, Maleeka befriends Charlese. Charlese is a popular girl and somewhat of a bully. 

Fraustino, Lisa Rowe, ed. Dirty Laundry: Stories About Family Secrets. 
Every family has a secret. What's yours? This book helps people understand that no family is truly "normal". 

Glovach, Linda. Beauty Queen. 
Sam's life is filled with pain. The only comfort she has is a syringe filled with heroin. Samantha comes from a broken home; her divorced mother is an alcoholic who lives with a greasy ex-con who is always making sexual advances to Samantha. To escape from this nightmarish world of abuse and neglect, she becomes a stripper who quickly spirals downward into the seedy world of heroin. She makes friends, but they only drag her deeper into the life that is destroying her.
 
Grant, Cynthia D. The White Horse. 
Abused, homeless, and pregnant--and Raina is only 16. Raina wants help...but doesn’t come out and tell anyone she is in trouble. Raina searches endless possibilities of a life she wants to create, yet more and more stands in the way.

Hautman, Pete. Stone Cold. YA Hautman, P.
How can you lose when you are a winner? Sixteen-year old Dennis Doyle is learning about an important tool of independence - money. Like many young people, his first job is mowing lawns. He's good at his job, and keeps track of his profits down to the last cent. He learns that money can give him some control in his life, which is something he's been looking for since his dad left him and his mom. It starts with a simple card game, but Denn wins, and he's hooked. He plays more and more, dreams about and studies poker, and we readers experience Denn's addiction, his obsession, and what it does to his life, and his youth.

Hobbs, Will. The Maze. YA Hobbs, W.
Running away from his problems only leads Rich into a deeper mystery that may cost him his life. What does it feel like to leap off a cliff and soar in a hang glider? To raise fledgling condors and release them into the wild? To outwit the sinister local yahoos who want to kill the giant, endangered birds? To be pursued at night in the red-rock moonscape of Utah's canyon country? The Maze combines all these enticing elements

Hoh, Diane. Titanic: The Long Night. YA HOH
Who is going to survive this time? This action-packed big summer read focuses on the lives of several teenage passengers aboard the ill-fated "Titanic".

Kaye, Marilyn. Amy Number Seven: Replica series YA KAY
Amy Chandler knows she is perfect--every single one of her. Amy Candler has always thought she was a normal 12 year-old girl. And she was - until recently. Practically overnight she can see, hear, run, and jump, basically do anything better than her friends...Then one night she sees someone outside taking a pictures of her. Someone is leaving threatening notes for her. Amy has to figure out why is she perfect and who is after her before its too late.

Kaye, Marilyn. The Vanishing. Last on Earth. 
Take the class in the basement. It will change your life. Twenty- five teenagers at an overcrowded New York City school have a basement classroom. One day, they emerge to find that everyone else in the city, and possibly the Earth, has vanished from site, leaving no clues as to where they could have gone. Now it's up to the teenagers to discover where everyone else has gone before the same fate befalls them. This was an edge-of-your seat science fiction thriller with a realistic view of what might happen if just a few teenagers and no one else was left on Earth.

Kerven, Rosalind. King Arthur. Eyewitness classics series. j 398.2 KER 
The Legend of Arthur as you have' never seen it. This book makes it possible for children to enjoy reading about the details behind the Arthurian legend while also being able to read a full story.

Larson, Gary. There's a Hair in My Dirt. YA GRAPHIC NOVEL 741.59 LAR + LAR
"The worms crawl in. The worms crawl out." A worm is fed up with being a worm and complains to his parents at the dinner table. His father then tells a tale of life in the forest following a young maiden named Harriet who loves the magic of nature and like many of his Far Side human characters Harriet isn't the brightest and doesn't understand the consequences of her action.

Lawrence, Iain. The Wreckers. YA Lawrence, I.
Are your rescuers friends or foes? Lawrence starts with a great concept--the fact that people used to deliberately cause shipwrecks in order to pillage their cargo--and develops an exciting plot around it, with interesting characters. He keeps you guessing as to who is "good" and "evil" and doesn't resort to simplistic answers to that question. The book includes historical explanation on the practice of "wrecking".
 
Lerangis, Peter. Last Stop: Watchers. 
There's more than rats in the subway. David Moore, the main character of the book, lives in the city. Six months ago, his father disappeared. Everybody thought that he died. However, all of a sudden David saw him...or maybe not him... in an abandoned subway station. He was not alone. The scariest thing about this episode was that Dad was waving him and calling him. I wondered what would David do next. Would he run away, would he try to forget about as if it was a nightmare? What will happen next?
 
Lott, Bret. The Hunt Club. LOT
Murder, drugs, ghosts, and car chases belong on the screen, not in real life. Fifteen year old Huger, acting as caretaker to his blind uncle, discovers a corpse in the fields of the Hunt Club, a shooting range that serves as a meeting place for Charleston's wealthy professionals. After an enigmatic visit from the deceased suicidal wife, Huger is off and running in a mad dash to solve the murder.

Martin, Ann M. Amalia- California Diaries #4. 
Is Amalia ready for a new town, a new school, and new friends? Amalia Vargas has a great life-she just moved to Palo City, California and already knows her way around the school, and has made lots of new friends. She even makes a new boyfriend, James Kodaly. Just when she thinks she's finally settled, her life starts twisting and turning when she starts to have problems with James. Read Amalia's diary and find out what changes in her painful life.

McDaniel, Lurlene. Till Death Do Us Part. YA McDaniel, L.
Only one thing can come between April and Mark. When April Lancaster meets Mark, she learns that love is one tough lesson in life. Just like in most of Lurlene McDaniel's books, the main character is ill or in love with someone ill, in this case, the character faces both. April is diagnosed with high-grade astrocytoma- a brain tumor. She feels so alone and scared, until she meets Mark, a boy who is diagnosed with a fatal disease called cystic fibrosis. No matter how hard she tries no to, she ends up falling head over heels madly in love with Mark. Mark teaches her how to live life one minute at a time

Myers, Anna. Ethan Between Us. 
Secrets divide friendships and families

Nixon, Joan Lowery. The Haunting. YA Mystery Nixon, J.
Lia sits apprehensively in a cold hospital room as her great-grandmother lies in a coma. When she awakens for a brief moment before her passing, Lia is informed of a family plantation house that has lain uninhabited for over a century. Lia is sworn to protect Graymoss, the Louisiana mansion, even with its known evil dwelling inside. Lia is given her ancestress' Civil War diary full of sinister characters and evil encounters. Lia wholly believes in the diary entries but her mother and father are not so easily convinced. During a visit to the looming mansion the Starling family meets several colorful characters that wish to purchase the property despite the ever-present threat of evil. Each character gives another account of mysterious happenings.

Paulsen, Gary. Soldier's Heart. YA Paulsen, G.
The brutality of war changes a farm boy into a Union soldier. Charley Goddard was only fifteen when he enlisted with the First Minnesota Volunteers, but when he came out of the war he was only nineteen, but something was different about him, his heart has changed, people would say that he had Soldier's Heart. 

Paulsen, Gary. The Transall Saga  j PAU
Mark is abducted by a blue light. What will it take for him to survive? While backpacking in the desert, thirteen-year-old Mark falls into a tube of blue light and is transported into a more primitive world, where he must use his knowledge and skills to survive.

Pierce, Tamora. Tris’s Book YA Sci Fic Pierce, T
Tris has to deal with the reality of her power and its effect. Her weather-magic is a double-edged sword: the same great power she can use to defend her home also destroys. Yes, she is faced with a fleet of pirates who want nothing better than to kill and loot, then take the survivors and sell them into slavery--but her power over nature isn't easily controlled. It can as easily damage those she cares about as it can help her to maul her enemies. Tris has to make some hard choices. She will need all the help her friends and teachers can give her to make the right choices and survive the exercise of her own magic.

Preston, Richard. The Cobra Event. PRE
Strange deaths or biological terrorism? Alice Austen, M.D., is an Epidemic Intelligence Officer for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. When she is sent to New York City to investigate several unusual deaths, she hopes to follow in the footsteps of other epidemiologists, who have solved the causes of mysterious disease outbreaks in the past. Little does she know, however, that this unusual (and deadly) disease is going to take her a good deal farther than she ever hoped...or feared. There are a number of nations and companies that are working on using genetic manipulation to make dreadfully dangerous diseases, and one of their biologists has decided that it is now time to deploy one of these horrific viruses.

Pullman, Philip. Clockwork YA PUL
Clocks are harmless. So are stories--until they both come to life. Three interconnected stories revolve around the deeds of the mysterious and ingenious Dr. Kalmenius and his dealings with princes, apprentices and clockwork mechanisms

Read For Your Life: Tales of Survival. YA 810.8 REA
From split-second decisions to long-range plans, life and death is often in the balance. This collection of survival short stories represents 50 years of selections from the literary magazine for middle-and high-school students published by the Weekly Reader. The stories are divided into sections: "Ordinary Heroes," "Bad Luck or Bad Judgment," and "Survival of the Fittest. "Readers will be thrilled to vicariously rescue their girlfriends from a grizzly bear's attack, fight the paralyzing venom of a cobra strike, or outthink an attack of killer ants in Brazil.

Rottman, S. L. Rough Waters. 
After their parents are killed in a car accident, Scott and Gregg leave their comfortable life in Southern California to live with an uncle in the remote Colorado Rockies. Soon Gregg is running with the wrong crowd and only a crisis can bring him to his senses before he loses the only family he has left. Rage and rafting--a dangerous combination.

Sachar, Louis. Holes. YA Sachar, L.
Can you dig yourself out from under a family curse? As further evidence of his family's bad fortune that they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself. 

Saul, John. The Presence. SAU
Everybody needs oxygen to breathe--don't they? The novel's focus on main character Michael Sundquist and his unwilling involvement in one of the most influential and terrifying scientific discoveries of all time. This book not only discusses the possibility of life outside of the confines of earth, but it also delves into the mystery of creation and simultaneously puts to rest all past speculation on either of the two topics.

Soto, Gary. Petty Crimes j CD Spoken, SOT
Sometimes existence can get tough and the world hostile. Meet Manuel, a young man who wears hand-me-downs from his older brothers until he finally gets a brand-new pair of shoes. And Jose Luis, who watches the veterinarian bills soar after he buys a sick rooster to save it from becoming someone's dinner. And Alma, a young woman who runs to every shop and flea market in town, buying back her dead mother's clothes, which her father has given away. He said he'd come back to get them.

Warner, Sally. Sort of Forever. j WAR
What does forever mean when your best friend has cancer? An outlaw, condemned to be hanged threatens to wreak vengeance from the grave on those responsible for his death.

Yolen, Jane and Bruce Coville. Armageddon Summer YA Yolen, J.
Is it the beginning or the end? Fourteen-year-old Marina and sixteen-year-old Jed accompany their parents' religious cult, the Believers, to await the end of the world atop a remote mountain, where they try to decide what they themselves believe.

Zindel, Paul. Reef of Death. YA Zindel, P.
There's something huge and fierce and hungry swimming out there. While helping a beautiful Aboriginal girl search for her people's missing treasure near the Great Barrier Reef, seventeen-year-old PC finds himself fighting an evil scientist and a deadly underwater monster.