Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School
Book Award
2008 - 2009 School Year
 

Winner

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson YA AND
High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background—average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father’s boss’s daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy—and Tyler’s secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.

Nominees

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang YA Graphic Novel YAN AME
Indie graphic novelist Gene Yang's intelligent and emotionally challenging American Born Chinese is made up of three individual plotlines: the determined efforts of the Chinese folk hero Monkey King to shed his humble roots and be revered as a god; the struggles faced by Jin Wang, a lonely Asian American middle school student who would do anything to fit in with his white classmates; and the sitcom plight of Danny, an All-American teen so shamed by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee (a purposefully painful ethnic stereotype) that he is forced to change schools. Each story works well on its own, but Yang engineers a clever convergence of these parallel tales into a powerful climax that destroys the hateful stereotype of Chin-Kee, while leaving both Jin Wang and the Monkey King satisfied and happy to be who they are.

Anahita’s Woven Riddle by Meghan Sayers YA SAY
Anahita, a nomad, learns that her father has promised her hand in marriage to a man she dislikes. Determined to have a say in her own fate, Anahita convinces her father to let her hold a contest, in which potential suitors must correctly answer the riddle she has woven into her wedding carpet. A diplomat, a schoolteacher, a shepherd, and a prince compete in Anahita’s battle of wits, for the heart of this extraordinary girl.

Avalon High by Meg Cabot YA CAB
Gr. 7-10. Is it all coincidence, or are dark forces at work? Ellie, the new kid who is starting her junior year at Avalon High, lives with parents, medieval scholars who named her for the lamentable Lady Elaine, aka the Lady of Shalott. Sure there are a few connections to Arthurian legend--similar names, bitter relatives, even an illicit affair--but high-school math teacher Mr. Morton, who belongs to a secret society dedicated to the return of Arthur, believes the Round Table is about to be reenacted in Ellie's present-day Washington, D.C., suburb. If that's so, then Ellie has fallen for the wrong guy. Forget that; Ellie has no intention of letting the past write her future. Using a selection from Tennyson's classic "Lady of Shalott" to set up each chapter, Cabot delivers a clever modern take on Arthurian legend, which moves swiftly along to a satisfying, tender conclusion. An entertaining novel that will attract new Cabot readers and as well as the author's devotees.

Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson YA JOH
"Their friendship went so far back, it bordered on the Biblical-in the beginning, there was Nina and Avery and Mel." So says high school senior Nina Bermudez about herself and her two best friends, nicknamed "The Bermudez Triangle" by a jealous wannabe back on Nina's eleventh birthday. But the threesome faces their first separation when Nina goes away the summer before their senior year. And in ten short weeks, everything changes. Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, the quirky yet adorable eco-warrior she fell for hard while away. But when she asks her best friends about their summer romances, an awkward silence follows. Nina soon learns the shocking truth when she sees Mel and Avery . . . kissing. Their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge.

Book Thief, The by Markus Zusak YA ZUS
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Born to Rock by Gordon Korman YA KOR
Leo Caraway—high school senior, president of the Young Republicans club, 4.0 GPA, future Harvard student—had his entire future perfectly planned out. That was, until the X factor. As in Marion X. McMurphy. As in King Maggot, the lead singer of Purge, the most popular, most destructive band punk rock has ever seen. When Leo discovers that his real father is the punk rock legend King Maggot, he is disgusted. Not only is Leo not a punk rock fan, but he believes the X factor (the Maggot blood that is running through his veins) is a dangerous time bomb just waiting to explode. And sure enough it does—Leo stubbornly defends the unlikeliest of people, thereby getting himself falsely accused of cheating on a test. Because of the blemish on his record, the once star pupil finds his scholarship to Harvard taken away. So he hatches the crazy plan of going on tour with King Maggot for Purge’s summer revival tour, all the while secretly hoping to convince Maggot to pay for his tuition. But life on the road is even crazier than Leo ever bargained for, and before the summer is out, he will finally discover the surprising truth about his dad, his friends, and most importantly, himself.

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac YA BRU
The United States is at war, and sixteen-year-old Ned Begay wants to join the cause—especially when he hears that Navajos are being specifically recruited by the Marine Corps. So he claims he’s old enough to enlist, breezes his way through boot camp, and suddenly finds himself involved in a top-secret task, one that’s exclusively performed by Navajos. He has become a code talker. Now Ned must brave some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with his native Navajo language as code, send crucial messages back and forth to aid in the conflict against Japan. His experiences in the Pacific—from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima and beyond—will leave him forever changed.

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper YA DRA
Amari's life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.
Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the illusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?

Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock YA MUR
When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

Devilish by Maureen Johnson YA JOH
The only thing that makes St. Teresa’s Preparatory School for Girls bearable for Jane is her best friend Ally. But when Ally changes into a whole different person literally overnight the fall of their senior year, Jane’s suddenly alone—and very confused. Turns out, Ally has sold her soul in exchange for popularity—to a devil masquerading as a sophomore at St. Teresa’s! Now it’s up to Jane to put it all on the line to save her friend from this ponytail-wearing, cupcakenibbling demon . . . without losing her own soul in the process.

Dollmage by Martine Leavitt YA LEA
The Dollmage is the wise woman of Seek valley. Her gift and power is to make the story of her village because she alone makes the, "doll," or miniature of her village. She also makes the "promise doll" for each child born in the village. The promise doll, a small totem worn around the neck, tells the promise of each individual's life. As the Dollmage's powers weaken and age comes upon her, she knows she must choose a successor. On the day she predicts to be the birthday of her chosen one, two girls are born: Annakey and Renoa. One girl must learn the Dollmage's magic, but which one? At first it seems clear—Renoa will be the Dollmage....or will she? As Annakey grows up, she discovers that she, too, has magic. When Annakey's valley is threatened by outside forces, she is the only one with a plan to save her people. How will she persuade the Dollmage and her people that she has the power to help?

Endgame by Nancy Garden YA GAR
A new town, a new school, a new start. That's what fourteen-year-old Gray Wilton believes as he chants, "It's gonna be better, gonna be better here." But it doesn't take long for Gray to realize that nothing's going to change--there are bullies in every school, and he's always their punching bag. Their brutal words, physical abuse, and emotional torture escalate until Gray feels trapped in a world where he has no control, no support systems, and no way out--until the day he enters the halls of Greenford High School with his father's semiautomatic in hand.

Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them by Erin Gruell 305.23 FRE
As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of “un-teachable, at-risk” students. One day she intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust—only to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo as their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding. They learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to the civil rights activists “The Freedom Riders.”
With funds raised by a “Read-a-thon for Tolerance,” they arranged for Miep Gies, the courageous Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California, where she declared that Erin Gruwell’s students were “the real heroes.” Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognition—appearances on “Prime Time Live” and “All Things Considered,” coverage in People magazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley—and educationally. All 150 Freedom Writers have graduated from high school and are now attending college.

Glass Castle, The by Jeannette Walls 362.82 WAL
Walls, who spent years trying to hide her childhood experiences, allows the story to spill out in this remarkable recollection of growing up. From her current perspective as a contributor to MSNBC online, she remembers the poverty, hunger, jokes, and bullying she and her siblings endured, and she looks back at her parents: her flighty, self-indulgent mother, a Pollyanna unwilling to assume the responsibilities of parenting, and her father, troubled, brilliant Rex, whose ability to turn his family's downward-spiraling circumstances into adventures allowed his children to excuse his imperfections until they grew old enough to understand what he had done to them--and to himself. His grand plans to build a home for the family never evolved: the hole for the foundation of the "The Glass Castle," as the dream house was called, became the family garbage dump, and, of course, a metaphor for Rex Walls' life. Shocking, sad, and occasionally bitter, this gracefully written account speaks candidly, yet with surprising affection, about parents and about the strength of family ties--for both good and ill.

Godless by Pete Hautman YA HAU
Up–Jason is a smart 15-year-old, an agnostic-leaning-toward-atheism, who resists following in the footsteps of his devoutly Catholic father. Getting clocked under the water tower by the nasty and unpredictable Henry leads Jason and his friend Shin to combine their talents to posit a new religion. "Chutengodianism" sanctifies water, the source of all life, as manifested by the Ten-Legged God, aka that same million-gallon water tower. Creating the creed on the fly, Jason soon gathers a handful of acolytes, including his former nemesis. Their midnight pilgrimage to the top of the tower for worship transmutes into an impromptu baptism when Henry hacksaws through the padlock. Their swim rouses sexy thoughts about Magda, stripped to her panties and bra, balanced soon after by panic when it seems they might be trapped. Regaining the top of the tank, Henry slips and sustains severe injuries crashing onto a catwalk below. Fortunately for him, the authorities have already arrived. The Church is busted and the faithful face new trials and temptations.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter YA CAR
The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE, the latest in chemical warfare in science; and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes computer class. So in truth, Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but its really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year she’s already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti).But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn’t prepared her for is what to do when she falls for an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without his ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, shes beginning her most dangerous missions falling in love.

Looking for Alaska by John Green YA GRE
Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter is bored, lonely, and unchallenged, so he decides to leave his family home in Florida for the Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama. There he finds his math-genius roommate, Chip, sometimes called the Colonel, and the sexy, vivacious, but already taken Alabama Young. Reader Jeff Woodman captures the angst of teen life, and the listener experiences the full range of emotions when a young life ends unexpectedly. This novel is about real kids dealing with the pressures of growing up and feeling indestructible.

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld YA WES
A year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying than in attending biology class. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal’s life. Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he’s infected the girlfriends he’s had since Morgan. All three have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls Peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. It’s Cal’s job to hunt them down before they can create more of their kind. . . .

Road of the Dead, The by Kevin Brooks YA BRO
On a storm-ravaged night, a 19-year-old girl is kidnapped, raped, and killed. Three days later, her two younger brothers set out in search of her murderer. Cole, 17, is a dark-eyed devil who doesn't care if he lives or dies, while Ruben, 14, is a strange child who sometimes, inexplicably, experiences sensations above and beyond his own. This is the story of the boys' journey from their half-gypsy home on a London junk lot to the ghostly moors of Devon, where they hope and fear to find the truth about their sister's death. It's a long road, cold and hard and violent. It's THE ROAD OF THE DEAD.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher SCI FIC BUT
The offbeat Dresden Files is an expanding series of detective novels about Harry Dresden, a wizard with a consulting practice in modern-day Chicago. Harry's profession offers him little money, lots of mockery, the suspicion of his magical colleagues, plenty of danger, and not much income. It offers readers some unconventional detective work, whimsy, humor, and suspense. Here Dresden discovers that mobsters have enlisted occult forces for nefarious purposes.
Tough Boy Sonatas by Curtis Crisler YA 811 CRI
In this collection of 38 poems, an unflinching narrative offers a view of the boys who run within the confines of the industrial town of Gary, IN. Their lives are harsh and difficult, bold and passionate. Written mostly in voices of young African American males, the poems evoke the grit and ash of crumbling, burned-out streets as well as the realities of hardscrabble life.

Trigger by Susan Vaught YA VAU
Seventeen-year-old Jersey Hatch returns home after a year in a brain-injury treatment center. Having no memory of the event, Jersey has been informed that he shot himself in the head. With no internal points of reference, he is compelled to confirm through those around him that he really pulled the trigger, and more importantly, to discover why. Plagued by numerous physical challenges, and struggling to think sequentially and to avoid inappropriate vocalization, this proves difficult. Worse yet, Jersey has returned to parents broken by his actions and to peers who despise him. Armed with a binder to record his easily scattered thoughts, and with two champions--the magnificently depicted Mama Rush and her granddaughter Leza--Jersey sets out to solve his own mystery.

Tyrell by Coe Booth YA BOO
Tyrell is a young African-American teen who can't get a break. He's living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father's in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn't feel good enough for her -- and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There's another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels he needs to score some money to make things better. Will he end up following in his father's footsteps?

What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles YA GIL
What happened to Cass McBride? Well, she has been buried alive by Kyle Kirby, who blames her for his brother David's suicide. After asking Cass out, David finds a note she leaves for a friend in which she laughs about an invitation from someone so low on the food chain. Then David hangs himself. Told in alternating voices, including that of a police officer, this intense story has some horrifying moments; readers will feel as terrorized as Cass as she struggles to survive, both physically and mentally. At the same time, there are plenty of psychological thrills as Cass tries to win her release by outwitting Kyle.