Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School
Book Award

1995-1996 School Year


Winner 

They Cage the Animals at Night by Jennings Michael Burch YA AWARD 362.7 BUR
Burch was left at an orphanage and never stayed at any one foster home long enough to make any friends. This is the story of how he grew up and gained the courage to reach out for love. Young Adult

Nominees:

Cheap Raw Material by Milton Meltzer
Gr 6 Up -A well-researched account of child labor from Roman times to the present. Meltzer effectively uses quotes from numerous youngsters from different eras and offers specific examples of those who toiled long hours in unsafe conditions for extremely low wages. A chapter is devoted to 18th-and 19th-century England, and coverage is given to the history of such exploitation in the United States. The eventual passage of national child labor laws, their limitations, and common noncompliance with those practices today, both here and abroad, are related. The author presents suggestions for reform and advice for teenagers in the workplace. Young Adult

Downriver by Will Hobbs YA Hobbs, W.
Fifteen-year-old Jessie and the other rebellious teenage members of a wilderness survival school team abandon their adult leader, hijack his boats, and try to run the dangerous white water at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Young Adult

Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg
With an unerring ability to capture the sweet sadness of growth, the pain of change, the barely visible vibrations that connect people, Berg's beautiful novel reminds us of how wonderful, and wounding, a deeper understanding of life can be. Adult

Eastern Sun, Winter Moon by Gary Paulsen 921 PAULSEN, G. Pau 
As one savage war ends, another begins, just as savage - and this time endless. Fifty years after World War II, Gary Paulsen paints a self-portrait of a young boy drawn helplessly into the vortex of that war. His testimony to its horrors, to an early and traumatic exposure to sex, and to the wreckage of his family life spares neither himself nor his audience. Told with the startling frankness and candor of a young boy, Eastern Sun, Winter Moon will shock, outrage, and, ultimately, give readers a larger understanding of war, family, and desire. Adult

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card,  Sci-fi CAR
Ender's Game is the story of Ender Wiggin, a boy genetically engineered to be a superior military mind, and bred to win Earth's long war with an alien insectoid race by completely destroying their homeworld. Adult

Fair Game by Erika Tamar
Grade 9-12-  Prepare for a trip into the suburban American heart of darkness. The horrifying sexual assault of a mildly retarded teenage girl by a group of popular high school athletes who have known her since childhood polarizes the residents of an affluent community and gains national-media coverage. Told from three varying perspectives, a disturbing portrait emerges of unconscionable violence. Laura Jean Kettering, girlfriend of one of the accused, defends her boyfriend and berates the victim. Childlike and trusting Cara performs what ever acts the boys ask of her and is unable to imagine that anyone would exploit her. Joe Lopez is a Hispanic American from a low-income family; his athletic skill gives him entry into the inner circle, but he remains an outsider. He witnesses the beginning of Cara's degradation and leaves the scene, unwilling to participate in the vile events that he knows are about to happen. The novel ends with Laura Jean's break-up with Scott, and with the names of the boys involved in the incident missing from the roster of graduates. Unlike the figures in Norma Fox Mazer's seamlessly written, well-controlled Out of Control (Morrow, 1993), Tamar's participants never assume responsibility for their actions. Young Adult

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen 921 KAYSEN, S. Kay r + LP 
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In these brief, direct essays, the author takes a sharp-eyed look back at her nearly two-year stay in a Boston psychiatric hospital 25 years ago. In April 1967, after a 20-minute interview with a psychiatrist she had never seen before, Kaysen, then 18 years old, was admitted to McLean Hospital, diagnosed as a borderline personality. In this series of tightly focused glimpses into this institutionalized world, she writes with a disarming and highly credible suspension of judgment about herself, other patients, the staff and the rules--overt and unspoken--that governed their interactions. Kaysen is an insightful witness, who was able even then to point out to her psychotherapist that his automobiles (a station wagon, a sedan and a sports car) were apt metaphors for his psyche: ego, superego and id. She offers a convincing and provocative taxonomy of experienced insanity--one type characterized by a sped-up, widely inclusive hyper-awareness and another by sluggish response and a sense of time drastically slowed. Supplying reproductions of documents accompanying her stay at McLean, Kaysen ( Asa, As I Knew Him ) draws few conclusions but makes an eloquent case for a broader view of ``normal'' behavior. Adult

Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers YA Myers, W.
Spanning nearly 250 years of African American history, this emotionally charged saga of the Lewis family traces an ongoing battle for freedom and equality. Beginning with young Muhammad Bilal's journey from Africa in 1753 and ending with a 1990s family reunion set on the plantation where Muhammad was a slave, this series of resonant stories shows how each generation comes of age by taking a stand against oppression. All through the Civil War, Great Depression and civil rights movement, the family's strength and determination continue unabated. In his typically taut, economic prose, Myers (Somewhere in the Darkness) illuminates shadowy corners of history and reveals the high cost-and the excruciatingly slow process-of justice. The obstacles facing the Lewis family will be remembered as clearly as their triumphs, and readers will come away from this novel with both a broader perspective on social conflicts and a more profound understanding of the past. Ages 10-up. Young Adult

If Rock and Roll Were a Machine by Terry Davis YA Davis, T.
Gr 9-12-- High-school junior Albert Bowden is a typical teen--sometimes ungainly nerd, sometimes macho man--but rarely devoted, hardworking student or loving son. In his mind he is a football quarterback; in reality, short, uncoordinated Bert is cut from the team. But motorcycles, rock music, girls, and sex all have a place in his imagination, along with memories of childhood sports' triumphs, school humiliations, and the love of his grandparents. Finally, there is Bert the writer, whose often poetic and powerful journal entries reveal his inner feelings, challenges, and relationships in his search for identity, value, and self-worth. The young man's physical and emotional maturation are chronicled through his essays, dreams, and actions. His writings are nicely integrated into the text and include some of the book's strongest images. From the purchase of his first motorcycle and the freedom it represents, to his job working at Shepard's garage and visits to his grandfather in a nursing home, Bert learns what it takes to make it in life and to like himself. His teen psyche is fully developed through his anger, impatience, and words. The bikers are stereotyped as the misunderstood good guys judged by their sleazy appearance, but are likable nonetheless, and the characterizations of the parents are very sketchy. The romance remains unrealized, as the potential for love realistically becomes friendship. Stylistically, Davis's work is reminiscent of Chris Crutcher's. YAs should have little difficulty following Bert's thoughts and inner dialogue. Many will recognize his questions and feelings as their own. Young Adult

In Country by Bobbie Mason MAS 

Sam Hughes, whose father was killed in Vietnam, lives in rural Kentucky with her uncle Emmett, a veteran whom she suspects is suffering from exposure to Agent Orange. Sam is a typical teenager, trying to choose a college, anticipating a new job at the local Burger Boy, sharing intimacies with her friend Dawn, breaking up with her high school boyfriend, and dealing with her feelings for Tom, one of Emmett's buddies. Sam feels that her life is bound to the war in Vietnam and becomes obsessed with the idea because of the reluctance of her family and Tom to talk about it. Her father's diary finally provides the insight she seeksinsight she cannot accept until she has visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. In Country is both a powerful and touching novel of America that analyzes the impact of the 1960s on the culture of the 1980s and a beautiful portrayal of an often forgotten area of the country. Adult

Kids at Work... by Russell Freedman YA 331.3 FRE
Lewis Hine, an investigative reporter for the National Child Labor Committee, took photographs that provided dramatic visual evidence that the U.S. needed laws against child labor. Kids At Work features Hines' groundbreaking photos, along with text by Newbery Honor Winner Russell Freedman. Young Adult

Make Lemonade by Virginia Wolff YA Wolff, V.
Wolff's daring, blank verse novel is an eloquent, realistic portrait of a teenage mother struggling to keep ahead and a fourteen-year-old babysitter who tries to help her through love and understanding. "Beautifully crafted. . . . Powerfully moving." Young Adult

A Rock and a Hard Place by Anthony Johnson 921 JOHNSON, A. Joh 

A 14-year-old boy's powerful, eloquent, and heartening memoir: how he survived abusive parents, made school and the New York streets his refuge, and finally found a genuine family--only to be confronted with the ultimate challenge of AIDS. Like The Diary of Anne Frank, this is a young person's personal account of rising above the worst terrors of a troubled time. Adult

Running Loose by Chris Crutcher YA Crutcher, C.
Louie, a high school senior in a small Idaho town, learns about sportsmanship, love, and death as he matures into manhood. Young Adult

Sex Education by Jenny Davis YA Davis, J. (2)
Livvie and David are drawn to each other from the moment they meet, and their comfortable friendship quickly develops into romance. In the course of an unusual school assignment, the two teenagers become entangled in the life of Maggie, a deeply unhappy woman. A confrontation with Maggie's violent husband leads to David's death, and Livvie is faced with a future that seems bleak and hopeless. The gravity and candor with which Davis approaches life's serious issues will come as no surprise to fans of her first novel, Goodbye and Keep Cold . Livvie and David are fully developed characters and their changing relationship is depicted with great sensitivity. In contrast, both Maggie and her fragmented plight seem grafted on in order to provide the novel's tragic finish. This flaw would be easy to ignore if the author hadn't given readers of her first work such very high expectations. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 12-up. Young Adult

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien OBR 

Winner of a National Book Award in 1979 for Going After Cacciato ( LJ 12/15/77), O'Brien again shows his literary stuff with this brilliant collection of short stories, many of which have won literary recognition (several appeared in O. Henry Awards' collections and Best American Short Stories ). Each of the 22 tales relates the exploits and personalities of a fictional platoon of American soldiers in Vietnam. An acutely painful reading experience, this collection should be read as a book and not a mere selection of stories reprinted from magazines. Not since Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse - Five ( LJ 3/1/69) has the American soldier been portrayed with such poignance and sincerity.

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier YA Cormier, R.
They entered and trashed their way through the Cape Cod cottage shortly after 9 p.m. At 9:48, Karen makes the mistake of coming home early. Thrown down the basement stairs, Karen slips into a coma, while the trashers slip away. But the Avenger has seen it all. Young Adult

What Daddy Did by Neal Shusterman YA Shusterman, N.
Gr 8-12-- A disturbing story based on true events. Fourteen-year-old Preston Scott was 12 when his father killed his mother. He narrates the events surrounding the tragedy, struggling to reconcile the hate and love he feels for his father, and attempts to put the experience in perspective. The account is an unbelievable testimony of love and forgiveness by family (except Uncle Steve) and courts (Danny Scott serves two years for his wife's murder). Preston's grandparents readily forgive and accept their son-in-law; they ``adopt'' Preston and his younger brother, Tyler, and move to a new neighborhood to protect the boys from the publicity of the past. When his father is released from prison, Preston must confront his ambivalent feelings of loneliness, fear, relief, and insecurity and, ultimately, ask his father why. Shusterman attempts to characterize Danny as a troubled but loving father, haunted by his wife's rejection and his depression over a tragic childhood happening. In contrast, Preston's mother is less clear and less appealing. Shusterman glosses over the inevitable lifelong strain in family relationships after such a traumatic event; at story's end, Preston has come to terms with his emotions, forgiven his father, and achieved success in high school football and track. He goes on to be his father's best man in a new marriage. Too many issues are not sufficiently resolved here, and readers are not given enough information about these people to understand their motivations or to be convinced of their psychological healing. 
Young Adult

Wish You Were Here by Barbara Shoup
Gr 8 Up-Years after his parents' divorce, Jackson Watt is still shaky on his feet, still trying to mediate between them. In almost every respect this is a typical Young Adult Problem Novel: first-person narrative, rough language, conversational tone, a charming and sensitive hero, humor, and plenty of problems (divorce, suicide, sex, parental pressure, school boredom). The characters are extremely well drawn and very vivid: Dad, the immature womanizer who nevertheless deeply loves his son; Mom, who finally comes to terms with being a square; two little stepsisters; Dad's lycra'd aerobics instructor girlfriend; the concerned English teacher. The only character who doesn't quite ring true is Brady, Jackson's best friend who runs away in the second chapter. Brady is charismatic and troubled, and his disappearance crystallizes Jackson's anguish over the divorce and his life in general. Brady returns at the end of the book in a tragic and hilarious scene at Graceland that helps Jackson clarify his confusion and make some decisions. Overall, this book is a success and is several notches above the usual YAPN. However, it also shares the flaws of the genre. There is a heavy load of internalizing and explaining of feelings; readers will almost certainly become thoroughly tired of Jackson's internal monologue by the middle of the book. In addition, there is a tendency to pack in so many problems that plot weaknesses result. In the first half of the book, Jackson is preternaturally mature-then he crumbles into drunk driving, manipulative sex, withdrawal-then near the end of the book, his mother suddenly takes charge and starts to act like an adult for the first time, relieving him of a great burden. Even with these flaws, this is a solid and well-written story. Young Adult

Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi YA Rinaldi, A.
`` . . . And we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.'' Thomas Jefferson's metaphor for slavery is dramatically brought to life through his illegitimate daughter (Rinaldi suggests) by a slave woman. In this thoughtful fictionalization, 19-year-old Harriet Hemings is one of many ``nigra servants'' on Jefferson's estate. Light-skinned, with red hair, Harriet knows she is different; and although the master has granted the servants' freedom when they reach 21, no one ever suggests that he is their father. Now Harriet must choose between the place and the people she loves and the frightening, often deceitful world of freedom. The subtly crafted style of Harriet's journal entries grows with her as she becomes more aware of the ``velvet trap'' of her life at Monticello. This is an intelligent yet earthy history that lends insight into the complex feelings surrounding race relations. Ages 12-up. Young Adult

Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris DOR 
Moving backward in time, Dorris's critically acclaimed debut novel is a lyrical saga of three generations of Native American women beset by hardship and torn by angry secrets. Adult
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