Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School
Book Award

1999-2000 School Year

 

Winner

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts: YA AWARD Letts, B. + LET
Novalee Nation has always been unlucky with sevens. She's seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds overweight - and now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, holding just $7.77 in change. An hour ago, she was on her way from Tennessee to a new life in Bakersfield, California. Suddenly, with all those sevens staring her in the face, she is forced to accept the scary truth: her no-good boyfriend Willy Jack Pickens has left her with empty pockets and empty dreams. But Novalee is about to discover treasures hidden in Sequoyah - a group of disparate and deeply caring people, among them blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband, who hands out advice and photocopied books of the Bible ... Moses Whitecotton, the wise, soft-spoken, elderly black photographer eager to teach Novalee all he knows ... and Forney Hull, the eccentric town librarian who hides his secrets - and his feelings - behind his world of books. Adult


Nominee

Binge by Charles Ferry
When eighteen-year-old Weldon wakes up in a hospital, he must face the tragic consequences of a drinking spree. Young Adult

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus YA KLA
Annette Curtis Klause does for werewolves what Ann Rice has done for vampires in this tale of supernatural suspense. Sixteen-year-old Vivian Gandillon is trying to fit in to her new home in the suburbs, which isn't easy since she and her family are werewolves. When she falls in love with a human, she must sort out her loyalties.  Young Adult

Buried Onions by Gary Soto
When nineteen-year-old Eddie drops out of college, he struggles to find a place for himself as a Mexican American living in a violence-infested neighborhood of Fresno, California. Young Adult

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier FRA (3) + LP
FRA
Based on local history and family stories passed down by the author's great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is the tale of a wounded soldier Inman, who walks away from the ravages of the war and back home to his prewar sweetheart, Ada. Inman's odyssey through the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada's struggle to revive her father's farm, with the help of an intrepid young drifter named Ruby. As their long-separated lives begin to converge at the close of the war, Inman and Ada confront the vastly transformed world they've been delivered. Charles Frazier reveals marked insight into man's relationship to the land and the dangers of solitude. He also shares with the great nineteenth-century novelists a keen observation of a society undergoing change. Cold Mountain re-creates a world gone by that speaks eloquently to our time. Adult

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns BUR

The unforgettable characters of Cold Sassy, Georgia, are presented in this heartwarming story of modern times coming to a small Southern town. "Rich with emotion, humor and tenderness". Received enormous national publicity as a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV-movie starring Faye Dunaway.

Crosses by Sherry Stoehr YA Stoehr, S.
First-time novelist Stoehr draws a hard-hitting, graphically realistic portrait of troubled adolescents who indulge in alcohol, drugs, sex, shoplifting and ``cutting'' themselves, deliberately, an activity that somehow assuages inner turmoil. Fifteen-year-old Nancy's first-person narrative, more a journal than a story, spans the years 1985 to 1988. This intrinsically intelligent teenager embodies the punk look and attitude. Meeting Katie, a like-minded schoolmate who becomes her closest friend, draws Nancy even deeper into a risk-taking ideology that occasionally results in ineffectual punishment at school and at home--where the environment is hardly idyllic. Expletives abound in this provocative work, and one hopes that the contents won't inspire like behavior among foolishly curious readers. Yet this morbidly compelling chronicle of promising lives gone astray commands attention throughout. Ages 14-up. Young Adult

Deliver Us from Evie by M.E. Kerr
Told by her brother Parr, this is the story of 18-year-old Evie, her Missouri farm family, and the turmoil created by Evie's love for the local banker's beautiful daughter. "It's a story that challenges the stereotypes, not only about love, but about farmers and families and religion and responsiblity--about all our definitions of 'normal.'"--ALA Booklist. A 1995 ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Young Adult 

Holes by Louis Sachar YA NEWBERY Sachar, L. (2)
Gr 5-8-Stanley Yelnats IV has been wrongly accused of stealing a famous baseball player's valued sneakers and is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention home where the boys dig holes, five feet deep by five feet across, in the miserable Texas heat. It's just one more piece of bad luck that's befallen Stanley's family for generations as a result of the infamous curse of Madame Zeroni. Overweight Stanley, his hands bloodied from digging, figures that at the end of his sentence, he'll "...either be in great physical condition or else dead." Overcome by the useless work and his own feelings of futility, fellow inmate Zero runs away into the arid, desolate surroundings and Stanley, acting on impulse, embarks on a risky mission to save him. He unwittingly lays Madame Zeroni's curse to rest, finds buried treasure, survives yellow-spotted lizards, and gains wisdom and inner strength from the quirky turns of fate. In the almost mystical progress of their ascent of the rock edifice known as "Big Thumb," they discover their own invaluable worth and unwavering friendship. Each of the boys is painted as a distinct individual through Sachar's deftly chosen words. The author's ability to knit Stanley and Zero's compelling story in and out of a history of intriguing ancestors is captivating. Stanley's wit, integrity, faith, and wistful innocence will charm readers. A multitude of colorful characters coupled with the skillful braiding of ethnic folklore, American legend, and contemporary issues is a brilliant achievement. There is no question, kids will love Holes. Young Adult

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer  917.9804 KRA
After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, apparently stranded by an injury and slowly starving. They also reflect the posturing of a confused young man, raised in affluent Annandale, Va., who self-consciously adopted a Tolstoyan renunciation of wealth and return to nature. Krakauer, a contributing editor to Outside and Men's Journal, retraces McCandless's ill-fated antagonism toward his father, Walt, an eminent aerospace engineer. Krakauer also draws parallels to his own reckless youthful exploit in 1977 when he climbed Devils Thumb, a mountain on the Alaska-British Columbia border, partly as a symbolic act of rebellion against his autocratic father. In a moving narrative, Krakauer probes the mystery of McCandless's death, which he attributes to logistical blunders and to accidental poisoning from eating toxic seed pods. Maps. Adult

Leaving Home, Hazel Rochman, editor
Leaving home for the first time is a rite of passage. Fifteen of the most respected authors of our time contribute their perspectives to this masterfully crafted anthology. From fear to desire, joy and hope, the mixed emotions that accompany each journey--physical and metaphysical--are conveyed in a manner that both stimulates the mind and satisfies the heart. Young Adult

Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee YA LEE
Chan Jung Kim was popular when his family lived in L.A. and he was the star of his soccer team. Now his family lives in Minnesota where football is the name of the game and nobody has ever seen an Asian-American family before. Desperate to fit in, Chan throws himself into the game but he feels like an outsider. For the first time in his life, he finds himself thinking about what it really means to be Korean--and what is really important.  Young Adult

No Easy Answers, Don Gallo, editor
Sixteen original short stories about moral and ethical issues today's teens face--from computer blackmail, peer pressure, and gang violence to drug use, unwanted pregnancy, guilt and atonement--by award-winning writers for young adults. Young Adult

The Once and Future King by T.H. White WHI + SCI FIC WHI

The world's greatest fantasy classic is the magical epic of King Arthur and his shining Camelot, of Merlyn and Guinevere, of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad. It is the fantasy masterpiece by which all others are judged. Adult

One Bird by Kyoki Mori
Writing with her startling combination of delicacy in observing moods and incisiveness in defining individual actions, Mori revisits the premise of her first novel, Shizuko's Daughter. Once again an adolescent heroine must cope with a mother's desertion and the disgrace it causes in 1970s Japan-this time, however, the mother has not committed suicide but sought a separation from her husband. Custom dictates that she forfeit her right to see her child, 15-year-old Megumi, even though she is a devoted parent and even though Megumi's openly unfaithful father is frequently absent. Megumi navigates through her anger and frustration and, with the help of strong friends, quietly supplants prevailing conventions with her own sense of what is right and just. While initial passages and conflicts threaten to overwhelm the narrative with metaphors (e.g., Megumi nurses an injured bird back to health, then sets it free), the novel builds in momentum, gaining in complexity as it progresses. Even so, the finest element here is neither the plot nor the characters, but the keenly observed atmosphere. It is the portrait of Japan, thoughtfully probed for its ironies, that will linger with the reader. Ages 12-up. Young Adult

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger 910.45 JUN

It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high - a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm". When it struck in October 1991, there was virtually no warning. "She's comin' on, boys, and she's comin' on strong", radioed Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail off the coast of Nova Scotia, and soon afterward the boat and its crew of six disappeared without a trace. In a narrative taut with the fury of the elements, Sebastian Junger takes us deep into the heart of the storm, depicting with vivid detail the courage, terror, and awe that surface in such a gale. Junger illuminates a world of swordfishermen consumed by the dangerous but lucrative trade of offshore fishing - "a young man's game, a single man's game" - and gives us a glimpse of their lives in the tough fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts; he recreates the last moments of the Andrea Gail crew and recounts the daring high-seas rescues that made heroes of some and victims of others; and he weaves together the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that leaves us with the taste of salt air on our tongues and a breathless sense of what it feels like to be caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control. We know, on the strength this stark and compelling journey into the dark heart of nature, what it feels like to drown. Adult

Postcards from France by Megan McNeil Libby
Sophisticated and captivating, this collection of 12 essays by a 15-year-old American exchange student was originally published as a monthly series of articles in the Ridgefield Press of Connecticut, in her hometown. Sent by the American Field Service, Libby spent 10 months of 1994- 95 in Valence, between Lyon and Avignon, where she learned much about France, America and herself. For three and a half months, she suffered acute language problems, but found one day, sitting in a cafe, that she could speak as well as understand. Probably her greatest shock was the difference in teenage life: French young people can drink at 16 but cannot drive until 18; most smoke; they go to school six days a week, with seven hours in class and four doing homework, so there is little socializing but plenty of learning. She found the cliche that the French live to eat accurate but was surprised to find few became fat; in fact, she lost 20 pounds. Above all, she discovered little truth to the truism that the French are rude or hostile to Americans. Her writing is ingenuous, warm and, in spots, most touching. Adult

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving IRV

Diminutive Owen Meaney, the social outcast with the high, pinched voice, has an enormous influence on his friend Johnny Wheelwright--not least because the only baseball Owen ever hits causes the death of Johnny's mother. But as Johnny claims, ``Owen gave me more than he ever took from me. . . . What did he ever say that wasn't right?'' Spookily prescient, convinced that he is an instrument of God, Owen intimidates child and adult alike. Why Johnny ``is a Christian because of Owen Meaney'' is the novel's central mystery but not its only one: Who, for instance, was Johnny's father? Untangling these knots, the adult Johnny pauses to consider his religious convictions and distaste of American politics in passages that are neither especially persuasive nor effectively integrated into the book. And though Owen is a compelling presence, his power over others is not entirely convincing. Still, readers will be drawn in by the story of the boys' friendship and by the desire to see some resolution to Johnny's mysteries. Adult

Remembering Mog by Colby Rodowski
About to graduate from high school, Annie is haunted by memories of her older sister's murder on the eve of her graduation two years earlier. Annie has always followed in her sister's footsteps, and now she can't see a future beyond the place where Mog's life ended. Only by seeking help is she able to let go of the hurt and hold on to the happy memories of her sister as she moves ahead with her own life. Young Adult

Snow Falling on Cedars by Peter Guterson GUT
On San Piedro, an island of rugged, spectacular beauty in Puget Sound, home to salmon fishermen and strawberry farmers, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial, charged with coldblooded murder. The year is 1954, and the shadow of World War II, with its brutality abroad and internment of Japanese Americans at home, hangs over the courtroom. Ishmael Chambers, who lost an arm in the Pacific war and now runs the island newspaper inherited from his father, is among the journalists covering the trial - a trial that brings him close, once again, to Hatsue Miyomoto, the wife of the accused man and Ishmael's never-forgotten boyhood love. Hatsue and Ishmael, in the years before the war came between them, had dug clams together, picked strawberries in San Piedro's verdant fields, and passed long hours in the secrecy of a giant hollow cedar tree. Now, as a heavy snowfall surrounds and impedes the progress of Kabuo Miyomoto's trial, they and the other participants must come to a reckoning with the past, with culture, nature, and love, and with the possibilities of the human will. Both suspenseful and beautifully crafted, Snow Falling on Cedars portrays the psychology of a community, the ambiguities of justice, the racism that persists even between neighbors, and the necessity of individual moral action despite the indifference of nature and circumstance. Adult

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card  Sci-Fi  CAR
Card's novel Ender's Game introduced Ender Wiggin, a young genius who used his military prowess to all but exterminate the ``buggers,'' the first alien race mankind had ever encountered. Wiggin then transformed himself into the ``Speaker for the Dead,'' who claimed it had been a mistake to destroy the alien civilization. Many years later, when a new breed of intelligent life forms called the ``piggies'' is discovered, Wiggin takes the opportunity to atone for his earlier actions. This long, rich and ambitious novel views the interplay between the races from the differing perspectives of the colonists, ethnologists, biologists, clergy, politicians, a computer artificial intelligence, the lone surviving bugger and the piggies themselves. Card is very good at portraying his characters in these larger, social, religious and cultural contexts. It's unfortunate, then, that many of the book's mysteries and dilemmas seem created just to display Ender's supposedly godlike understanding. A fine, if overlong, novel nonetheless. Adult

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block  BLO
Gr 10 Up-- A brief, off-beat tale that has great charm, poignancy, and touches of fantasy . Weetzie, now 23, is a child of Hollywood who hated high school but loves the memories of Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin, plastic palm-tree wallets, and the roller-skating waitresses at Tiny Naylor's. She wears a bleached-blond flattop and Harlequin sunglasses, covers her '50s taffeta dresses in glittery poetry, and sews fringe down the sides of her minis in sympathy with the plight of the Indian. Nobody understands her, least of all her divorced bicoastal parents, until she meets Dirk, who takes her slamdancing at the hot clubs in L.A. in his red '55 Pontiac. When he tells her he's gay, they decide to go ``duck-hunting'' together. He meets his ideal blond surfer, and Weetzie finds her Secret Agent Lover Man. They all move in together, make movies that become underground successes, and have a baby. This recreates the ambiance of Hollywood with no cynicism, from the viewpoint of denizens who treasure its unique qualities. Weetzie and her friends live like the lillies of the field, yet their responsibility to each other and their love for the baby show a sweet grasp of the realities that matter. As in Rosemary Wells' None of the Above (Dial, 1974), these kids spend no time considering college or career. Their only priority is finding love and keeping it once they find it. `` `I don't know about happily ever after. . .but I know about happily,' Weetzie Bat thought.'' Young Adult

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman YA Fleischman, P.
When 16-year-old Brent Bishop inadvertently causes the death of a young woman, he is sent on an unusual journey of repentance. In his most ambitious novel yet, Newbery winner Paul Fleischman traces Brent's healing pilgrimage from Washington State to California, Maine, and Florida, and describes the many lives set into new motion by the ingenious creations Brent leaves behind. Young Adult