Bloor, Edward. Tangerine.
Twelve-year-old Paul, who lives in the shadow of his football hero
brother Erik, fights for the right to play soccer despite his near
blindness and slowly begins to remember the incident that damaged his
Bo, Ben. The Edge.
A teenaged gang member accused of various crimes finds redemption working and snowboarding at a ski lodge in the mountains surrounding Canada's Glacier National Park.
Bruchac, David. Code Talk.
After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.
Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game.
Child-hero Ender Wiggin must fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race if mankind is to survive.
Carney, Jeff. The Adventures of Michael MacInnes.
A poet, a maverick, "the wandering outlaw of his own dark mind" - Michael MacInnes, an orphan attending a prestigious boys' school in 1924, doesn't fit into his surroundings. Lucky for him, neither does his new roommate, Roger Legrande. Physics is Roger's passion. But with expulsions from two other prep schools already under his belt, a secret that dare not speak its name, and a roommate like Michael MacInnes, he, too, quickly finds himself on the wrong side of authority - whether that means publishing an underground literary magazine, performing an aerial rescue mission at a local girls' school, or taking on the brutish school bootlegger.
Cormier, Robert. I am the Cheese.
Imagine discovering that your whole life has been a lie, your identity
has been altered, and your family's true history is not the one your
parent's told you. It is exactly this revelation that turns
14-year-old Adam Farmer's life upside down. As he tries to figure out
who he really is, Adam encounters a past, present, and future too
horrible to contemplate, and he must figure out whom he can trust - and
Crutcher, Chris. Stotan! (other books by Crutcher
are also good choices)
What's a Stotan? Walker, Nortie, Lion, and Jeff are about to find
out as they undergo the hardest week of their lives. They agree to
accept the Stotan Challenge - a series of difficult physical tests of
endurance. Four best friends on the swim team, they think they are
ready to face anything as long as they face it together, but Stotan week
may be the easiest of the obstacles ahead.
Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bucking the Sarge.
Deeply involved in his cold and manipulative mother's shady business dealings in Flint, Michigan, fourteen-year-old Luther keeps a sense of humor while running the Happy Neighbor Group Home For Men, all the while dreaming of going to college and becoming a philosopher.
Del Vecchio, Gene. Pearl of Anton.
Jason Del struggles to master himself and the Pearl of Anton in order to defend humanity in the Final Contest. (Fantasy)
Giles, Gail. Shattering Glass.
When Rob, the charismatic leader of the senior class, turns the school
nerd into Prince Charming, his actions lead to unexpected violence.
Going, K.L. Fat Kid Rules the World.
Seventeen-year-old Troy, depressed, suicidal, and weighing nearly 300
pounds, gets a new perspective on life when a homeless teenager who is a
genius on guitar wants Troy to be the drummer in his rock band.
Greenburg, Dan. Claws.
When Cody is 14, he runs away from home, leaving behind his abusive mother, and flees across the country. He doesn't stop until he hits Texas and the Sam Houston Tiger Ranch. Under the guidance the ranch's owner, he cares for the animals -- he feeds them a diet of raw meat, he cleans out their cages, he takes them for exercise. He finds out how to get a tiger to back down, and when he should back down himself. But sometimes people are harder to handle than tigers.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden.
(See also other Shadow Children books)
In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm, until another "third" convinces him that the government is wrong.
Hautman, Pete. Godless.
Sixteen-year-old Jason Bock decides to create his own religion to worship the town's water tower; he begins to recruit his friends into the religion, giving them callings of honor as First Keeper of the Text and First Acolyte Exaltus, but things quickly get out of hand -- overzealous worshippers, factions within the small congregation, illegal activities...
Hautman, Pete. Rash.
In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he's sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that's surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it's nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory's highly illegal football team - or with the reality of
Bork, an artificial intelligence that Bo created for a science project and who tracks Bo down in prison.
Hinton, S.E. Tex. (other books by Hinton are also
Tex is trying to get through life with as little conflict as possible,
despite the fact that his dad is never around, he's in love with his
best friend's sister, and his big brother just sold his horse.
Hobbs, Will. Far North. (other books by Hobbs
are also good choices)
The pilot said he was just going to touch down on the surface of the
river for a moment so that Gabe and his friend Raymond could have a
better look at Virginia Falls, one of the greatest waterfalls in
Canada's Northwest Territories. How could he have known that the
engine would die as soon as they hit the water.
Horowitz, Anthony. Stormbreaker. (And
other Alex Rider books.)
After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian,
fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's
dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.
Hughes, Dean. Soldier Boys.
Dieter's blind devotion gets him promoted from Hitler Youth into the German army; Spence drops out of high school to begin training as a paratrooper. Their worst fear was that the war would end too soon -- that they wouldn't get the chance to prove themselves. But when they finally see the action they were hoping for, it's like nothing they could have ever imagined.
Ingold, Jeanette. Hitch.
To help his family during the Depression and avoid becoming a drunk like his father, Moss Trawnley joins the Civilian Conservation Corps, helps build a new camp near Monroe, Montana, and leads the other men in making the camp a success.
Ives, David. Scrib.
In 1863, a sixteen-year-old boy nicknamed Scrib travels around the West making his living writing and delivering letters, an occupation that leads to him nearly getting killed, being jailed as a criminal, joining up with the notorious Crazy James Kincaid, and delivering a letter from President Abraham Lincoln to a Paiute Indian.
Kennan, Ally. Beast.
Always in trouble or on his way to trouble, Stephen's now in foster care because his mom is crazy and his dad is an ex-con vagabond. But these problems can't even compare to The Beast -- a fierce crocodile that Stephen's been taking care of for years. The Beast is Stephen's biggest secret -- and also his biggest challenge. And that's when it's in a cage. When the Beast escapes, the stakes get even higher.
Korman, Gordon. Jake, Reinvented.
Rick becomes friends with the popular new boy, Jake Garrett, football player and host of superlative parties, and in the process discovers the true nature of his schoolmates and uncovers the mystery of Jake's past.
Lawrence, Iain. The Wreckers. (sequel: The
Shipwrecked after a vicious storm, fourteen-year-old John Spencer
attempts to save his father and himself while also dealing with an evil
secret about the English coastal town where they are stranded.
Lipsyte, Robert. The Brave. (other books by Lipstye
are also good choices)
On the run in New York City, 17-year-old boxer Sonny Bear-part
Moscondaga Indian, part Caucasian-meets Alfred Brooks, a former boxer.
Now a police sergeant, Brooks tries to rescue Sonny from a path of
self-destruction by persuading him to train at the Harlem gym that
introduced Brooks to boxing.
Lyon, George Ella. Sonny's House of Spies.
In a small Alabama town in 1947-1956, Sonny searches for answers about his father's disappearance, "Uncle Marty," who looks after the family, and Mamby, their black housekeeper.
Mack, Tracy. Birdland.
Fourteen-year-old, tongue-tied Jed spends Christmas break working on a
school project filming a documentary about his East Village, New York
City, neighborhood, where he is continually reminded of his older
brother, Zeke, a promising poet who died the year before.
Martino, Alfred C. Pinned.
Dealing with family problems, girls, and their own competitive natures, high school seniors Ivan Korske and Bobby Zane face each other in the final match of the New Jersey State Wrestling Championship.
Myers, Walter Dean. Monster.
Steve Harmon is in jail. He is 16. He is waiting for his
trial. He has been accused in a robbery/shooting, and, though he
believes he is innocent, his lawyer is uneasy that they will win the
case. The prosecutor is ruthless, and the people in the city are
tired of seeing teens commit crimes. Everyone believes that he is
a monster. Live the trial through Steve's eyes as he recounts the
events in screenplay style.
Nelson, Blake. Paranoid Park.
It was an accident. He didn't mean to kill the security guard with his skateboard--it was self-defense. But there's no one to back up his story. No one even knows he was at Paranoid Park. Should he confess, or can he get away with it?
Nix, Garth. Shade's Children.
Ella lives in a world run by the overlords, where the adults have
vanished and children are sent to the Meat Factory at the age of
fourteen to be turned into the overlords creatures. Some have
managed to escape and live in an old submarine with Shade, their
"leader" of sorts. They are like a guerilla army, trying
to end the overlords reign, and never knowing how much longer they will
live. (Science Fiction)
Paolini, Christopher. Eragon.
In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon
finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry
of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters.
Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. (other books by
Paulsen are also good choices)
Thirteen year old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when
the small plane he is flying in crashes. The pilot is dead, but
Brian somehow manages to survive the impact. Now he must find a
way to survive in the Canadian wilderness until the search parties
arrive (if they arrive). All he has is his clothing, himself, and
the hatchet his mother gave him just before he left.
Pinkwater, Daniel. The Education of Robert
The Education of Robert Nifkin is the education of a beatnik. Set in 1950s Chicago and conveyed in the form of a college essay, Robert Nifkin details his journey from a mind-numbing high school that smells to the curriculum-free carnival of a private school ruled by bohemians, beatniks, and freaks.
Portman, Frank. King Dork.
When Tom discovers his deceased father's copy of the Salinger classic The Catcher in the
Rye, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it's just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father's death and-oddly-reveal the secret to attracting semihot girls.
Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. (sequels:
The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass)
Slowly and silently children are disappearing all over England, lured
away or snatched by the Gobblers. Lyra and the other children at
Oxford have heard of the Gobblers but don't really believe in them yet.
Then one day the Gobblers take Lyra's best friend Roger, and she is
thrown into a search that takes her to the farthest North and introduces
her to strange and powerful things. Little does she know that the
entire fate of her world may rest on her shoulders. (Fantasy)
Rapp, Adam. under the wolf, under the dog.
Steve's a Gray Grouper -- he's not a junkie Red Grouper, .nor a suicidal Blue Grouper; he falls somewhere in between. After his mother died from cancer and his brother committed suicide and his father went slightly mental, Steve ends up in Burnstone Grove after landing himself in the hospital for trying to poke his eye out and having severe reactions to hallucinogens.
Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game.
Samuel Westing, an eccentric millionaire dies in bed after returning
home from years of being missing. A strange assortment of his
heirs are brought together for the reading of his will, and they are
(somewhat unwillingly) drawn into a mystery. Who is Sam Westing's
murderer? What do the strange clues mean? And, most
importantly, is Sam Westing really dead? (Mystery)
Reeve, Philip. Mortal Engines. (Sequel:
In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns,
a fifteen-year-old apprentice is pushed out of London by the man he most
admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one
girl and the memory of another.
Reilly, Matthew. Crash Course.
A pulse-pounding, hard-driving, high-octane novel that's sure to have readers revved up from starting line to checkered flag.
Reuter, Bjerne B. Ring of the Slave Prince.
Fourteen-year-old Tom O'Connor, a poor, adventurous, charming liar who lives with his mother and half sister at a tavern on the island of Nevis in 1639, rescues a slave from drowning, learns he is prince, loses him, travels the Southern Hemisphere in search of him, and finally brings him home to Cape Verde, hoping for a grand reward.
Richards, Justin. Death Collector.
Three teens and a curator of unclassified artifacts at the British Museum match wits with a madman determined to use unorthodox methods to reanimate the dead, both humans and dinosaurs.
Sachar, Louis. Holes.
Stanley Yelnats is always in the wrong place at the wrong time, thanks
to his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.
Now he has been sent to Camp Green Lake because he was wrongfully
convicted of stealing a pair of sneakers. There is no lake at Camp
Green Lake, only a dry, hot desert, and every day the boys there have to
dig a hole five feet around and five feet deep. They are supposed
to report anything unusual that they find to the warden, and one day,
Stanley finds something.
Simmons, Michael. Finding Lubchenko.
When his father is framed for murder and bioterrorism, high-school junior Evan, using clues from a laptop he stole from his father's company, travels from Seattle to Paris with two friends to find the real culprit.
Sleator, William. The Boy Who Couldn't Die.
After his best friend dies in a plane crash, sixteen-year-old Ken has a ritual performed that will make him invulnerable, but soon learns that he had good reason to be suspicious of the woman he paid to lock his soul away.
Sonnenblick, Jordan. Notes from the Midnight Driver.
After being assigned to perform community service at a nursing home, sixteen-year-old Alex befriends a cantankerous old man who has some lessons to impart about jazz guitar playing, love, and forgiveness.
Spinelli, Jerry. Maniac Magee. (other books by
Spinelli are also good)
This is a story about a boy that can outrun dogs, hit a home run off the
best pitcher in the neighborhood, tie a knot no one can undo.
"Kid's gotta be a maniac," is what the folks in Two Mills say.
It's also the story of how this boy, Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac"
Magee, confronts racism in a small town, tries to find a home where
there is none and attempts to soothe tensions between rival factions on
the tough side of town.
Stroud, Jonathan. Amulet of Samarkand. (Bartimaeus Trilogy)
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.
Tanner, Mike. Resurrection Blues.
Flynn Robinson is eighteen years old and has just made the most important decision of his life. Excited by an offer to play guitar in a top club band, he's decided to drop out of his last year of high school. Naturally, his parents aren't too thrilled. Neither is his girlfriend, Julianne. But Flynn is driven by his passion for music, and his fear of ending up bored and boring -- a regular guy in a suit and tie. Flynn is getting his first look at the world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But a time for deep reflection arrives when Flynn discovers that his idol, Ray, isn't the man he imagined.
Taylor, G.P. Wormwood.
In 1756, as a deadly comet hurtles toward London, Dr. Sabian Blake and his fourteen-year-old housemaid, Agetta, struggle against dark forces that seek an ancient, powerful book in Blake's possession that would enable them to carry out an evil plan in which Agetta unknowingly plays a pivotal role.
Taylor, Theodore. Lord of the Kill.
With his parents in India, sixteen-year-old Ben Jepson is in charge of Los Coyotes Preserve, a refuge for big cats near Los Angeles, when two powerful groups try to shut it down by intimidation, murder, and kidnapping the largest tiger in captivity.
Trueman, Terry. No Right Turn.
Three years after his father's suicide, Jordan is a self-described zombie. No real friends, no interests, nothing. He feels like a nonperson -- invisible and alone. But then salvation comes, in the most unlikely form. It's gorgeous, it's beautiful, it's sexy. It's a 1976 Corvette! Slowly, drawn by this beautiful car and the doors it opens for him, Jordan realizes that maybe, just maybe, he can start living again.
Vaught, Susan. Trigger.
Teenager Jersey Hatch must work through his extensive brain damage to figure out why he decided to shoot himself.
Weaver, Will. Hard Ball.
A fourteen-year-old Minnesota farm boy has to figure out how to get along with the arch-rival in his love life and on the baseball diamond, and both boys must learn how to deal with the unfair expectations of their fathers.
Werlin, Nancy. The Killer's Cousin.
David killed his girlfriend. The fact that it was accidental, and that
he's been acquitted of her murder, does not matter to him at all.
Now he needs a place to get away from the media attention and finish his
senior year of high school. His aunt and uncle in Massachusetts
have reluctantly invited him to live with them for a year. What
David doesn't know is that Lilly, his eleven-year-old cousin, harbors a
secret even greater than his own. (Mystery/Suspense)
Wooding, Chris. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray.
As Thaniel, a wych-hunter, and Cathaline, his friend and mentor, try to rid the alleys of London's Old Quarter of the terrible creatures that infest them, their lives become entwined with that of a woman who may be either mad or possessed.
Yoo, David. Girls for Breakfast.
As he reflects back on his life in upscale Renfield, Connecticut, on his high school graduation day, Nick Park wonders how much being the only Asian American in school affected his thwarted quest for popularity and a girlfriend.
Zephaniah, Benjamin. Gangsta Rap.
Ray and his two friends, Prem and Tyronne, form a successful rap band in the London's East End where they live, and they soon find themselves embroiled in increasingly violent gang warfare.
Zusak, Markus. I Am the Messenger.
Meet Ed Kennedy-underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and hopeless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, and he's hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. And then the first Ace arrives. That's when Ed becomes the messenger. . . . Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?
Updated February 2007.