Annal: 1998 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1998.

Book:Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road

Joan Bauer

Meet Jenna Boller, star employee at Gladstone’s Shoe Store in Chicago. Standing a gawky 5’11’’ at 16 years old, Jenna is the kind of girl most likely to stand out in the crowd—for all the wrong reasons. But that doesn’t stop Madeline Gladstone, the president of Gladstone’s Shoes 176 outlets in 37 states, from hiring Jenna to drive her cross country in a last ditch effort to stop Elden Gladstone from taking over his mother’s company and turning a quality business into a shop-and-schlock empire. Now Jenna Boller shoe salesperson is about to become a shoe-store spy as she joins her crusty old employer for an eye-opening adventure that will teach them both the rules of the road—and the rules of life.

Book:Go and Come Back

Go and Come Back

Joan Abelove

Here is a teenage voice you haven’t heard—from the Peruvian jungle.

Alicia lives much as her Isabo ancestors have lived for centuries in the Amazon jungle of Peru. She is astonished when “two old white ladies” arrive on the river and announce through their boatman, the girl’s mother’s brother’s wife’s brother, that they want to settle in Poincushmana for a time, to study. They are anthropologists (and actually in their twenties), but to Alicia and the others they are stingy, too skinny, sexually naive, and strangers. It is a baby girl (more valuable in the village than a boy!) who helps bridge the gap—a child whom young Alicia adopts to save her from her brutish Peruvian trader father. In the end, the time Alicia, Joanna, and Margarita share is hardly enough.

Their story, vividly shown, is unique to its setting. It could happen nowhere else on earth. The author writes in a note: “This is a work of fiction based on real places, experiences, and people in the early 1970s. It is not known whether the actual village or any of those very real people still exist.”

Book:Holes (Louis Sachar)

Holes

Louis Sachar

A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment, by the author of There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom.

Stanley Yelnats’s family has a history of bad luck, so he isn’t too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys’ juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. There is no lake—it has been dry for over a hundred years—and it’s hardly a camp. As punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the hard earth of the dried-up lake bed. The warden claims that this pointless labor builds character, but she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow. The story of Kissin’ Kate, and of a curse put on Stanley’s great-great-grandfather by a one-legged Gypsy, weaves a narrative puzzle that tangles and untangles, until it becomes clear that the hand of fate has been at work in the lives of the characters—and their forebears—for generations.

With this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has written his best book to date.

Book:In a Dark Wood

In a Dark Wood

Michael Cadnum

No one has ever bested Geoffrey, the Sheriff of Nottingham—until the day a new villain appears in the forest. Cunning, treacherous, and, against all expectations, a man to respect, his name is Robin Hood. Their deadly game of cat and mouse begins—and the Sheriff’s life will never be the same.

Acclaimed young adult author Michael Cadnum’s subtle, evocative prose is sure to leave readers spellbound.

Book:Soldier's Heart

Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard

Gary Paulsen

In June 1861, when the Civil War began, Charley Goddard left his farm and enlisted in the First Minnesota Volunteers. He was fifteen. He didn’t rightly know what a “shooting war” meant, or what he was fighting for. All he knew was that he didn’t want to miss out on a great adventure.

The shooting war meant the horror of combat and the wild luck of survival. It meant knowing how it feels to cross a field toward the enemy, waiting for fire. Waiting for death. And Charley learned “This is how it’s done.”

When he entered the service he was a boy. When he came back he was different. He was only nineteen, but he was a man said to have a soldier’s heart.

Battle by battle, Gary Paulsen shows one boy’s war through one boy’s eyes and one boy’s heart, and gives a voice to all the anonymous young men who fought in the Civil War.

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