Annal: 2000 Young Reader’s Choice Award Senior Division

Results of the Young Reader’s Choice Award in the year 2000.

Book:The Taking of Room 114

The Taking of Room 114: A Hostage Drama in Poems

Mel Glenn

Did the subtitle jar you a bit? “A Hostage Drama in Poems.” Poems?! It works remarkably well. Mel Glenn takes a difficult subject—a berserk teacher holding his students hostage—and lets the drama play out in this unusual format. The poems—five from each student, one for each year of high school, and the last composed on the day of the crisis—reveal the thoughts, dreams, and fears of contemporary teens in an urban classroom. A bit like rap in visual form, the poems cut deep, build in suspense. The honesty expressed will capture the interest of even the most reluctant readers.

Book:Doing Time

Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad

Rob Thomas

Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad is a collection of ten short stories by acclaimed author Rob Thomas, detailing the experiences of students fulfilling their requirement for graduation: 200 hours of community service. Thomas runs the gamut of possible projects, from the traditional—volunteering in a nursing home or at the public library—to the innovative—directing a drama program for “at-risk” junior high students or spending 24 hours in a Bowi-a-thon. Set in and around the familiar halls of Robert E. Lee High, and including a few characters readers will recall from his second novel, Slave Day, Thomas taps once more into his well of astoundingly accurate high-school characters and emerges with a collection that is at times witty, tragic, inspiring, and pensive.

Book:Murdered, My Sweet

Murdered, My Sweet

Joan Lowery Nixon

Jenny Jakes and her mother, a famous mystery writer, travel to San Antonio to see their cousin, Arnold Harmony, who’s made his fortune in the chocolate business. Harmony, an eccentric millionaire, wants his will read publicly before he dies; since everyone wants a piece of the pie, this announcement causes quite a stir. When Harmony’s son is murdered just before the reading, Jenny’s mother decides to spring into action as a real-life detective. But Jenny’s mother doesn’t have a clue about solving a real crime, so it’s up to Jenny to use her wits, not only to save her mother’s reputation, but also to keep herself from being killed.

Book:Painting the Black

Painting the Black

Carl Deuker

When a hard ball is coming at you fast, and when it’s dancing, too, every single nerve in your body is alert and ready. Your eyes are wide open, and the adrenaline is pumping. It’s not a feeling you want to give up, any more than youwant to get off a roller coaster.

In his senior year of high school, late-bloomer Ryan Ward has just begun to feel the magic of baseball: the magic of catching a wicked slider, of throwing a runner out, of training hard and pushing limits. But when one of his teammates clearly pushes the limits too far, Ryan is face with a heartbreaking dilemma: he must choose between his love for the game and his integrity.

Book:Shade's Children

Shade's Children

Garth Nix

The key to survival rests in the hands of Shade’s Children.

In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machinelike creature whose sole purpose is to kill.

The mysterious Shade—once a man, but now more like the machines he fights—recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade’s children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords’ power—and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become…

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