Annal: 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2004.

Book:Doing It

Doing It

Melvin Burgess

I mean-I like girls. I get on well with them. And I like sex. Not that I’ve had all that much experience of it—not with another person being in the room at the same time, anyway. I just can’t somehow put the two together. I can be getting on really well with a girl but as soon as I get an inkling that there might be a chance of anything happening, I just freeze up. It’s scary.

Dino, Jonathan, and Ben have got some problems, mostly with Jackie, Deborah, and Alison.

Dino’s girlfriend Jackie, the most beautiful girl in school, drives him mad with lust, but won’t go all the way and relieve Dino of his desperately unwanted virginity.

Jonathan likes Deborah. She’s smart and funny and she makes him feel very sexy, but she’s kind of plump and his mates…[more]

Book:How I Live Now

How I Live Now

Meg Rosoff

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

Book:Private Peaceful

Private Peaceful

Michael Morpurgo

They’ve gone now, and I’m alone at last. I have the whole night ahead of me, and I won’t waste a single moment of it…I want tonight to be long, as long as my life…” For young Private Peaceful, looking back over his childhood while he is on night watch in the battlefields of the First World War, his memories are full of family life deep in the countryside: his mother, Charlie, Big Joe, and Molly—the love of his life. Too young to be enlisted, Thomas has followed his brother to war and now, every moment he spends thinking about his life, means another moment closer to danger.

Book:Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood

Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

The “Hollywood” where Sammy Santos and Juliana Ríos live is not the West Coast one, the one with all the glitz and glitter. This Hollywood is a tough barrio at the edge of a small town in southern New Mexico. Sammy and his friends, members of the 1969 high school graduating class, face a world of racism, dress codes, war in Vietnam and barrio violence. In the summer before his senior year begins, Sammy falls in love with Juliana, a girl whose tough veneer disguises a world of hurt. By summer’s end, Juliana is dead. Sammy grieves; the memory of Juliana becomes his guide through the difficult year ahead. Sammy is a smart kid, but he’s angry. He’s angry about Juliana’s death, he’s angry about the poverty his father and his sister must endure, he’s angry at his high school and its thinly disguised gringo racism, and he’s angry he might not be able to go to college. Benjamin Alire Sáenz, evoking the bittersweet ambience found in such novels as McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, captures the essence of what it meant to grow up Chicano in small-town America in the late 1960s.

Book:Under the Wolf, Under the Dog

Under the Wolf, Under the Dog

Adam Rapp

Steve Nugent is in a facility called Burnstone Grove. It’s a place for kids who are addicts, like Shannon Lynch, who can stick $1.87 in change up his nose, or for kids who have tried to commit suicide, like Silent Starla, whom Steve is getting a crush on. But Steve doesn’t really fit in either group. He used to go to a gifted school. So why is he being held at Burnstone Grove? Keeping a journal, in which he recalls his confused and violent past, Steve is left to figure out who he is by examining who he was.

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