Annal: 2005 Young Reader’s Choice Award Senior Division

Results of the Young Reader’s Choice Award in the year 2005.

Book:The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón’s bodyguard, “How old am I?…I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”

“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

Book:Hanging on to Max

Hanging on to Max

Margaret Bechard

It’s Sam Pettigrew’s last year of high school. And he’s spending it figuring out how, at age seventeen, he is supposed to care for his baby son, Max.

Max wasn’t part of the plan. He wasn’t even part of the backup plan. But he’s here now, and Sam is attending an alternative high school with other teen parents like himself. Talk about a wake-up call. But Sam is determined to make it work, to show everyone—his dad, his new girlfriend, himself—that he has what it takes to be a good dad.

Trading footballs for diaper bags and college brochures for feeding schedules, Sam gives fatherhood his best shot. Only no one told him it would be this hard. What if his best isn’t good enough?

Book:First French Kiss and Other Traumas

First French Kiss and Other Traumas

Adam Bagdasarian

Growing up male—funny, touching, and as unexpected as life itself!

This collection of finely crafted stories from the acclaimed author of Forgotten Fire zeros in on the moments of comic confusion and tender transformation that make up one boy’s wild ride through childhood and adolescence. Whether it’s struggling up a godforsaken mountain with other miserable campers, tossing aside all scruples to scramble to the top of the school social heap, searching for the true path to romantic love, or trying to meet the expectations of a father whose high standards seem impossible to live up to—these funny and affecting tales of triumph, humiliation, love, loss, competitive kissing, and laxatives will touch readers and have them laughing out loud as Will, a boy with an overactive imagination, grapples with “what it takes to be a man” and “what kind of man will I become?”

Book:Catalyst

Catalyst

Laurie Halse Anderson

Meet Kate Malone-straight A science and math geek, minister’s daughter, ace long-distance runner, girlfriend, unwilling family caretaker, emotional avoidance champion. Kate manages her life by organizing it, as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all-or so she thinks. Then, like a string of chemical reactions, everything happens: the Malones’ neighbors get burned out of their home and move in. Because her father is a Good Man of God (and a Not Very Thoughtful Parent), Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri’s adorable, troublemaking little brother. And through it all, she’s still waiting to hear from the only college she has applied to: MIT. Kate’s life is less and less under control-and then, something happens that blows it all apart, and forces her to examine her life, self, and heart for the first time. Set in the same community as the remarkable Speak, Catalyst is a novel that will make you think, laugh, cry, and rejoice-sometimes at the same time.

Book:What Happened to Lani Garver

What Happened to Lani Garver

Carol Plum-Ucci

The close-knit residents of Hackett Island have never seen anyone quite like Lani Garver. Everything about this new kid is a mystery: Where does Lani come from? How old is Lani? And most disturbing of all, is Lani a boy or a girl?

Claire McKenzie isn’t up to tormenting Lani with the rest of the high school elite. Instead, she befriends the intriguing outcast. But within days of Lani’s arrival, tragedy strikes and Claire must deal with shattered friendships and personal demons—and the possibility that angels may exist on earth.

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