Annal: 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2008.

Book:Nation (Pratchett)

Nation

Terry Pratchett

“The sea has taken everything.”

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne’s sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down….

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.

Book:Dark Dude

Dark Dude: A Novel

Oscar Hijuelos

He didn’t say good-bye. He didn’t leave a phone number. And he didn’t plan on coming back—ever.

In Wisconsin, Rico could blend in. His light hair and lighter skin wouldn’t make him the “dark dude” or the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. The Midwest is the land of milk and honey, but for Rico Fuentes, it’s really a last resort. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. And when Rico no longer has to prove that he’s Latino, he almost stops being one. Except he can never have an ordinary white kid’s life, because there are some things that can’t be left behind, that can’t be cut loose or forgotten. These are the things that will be with you forever…. These are the things that will follow you a thousand miles away.

For anyone who loved The Outsiders—and for anyone who’s ever felt like one—Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos brings to life a haunting choice and an unforgettable journey about identity, misidentity, and all that we take with us when we run away.

Book:The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, Chris Riddell

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family….

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, the graveyard book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Book:The Lincolns: A Scrapbook

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary

Candace Fleming

The award-winning author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac and Our Eleanor has created an enthralling joint biography of our greatest president and his complex wife unlike any other—a scrapbook history that uses photographs, letters, engravings, and even cartoons, along with a fascinating text, to form an enthralling museum on the page. Here are the extraordinary lives of Abraham and Mary, from their disparate childhoods and tumultuous courtship, through the agony of the Civil War, to the loss of three of their children, and finally their own tragic deaths. Readers can find Mary’s recipe for Abraham’s favorite cake—and bake it themselves; hear what Abraham looked like as a toddler; see a photo of the Lincolns’ dog; discover that the Lincoln children kept goats at the White House; see the Emancipation Proclamation written in Lincoln’s own hand.

Perfect for reluctant readers as well as history lovers, The Lincolns provides a living breathing portrait of a man, a woman, and a country.

Book:Swallow Me Whole

Swallow Me Whole

Nate Powell

Swallow Me Whole is a love story carried by rolling fog, terminal illness, hallucination, apophenia, insect armies, secrets held, unshakeable faith, and the search for a master pattern to make sense of one’s unraveling.

In his most ambitious book to date, Powell quietly explores the dark corners of adolescence—not the cliched melodramatic outbursts of rebellion, but the countless tiny moments of madness, the vague relief of medication, and the mixed blessing of family ties. As the story unfolds, two stepsiblings hold together amidst schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, family breakdown, animal telepathy, misguided love, and the tiniest hope that everything will someday make sense.

Deliberately paced, delicately drawn, and drenched in shadows, Swallow Me Whole is a landmark achievement for Nate Powell and a suburban ghost story that will haunt readers long after its final pages.

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