Honor roll: Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

Each of these books has been nominated for a Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:The White Darkness

The White Darkness

Geraldine McCaughrean

“I have been in love with Titus Oates for quite a while now—which is ridiculous, since he’s been dead for ninety years. But look at it this way. In ninety years I’ll be dead, too, and the age difference won’t matter.”

Sym is not your average teenage girl. She is obsessed with the Antarctic and the brave, romantic figure of Captain Oates from Scott’s doomed expedition to the South Pole. In fact, Oates is the secret confidant to whom she spills all her hopes and fears.

But Sym’s uncle Victor is even more obsessed—and when he takes her on a dream trip into the bleak Antarctic wilderness, it turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival that will challenge everything she knows and loves.

In her first contemporary young adult novel, Carnegie Medalist and three-time Whitbread Award winner Geraldine McCaughrean delivers a spellbinding journey into the frozen heart of darkness.

Book:Kit's Wilderness

Kit's Wilderness

David Almond

“It was very deep, Kit. Very dark. And every one of us was scared of it. As a lad I’d wake up trembling, knowing that as a Watson born in Stoneygate I’d soon be following my ancestors into the pit,” so Kit’s grandfather tells him.

The Watson family moves to Stoneygate, an old coal-mining town, to care for Kit’s recently widowed grandfather. When Kit meets John Askew, another boy whose family had both worked and died in the mines, Askew invites Kit to join him to play a game called Death. As Kit’s grandfather provides stories of the mine’s past and the history of the Watson family, the boys search the mines to find the childhood ghosts of their long-gone ancestors.

Written in haunting prose and lyrical language, Kit’s Wilderness explores the bonds of family from one generation to the next, and how from the depths of darkness, meaning and beauty can be revealed.

Book:The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races

Maggie Stiefvater

Some race to win. Others race to survive.

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition—the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. …[more]

Book:Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker: A Novel

Paolo Bacigalupi

In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota—and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life….

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

Book:American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang

All Jin Wang wants is to fit in…

When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl…

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn’t want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god…

Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he’s ruining his cousin Danny’s life. Danny’s a basketball…[more]

Book:Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

John Green

Miles “Pudge” Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.”

Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.

Book:Black Juice

Black Juice

Margo Lanagan

As part of a public execution, a young boy forlornly helps to sing his sister down…A servant learns about grace and loyalty from a mistress who would rather dance with Gypsies than sit on her throne…A terrifying encounter with a demonic angel gives a young man the strength he needs to break free of his oppressor…On a bleak and dreary afternoon a gleeful shooting spree leads to tragedy for a desperate clown unable to escape his fate.

In each of Margo Lanagan’s ten extraordinary stories, human frailty is put to the test by the implacable forces of dark and light, man and beast. Black Juice offers glimpses into familiar, shadowy worlds that push the boundaries of the spirit and leave the mind haunted with the knowledge that black juice runs through us all.

Book:The Ropemaker

The Ropemaker

Peter Dickinson

Tilja has grown up in the peaceful Valley, which is protected from the fearsome Empire by an enchanted forest. But the forest’s power has begun to fade and the Valley is in danger. Tilja is the youngest of four brave souls who venture into the Empire together to find the mysterious magician who can save the Valley. And much to her amazement, Tilja gradually learns that only she, an ordinary girl with no magical powers, has the ability to protect her group and their quest from the Empire’s sorcerers.

Book:The First Part Last

The First Part Last

Angela Johnson

Bobby is a typical urban New York City teenager—impulsive, eager, restless. For his sixteenth birthday he cuts school with his two best buddies, grabs a couple of slices at his favorite pizza joint, catches a flick at a nearby multiplex, and gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever: He’s going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and fun times with friends are replaced by visits to Nia’s pediatrician and countless social workers who all say that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption. Then tragedy strikes Nia, and Bobby finds himself in the role of single, teenage father. Because his child—their child—is all that remains of his lost love.

With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson tells the story of a young man’s struggle to figure out what “the right thing” is and then to do it. The result is a gripping portrayal of a single teenage parenthood from the point of view of a young on the threshold of becoming a man.

Book:Postcards from No Man's Land

Postcards from No Man's Land

Aidan Chambers

By turns playful and wrenching, thrilling and meditative, this extraordinary novel, told in dual narratives, takes the reader on a memorable voyage of discovery-the discovery of family secrets, of sex, of art, and of oneself in a foreign city or in the midst of war.

Seventeen-year-old backpacker Jacob Todd has come to Amsterdam to honor his grandfather, a soldier who died in a nearby town in World War II. He isn’t ready for the seductive assault the city launches on his senses. A stranger flirts with him in a café leaving him with this prophetic scribbled message: Nothing in Amsterdam is what it appears to be. In 1944, teenage Geertrui, living in occupied Holland, meets another Jacob Todd, an English soldier who must hide with her family after his battalion pulls out. In the midst of terrible danger, the two become lovers, linking their families in a way that resonates in the present.

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