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2014 National Book Awards

The National Book Awards are a set of prestigious annual U.S. literary awards given to four different categories each year: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature. The awards are administered by the National Book Foundation. On this page, the first five listed are the finalists, and the second five compose the longlist. Check them out and add them to your reading list!

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Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

When he was a boy, Luc's mother warned him about the chimpanzees whose cries fill the night. Luc is older now, his mother gone, living in a house of mistreated orphans. When Luc tries to rob a man called Prof, he isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job. Together, Luc and Prof head into the jungle to study the chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family --- and must act when that family comes under attack.

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors and critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks. 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions changed. This is a fascinating story of prejudice against black men and women in America's armed forces during World War II.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Travis Coates has a good head…on someone else’s shoulders. At some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to another guy’s body, and well, here he is. He’s still 16, but everything and everyone around him changed. If the new Travis and the old Travis find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi Alpers finds Alexandrine Paradis's diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Jacqueline Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since Iraq. Now they are staying in one place so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps she can have a normal life, put aside her own pain, even have a relationship. Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over?

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first "real world" apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.

Skink--No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

Classic Malley—to avoid being shipped off to boarding school, she takes off with some guy she met online. Poor Richard—he knows his cousin’s in trouble before she does. Wild Skink—he’s a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida, and enough of a renegade to think he can track Malley down. With Richard riding shotgun, the unlikely pair scour the state, undaunted by blinding storms, crazed pigs, flying bullets, and giant gators.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves.

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved. Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned --- and learn how to write their own destiny.

More books like the ones on this list »