Year 2009: Best Books
As 2008 comes to a close, we at Teenreads.com have compiled some of our favorite books of the year for teens. Along with the blockbusters BREAKING DAWN and BRISINGR, we spotlight THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD, a collection of five fairy tales courtesy of J. K. Rowling that gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter; THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, the first installment of a trilogy set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present; THE KINGDOM ON THE WAVES, book two in the historical epic The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, in which M. T. Anderson recounts Octavian’s experiences as the Revolutionary War explodes around him; and THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, E. Lockhart’s story of a teenager who finds a way to infiltrate her school’s boy-only secret society and practically becomes a criminal mastermind by the age of 16.
This year, Libba Bray concluded her Gemma Doyle trilogy, Meg Cabot drew closer to wrapping up the Princess Diaries series when its next-to-last installment, PRINCESS MIA, released, and James Patterson continued his Maximum Ride fantasy/adventure series with THE FINAL WARNING. Readers were lucky enough to be reunited with Cathy Vickers in the sequel to the groundbreaking interactive novel CATHY’S BOOK, and MELTING STONES returned Tamora Pierce’s fans to the world of The Circle Opens quartet. Other series updates in 2008 included Blue Bloods, The Clique, Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, The Demonata, Lily Dale and The Luxe.
We also revisit the series titles that made their debuts in 2008. Among them are GOSSIP GIRL: THE CARLYLES, Cecily von Ziegesar’s follow-up Gossip Girl series featuring the Carlyle triplets of Nantucket; THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X, James Patterson's sci-fi adventure about a boy who uses his unique gifts to hunt down the killer who brutally murdered his parents; and GRACELING, an impressive debut fantasy novel in which Kristin Cashore introduces audiences to Katsa, a teenage girl who has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight.
Additional standouts in 2008 included PAPER TOWNS, the highly anticipated return of Printz Medalist John Green in an irresistible plot combining a friendship tale, a road trip and a mystery; CHAINS, Laurie Halse Anderson's compelling examination of the very different implications of freedom and loyalty for slaves during the American Revolution; THE GOOD NEIGHBORS, which marks the first time Holly Black has written about the faerie world in graphic novel form; and the winner of the 2008 National Book Award in the Young People's Literature category, WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED, Judy Blundell’s coming-of-age novel set against a backdrop of mystery, lies and shattering reality.
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce --- or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has 20 brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her 60-year-old uncle --- who already has six wives --- Kyra has to make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.
Calder is a Fetch, a death escort, the first of his kind to step from Heaven back to Earth and the first to fall in love with a mortal girl. But when he climbs backwards out of that Death Scene, into the chaos of the Russian Revolution, he tears a wound in the ghost realm, where the spirits begin a revolution of their own.
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future --- - between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school --- and life in general --- with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure --- if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.
Seventeen-year-old Mia had everything to live for --- a loving family, a beloved boyfriend, and her brilliant cello playing (and, very possibly, an acceptance to Juilliard). But everything changes during a tragic car accident. Now Mia hovers near the hospital bed where her physical body lies in a coma, weighing her options. Should she die, or should she stay?
The lives of three teens --- Claire, Jasper and Peter --- are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.
Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.
Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, 15-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy --- and authenticity --- of her sister, Anna. But when 14-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do. With warmth, insight and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.
Liam and his friend Max are playing in their neighborhood when the call of a bird leads them out into a field beyond their town. There, they find a baby lying alone atop a pile of stones --- with a note pinned to her clothing. Mystified, Liam brings the baby home to his parents. They agree to take her in, but police searches turn up no sign of the baby’s parents. Finally they must surrender the baby to a foster family, who name her Allison.
Visiting her in Northumberland, Liam meets Oliver, a foster son from Liberia who claims to be a refugee from the war there, and Crystal, a foster daughter. When Liam’s parents decide to adopt Allison, Crystal and Oliver are invited to her christening. There, Oliver tells Liam about how he will be slaughtered if he is sent back to Liberia. The next time Liam sees Crystal, it is when she and Oliver have run away from their foster homes, desperate to keep Oliver from being sent back to Liberia.
In a cave where the two are hiding, Liam learns the truth behind Oliver’s dark past --- and is forced to ponder what all children are capable of.
Mrs. Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, was last seen during a field trip to Black Vine Swamp. The school’s headmaster and the police seem to have accepted the sketchy, unsigned note explaining that her absence is due to a “family emergency.” There’s no real evidence of foul play. But still, Nick and Marta don’t buy it. Something weird is definitely going on.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. And one yellow-eyed wolf --- her wolf --- is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.
An exchange student who's really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says... These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan's many fans will love.
Jena, Dakota, Skye and Owen are all at Paradise --- the resort in the Caribbean, that is --- for different reasons, but in Paradise their lives become tangled together in ways none of them can predict. Over the course of four months, through four voices and four stories, what happened in Paradise will change them all.
TANGLED is a story of the secrets we keep, the risks we take, and the things we do for love.
According to her best friend Frankie, 20 days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie --- she has already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.
But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:
I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.
The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.
In WINTERGIRLS, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia and her painful path toward recovery.
Eighth grade has come to an end, and Polly, Jo and Ama --- a new generation of sisterhood --- are poised to enter South Bethesda High School. Over summer vacation, the three girls reflect on the day they first met and how their friendships have changed over the years.
It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet. Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure… One that will change both their lives forever.
Sixteen-year-old Thomas finds himself emerging from a metal box into an enclave of teen males. All he really remembers about himself is his name as he negotiates life in the wall-enclosed Glade, surrounded by a maze that might lead them home --- if they can solve it and also manage to survive the deadly monsters prowling within.
Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek --- and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out…and then email the clips for Ryan to see. In a new, groundbreaking format, Patrick Carman’s story is broken into two parts --- Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website (www.skeletoncreekisreal.com), with links and passwords given throughout the book.
Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek --- and Ryan and Sarah are trying to find out why. Ryan writes down everything in his journal, and Sarah records everything on her videocam. The two move deeper into the mystery they've uncovered, determined to discover the secrets buried in Skeleton Creek, in the conclusion to Patrick Carman's thrilling series.
In this groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts --- Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.
Three reasons why Viola Chesterton knows she’ll never survive her first year at boarding school:
1. She has to leave behind her best friend, Andrew
2. and replace him with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there
3. "There" is South Bend, Indiana, which feels about as far away from her hometown of Brooklyn, New York, as you can get
Boarding school, though, is nothing like she thought it would be, and soon Viola realizes she's in for the most incredible year of her life. But first, she has to put the camera down, and let the world in.
With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver is brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged.
Young, fanged and fabulous, Melissa de la Cruz's vampires unite in this highly anticipated fourth installment of the
Cathy cannot manage to find more than a few days to relax in her hectic (and mortal) life --- she barely has time to put the mystery surrounding her father to rest before she finds herself targeted by a group of Ancestor Lu’s professional killers! Recognizing she is a serious threat to everyone in her life, Cathy makes plans to leave town. But her friends --- Emma, Pete, Victor and, surprisingly, Jun --- unite to convince Cathy that they must finish Lu once and for all to have any chance at peace. In order to defeat Lu, they must come together in a way they never have before.
Meanwhile --- unbeknownst to Cathy --- Victor has made the ultimate sacrifice hoping it will bring him closer to a normal relationship with Cathy. But when Victor is seriously wounded and Cathy finds herself attracted to another mortal with similar feelings for her, Cathy’s world turns upside down and she is forced to make a decision about her future with Victor, while his life hangs by a thread.
What will Cathy decide, and how will their epic battle with Lu play out? Find out in the newest adventure-packed installment of the Cathy story!
For Georgia, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Just when she thought she was the official one-and-only girlfriend of Masimo, he's walked off into the night with the full hump, leaving Georgia all aloney on her owney --- again. All because Dave the Laugh tried to do fisticuffs at dawn with him!
Two boys fighting over Georgia? It's almost as romantic asRomeo and Juliet…though perhaps a touch less tragic.
It's time for Georgia to get to the bottom (oo-er) of this Dave the Laugh spontaneous puckering business once and for all. It's like they always say: If you snog a mate in the forest of red bottomosity and no one is around to see it, is he still a mate? Or is he something more?
In this hilarious and moving conclusion to the Dairy Queen trilogy, D.J. Schwenk returns to her small-town high school --- only to find herself the focus of far too much attention. From an old friend now hot for romance, to college recruiters and rabid local hoops fans, to Brian Nelson… How will shy, quiet D.J. handle things now that she’s front and center?
All's quiet in the small town of Holliswood, the television sets a-glow in every home. But not all is as perfect as it seems.
A terrifying outlaw has just arrived in town, with the goal of throwing it into chaos --- and filming the pandemonium for the fellas back home.
Only one person can stop him and his thugs from destroying the city and everyone living there. Daniel X assembles an all-star team of his own creation, but not even he could imagine the enormity of this made-for-TV-villain's powers.
As the fourth novel in the spellbinding Gatekeepers series begins, the world is under the greatest threat it's ever known. The evil corporation Nightrise has amassed an immense amount of power…and the devastating force of the Old Ones is about to be unleashed around the globe. To stop this from happening, Matt and three of the Gatekeepers head to Hong Kong --- not just the modern city of skyscrapers and wealth, but the secretive underworld beneath. In Hong Kong they will meet the final Gatekeeper, a girl named Scarlet, whose fate is inextricably joined to their own.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
Beka Cooper is finally a Dog --- a full-fledged member of the Provost’s Guard, dedicated to keeping peace in Corus’s streets. But there’s unrest in Tortall’s capital. Counterfeit coins are turning up in shops all over the city, and merchants are raising prices to cover their losses. The Dogs discover that gamblers are bringing the counterfeit money from Port Caynn. In Port Caynn, Beka delves deep into the gambling world, where she meets a charming banking clerk named Dale Rowan. Beka thinks she may be falling for Rowan, but she won’t let anything --- or anyone --- jeopardize her mission. As she heads north to an abandoned silver mine, it won’t be enough for Beka to be her usual “terrier” self. She’ll have to learn from Achoo to sniff out the criminals --- to be a Bloodhound.
After finally learning who was behind her mother’s death, Calla still doesn’t understand why it happened. Somewhere out there, someone seems to share the powerful psychic abilities that allow Calla to see not only into the past, but to the Other Side --- someone who apparently doesn’t want to be found. Will Calla’s journey lead to the closure she's been searching for, or will it force her to accept yet another loss and forever wonder what might have been?
The Heart Crystal’s power has been depleted, and Imagination along with it. The people of Wonderland have all lost their creative drive, and most alarmingly, even Queen Alyss is without her powers. There is some comfort in the fact that the vicious Redd Heart seems to be similarly disabled. Amazingly, she is attempting to team up with her enemy, Alyss, in order to reclaim Wonderland from King Arch. Alyss might have no choice but to accept Redd’s overtures, especially when she begins to receive alarming advice from the caterpillar oracles.
Discover the fate of Wonderland --- and imagination itself --- in this riveting conclusion to the
Two months after Elizabeth Holland's dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana's side, however, those watching New York's favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.
In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?
Maximum Ride and the other members of the Flock have barely recovered from their last arctic adventure, when they are confronted by the most frightening catastrophe yet. Millions of fish are dying off the coast of Hawaii and someone --- or something --- is destroying hundreds of ships. Unable to discover the cause, the government enlists the Flock to help them get to the bottom of the disaster before it is too late.
While Max and her team are exploring the depths of the ocean, their every move is being carefully tracked by Mr. Chu --- a criminal mastermind with his own plans for the Flock. Can they protect themselves from Mr. Chu's army of mercenaries and save the ocean from utter destruction?
In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie --- and so do Rosewood's four prettiest girls. Hanna, Aria, Spencer and Emily thought that they were safe when Ali's killer was arrested and A's true identity was finally revealed. But now there's a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.
The crowning volume of the trilogy that began with THE SEA OF TROLLS and continued with THE LAND OF SILVER APPLES opens with a vicious tornado. (Odin on a Wild Hunt, as the young berserker Thorgil sees it.) The fields of Jack’s home village are devastated, the winter ahead looks bleak, and a monster --- a draugr --- has invaded the forest outside of town.
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.
Black is for Beginnings written by Laurie Faria Stolarz, adaptation by Barbara Randall Kesel, artwork by Janina Görrissen
The Blue is for Nightmares series that put a spell on more than half a million readers continues --- in graphic novel format! Prophetic nightmares. Near-brushes with death. Killers pursuing her and her friends. Stacey Brown knows that being a hereditary witch isn’t all it's cracked up to be.
Cirque Du Freak: The Manga, Vol. 1: A Living Nightmare written by Darren Shan; illustrated by Takahiro Arai
The world of internationally acclaimed author Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak brought to life as you’ve never seen it before!
Darren Shan was an average kid until destiny brought him to the Cirque du Freak. Now Darren’s been immersed into a shadowy world inhabited by vampires, werewolves and strange creatures the likes of which he’s never imagined --- and his life will be changed forever!
Cirque Du Freak: The Manga, Vol. 2: The Vampire's Assistant written by Darren Shan; illustrated by Takahiro Arai
Darren Shan’s days as an ordinary schoolboy are over, and his life as the vampire’s assistant has begun! With his mentor, Larten Crepsley, Darren joins the Cirque du Freak and slowly begins settling into his new role there, an adjustment made simpler when he makes a couple of new friends among the Cirque’s performers. But life as a half-vampire can never be easy or ordinary --- as Darren learns only too well when tragedy strikes!
Cirque du Freak: The Manga, Vol. 3: Tunnels of Blood written by Darren Shan; illustrated by Takahiro Arai
Accompanying his master, Mr. Crepsley, on a trip to the city, half-vampire Darren Shan is ready to enjoy a pleasant holiday away from the Cirque du Freak with his friend Evra. But when he learns of a string of grisly murders whose victims have been drained of blood, Darren begins to suspect that his mentor may be involved. Has Mr. Crepsley crossed the line, or could it be that some creature more fearsome than a vampire haunts the city’s streets?
Rue Silver's life is not what it appears to be. Her mother is a faerie, and has been taken back to the faerie realm. As Rue goes to bring her back, she must travel deep into an inhuman world. At the same time, the faerie realm is venturing into our world too, and taking its toll on those Rue loves. When her grandfather's plans threaten Rue's city, she realizes that she's the only one who can stop him. But is Rue a human or a faerie? Where does she fit? How does she know the difference between love and enchantment?
It's a mad, mad, mad world as Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan's maniacal quest to find Alyss continues! In Volume 2, MAD WITH WONDER, Hatter follows the Glow from London to the battlefields of America's Civil War in search of the Princess who must some day be Queen. The America that Hatter encounters is a sprawling, wounded, boiling landscape of innocence and energy run amok. The war is tearing the country apart, yet Hatter must maintain his sanity in this maelstrom of holy rollers, child healers, prophetic snake handlers, deranged outlaws, and passionate southern belles. As Hatter searches, he learns he is not the only Wonderland presence that has found its way to the Promised Land. Queen Redd's black imagination is fueling the Civil War and threatening our world with her evil!
Luke, Seth and Kady have heard all the stories about Malice --- a secret comic about a strange, awful world full of tricks and traps, and overseen by a sinister master of ceremonies, Tall Jake. But if rumors are to be believed, the children in this comic are real…
Luke is the first to fall into this trap --- and Seth and Kady are the next to follow. They have left our world and entered the sinister comic book. The question is, can they make it out alive?
Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride knows what it’s like to soar above the world. She and all the members of her “flock” --- Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel --- are just like ordinary kids, except they have wings and can fly! It may seem like a dream come true to some, but for the flock it’s more like a living nightmare. When the mysterious lab known as the “School” turns up and kidnaps their youngest member, it’s up to Max to organize a rescue, but will help come in time?
Having recovered Angel, Max and the flock head to New York City to pursue a lead regarding their true identities. But where the flock goes, erasers are sure to follow! Even more troubling, though, is the voice that’s begun whispering in Max’s head. Is it really her destiny to save the world?
One day, David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the 14-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die.
In STITCHES, Small, the award-winning children’s illustrator and author, re-creates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. As the images painfully tumble out, one by one, we gain a ringside seat at a gothic family drama where David --- a highly anxious yet supremely talented child --- all too often became the unwitting object of his parents’ buried frustration and rage.