Young Critics' Favorite Books of '05-'06

As Selected By:

Lucinda, Dominique, Terry, Peter, Gwen, Brooks, Jenn, Sam, Marissa, May, Matthew, Alicia, Brian, Zoe, Emma, Matthew, Connor, Brian, Billy, Anders, Kate, Liz, Stephen, William, Lea, Eleonore, Jane Wi., Susan, and Jane Wy.!

Click on the picture of each book to search for it in the library catalog.

 

 

Endymion Spring, by Matthew Skelton

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IN A TIE FOR FIRST PLACE:

ENDYMION SPRING

by Matthew Skelton

 

Blake is visiting Oxford with his academic mother and his kid sister. While their mom immerses herself in old world volumes, Blake feels trapped in the dusty air of the college library. Until one day, Blake is running his hand along a shelf and feels something pierce his finger, drawing blood, like a bite. The book responsible is a battered old volume, with a strange clasp like a serpent's head-- with real fangs! Printed on the front are two words: Endymion Spring. As Blake looks, words begin to appear on the page-- words no one else can see. The book has been waiting five hundred years for the right boy, now it must fulfill its destiny...

 

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The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

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IN A TIE FOR FIRST PLACE:

THE BOOK THIEF

by Markus Zusak

 

It's just a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, this groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-- books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

 

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Your Other Favorites, in Alphabetical Order:

 

Adam Canfield of the Slash, by Michael Winerip

Adam Canfield of the Slash, by Michael Winerip

Late for math club, late for jazz band, late for soccer-- Adam Canfield has to be the most overprogrammed middle-school student in America. So when super-organized Jennifer coaxes him to be coeditor of the Slash-- Harris Elementary/Middle School's student newspaper-- he wonders if he's made a big mistake. Not only do editors get stuck with assigning stories, but they also have to deal with annoying third graders like Phoebe, always pushing for a front-page slot. But when Phoebe's article on Eddie the janitor leads to a much bigger scoop, Adam and Jennifer rise to the challenge, risking their principal's wrath to uncover some shocking secrets.

 

Counting on Grace, by Elizabeth Winthrop

Counting on Grace, by Elizabeth Winthrop

1910. Pownal, Vermont. At 12, Grace and her best friend Arthur must leave school and go to work on their mothers' looms in the mill. Grace's mother is the best worker, and Grace desperately wants to help her. But she only feels capable on Sundays, when she and Arthur receive special lessons from their teacher. Together they write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in the mill. A few weeks later a man with a camera shows up-- it is the famous reformer Lewis Hine, undercover, collecting evidence for the Child Labor Board. Grace's brief acquaintance with Hine and the photos he takes of her are a gift that changes her sense of herself and her future.

 

 

Cry of the Icemark, by Stuart Hill

Cry of the Icemark, by Stuart Hill

The Icemark is a kingdom in grave danger. Its king has been killed in battle. Its enemy lies in wait. And its fate rests on the shoulders of one girl. A beautiful princess and an intrepid warrior, Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield is only 13. But she has been preparing for this moment her whole life. Now she must find a way to protect her tiny kingdom from the most terrible invasion it has ever known. To beat back the cunning general Scipio Bellorum and his conquering army, Thirrin will forge an extraordinary coalition of noble Snow Leopards, ancient Vampires, and ferocious Wolf-folk. A coming-of-age tale and an epic adventure, this dazzling debut heralds the arrival of a heroine who dauntless in the face of impossible dangers and decidedly wild at heart.

 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole, by Peter Abrahams

Down the Rabbit Hole, by Peter Abrahams

Welcome to Echo Falls. Home of a thousand secrets, where Ingrid Levin-Hill, super sleuth, never knows what will happen next. Ingrid is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or at least her shoes are. Getting them back means getting involved in a murder investigation rivaling those solved by her idol, Sherlock Holmes, and Ingrid has enough on her plate with club soccer, school, and the plum role of Alice in the Echo Falls production of Alice in Wonderland. But much as in Alice's adventures down the rabbit hole, things in Ingrid's small town keep getting curiouser and curiouser. Her favorite director has a serious accident onstage (but is it an accident?), and the police chief is on Ingrid's tail, grilling her about everything from bike-helmet law to the color of her cleats. Echo Falls has turned into a nightmare, and Ingrid is determined to wake up.

 

 

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan   Sonnenblick

Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother's illness and his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, this book is a heart-warming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.

 

 

Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or grow old. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice. Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

 

 

I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak

I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak

Meet Ed Kennedy-- underage cabdriver, pathetic card player, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, and he's hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That's when the first Ace arrives. That's when Ed becomes the messenger... Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

 

 

I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner

I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner

Coriander Hobie, born in 1643, has a remarkable tale to tell. After her beloved mother dies and her father is forced to flee London, Coriander is left at the mercy of a cruel stepmother. In the very nick of time, Coriander finds that she has somehow managed to transport herself to a land of fairies, and there she discovers what she has always suspected: that her mother was from a more magical world than grimy old London. And that she herself has inherited some of her mother's mysterious abilities-- abilities that she now has a desperate need to master.

 

 

An Innocent Soldier, by Josef Holub

An Innocent Soldier, by Josef Holub, translated by Michael Hofmann

Adam is a farmhand conscripted by Napoleon's army, which is gathering strength for its campaign against Russia. Sergeant Krauter makes Adam the victim of his cruelest urges. But when an aristocratic young lieutenant spots Adam and requisitions him as his personal valet, Adam's life seems to take a turn for the better. As Adam and Lieutenant Konrad Klara draw closer to Moscow, they encounter a numerous wartime horrors. This book, both poignant and funny, explores the importance of friendship in persevering against overwhelming odds.

  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award Winner

 

 

Keeper, by Mal Peet

Keeper, by Mal Peet

In an interview with a young journalist, World Cup hero, El Gato, describes his youth in the Brazilian rain forest and the people and events that helped make him a great goalkeeper and renowned soccer star. Once an uncoordinated boy, El Gato describes how The Keeper, a mysterious apparition, appeared to him in the forest one day and began to train him in the art of soccer. This book will appeal to both fans of soccer and the supernatural. 

 

 

 

The King of Mulberry Street, by Donna Jo Napoli

The King of Mulberry Street, by Donna Jo Napoli

In 1892, nine-year-old Dom's mother puts him on a ship leaving Italy, bound for America. He is a stowaway, traveling alone and with nothing of value except a new pair of shoes from his mother. In the turbulent world of homeless children in Manhattan's Five Points, Dom learns street smarts, and not only survives, but thrives by starting his own business. A vivid, fascinating story of an exceptional boy, based in part on the author's grandfather.

 

 

 

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he canít seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-- Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percyís mom finds out, she knows itís time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place heíll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds, and Percy sets with his friends out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

 

 

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson

 

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson

Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and Angel are kids who are pretty normal-- except that they're 98% human, 2% bird. They grew up in cages, living like rats, and now they're free, chased by the wicked, wolf-like Erasers, who've kidnapped Angel. Led by Max, the "Flock" embarks on a quest to find Angel, infiltrate a secret facility to track down their parents, get revenge on an evil traitor, and try to save the world-if there's time.

 

 

 

Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld

 

 

Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld

One year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying in New York City than in attending his biology classes. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal's life. Cal was infected by a horrifying parasite. Cal is just a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he's infected the girlfriends he's had since Morgan-- and all have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. And it's Cal's job to hunt them down before they can create even more of their kind...

 

Sea Legs, by Alex Shearer

 

 

Sea Legs, by Alex Shearer

Two twins, one older and wiser by about five minutes, hatch a plan to stow away on a luxury cruise liner, where their dad is the Senior Steward. How can their scheme possible fail? Okay, so one twin is a compulsive liar, with a tendency towards disastrous mishaps, but it's worth the risk. All they have to do is stay out of Dad's way and stay out of trouble-- for three whole weeks. From the moment the ship leaves the dock, readers will be laughing out loud at this rip-roaring comedy on the high seas.

 

 

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously between desire and danger. Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires.

 

 

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

 

 

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license-- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the Pretty world-- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

 

Whales on Stilts, by M.T. Anderson

Whales on Stilts, by M.T. Anderson

What sort of madman would unleash an army of stilt-walking, laser-beaming, thoroughly angry whales upon the world? Who cares! All that matters is that his dastardly plan be foiled. Lucky for Lily Gefelty, her two best friends are the intrepid stars of their own middle-grade series novels: Jasper Dash (better know as the Boy Technonaut) and Katie Mulligan (beloved by millions as the heroine of the Horror Hollow series). It's going to take all their smarts to stop this insane, inane plot from succeeding.

 

 

Perrot Memorial Library Youth Services Department, Old Greenwich, Connecticut