Ryan's Top 10 Young Adult Books of 2011
Annotation:Have you ever been so mad at the world you’re afraid you just might burst? That’s what life is like for Xan, a guy who seems to not be that great at much of anything. When Xan struggles, he tends to get really mad. This worries his older brother Robert, who has a great girlfriend, is getting a great college education, and holds a great position on the local soccer team, seemingly to mock Xan by default. But Xan starts acting deceptively withdrawn, putting on odd amber sunglasses and hanging out with all the wrong people. Not helping matters is their struggling mother, whose inability to pay the bills has yielded intermittent visits from a smarmy bill collector. Robert wants Xan to figure out his own life, but what if his little brother makes wrong and possibly deadly choices? Robert must decide to act and save Xan before it’s too late.
Annotation:When you live in a small town that gets snow in the winter like most tropical jungles get rain, you get used to it. So when the snow starts falling one afternoon, Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason think it’s no big deal. They stay after school to work on a go cart, but they soon learn- along with a few other stragglers who haven’t left yet- the horrifying fact that they can’t leave school now even if they wanted to. The snow has gotten too bad. As Scotty struggles to hold the group together, everyone realizes just how much trouble they are in when the heating system goes dead. Will one of them be next?
Annotation:Larkin Pace is at that age. He’s not a child anymore, but he’s not quite a teenager yet, either. He has a hopeless crush on his best friend Brooke who seems completely oblivious to his affections. What’s worse, she starts to pay attention to Dalton Cooke, Larkin’s nemesis from school. Larkin’s English teacher has him begin writing a written blog for class, where Larkin dispels both his antagonistic relationship with his older sister and his encyclopedic knowledge of movie facts and trivia. With clever illustrations throughout, this is for all the kids who have grown out of their love for “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
Annotation:Four British teenagers, all part of a top secret government science team, travel to upstate New York to investigate a mysteriously abandoned military base. While using technology to project their forms into a missile silo, they uncover an object that contains a virulent plague capable of killing most of the people on Earth. After the box is inadvertently opened, the teens rush into a time bending adventure into the past. Now in 1960’s Moscow, they attempt to confront the man, an American posing as a Soviet double agent, who will one day become their enemy… and try to convince him not to be.
Annotation:We’re all afraid of something. But for the seven kids who are sent to Fort Eden, what terrifies them can’t be cured by conventional psychotherapy. With most of the group in the hands of the ghoulish Rainsford, Will Besting escapes before he reaches the base. He then watches with fascination as Rainsford apparently cures each patient, but begins to notice side effects that don’t seem to be subsiding. Is this magical “cure” too good to be true?
Annotation:Colt McAlister is just a laid back blonde-haired California surfer boy. So why do squiggly sea monsters try to eat him alive while he’s surfing? Why is his new teacher a Bigfoot-inspired drill sergeant? And most importantly, why did his parents have to die in an “accident” that turns out to be no accident at all? As Colt transitions to life in Arizona, making new friends in Dani and Oz, he is also recruited by the Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural. Now fighting against aliens bent on world domination through mind-control, Colt struggles to learn the real truth behind his parents’ death.
Annotation:Alan is the new kid in school. Like all kids who start after the year has begun, he’s pegged right away as someone who doesn’t quite fit in. But Alan really is… different from the other boys. As in he likes to only hang out with girls and wear makeup. When Adonis meets Alan, he thinks he’s a freak. But when his sister and girlfriend become Alan’s most outspoken defenders, Adonis really starts to get to know him. He straddles the edges between being one of the guys on the football team who is going to “do something” about Alan and doing what he knows to be right. What will Adonis decide?
Annotation:Rene Fowler is an odd 14-year old boy. He constantly counts things out, smells his hand, and occasionally wears a Batman-inspired cape when he gets freaked out. This means he gets the brunt of some bullying, and while his teacher Mr. Head attempts to help him, he’s also got the entire unruly class to deal with. When popular student “Gio” Giovanni takes young Rene under his wing, he starts to feel like maybe he can make it through the day. Then one day Rene’s father comes back into his life. And Rene’s dad just doesn’t “get” him. Trying to help, Gio plans an impromptu adventure to New York City for both of them to get away from their troubles, but the trip puts too much pressure on Rene to be “normal.” That’s something Rene can never be.
Annotation:Running away from home can be tough, but when you are on the streets of Greenpoint with of the best friends ever, Kid somehow makes it though. Life might be rough, but when Scout rolls into town and sets up shop underneath Fish’s bar, Kid is immediately smitten. They play music together and start to fall in love. But the cops keep showing up to ask Kid about that fire last summer, the big warehouse one where Kid’s ex Felix died. Kid still misses him a lot, and can’t deal with the questions the cops- or Scout- keep asking him. When his parents get involved, it stirs up all the old trouble from home. Will Scout stick around or bail? Told with complete gender neutrality, readers have the choice to read the characters of Kid or Scout as a boy or as a girl.
Annotation:Gabe is kind of a nerd. He's really smart, but clueless when it comes to girls. It's a good thing his best friend Dover is a girl-crazy freak. But Dover is a little too enthusiastic, so the boys balance each other out. When Gabe's by-the-book inventor father decides to take his first weekend off in over decade, Dover sees this as an opportunity to snoop around his lab. What he and Gabe find turns out to be the beautiful android T.R.I.N.A. Despite being a robot, Gabe is immediately smitten with her. So is Dover. After accidentally activating her, they rush to try and get her back to the lab before she completes her final mission ... to kill Dr. Phil!?
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Do you miss the Stuff for the Teen Age list just as much as I do? Are you looking for a few good young adult books to read, but don't know what to check out from your local library? Then look no further! Here are ten of my favorite books from last year.
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