The National Book Foundation, which bestows the annual National Book Awards, announced the 2010 award finalists. In the category of Young People's Literature, the five finalists (with accompanying LC descriptions) are:
Shipbreaker by Paulo Bacigalupi
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.
I haven't read this one yet, but I've heard the "buzz." It's just moved up to the top of my TBR pile.
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.
Such a great book. It's short and sweet, yet somehow it manages to create a meaningful story about a girl who is misunderstood because of her disability. This is one of my favorites from this past year, and I hope it sees some additional awards love. (Newbery, I'm looking at you!)
Dark Water by Laura McNeal
Living in a cottage on her uncle's southern California avocado ranch since her parent's messy divorce, fifteen-year-old Pearl Dewitt meets and falls in love with an illegal migrant worker, and is trapped with him when wildfires approach his makeshift forest home.
Here is where I admit that I haven't heard a single word about one of the finalist novels. None of the blogs I read have reviewed it, and I haven't seen anything about this title on any library listservs either. Kirkus gave it a starred review, noting "well-drawn characters, an engaging plot, and, especially, hauntingly beautiful langugage." A possible Printz candidate, perhaps? I'm placing my library hold on this one right.....now.
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Teenage Reese, serving time at a juvenile detention facility, gets a lesson in making it through hard times from an unlikely friend with a harrowing past.
Walter Dean Myers just might be the most prolific young adult fiction author ever. When you write as much as he does, and as well as he does, it is inevitable for honors to come your way. I haven't read this one, but a student of mine read the ARC (which I received at a conference) and loved it. Another one to add to the TBR pile!
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.
This one has been all over the blogs (and the NY Times) and has been loudly talked about as a possible Newbery winner. It hasn't been checked in at my library since we got it in, so I haven't had a chance to read it, but I'll remedy that shortly.
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