Some of the best teen books of the year can be found on the main level of the library. Whether you’re drawn to fantasy, realistic fiction, or suspense, these young adult titles are worth a try.
Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers features best friends from the same Harlem neighborhood who stand out in their fields of interest, Darius as a writer and Twig as a runner. Faced with individual challenges that include unsavory and unsupportive family members, bullies at school, and danger on the streets, they strive to find a way out of the neighborhood and into college. Instead of letting themselves fall into despair over their lots in life, Darius and Twig encourage each other’s progress and keep working toward their individual goals. Myers scores big with this tale of steadfast friendship.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page brings to mind a well-known line from THE WIZARD OF OZ. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re in Kansas anymore,” now applies to Amy and her pet rat, Star. The story parallels Dorothy and Toto’s adventure when a tornado carries Amy’s double-wide trailer off to the land of Oz. Sure enough, the yellow brick road is there, but nothing else is the same as the story Amy knows. The Munchkins have fled their village, the tin woodsman - now equipped with knives as fingers – heartlessly heads up the Emerald City police, and Glinda – no longer a good witch – supervises strip mining operations for magic. When Amy meets the all-powerful Dorothy, she’s not at all like the original farm girl created by Frank L. Baum. This imaginative tale explores the dark side of governance and power, juxtaposed against our childhood impressions of the magical land of Oz
The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno offers fascinating and suspenseful glimpse into the world of multiple personalities. Molly has lived her life in pieces. “I wake up in my car. I remember what I put on this morning….I just don’t know how I got here.” When she witnesses a tragic accident, the mystery of her blackouts begins to unwind. Why did the boy who died know her name? What does her family know about her memory lapses and why won’t they tell her? As Molly searches through her memories for clues, she is able to piece together the two halves of her existence, pinpointing the incident that triggered her alter ego to surface and, ultimately, save her life.
Schizo by Nic Sheff contains three distinct storylines, leading to an ending that will make you question everything you just read. First of all, Miles has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a disease that requires therapy and lots of daily medications that upset his stomach and give him headaches. He truly has lost control of his body. Then there are the crows that follow him around, making him question what’s real and what’s delusion. Secondly, Miles’ family hovers over him and doesn’t acknowledge the fact that his brother went missing from the beach on the same day of his first schizophrenic blackout. He makes it his goal to find his brother, even though everyone else has given up. The third storyline involves an old friend, Eliza who returns to town after a two year absence, wanting to add some romance to their friendship. When all three storylines join together, Sheff creates an ending you won’t soon forget!
Lynette Suckow, Reference Desk