Tuesday Top Ten
As I said in last week’s Tuesday Top Ten, I’m a big fan of Connecticut’s own Nutmeg Book Award. It is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Library Association and the Connecticut Association of School Librarians, and is aimed at 4th – 8th graders in an attempt to get them to read more, and better, books.
Children in those grades choose the winner from a list of nominees, so it really is kids telling other kids what their favorite books are, not just an adult saying, “Here’s a great book. Read it.”
As I promised last week, here is this year’s list of Teen Nominees (Grades 7 and 8). For the Intermediate Nominees (Grades 4th – 6th), see last week’s post.
1. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen – Nine-year-old Eli, his sisters, and parents move into the Compound, an expansive underground bunker built by Eli’s billionaire father as a refuge from nuclear attack. Waiting for the outside environment to be safe to reenter, fifteen -year -old Eli is starting to have doubts about his father’s motives, explanations, and sanity. Can Eli trust his father?
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – In the ruins of North America lies the nation of Panem, a capitol surrounded by twelve districts. Each year, the districts send one boy and one girl to participate in Hunger Games, a brutal fight to the death televised for Panem’s entertainment. Sixteen-year-old Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, hoping to survive the competition.
3. I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb – Running for seventh-grade class president looks easy to Oliver Watson. With his good looks, intelligence, and wealth, he can control his classmates, teachers, and parents. But can he control the outcome of an election?
4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner – Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up in an elevator with no memory except for his first name. He’s arrived in “the glade,’ an area surrounded by stone walls that open to a maze every morning. With him in the glade are about 60 boys, all searching for an escape route. And then a girl appears with a message, and things begin to change.
5. Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray – After their best friend Ross dies, English teenagers Blake, Kenny, and Sim plan a proper memorial by taking his ashes to Ross, Scotland, an adventure-filled journey that tests their loyalty to each other and forces them to question what friendship means.
6. Pop by Gordon Korman – Quarterback Marcus Jordan has a big problem: his new school isn’t interested in adding Marcus to their winning football team. Practicing in the park, Marcus meets a childlike 50-year-old by the name of Charlie with startling football abilities. Charlie’s pranks and spotty memory have Marcus wondering what Charlie’s story is.
7. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George – Galen, a soldier recently returned from the war, now works in the royal palace, where he meets 12 beautiful princesses. As innocent as the king’s twelve daughters seem, they harbor a secret. Will Galen be the one to uncover what activity leaves their slippers in tatters, as if worn for years? Or will he, like the others, fail… and die for his trouble?
8. The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon – The year is 1968 and the Civil Rights Movement is in full swing in Chicago, Illinois. Teenager Sam Childs is caught between his father, who follows the non-violent path of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his older brother who has joined the Black Panther Party and its sometimes violent methods. Will Sam choose the rock or the river?
9. Scat by Carl Hiaasen – After mean Mrs. Starch goes missing during a class field trip to the Black Vine Swamp, two of her students, Nick and Marta, believe her disappearance is mysterious and that there is something strange about the note that she left behind. Can Nick and Marta solve the mystery of the missing teacher?
10. Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani – Aspiring filmmaker 14-year-old Viola is the child of devoted documentary filmmakers, but her parents’ overseas assignment brings her to Prefect Academy, a boarding school for girls. Viola is sure that she’ll hate Prefect, but she befriends her roommates, learning that she can flourish in a new environment.
All book descriptions come from the Nutmeg Book Award site.