BookPage Teen Top Pick, April 2014
When 16-year-old Travis Coates, dying from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, donated his head (the only part of his body not ravaged by cancer) to be cryogenically stored at the Saranson Center for Life Preservation, he imagined being reinstated in 100 years, alongside jet packs and other futuristic gadgets.
If you think you know all about Dorothy and her trip to Oz, you may be surprised to discover you only know half the story. Much like A.G. Howard did to Alice in Wonderland in Splintered, Danielle Paige turns a beloved tale and movie into an intriguing novel of dark magic for older teens.
No matter that Cuckoo, an adorable light gray bird with stripes, doesn’t look like his polka-dotted mother and siblings. All’s well until they open their beaks in this latest pet book by Fiona Roberton, also the author of Wanted: The Perfect Pet and The Perfect Present. While the other birds give a soothing tweet, the aptly named Cuckoo responds with a definitive “cuckoo!” that his family doesn’t recognize. Cuckoo is no ugly duckling, though; he’s not interested in becoming a swan, just in finding a friend who will understand him.
In the opening scene of unflinching thriller Before My Eyes—eminiscent of the shooting at Gabby Giffords’ political rally in 2011a gunman pulls out a weapon at a Labor Day campaign rally for New York state senator Glenn Cooper. Who is the target? What is the motive? And how will the crowd react to and fare the tragedy? To answer these questions, author Caroline Bock takes readers back to the Friday that kicks off this holiday weekend on Long Island and the events that lead up to the gunman’s appearance.
On the heels of solving her first mystery in the Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky, Mo LoBeau faces more intrigue in her tiny North Carolina town of Tupelo Landing. Just when her adoptive kin buy the old Tupelo Inn, now abandoned and rumored to be haunted, her sixth-grade teacher assigns an oral history report to coincide with the community’s 250th anniversary. Extra credit goes to the student who can interview the town’s oldest member, so Mo decides to interview the ghost of the Tupelo Inn because “[t]here ain’t nobody older than dead.”
In the winter of 2001, the tragedy of 9/11 is still fresh, especially for 16-year-old Aidan Donovan. There’s something to fear everywhere, and with this fear comes isolation. Only charismatic and vibrant Father Greg offers certainty, and maybe even love, in a world that seems to be falling apart. As Aidan turns to drugs, alcohol and a new set of friends, he begins to question his relationship with Father Greg. Faced with the possibility of a girlfriend for the first time and a classmate who may share Father Greg’s dirty secrets, Aidan has more to ponder, including his own sexuality and his belief system.
In The Sittin’ Up, author Shelia P. Moses returns to Rich Square, North Carolina, made famous by her National Book Award finalist and Coretta Scott King Honor book, The Legend of Buddy Bush. In Moses’ charming, ever-thoughtful new novel, one death in the summer of 1940 has the power to transform an entire town.
Life is tough in Allen “Ali” Brooks’ Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. His mother works two jobs just to make ends meet. His father, who’s served time in prison, hustles on the streets and lives in his car, but ultimately wants to take care of his children. And Ali can’t always rely on his best friend, Noodles, a secret comic book geek with an anger...
Born in Mendeland, known today as Sierra Leone, 9-year-old Margu enjoys the lush green of her homeland until drought causes her to be pawned for rice and later forced into slavery. Monica Edinger’s illustrated tale of historical fiction, told in a longer picture book format, follows the girl’s fears as she makes the seven-week voyage across the Atlantic aboard the Spanish slave...
Books about bunnies are sweet, right? Not one that’s created by the imaginative team of Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales), Mac Barnett (Extra Yarn) and illustrator Matthew Myers (Clink). Their irreverent picture book, originally titled Birthday Bunny, starts out harmlessly enough with an inscription from Gran Gran to Alex, wishing her “little...