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Pick of the Decade 1998-2008 The Best Books for Children Grades k-8

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Seventeen-year-old Vince's life is constantly complicated by the fact that he is the son of a powerful Mafia boss, a relationship that threatens to destroy his romance with the daughter of an FBI agent.(Sequel: Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle.)

Larbalestier, Justine. Magic or Madness, 2005.

From the Sydney, Australia home of a grandmother she believes is a witch, fifteen-year-old Reason Cansino is magically transported to New York City, where she discovers that friends and foes can be hard to distinguish. (Sequels: Magic Lessons and Magic’s Child.)
Lawrence, Iain. Ghost Boy, 2000.

Unhappy in a home seemingly devoid of love, a fourteen-year-old albino boy who thinks of himself as Harold the Ghost runs away to join the circus, where he works with the elephants and searches for a sense of who he is.

Lawrence, Iain. B for Buster, 2004.

In the spring of 1943, sixteen-year-old Kak, desperate to escape his abusive parents, lies about his age to enlist in the Canadian Air Force and soon finds himself based in England as part of a crew flying bombing raids over Germany.

Lawrence, Michael. A Crack in the Line, 2004.

It's been two years since his mother died in a terrible train crash, and Alaric's life continues to unravel. He and his father are barely on speaking terms, and Withern Rise, their Victorian mansion, is in shambles. Trapped at home during a blizzard, Alaric stumbles into a parallel world; a reality in which his mother is still alive. There's only one problem ... someone else is living his life. (Sequels: Small Eternities and The Underwood See.)

Lee, Tanith. Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl’s Adventure upon the High Seas, 2004.

A bump on the head restores Art's memories of her mother and the exciting life they led, so the sixteen-year-old leaves Angels Academy for Young Maidens, seeks out the pirates who were her family before her mother's death, and leads them back to adventure on the high seas. (Sequel: Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island.)

Le Guin, Ursula. Gifts, 2004.

In the Uplands the clans possess hereditary gifts of magic: to call animals, to bring forth fire, to twist a limb, chain a mind or unmake stone and bone. The gifts are wondrous and dangerous, and when two teenagers, Orrec and Gyr who have been best friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts, their whole world changes. (Sequels: Voices and Powers. See also: A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and Tehanu.)

Lester, Julius. Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue, 2005.

Slave owner, Pierce Butler must sell his slaves to cover his gambling debts and although he promises twelve-year-old Emma that he will never sell her, he does on the last day of the auctions. Emma moves to Kentucky with her new mistress, where she eventually marries, runs away and finally finds freedom in Canada.

Levine, Gail Carson. Ever, 2008.

Fourteen-year-old Kezi and Olus, Akkan god of the winds, fall in love and together try to change her fate--to be sacrificed to a Hyte god because of a rash promise her father made--through a series of quests that might make her immortal.

Lisle, Janet Taylor. Black Duck, 2006.

Years afterwards, Ruben Hart tells the story of how, in 1929 Newport, Rhode Island, his family and his best friend's family were caught up in the violent competition among groups trying to control the local rum-smuggling trade.

Lubar, David. Hidden Talents, 2000.

When thirteen-year-old Martin arrives at an alternative school for misfits and problem students, he falls in with a group of boys with psychic powers and discovers something surprising about himself. (Sequel: True Talents.)

Lubar, David. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, 2005.

While navigating his first year of high school and awaiting the birth of his new baby brother, Scott loses old friends and gains some unlikely new ones as he hones his skills as a writer.

Mack, Tracy. Birdland, 2003.

Fourteen-year-old, tongue-tied Jed spends Christmas break working on a school project filming a documentary about his East Village, New York City, neighborhood, where he is continually reminded of his older brother, Zeke, a promising poet who died the year before.

Mackler, Carolyn. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things, 2003.

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex. She lives on the Web, snarfs junk food, and follows the "Fat Girl Code of Conduct."

Malley, Gemma. The Declaration, 2007.

In 2140 England, where drugs enable people to live forever and children are illegal, teenaged Anna, an obedient "Surplus" training to become a house servant, discovers that her birth parents are trying to find her. (Sequel: The Resistence.)

Marchetta, Melina. Saving Francesca, 2004.

Sixteen-year-old Francesca could use her outspoken mother's help with the problems of being one of a handful of girls at a parochial school that has just turned co-ed, but her mother has suddenly become severely depressed.

Marillier, Juliet. Wildwood Dancing, 2007

When their cousin Cezar arrives after their father becomes ill, Jena fears his true motive for showing up while worrying about her sister's new relationship with a dangerous creature from the Other Kingdom, an enchanted world only available to them on the night of the full moon. (Sequel: Cybele’s Secret.)

Marino, Peter. Dough Boy, 2005.

Fifteen-year-old Tristan deals with intensified criticism about his weight when the nutrition-obsessed daughter of his mother's boyfriend, Frank, moves in.

Mazer, Norma Fox. The Missing Girl, 2008.

In Mallory, New York, as five sisters, aged eleven to seventeen, deal with assorted problems, conflicts, fears, and yearnings, a mysterious middle-aged man watches them, fascinated, deciding which one he likes the best.

McCormick, Patricia. Cut, 2000.

While confined to a mental hospital, thirteen-year-old Callie slowly comes to understand some of the reasons behind her self-mutilation, and gradually starts to get better.

McDonald, Janet. Spellbound, 2003.

Raven, a teenage mother and high school dropout living in a housing project, decides, with the help and sometime interference of her best friend Aisha, to study for a spelling bee which could lead to a college preparatory program and four-year scholarship.

McDonald, Joyce. Shades of Simon Gray, 2001

Seventeen-year-old Simon lies in a coma, finding his space and time overlapping with that of a man who was lynched over 200 years ago, while a member of the cheating ring he has been helping wonders if their actions have caused the plagues assaulting their New Jersey town. (See also: Shadow People and Swallowing Stones.)

McKinley, Robn. Dragonhaven, 2007.

When Jake Mendoza, who lives in the Smokehill National Park where his father runs the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies, goes on his first solo overnight in the park, he finds an infant dragon whose mother has been killed by a poacher.

McNaughton, Janet. An Earthly Knight, 2004.

In 1162 in Scotland, sixteen-year-old Jenny Avenel falls in love with the mysterious Tam Lin while being courted by the king's brother and must navigate the tides of tradition and the power of ancient magic to define her own destiny.

Melling, O. R. The Hunter’s Moon, 2005.

First in The Chronicles of Fairy, cousins Findabhair and Gwenhyvar have always longed to discover if fairies still dwell in Ireland. When they spend the night in a barrow and the Fairy King steals Findabhair away, it’s up to Gwenhyvar to rescue her. (Sequels: The Summer King and The Light-Bearer’s Daughter; forthcoming 5/2009, The Book of Dreams.)

Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight, 2005.

Bored with her new life in a rainy Washington town, Isabella Swan finds her situation transforming into one of thrills and terror when she becomes involved with alluring vampire Edward Cullen, who struggles to keep his identity a secret. (Sequels: New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.)

Mikaelsen, Ben. Petey, 1999.

In 1922 Petey, who has cerebral palsy, is misdiagnosed as an idiot and institutionalized; sixty years later, still in the institution, he befriends a boy and shares with him the joy of life.

Morpurgo, Michael. Private Peaceful, 2004.

When Thomas Peaceful’s older brother is forced to join the British army, Thomas decides to sign up as well, although he is only fourteen-years-old, to prove himself to his country, his family, his childhood love, Molly, and himself.

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Dairy Queen, 2006.

After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.

Myers, Walter Dean. Monster, 1999.

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken. (See also: Slam.)

Na, An. A Step from Heaven, 2001.

A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America. (See also: Wait for Me.)

Naidoo, Beverley. The Other Side of Truth, 2001.

Smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother's murder, Sade and her younger brother are abandoned in London when their uncle fails to meet them at the airport and they are fearful of their new surroundings and of what may have happened to their journalist father back in Nigeria. (Sequel: Web of Lies.)

Napoli, Donna Jo. Beast, 2000.

The story of Beauty and the Beast is retold from the Beast’s point of view. Here, the Beast is a Persian prince who is cursed to be a lion until he wins the love of a woman.

(See also: The Song of the Magdalene, For the Love of Venice, and Bound.)
Napoli, Donna Jo. Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale, 2007.

Fifteen-year-old Melkorka, an Irish princess, is kidnapped by Russian slave traders and not only learns how to survive but to challenge some of the brutality of her captors, who are fascinated by her apparent muteness and the possibility that she is enchanted.

Oates, Joyce Carol. Big Mouth & Ugly Girl, 2002.

When sixteen-year-old Matt is falsely accused of threatening to blow up his high school and his friends turn against him, an unlikely classmate comes to his aid.

Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn, 2004

Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface. (Sequel: Skybreaker and Starclimber, forthcoming 3/2009..)

Pattou, Edith. East, 2003.

Rose was raised in a small Norwegian village and her mother would like to keep her close to home, but she has a wandering spirit. When her sister becomes ill and a white bear offers a cure in exchange for Rose, Rose chooses to accompany him to his castle-in-a-cave. While her sister recovers, Rose finds enchantment and danger in her new home.

Pearson, Mary. Scribbler of Dreams, 2001.

Despite her family's long feud with the Crutchfields, seventeen-year-old Kaitlin falls in love with Bram Crutchfield and weaves a tangled web of deception to conceal her identity from him.

Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life as We Knew It, 2006.

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. (Companion novel: The Dead and the Gone.)

Powell, Randy. Tribute to Another Dead Rock Star, 1999.

For a tribute to his mother, a dead rock star, fifteen-year-old Grady returns to Seattle, where he faces his mixed feelings for his retarded younger half-brother Louie while pondering his own future. (See also: Whistling Toilets.)

Reeve, Philip. Here Lies Arthur, 2008.

When her village is attacked and burned, Gwyna seeks protection from the bard Myrddin, who uses Gwyna in his plan to transform young Arthur into the heroic King Arthur.

Rennison, Louise. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging. 2000.

Presents the humorous journal of a year in the life of a fourteen-year-old British girl who tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat from terrorizing the neighborhood animals, and win the love of handsome hunk Robbie. (Sequels: On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God; Knocked Out by My Nunga Nungas; Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants; Away Laughing on a Fast Camel; Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers; Startled by His Furry Shorts, Love Is a Many Trousered Thing, Stop in the Name of the Pants, and Georgia 10, forthcoming 7/2009.)

Ritter, John H. Under the Baseball Moon, 2006.

Andy and Glory, two fifteen-year-olds from Ocean Beach, California, pursue their respective dreams of becoming a famous musician and a professional softball player.

Rosoff, Meg. how i live now, 2004.

To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land.

Sheldon, Dyan. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, 1999.

In her first year at a suburban New Jersey high school, Mary Elizabeth Cep, who now calls herself "Lola," sets her sights on the lead in the annual drama production, and finds herself in conflict with the most popular girl in school. (Sequel: Confessions of a Hollywood Star.)

Sheth, Kashmira. Keeping Corner, 2007.

In India in the 1940s, thirteen-year-old Leela's happy, spoiled childhood ends when her husband since age nine, whom she barely knows, dies, leaving her a widow whose only hope of happiness could come from Mahatma Ghandi's social and political reforms.

Shull, Megan. Amazing Grace, 2005.

Teen tennis superstar Grace Kincaid is starting to learn that being an overnight sensation isn't all it's cracked up to be. With fame and fortune just a backswing away, Grace decides that all she really wants to be is normal.

Shusterman, Neal. Everlost, 2006.

When Nick and Allie are killed in a car crash, they end up in Everlost, or limbo for lost souls, where although Nick is satisfied, Allie will stop at nothing--even skinjacking--to break free.

Sones, Sonya. One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, 2004.

Fifteen-year-old Ruby Milliken leaves her best friend, her boyfriend, her aunt, and her mother's grave in Boston and reluctantly flies to Los Angeles to live with her father, a famous movie star who divorced her mother before Ruby was born.

Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Under The Persimmon Tree, 2005.

During the 2001 Afghan War, the lives of Najmal, a young refugee from Kunduz, Afghanistan, and Nusrat, an American-Muslim teacher who is awaiting her huband's return from Mazar-i-Sharif, intersect at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Strasser, Todd. Give a Boy a Gun, 2000.

Events leading up to a night of terror at a high school dance are told from the point of view of various people involved.

Stratton, Allan. Chanda’s Secrets, 2004.

A girl's struggle amid the African AIDS pandemic, Chanda, is an astonishingly perceptive girl living in the small city of Bonang, a fictional city in Southern Africa. When her youngest sister dies, the first hint of HIV/AIDS emerges, Chanda must confront undercurrents of shame and stigma. (Sequel: Chanda’s War.)

Thesman, Jean. The Other Ones, 1999.

High school sophomore Bridget Raynes has to decide whether or not to accept her powers of witchcraft, or abandon them and try to fit in as an ordinary teenager.

Thompson, Kate. The New Policeman, 2007.

When his mother asks for "time" for her birthday, Irish teenager J.J. Liddy sets out to find it and stumbles upon Tir na n'Og, the land of the fairies, where he uncovers secrets about his family history, magic, the music that he loves, and a crime his great-grandfather may or may not have committed. (Sequel: The Last of the High Kings.)

Wallace, Rich. Playing Without the Ball, 2000.

Feeling abandoned by his parents, who have gone their separate ways and left him behind in a small Pennsylvania town, seventeen-year-old Jay finds hope for the future in a church-sponsored basketball team and a female friend. (See also: Wrestling Sturbridge and Shots on Goal.)

Wells, Rosemary. Red Moon at Sharpsburg, 2007.

Finding courage she never thought she had, a young Southern girl musters the strength and wit to survive the ravages of the Civil War and keep her family together through it all.

Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies, 2005.

In a world in which everyone is transformed into a stunning beauty at age 16, Tally has doubts. (Sequels: Pretties, Specials, and Extras.)

Werlin, Nancy. Locked Inside, 2000.

After she is kidnapped from the exclusive boarding school she attends, heiress Marnie Skyedottir must rethink her idealized relationship with her mother, her own sense of who she is, and her relationships with others. (See also: The Killer’s Cousin. and Double Helix.)

Wittlinger, Ellen. Razzle, 2001.

When his retired parents buy a group of tourist cabins on Cape Cod, fifteen-year-old Kenyon Baker's days are filled with repair work until he becomes friends with an eccentric girl and makes her the subject of a series of photographs.

Wittlinger, Ellen. Blind Faith, 2006.

While coping with her grandmother's sudden death and her mother's resulting depression and fascination with a spiritualist church, whose ministers claim to communicate with the dead, fifteen-year-old Liz finds herself falling for a new neighbor whose mother is dying of cancer.

Wolff, Virginia Euwer. True Believer, 2001.

Living in the inner city amidst guns and poverty, fifteen-year-old LaVaughn learns from old and new friends, and inspiring mentors, that life is what you make it--an occasion to rise to.

Wooding, Chris. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, 2004.

In a world similar to Victorian London, Thaniel, a seventeen-year-old hunter of deadly, demonic creatures called the wych-kin, takes in an lost, possessed girl, and becomes embroiled in a plot to unleash evil on the world.

Wooding, Chris. Poison, 2005.

When her baby sister is snatched by the phaeries, Poison embarks on a dangerous quest to their dark realm to rescue her.

Yolen, Jane. The Queen’s Own Fool, 2000.

When twelve-year-old Nicola leaves Troupe Brufort and serves as the fool for Mary, Queen of Scots, she experiences the political and religious upheavals in both France and Scotland. (See also: Girl in a Cage, The Prince Across the Water, and Rogue’s Apprentice.)

Zindel, Paul. The Gadget, 2001.

In 1945, having joined his father at Los Alamos, where he and other scientists are working on a secret project to end World War II, thirteen-year-old Stephen becomes caught in a web of secrecy and intrigue.

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