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Top 10 Best Books for Teens in 2008

All books are listed in alphabetical order by author. Click here to see if a book is in!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie

Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, is deetermined to take his future into his own hands. Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

by Ishmeal Beah

Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

Before I Die

Before I Die

by Jenny Downham

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex.

Released from the constraints of 'normal' life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa's feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out.

Your Own, Sylvia

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Path

by Stephanie Hemphill

On a bleak February day in 1963 a young American poet died by her own hand, and passed into a myth that has since imprinted itself on the hearts and minds of millions. She was and is Sylvia Plath and Your Own, Sylvia is a portrait of her life, from infancy to death by suicide at age 30, told in poems.

The poems are arranged chronologically and each conveys an experience in Plath's life told via the voice and perspective of family members, friends, doctors, fellow writers, and others in her life with photos and addendums explaining the factual circumstances of that poem's subject.

Mister Pip

Mister Pip

by Llyod Jones

On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with most everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations.

First the children, and the entire village, are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip, their imaginations aflame with dreams of Dickens's London and the larger world. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination- it turns out - is a dangerous thing.

Skulduggery Pleasant

Skulduggery Pleasant

by Derek Landy

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant, Ace Detective, Snappy Dresser, Razor-tongued Wit, Crackerjack Sorcerer and Walking, Talking, Fire-throwing Skeleton - as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world? Over his dead body.

Tamar

Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion and Betrayal

by Mal Peet

When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War - and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar's life forever.

American Shaolin

American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch - An Odyssey in the New China

by Matthew Polly

Growing up a ninety-pound weakling tormented by bullies in the schoolyards of Kansas, young Matthew Polly dreamed of one day journeying to the Shaolin Temple in China to become the toughest fighter in the world, like Caine in his favorite 1970s TV series, Kung Fu. While in college, Matthew decided the time had come to pursue this quixotic dream before it was too late. Much to the dismay of his parents, he dropped out of Princeton to spend two years training with the legendary sect of monks who invented kung fu and Zen Buddhism.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

The Arrival

The Arrival

by Shaun Tan

In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life - he's leaving home to build a better future for his family.

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