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Florida Teens Read 2009-2010 Books Announced

The Florida Teens Read book list for the 2009-2010 school year was released in late April 2009. The books are chosen by a committee formed by the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) and are used by many Florida school districts for their "Battle of the Books" competition. According to the FAME website, they are chosen "to engage high school students, reflect interests of high school students, and represent a variety of genres, formats, reading levels, viewpoints, and ethnic and cultural perspectives." These books are considered to be some of the best books available for young adult readers. Here is the list of books that are on this year's list, along with comments and ratings on those titles that I have read. Summaries for books that I have not yet read and rated are based on the Destiny library software book information, the URL for the Destiny program is noted in the sources portion of this article.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Little, Brown and Company, 2007

This book was in my top five young adult books released in 2007. I was surprised to not see it recognized when the Printz Awards (for the best books written each year for young adults) were announced. I gave this book five stars, my highest rating. This book is based on the author's own life growing up on a Native American reservation.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart Hyperion Books for Children, 2008

Frankie Landau- Banks attends an exclusive prep school. She plots to take over the all male secret society at her school and engineers intricate pranks. This book was a 2009 honor book for the Printz Award. I gave this book a two star rating.

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters Hyperion Books for Children, 2008

When dead teenagers who have come back to life start showing up at her high school, goth girl Phoebe becomes very interested in them . She begins Dating a "living impaired" boy, only to encounter prejudice, fear, and hatred.

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker Houghton Mifflin, 2007

Mick Johnson works hard to earn a spot on the varsity football team during his freshman year of high school. He chooses to use steroids in order to maintain his place on the team, despite the consequences.

Homeboyz by Alan Lawrence Sitomer Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, 2007

Please note that FAME has indicated that this book features mature themes. After his little sister is killed by a stray bullet from a semiautomatic gun, seventeen-year-old Teddy Anderson, better known on the streets as T-Bear, seeks revenge.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Scholastic Press, 2008

This is the first book in a new series by the author of the popular Gregor the Overlander series. This book is a dystopian young adult novel in which 24 teen participants must fight to the death in a government engineered competition/reality TV show. This is an excellent, fast moving story that is appropriate for tweens and young Adults. The second book in this series, Catching Fire will be released in September 2009. I gave this book a four star rating when I read it earlier this year.

The Last Exit to Normal by Michael B. Harmon Knopf, 2008

Ben, at seventeen, is removed from his familiar city life and relocated into a small Montana town with his newly outed father and his father's boyfriend. He is angry and confused about the turn his life has taken, but he notices something odd about the little boy next door and seeks to solve the mystery about him.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow Tor, 2008

This is a very interesting techno rebel/dystopia book for young Adults. Much of the technology reflected in the book is only slightly advanced from current day cutting edge tech; this book gives the reader a lot to think about in terms of technology and civil liberties vs. public safety. I gave this book a four star rating, it is a book that really sticks with you and the reader will find themselves pondering it long after the book is read.

The Market by J. M. Steele Hyperion, 2008

Kate's high school has a popularity scale called the "Millbank Social Stock Market" and she is ranked seventy-first out of 140 senior girls. She and her friends set out to move up in the market.

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham Candlewick Press, 2007

This is an interesting book; it details the recovery of a teen girl who loses her arm in a shark attack. It is written in verse, and is a fast moving read. I rated it at 3 stars, mainly because I felt that it lost a large part of it's realism near the end as things were wrapped up far too neatly. Overall, teen readers (particularly girls) will enjoy this book. It is a very clean read, and appropriate for middle school aged readers and up.

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008

This book is a compelling story of best friends (Win and Chris) who undertake a cross country bike ride following high school graduation. The friends, and their relationship, change as they ride across the U.S. Eventually, Win abandons Chris and disappears. Upon returning for the start of college, Chris is surprised to find that an FBI agent suspects that he is involved in foul play regarding Win's disappearance. As the story takes place in alternating chapters set in the present day and those taking place during the road trip, a very compelling mystery unfolds. This book is outstanding, it is highly recommended for high school aged and adult readers. I rated this book as 4 stars.

Suck It Up by Brian Meehl Delacorte Press, 2008

Here is a refreshing twist on the teen vampire genre. This sixteen year old isn't hiding his vampiric nature like most, he's so "out" that he even has his own public relations agent. With dark humor and a touch of romance, this book is strongly recommended for fans of teen vampire books. I rated this book as 4 stars.

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson Point, 2008

Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Marvin is stuck working at her family's historic New York City hotel for the summer. Things get much more interesting when she meets her brother's handsome friend and a guest who offers her a challenging and interesting writing project.

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter Atheneum, 2008

This is the only nonfiction book on the Florida Teens Read list this year. It tells the story of the author's nine years in the Florida foster care system, and details how her life changed when she was adopted.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007

In the future, teens can be "unwound" (killed and pieced out organ by organ to others with medical needs) for a variety of reasons. Bad behavior, not living up to family expectations, and religious tithing are all legal justifications for unwinding teens. This book follows three teens on the road to being unwound. I rated this book as five stars, it is outstanding and memorable.

I will be reading all fifteen of these books over the next few months, and will offer more complete book reviews of many of them here. These are excellent book choices for young Adults, particularly those who attend schools in Florida that participate in the Florida Teens Read program.

Sources:

http://www.floridamedia.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=80

http://destiny.pinellas.k12.fl.us/

By Sherrie Williams - I am a school librarian in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I am married with a 12 year old son. I am very interested in raising awareness of congenital heart defects due to my son, a thriving survivor of tw...  

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