The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George

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Genre: Mystery/Supernatural

A 2013 Edgar Award Nominee 

The Edge of Nowhere is the first YA title from George, who is best known for her mystery novels featuring Inspector Lynley, which are now a BBC series. It centers around Hannah Armstrong, who immediately reinvents herself as Becca King in order to escape a murderous stepfather. The main plot point hear is that Becca can hear others’ thoughts – a trait she must keep hidden both to avoid detection from her stepfather and keep from bringing other conflicts upon herself. This becomes increasingly difficult as she is separated from her mother and left to fend for herself on Whidbey Island in the state of Washington. She finds help from a kind dog owner, a grandmotherly recovering alcoholic and the town delinquent, but finds herself once again at the center of the drama when a boy she has befriended is found wounded in the woods. Continue reading »

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Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

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Genre: Realistic/historical fiction

A 2012 Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Honor Book

Jasper Jones was one of those books I wanted to start recommending before I had finished reading. This is what young adult fiction should be.

Jasper Jones is the store of Charlie, a teenage boy growing up in a small Australian mining town in the 1960s (of particular interest to me as my sister currently lives in a small, rural Australian mining town). When the town delinquent, Jasper Jones, shows up at his window one night, Charlie makes the pivotal choice to follow him, and as a result becomes caught up in…well, a lot. A town scandal/mystery. A personal and moral crisis. A search for justice on many levels. The solution to the book’s mystery won’t leave anyone reeling, but by the end, everything has come together so gracefully it feels satisfactory. The writing is beautiful, descriptive and readable. Continue reading »

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My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

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Genre: Graphic novel/biography/true crime/fictionalization

Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

My Friend Dahmer is a graphic novel covering the adolescence of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.  The story is written by a high school friend of Dahmer and is based on personal recollections from the author and other of Dahmer’s peers, as well as other source material such as news articles and FBI interviews of Dahmer. Continue reading »

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Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

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image_51 Genre: Realistic Fiction

Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

I started by review here by saying Girlchild was “well written but kind of just not my cup of tea.”  I think part of the problem was that I couldn’t really find anything in it to which I could relate. In addition, the writing had a beautiful quality to it but took a bit of patience. I described it to a friend recently as “one of those books that seems like it’s written entirely in metaphors.” There was one chapter that confused me totally and I’m still not sure what happened in it. I think there’s a good deal of merit in it, in the writing as well as the subject, I just didn’t find it compelling. Continue reading »

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Caring Is Creepy by David Zimmerman

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Genre: Realistic Fiction
Winner 2013 Alex Award, the ALA’s award for “books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.”

Caring Is Creepy is the story of Lynn, a 15-year-old girl with a troubled home life. It follows two stories that ultimately converge. In the first, Lynn deals with her mother’s boyfriend and the drug-dealing troubles he brings, and in the second, she explores a relationship with a damaged soldier (Logan) she meets online. Continue reading »

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