New Hampshire Educational Media Association Annual Conference


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Nancy J. Keane

New Hampshire Educational Media Association Annual Conference

May 7, 2009

Alvarez, Julia. Return to sender. Knopf, c2009 (MS, HS)
After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Wintergirls. Viking, 2009 (MS, HS)
Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friend's death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.

Barnes, Jennifer (Jennifer Lynn) Fate. Delacorte Press, c2008 (MS. HS)
Bailey Morgan's double life as ordinary high school student by day and ancient mystical being by night begins to take its toll, until she meets the rest of the Sidhe and is drawn into their otherworldly web.

Bailey Morgan, half mortal and half faerie, is unsettled by changes coming too quickly in her life. High-school graduation and the possibility of separation from her three best friends loom on the mortal horizon, and her night job as one of the Three Fates puts her at the nexus of a problem with the wall between the sidhe (fey) and mortal realms. Held in place by tenuous forces, the protective barrier is thinning and Bailey (with the help of her beautiful, brainy, butt-kickin’ friends) must first find balance within herself in order to stabilize the wall and prevent the devious sidhe from gaining easy access to the human race. Fate follows Tattoo (2007) and is a sassy, amusing friendship tale that can definitely be enjoyed on its own. Bailey’s believable angst about the future, her friends, and a new romance will resonate with female readers everywhere. Give this to fans of Meg Cabot’s Avalon High, or those looking for relief from Melissa Marr or Holly Black’s darker fey adventures.

Cohn, Rachel. You know where to find me Simon Pulse, 2009, c2008. (MS, HS)
In the wake of her cousin's suicide, overweight and introverted seventeen-year-old Miles experiences significant changes in her relationships with her mother and father, her best friend Jamal and his family, and her cousin's father, while gaining insights about herself, both positive and negative.
Seventeen-year-old Miles's cousin, Laura, overdoses on prescription drugs. An overweight underachiever, Miles experiences her own downward spiral of grief, depression, and drug abuse. Ultimately, though, she proves to be a survivor. Strong character development and an unflinching look at teen suicide set this story apart from similar books dealing with the subject.

Colasanti, Susane. Waiting for You. Viking Juvenile, c2009.(MS, HS)
Fifteen-year-old high school sophomore Marisa, who has an anxiety disorder, decides that this is the year she will get what she wants--a boyfriend and a social life--but things do not turn out exactly the way she expects them to.

Seems like there ought to be an advocacy group for the stereotyped hot guy of YA literature who is always portrayed as a cheating slimeball. This title follows a familiar story line: Marisa is thrilled when gorgeous Derek starts dating her, but it doesn’t last, and he is caught flirting heavily with his ex. The demise of her parents’ marriage coincides with Marisa’s own failing relationship, and astute readers will realize that her misplaced anger with her father should be redirected to her mother, who is the one having an affair. Throughout all this, nice, nerdy, next-door-neighbor Nash is there to support Marisa (and the rest of the school in his anonymous nightly advice podcasts, in which he answers e-mails and IMs). The twists in the plot are pretty transparent, and the language is peppered with enough “he goes,” “she’s like,” and “whatev’s” to signal the demise of grammatically correct English. Even so, the romance is less graphic than in many other similarly themed YA novels, and middle-school girls looking for love will find fulfillment here.

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press, 2008 (MS, HS)
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen accidentally becomes a contender in the annual Hunger Games, a grave competition hosted by the Capitol where young boys and girls are pitted against one another in a televised fight to the death.

Cooney, Caroline B. If the Witness Lied. Delacorte BFYR, c2009. (MS, HS)
Torn apart by tragedies and the publicity they brought, siblings Smithy, Jack, and Madison, aged fourteen to sixteen, tap into their parent's courage to pull together and protect their brother Tris, nearly three, from further media exploitation and a much more sinister threat.

Cooney's new psychologically penetrating page-turner immediately grabs readers then hangs on tight up to its satisfying conclusion. Three separated orphan siblings reunite to save their little brother and themselves from a media circus; while doing so, they discover not only that their father did not die accidentally as they had thought but that there is a murderer in their midst. Since the untimely deaths of their parents received saturation coverage in the media, the Fountain children have splintered. Jack, 15, lives with his uncaring step-aunt Cheryl and his almost-three-year-old brother in the family home. Madison and Smithy, Jack's sisters, unable to cope with the notoriety, have moved away. But now Cheryl has contacted a TV producer who plans to put the family on public display, which none of them wants. The author adds depth to this fast-paced thriller by charting the siblings' difficult emotional journeys as they try to reconnect and reconfigure their familial roles, while realizing their battered but still surviving solidarity. (Thriller. 12 & up)

Dessen, Sarah Along for the ride. Viking Juvenile, c2009. (HS)
Auden gets a chance to recapture the carefree teen life she missed while her parents were going through a divorce when she goes to spend the summer withher dad and his new family in a charming beach town and meets fellow insomniac Eli, an intriguing loner fighting demons of his own.
Dessen has built a well-deserved reputation for delicately depicting teen girls in turmoil. Her latest title showcases a socially awkward young woman who seeks solace in the comforting rigidity of academic success. Auden is about to start college in the fall, and decides to escape her control-freak professor mom to spend the summer with her novelist father, his new young wife, and their brand-new baby daughter, Thisbe. Over the course of the summer, Auden tackles many new projects: learning to ride a bike, making real connections with peers, facing the emotional fallout of her parents’ divorce, distancing herself from her mother, and falling in love with Eli, a fellow insomniac bicyclist recovering from his own traumas. The cover may mislead readers, as despite the body language of the girl in pink and the hunky blue-jeaned boy balanced on a bike, this is no slight romance: there’s real substance here. Dessen’s many fans will not be deterred by the length or that cover; they expect nuanced, subtle writing, and they won’t be disappointed.

Dowd, Siobhan. Bog child. David Fickling Books, 2008. (MS, HS)

In 1981, the height of Ireland's "Troubles," eighteen-year-old Fergus is distracted from his upcoming A-level exams by his imprisoned brother's hunger strike, the stress of being a courier for Sinn Fein, and dreams of a murdered girl whose body he discovered in a bog.

Dowell, Frances O'Roark. The kind of friends we used to be. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2009.(MS)
Twelve-year-olds Kate and Marylin, friends since preschool, draw further apart as Marylin becomes involved in student government and cheerleading, while Kate wants to play guitar and write songs, and both develop unlikely friendships with other girls and boys.
Dowell’s The Secret Language of Girls (2005) traced the gradual unraveling of the friendship between two suburban sixth-grade girls. This sequel follows Kate and Marylin into seventh grade and shows the girls accepting both the distance between them and the comfort of having a trustworthy friend when you really need one. As in the last book, Kate is the more self-possessed one, though she is not without doubts or worries as she pursues her studies and songwriting. Marylin deals with divorced parents and cheerleading peer pressure but soon finds her own way in student government. Dowell’s light but observant style reveals the benefits of not judging anybody—including yourself—too quickly.

Forman, Gayle. If I stay : a novel. Dutton Books, c2009. (HS)
While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.

Forman (Sisters in Sanity, 2007) provides a compelling and highly textured account of the brutal 24 hours that may be 17-year-old Mia’s last. Her day starts with a drive, with her loving and moderately punk parents and her effervescent little brother, to a bookstore. A collision with another vehicle leaves Mia’s parents dead. The narrative is told in a robust first-person voice, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, and out-of-body reports on her immediate surroundings as Mia is transported, in grave condition, to the hospital. The story then follows the medical efforts to save her life, extended family and friends’ efforts to provide emotional care, and Mia’s coming to terms with what has happened and what might still await her. Mia, a gifted cellist, finds support from her alt-rock boyfriend and a best friend whose own mother is a hysteric. Mia’s recounting of this critical day is laced with insight, good humor, and wonder, allowing the reader to enter the scene as fully as Mia herself seems to have, at least for now, left her broken body. More developed and satisfying than a Lurlene McDaniel drama, Mia’s story will engage readers willing to suspend their disbelief that the future can be seen in the present.

Gallagher, Liz. The opposite of invisible. Wendy Lamb Books, c2008. (MS, HS)
Artistic Seattle high school sophomore Alice decides to emerge from her cocoon and date a football player, which causes a rift between her and her best friend, a boy who wants to be more than just friends.
Sophomore Alice and her best friend, an artsy boy called Jewel, exist on the periphery of their Seattle high school's in-crowd. Unexpected lip-locks with Jewel and the football player she has a crush on lead Alice in different directions. With a good ear for dialogue and sure character delineation, Gallagher makes fresh the oft-visited terrain of high school friendship and romance.

Gibson, Marley The Awakening (Ghost Huntress - book 1). Graphia Books, c2009. (MS, HS)
Moving from Chicago to tiny Radisson, Georgia, awakens latent psychic powers in sixteen-year-old Kendall, who finds herself communicating with ghosts and forming a ragtag ghosthunting team to research and battle a belligerent spirit that is trying to harm her father.

Going, K. L. (Kelly L.) King of the screwups. Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. (MS, HS)
Liam Geller is one of the most popular boys in school but can't seem to do anything right in the eyes of his father; so he goes to live with his homosexual, rocker uncle who helps him to understand that there is much more to him than his father will ever see.

Like her previous novels, including the Printz Honor Book Fat Kid Rules the World (2003), Going’s latest is a surprising, memorable story shaped from unlikely character bonds. High-school senior Liam is a talented, straight athlete who is as gorgeous as his mother, a former supermodel, and has inherited her interest in clothes: “I love fashion. And girls.” A mediocre student, he constantly disappoints his dad, an angry, sometimes verbally abusive executive who kicks Liam out of the house after one too many perceived transgressions. Against his homophobic dad’s wishes, Liam moves in with his gay, cross-dressing, trailer-dwelling uncle, Aunt Pete. Determined to meet his father’s expectations, Liam joins the AV club at his new school and actively tries to fight his natural status as “Mr. Popularity”; but once again, everything goes awry. Liam’s parents occasionally feel more like caricatures than fully developed characters, but Liam and Aunt Pete are true originals, and Going balances her strong messages of self-discovery and acceptance with compassionate, bittersweet scenes that highlight the soul-sapping futility of trying to please unappeasable adults.

Grant, Michael Hunger --a Gone novel. Katherine Tegen Books, c2009. (MS, HS)
Conditions worsen for the remaining young residents of a small California coastal town isolated by supernatural events when their food supplies dwindle and the Darkness underground awakens.

Hantman, Clea. 30 days to finding and keeping sassy sidekicks and BFFs : a friendship field guide. Delacorte Press, c2009. (MS, HS)
Clea Hantman offers a thirty-day program to help women build stronger friendships, evaluate their current friendship needs, and make new friends that will last a lifetime.

Harper, Charise Mericle. Fashion Kitty and the unlikely hero. Disney/Hyperion, 2008. (MS)
When the school principal requires that everybody wear boring school uniforms, Fashion Kitty looks forward to using her talents, but some bad kitties teach her important lessons about clothing styles.

Henson, Heather. Here's how I see it : here's how it is. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2009. (MS)
At almost-thirteen, Junebug has never felt right except as stagehand at her father's summer theater, but after her parents separate and an irritating intern takes over her responsibilities, she discovers how hard life can be without a script to follow.

Linker, Julie. Crowned. Simon Pulse, 2008. (MS, HS)

Pageant contestants Presley, who needs to win to afford college, and Megan, the girl with all of the connections, pull out all the stops, including vicious rumors and scandalous pictures on the Internet, when they face each other in a contest.

Lyga, Barry. Hero-type. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.(HS)
Feeling awkward and ugly is one of several reasons sixteen-year-old Kevin is uncomfortable with the publicity about his act of accidental heroism, but when a reporter photographs him apparently being unpatriotic, he speaks out and encourages people to think about what the symbols of freedom really mean.

Mass, Wendy, 1967- 11 birthdays. Scholastic Press, 2009.(MS)
After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat itself over and over again.

Mazer, Norma Fox, 1931- The missing girl. HarperTeen, c2008. (MS, HS)
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.

McDaniel, Lurlene Breathless. Delacorte BFYR, c2009. (MS, HS)

A high school diving champion's diagnosis of bone cancer affects not only his life, but those of his best friend, his sister, and his girlfriend.

McDaniel, Lurlene. Prey. Delacorte Press, c2008. (MS, HS)
Told from their separate points of view, fifteen-year-old Ryan has a secret affair with his thirty-three-year-old history teacher at an Atlanta high school, and his best friend Honey becomes determined to uncover the reason he is increasingly distant.

McMann, Lisa. Fade. Simon Pulse, 2009. (MS, HS)
Using her ability to tap into other people's dreams, eighteen-year-old Janie investigates an alleged sex ring at her high school that involves teachers using the date rape drug on students.

McVoy, Terra Elan. Pure. Simon Pulse, 2009. (MS, HS)
Fifteen-year-old Tabitha and her four best friends all wear purity rings to symbolize their pledge to remain virgins until they marry, but when one admits that she has broken the pledge each girl must reexamine her faith, friendships, and what it means to be pure.

Meldrum, Christina. Madapple. Alfred A. Knopf, c2008. (HS)
A girl who has been brought up in near isolation is thrown into a twisted web of family secrets and religious fundamentalism when her mother dies and she goes to live with relatives she never knew she had.

Monninger, Joseph. Hippie chick. Front Street, c2008. (MS, HS)

After her sailboat capsizes, fifteen-year-old Lolly Emmerson is rescued by manatees and taken to a mangrove in the Everglades, where she forms a bond with her aquatic companions while struggling to survive.

Musgrove, Marianne. The Worry Tree. Holt, 2008, c2007. (MS)
Juliet is a worrier, but when constant bickering between her and her younger sister leads Juliet to move into her own bedroom, she discovers the Worry Tree her grandmother used as a girl to relieve her own concerns.

Myracle, Lauren Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks. Dutton, c2009. (MS, HS)
Fifteen-year-old Carly's summer volunteer experience makes her feel more real than her life of privilege in Atlanta ever did, but her younger sister starts high school pretending to be what she is not, and both find their relationships suffering.

Napoli, Donna Jo, 1948- Alligator bayou. Wendy Lamb Books, c2009. (MS, HS)
Fourteen-year-old Calogero Scalise and his Sicilian uncles and cousin live in small-town Louisiana in 1898, when Jim Crow laws rule and anti-immigration sentiment is strong, so despite his attempts to be polite and to follow American customs, disaster dogs his family at every turn.

Rees, Celia. Sovay. Bloomsbury, 2009, c2008. (MS, HS)
In 1794 England, the rich and beautiful Sovay, disguised as a highwayman, acquires papers that could lead to her father's arrest for treason, and soon her newly-awakened political consciousness leads her and a compatriot to France during the Revolution.

Tan, Shaun. Tales from outer suburbia. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009, c2008. (MS, HS)

Contains fifteen illustrated short stories, some humorous and some haunting, set in the Australian suburbs.

Thompson, Kate, 1956- Creature of the night. Roaring Brook Press, 2009, c2008. (HS)
Bobby recklessly smokes, drinks, and steals cars in Dublin, and when his mother relocates the family to a small cottage in the countryside, Bobby believes a certain spookiness lurks in the corners of the new home.

Van Diepen, Allison. Raven. Simon Pulse, 2009. (HS)

New York City breakdancer Nicole falls in love with Zin, a fellow dancer, but an ancient secret forces Zin to keep his distance from Nicole, despite his growing feelings for her.

Wasserman, Robin. Skinned. Simon Pulse, 2008. (HS)
Lia Kahn's family pays for the most advanced medical technology to save her when her body is devistated in a horrible accident, but when the operations are complete, Lia remains alive but her body does not.

Waters, Dan, 1969- Generation dead. Hyperion, c2008. (MS, HS)
When dead teenagers who have come back to life start showing up at her high school, Phoebe, a goth girl, becomes interested in the phenomenon, and when she starts dating a "living impaired" boy, they encounter prejudice, fear, and hatred.

Werlin, Nancy. Impossible : a novel. Dial Books, c2008. (MS, HS)

When seventeen-year-old Lucy discovers her family is under an ancient curse by an evil Elfin Knight, she realizes that she must perform three impossible tasks before her daughter is born to break the curse and to save them both.

Whitney, Kim Ablon The Other Half of Life --a novel based on the true story of the MS St. Louis. Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, c2009. (MS, HS)
In 1939, fifteen-year-old Thomas sails on a German ship bound for Cuba with more than nine hundred German Jews expecting to be granted safe haven in Cuba.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. Jumped . HarperTeen, c2009. (HS)
The lives of Leticia, Dominique, and Trina are irrevocably intertwined through the course of one day in an urban high school after Leticia overhears Dominique's plans to beat up Trina and must decide whether or not to get involved.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Peace, Locomotion. Putnam's, c2009. (MS)
Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as "Locomotion," keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.



Nancy J. Keane NHEMA Annual Conference 2009


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