National Book Award Favorites

I am so excited about this week at the library, because on Wednesday, the finalists for the National Book Awards will be announced.  The National Book Award is awarded every year to recognize the best in American literature.  There are four categories:  fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature.  The longlist of books for the National Book Award came out a few weeks ago, and Liberal Memorial Library has all of the long listed books in the young people’s literature category and I am reading my way through them as fast as I can.   Here are my top recommendations from the longlist (and the ones that I hope are at least a finalist for the award).

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles.  This book will make you want to cry and laugh and then cry and laugh again. At the end, you won’t know if you want to cry or smile.  Two mentally challenged girls are kicked out of their homes after high school graduation and are set up with jobs and an apartment that they have to share.  Each girl has her own problems and history and the book alternates between each girl telling her story.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley.  A sci-fi YA read that is funny, and not too science fictiony.  A 16 year old teen gets brought back from the dead (because of cryogenics) to find that his head has been sewn onto the head of another teen and five years has passed since he was put to sleep.  That’s the only science fiction part of the book – the rest deals with everyone else being five years older and him figuring out how to cope.

Fans of Carl Hiaasen will be pleased to know that he has his first YA book out.  Skink-No Surrender is a bit tamer than his adult reads and a lot more interesting than his children’s books.  Richard and Skink (the one-eyed, hermit, eco-terrorist, ex-governor are trying to find Richard’s cousin who ran away right before she was supposed to be shipped off to boarding school.  You will either love this book or hate it.  If you love it, check out Hiaasen’s other books that we have in the library. It is not as over the top like a lot of Hiaasen’s books, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

One book that I haven’t read yet (and will be next on my list if it isn’t checked out when I’m looking for a book to read) isThreatened by Eliot Schrefer.  This book takes place in the African jungle and brings up questions of conservation.  Luc lost his whole family to AIDS and as an orphan, has to fend for himself.  He gets a job offer to go to the jungle with a stranger to study the lives of chimpanzees. The cover sold the book to me and I’ve been intrigued since.

Come by the library and check out some of our National Book Award long listed books in the young people’s literature category.  You don’t have to be a child or a teen to enjoy these books and I guarantee that they are a lot more fun than many of the books in the adult fiction category!  The winner of the National Book Awards will be announced in mid-November, so if you can’t finish them all, make sure to at least check out the winners.

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