Monster- Walter Dean Meyers

This is a multi-genre piece written in the format of journals and a screenplay.  It deals with an under-privileged black boy on trial for murder. I think it could capture the attention of reluctant readers. Especially black males or students who have been incarcerated.  I would use this in an 8th or 9th grade classroom as well as recommend it for individual reading.  I really enjoyed this book.

Printz Award 2000

National Book Award Finalist

Coretta Scott King Award


Twisted- Laurie Halse Anderson

This novel is written from a 17 year old male’s POV. I really enjoyed it. This book seems to do a good job at dealing with the issues of depression, suicide, emerging sexuality, fitting in, and more.  This is definiately a book written for high school students.  It can be used as a classroom read or as an individual read.  




ALA 2008 Best Books for Young Adults

2010 High School Sequoyah Masterlist

I am the Cheese- Robert Cormier

This novel is sometimes credited as the first YA novel.   It is a mystery type story written in a multi-genre format.  The narrative part of this story engaged me quickly, however the “transcripts” that were interspersed lost me.  I think that students could get into this book because it makes you want to figure out what is happening.  I think this would be a good book for 9th or 10th graders that are reading at or slightly above grade level due to the complexity of the novel.  This can be used as a class or individual read.

Margaret A Edwards Award 1991

Scorpions- Walter Dean Meyers

I really enjoyed Scorpions.  I think Meyers does a good job of portraying what life can be like for kids living in impoverished neighborhoods.  The reading is pretty easy, and I think that this book can be used successfully in a middle school classroom.  Or even for a class of struggling 9th graders.  It lends itself to discussions about gangs, violence, loyalty, school and more.  I would also recommend it for individual reading.  It may appeal more to males than females due to the male protagonist.


Margaret A. Edwards 1994

Seek- Paul Fleischman

This is a radio play.  It is about a young boy looking for his father via the radio.  I found it hard to follow and did not get into it at all.  It might be interesting to look at in the fact that it is a different genre.  Boys might get into this book if they’re somewhat interested in electronics.  I most likely will not use this book in my classroom or specifically recommend it, though it may be in my classroom library since I own a copy.


An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

A School Library Journal Best Book

A Horn Book Fanfare Book

House of the Scorpion-Nancy Farmer

This novel was really interesting.  It is futuristic, science fiction, and deals with the moral issues of cloning. It is set in a future, dystopian, Mexico.   I think this book could be used in 8-10th grade.  The issues presented can be linked to science and social studies courses as well.


Newbery Honor 2003

National Book Award 2002

Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book 2003

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award finalist 2003

Sequoyah Young Adult Award 2004-05

Volunteer State Award 2006

Arizona Young Readers Teen Award 2005

South Carolina Junior Readers Award 2005-2006

Rhode Island Teen Book Award Winner 2005

Young Hoosier Book Award Middle Grades 2006

Nevada Young Reader’s Award in the Young Adult category 2005

Senior Young Readers Choice Award Pacific Northwest Library Association 2004-05

Romiette and Julio-Sharon Draper

I have liked every single one of Drapers books that I have read.  This book is great because it plays off of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by having two teens of different races dating.  It has gangs, some violence, and deals with race issues in a very real way.  Draper catches readers’ (esp teens) attention quickly and moves the story along.  This story is told through a variety of genres.  I would use this in a 9th or 10th grade classroom.  It is very easy to read, but has important themes.

Draper has a study guide for this novel on her website.