Jack Gantos, author of 2003 Printz honor book Hole in My Life, selects his favorite award winners from years past.
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party and volume 2: The Kingdom on the Waves, by M.T. Anderson The M.T. Anderson books have to be read because the language is perfectly married to the subject—and the history, characters, and story are brilliantly detailed and engaging. Truly great literature regardless of Young Adult or Adult. Any literate person would love this set of novels.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak When Death narrates a book with a clever story and beautiful syntax—and with surprising hopefulness, then I think it should be read.
Looking for Alaska by John Green How many characters do you know named Alaska? Like the state of Alaska, this Alaska is big and melting. You might too.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff If you have to read about the future then expect not to have to worry about punctuation—you will be far more engaged in survival.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landon-Banks by E. Lockhart Everyone loves a prep school story. Personally, I love the movie, School of Rock. But if you have to surf the thoughts and emotions of a 14-year-old girl this is a great ride.
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