2007 Best Books For Young Adults

232 books have been nominated for YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults 2007. For between cultures fiction fans, a few titles of note are:

La Perdida by Jessica Abel

From the Harvey and Lulu award–winning creator of Artbabe comes this riveting story of a young woman’s misadventures in Mexico City. Carla, an American estranged from her Mexican father, heads to Mexico City to “find herself.” She crashes with a former fling, Harry, who has been drinking his way through the capital in the great tradition of his heroes, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Harry is good—humored about Carla’s reappearance on his doorstep—until he realizes that Carla, who spends her days soaking in the city, exploring Frida Kahlo’s house, and learning Spanish, has no intention of leaving.

Jimi and Me by Jamie Adoff

After his father is murdered, a 13-year-old biracial boy named Keith and his mother try desperately to pick up the pieces of their lives. But his father’s death has left them devastated—both emotionally and financially. Forced to leave Brooklyn and move in with his aunt, Keith urgently clings to every last reminder of his dad, discovering comfort in his own music and that of the late legend—and his father’s idol—Jimi Hendrix. In Jimi’s music, Keith finds solace, and brief moments of reprieve from his chaotic new life. But just as he begins to get a handle on his father’s death, he discovers the secrets of his father’s life--secrets that threaten to tear apart what’s left of his fragile family.

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

Nadira and her family are illegal aliens, fleeing to the Canadian border -- running from the country they thought was their home. For years since emigrating from Bangladesh, they have lived on expired visas in New York City, hoping they could someday realize their dream of becoming legal citizens of the United States. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly, being Muslim means being dangerous, a suspected terrorist. And when Nadira's father is arrested and detained at the border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are sent back to Queens and told to carry on, as if everything is the same. But of course nothing is the same. Nadira and Aisha live in fear they'll have to return to a Bangladesh they hardly know. Aisha, always the responsible one, falls apart. It's up to Nadira to find a way to bring her family back together again.

La Linea by Ann Jaramillo

Miguel's life is just beginning. Or so he thinks. Fifteen-year-old Miguel leaves his rancho deep in Mexico to migrate to California across la linea, the border, in a debut novel of life-changing, cliff-hanging moments. But Miguel's carefully laid plans change suddenly when his younger sister Elena stows away and follows him. Together, Miguel and Elena endure hardships and danger on their journey of desperation and desire, loyalty and betrayal. An epilogue, set ten years after the events of the story, shows that you cant always count on dreams -- even the ones that come true.

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to. That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new "home." Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they'd been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend...if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe's land.

Wait For Me by An Na

Mina is the perfect Korean daughter. Bound for Harvard, president of the honor society, straight A student, all while she works at her family’s dry cleaners and helps care for her hearing-impaired little sister. On the outside, Mina does everything right. On the inside, Mina knows the truth. Her life is a lie. At the height of a heat wave, the summer before her senior year, Mina meets the one person to whom she cannot lie. Ysrael, a young migrant worker who dreams of becoming a musician, comes to work at the dry cleaners and asks Mina the one question that scares her the most. What does she want? Mina finds herself torn between living her mother’s dreams, caring for her younger sister, grasping the love that Ysrael offers, and the most difficult of all, living a life that is true.

American Born Chinese by Gene Yang

A series of three linked tales in graphic novel form about Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco's Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb, Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school, and the Monkey King.

These books, along with the other nominated titles, will be discussed at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle in January, where the final list will be decided.

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