Publisher’s Weekly has listed its annual best book awards for 2011. Here’s the list of their favorite children’s and teen fiction books:
The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler – YA ASH
It’s 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet. Emma just got her first computer and Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on–and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future. Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.
Chime by Franny Billingsley – YA BIL
In the early twentieth century in Swampsea, seventeen-year-old Briony, who can see the spirits that haunt the marshes around their town, feels responsible for her twin sister’s horrible injury until a young man enters their lives and exposes secrets that even Briony does not know about.
Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem – J BOO
When Mellie Turpin’s grandfather dies and leaves her family his run-down inn and bar, she learns that for generations her family members have been fairy guardians, and now that the fairies want an important ring returned, the Turpins become involved in a series of magical adventures as they try to locate the missing ring.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – YA BRA
When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.
Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elisa Broach – J BRO
When brothers Simon, Henry, and Jack move with their parents to Arizona, they are irresistably drawn to explore the aptly named Superstition Mountain, in spite of warnings that it is not safe.
Where She Went by Gayle Forman – YA FOR
Adam, now a rising rock star, and Mia, a successful cellist, reunite in New York and reconnect after the horrific events that tore them apart when Mia almost died in a car accident three years earlier.
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos – J GAN
In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai – J LAI
Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.
Legend by Marie Lu – YA LU (on order)
In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy – YA MEL
Follows a fourteen-year-old American girl whose life unexpectedly transforms when she moves to London in 1952 and gets swept up in a race to save the world from nuclear war.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – YA NES
Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill–an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.
The Flint Heart by Katherine & John Paterson – J PAT
A magical amulet brings power and despair to those who touch it. Publisher’s Weekly says it’s “ideal for fireside family reading.”
Divergent by Veronica Roth – YA ROT
In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick – J SEL
Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures. From the Caldecott Award winning author/illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – YA SEP
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – YA STI
Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. From the bestselling author of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – YA TAY
Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known. A supernatural love story you won’t want to miss.
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu – J URS (on order)
Publisher’s Weekly: Fairy tales are an evergreen source of inspiration for authors, and Ursu works some serious magic with “The Snow Queen” in this frequently somber but entirely beautiful story of an adopted fifth-grader from India pursuing her lost friend into a mysterious Minnesota forest. Sly references to other fairy tales and classics of children’s literature only sweeten the deal.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – J VAL
Twelve-year-old September’s ordinary life in Omaha turns to adventure when a Green Wind takes her to Fairyland to retrieve a talisman the new and fickle Marquess wants from the enchanted woods.
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by various authors – J VAN
Fourteen amazing authors create their own stories about Harris Burdick in this volume with creepy, funny, and provocative entries from the likes of Sherman Alexie, Kate DiCamillo, Gregory Maguire, and Van Allsburg himself.
Variant by Robison Wells – YA WEL
After years in foster homes, seventeen-year-old Benson Fisher applies to New Mexico’s Maxfield Academy in hopes of securing a brighter future, but instead he finds that the school is a prison and no one is what he or she seems.
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley – YA WHA (on order)
This smart, darkly funny, and multilayered debut novel juxtaposes the disappearance of a 15-year-old boy with the possible reappearance of a woodpecker thought to be extinct. Whaley weaves numerous story lines and themes together with the confidence of a seasoned writer, resulting in a thought-provoking story about media, faith, and family.
Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones – YA WYN
An unlikely premise—two homeless teens stumble into a faked kidnapping with major implications—forms the basis for a thrilling yet compassionate story that skillfully explores themes of social, environmental, and racial justice. Blink and Caution are unforgettable characters, working just as hard to find themselves as they do to unravel the ever-widening mystery.
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr – YA ZAR (on order)
Life and death, grief and joy are closely linked in this story of a family in flux. Deftly handling such emotionally turbulent subjects as the death of a parent, teen pregnancy, abusive relationships, and adoption, Zarr delivers a moving, funny, and emotionally honest story about three women whose understanding of family, and of themselves, shifts in profound ways.