TeenZone Staff Picks

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Traitor to the Nation Volume I: The Pox Party
By M.T. Anderson

Octavian lives a privileged life. He is always dressed in the latest high end fashions, he never goes hungry, he has the best tutors and he lives a life of leisure. But he also has dark skin and lives in Boston during the 1780s. So, how is it that he lives his life, while others with his complexion toil away as slaves? The truth is almost as cruel as that missed life of indentured labor. And to top it off, Revolution is around the corner. Should Octavian join with the British who promise to free all slaves in the American Colonies, or side with the Rebels, the only family he's ever known? This first of a two book series delves deep into the culture and philosophy of Pre-Revolutionary America and calls into question the true meaning of freedom.

The Golden Compass
By Philip Pullman

Author Philip Pullman creates a new world for us in this exciting first book of his Dark Materials trilogy. The story centers on Lyra a girl who lives at Jordan College in London. In Lyra's world, humans have animal companions call daemons who can speak and have their own personalities but are extensions of their human's souls and therefore bond forever to them. She discovers people called Gobblers are kidnapping children and conducting horrible experiments on them. Lyra joins a band of gypitians who decide to go rescue the children. What Lyra doesn't know and can't find out is that she is a part of an ancient prophecy to save her world and move on to another parallel world. During her journey she comes across fascinating characters including armored polar bears, witches and a Texan balloonist. It's fantasy at it's best! Look for the movie coming out in December of this year. Go to the movie website and find out what kind of daemon you would have.

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
By Louise Rennison

This book really made me lol in the first 30 minutes. If you are looking for something light and fun then this is the book for you. It is written like a diary, so the main character, Georgia Nicolson, narrates the story. She is 14 and is dealing with friends, school, boyfriend, her 3 year old sister, a cat, and of course parents that embarrass her as often as possible. You will want to read the entire series.

Pirates!
By Celia Rees

Nancy Kington is the daughter of a previously wealthy sugar merchant who arranges a marriage for her so the family can regain their wealth.
She travels with her slave Minerva to marry an evil Brazilian ex-pirate. They experience all of the things you would expect in a pirate tale; sword fights, duels, charming rogues, true love, murder, and the odd severed head.

Girl, 15, Charming but Insane
By Sue Limb

Jess is 15, definitely charming and maybe a little insane but a lot of fun. This British chick lit is well worth read; it is full of laughs, teen angst, love, hate, bitterness, and minestrone soup. And no I am not going to tell you what happens with the soup, just read it. Jess is in lust with the best looking guy in school and she feels like her best friend Flora is better at everything including attracting said boy. I loved that each of the chapters start with a funny horoscope texted to Jess by her absent father. The story flows nicely and you won't want to put it down.

Fever 1793
By Laurie Halse Anderson

Set in the fall of 1793 in Philadelphia, Mattie Cook is a strong willed, 14-year-old girl with her own plans and ambitions for the future. There are stories that the "fever" is spreading and thousands leave the city for safer territory. As the number of dead rises, the fever hits the coffee house she lives in and everything Mattie holds close to her heart. Her ambitions for a better future must be left behind and the struggle to survive must take over.

A Brush with Napoleon; An Encounter with Jacques-Louis David
By Laban Carrick Hill

An easy blend of historical fiction and fact, the story of Jean, a young soldier with artistic talent that finds himself commissioned to study under the great painter Jacques-Louis David. Jean grapples with the need to impress the great artist, come to terms with leaving the army and his feelings for a young woman in a social world that is exciting and strange.
The author captures the essence of an emerging new French republic and the truth behind the creation of one of the most famous paintings in Western art-- --Napoleon Crossing the Alps at the Saint Bernard Pass.

13 Little Blue Envelopes
By Maureen Johnson

This book is a great summer read! Seventeen-year-old Ginny receives a packet of mysterious envelopes from her favorite aunt. The envelopes send her on a scavenger hunt across Europe where Ginny meets all kinds of eccentric, interesting people that knew her aunt and a few other fellow adventurers. She can only open one envelope at a time so she never knows where she's going to end up next. Through her travels, Ginny transforms from a shy, quiet girl from New Jersey to a confident, adventuresome young woman.

Born to Rock
By Gordon Korman

Leo Caraway had a 4.0 GPA, was a member of the Young Republicans and won a scholarship to Harvard. But Leo soon finds out that the Marion X. McMurphy who's named on his birth certificate as his biological father is none other than King Maggot, lead singer of Purge a popular hard core punk band. Leo's unruly DNA kicks in and he ends up losing his scholarship to Harvard, and he decides it's time to meet his dear old dad and ask for the tuition money but can't bring himself to do it. Leo ends up becoming a roadie for Purge's reunion summer tour and that's when the real fun begins. Life on the road with punk rock band is not exactly Leo's idea of fun but he learns a lot about himself, his family (new and old) and his friends. Read and enjoy the fun characters and crazy antics of these aging punk rockers and how Leo handles it all.

Dealing with Dragons
By Patricia Wrede

Are you ready for a feminist Princess? Princess Cimerone hates embroidery and advanced curtseying but her parents won't let her learn anything really interesting like magic, swordsmanship or even cooking. She decides to run away and apply for a job as a Dragon's princess where she can use her intelligence and sense of adventure. Unfortunately, dimwitted princes are falling all over themselves trying to rescue her. Along the way Cimerone cleverly deals with witches, evil wizards, clumsy dragons and air-headed princesses. this book has plenty of action and many slightly skewed fairy-tale conventions, in the spirit of Shrek, that will keep you lol.

Clay
By David Almond

Davie is a good kid. Sure, he gets into fights with the boys from a neighboring town, and sometimes he steals Church wine, but all is all, he is a good kid. He's so good, that when the new boy Stephen Rose comes to town, Davie befriends him which is not easy. Stephen doesn't just want to be friends with Davie though, he needs his special talents. Davie and Stephen share a rare skill, being able to animate, they raise a man they sculpted out of clay. But, will this clay creature be a man or a monster?

Just Jane
By William Lavender

A young girl, Lady Jane Prentice is orphaned and sent to South Carolina to live with relatives there in 1776. She is soon caught up in a struggle between her home country and her new one. The struggle does not stop there though, some of her family is loyal to England while others are pushing for a revolution. She is forced into facing the harsh reality of war and how it changes people and the roles they must take. A good story and a great read.

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