2005 All-American Girl

2005 Winner - All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

You get yourself in a little trouble, and your parents make you take an after school art class, and…
You ditch the class one day, and…
You just happen to be standing on the street in front of a great cookie store, and….
The President and his entourage drive by and they jump out of his car to get a cookie, and….
You see a man lift his arm with a gun to try to kill the President, and…
You jump the man, save the President’s life, and become an instant celebrity!!

Well, that’s JUST what happens to Samantha Madison in All-American Girl. Next thing she knows, the President has appointed her as the Teen Ambassador to the United Nations, in charge of selecting the winning painting for an international art show of teen art. That should be fun… BUT! Samantha’s sister’s boyfriend, Jack, who Samantha is secretly in love with, submits a painting, expecting her to choose it- and she does not like it. And! Samantha is also feeling “frisson” for the President’s son- but, she loves Jack. What to do?? Plus, she and the President do not see eye-to-eye about her duties as Teen Ambassador. 

Samantha ‘s over-the-top troubles will make yours wither in comparison, and keep you laughing until the end.

By Kathy Caldwell of Woodward Middle School 

All American Girl - Booktalk #2

The Top 10 reasons Samantha Madison is in deep trouble. 
10 Her big sister is the most popular girl in school.
9 Her little sister is a certified genius.
8 She’s in love with her big sister’s boyfriend.
7 She got caught selling celebrity portraits at school
6 So now she’s being forced to take art classes
5 She’s just saved the President of the U.S. from an assassination attempt.
4 So the whole world thinks she’s a hero.
3 Even though Sam knows better.
2 And now she’s been appointed teen ambassador to the U.N.
And to top it all off,
1 The President’s son just might be in love with her.

By Cindy Claypool of King County Library System

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

Safety tip: Never mix chemicals without a defined procedure—they might explode. Right now Kate Malone feels like she is ready to explode.

You see Good Kate, the daughter of Reverend Jack Malone, honor student and family caretaker, the always dependable daughter, a shoe-in for acceptance at a college of her choice, Good Kate had done the unthinkable. Even the smartest students always apply to 5 or 10 schools just to be sure they have a fall back position. But Kate had only applied to one—MIT.

Now she is worried, worried to the point of panic that she might not get accepted. As Bad Kate keeps reminding her, she lied to her friends and her father about applying to other schools, and now she is paying the price. As most of her high achieving friends get their acceptances the pressure builds. Kate Malone feels like she is ready to explode. She can’t sleep. She can’t concentrate. She is becoming more and more disagreeable. One event could trigger an explosion or something even more fundamental.

Whatever happens you’ll make the best of it, says Good Kate.

You're going to lose it big time, Bad Kate screams.

by Tom Reynolds of Sno-Isle Library System

Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

Poor little rich punk girl. Can't stay out all night with her sexy surfer boyfriend at his brother's house, so she does her best to drive her parents crazy. So what do they do? Send her to live in New York City with the father she has never known. Is that really going to fix things, or just open her up to a whole new world of trouble?

By Dawn Rutherford of King County Library System

Gingerbread - Booktalk #2

Cyd Cherisse, expelled from boarding school, goes back home to San Francisco to live with Nancy and Sid, her mother and stepfather. Sid affectionately calls her his “hellion”, but Nancy always seems to be on Cyd’s case for one thing or another. Luckily, Cyd always has Gingerbread, the childhood rag doll her biological father gave her the one time they met, to confide in. After she stays out past curfew with her boyfriend, Shrimp, one too many times, she’s grounded in Alcatraz/the puke princess room, as Cyd refers to her bedroom, decorated by her mother in a House Beautiful but no one lives here style. Finally, no one can stand her Helen Keller impression and moping about anymore, and they decide to send her to New York to live with her bio-dad for the summer. Cyd’s always wanted to get to know him and her half-siblings. It may not be what she expected, but then, Cyd is seldom what anyone expected. Attitude, attitude, attitude. Spoiled she may be, but Cyd and Gingerbread are true originals. 

By Cindy Claypool of King County Library System

House Next Door by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Curiosity about the spooky, abandoned house next door leads Emma to bet her twin brother that she can spend the night alone at the house next door. Captured by the spell of the house next door she finds herself reliving a horrific night from the past of the house next door. Emma continues to have paranormal experiences involving the house next door and the passionate love long gone and becomes convinced that she has a part to play in a supernatural reenactment of a tragic love that happened at The House Next Door.

By Matt Laxton of Sno-Isle Library System

The House Next Door - Booktalk #2

Following through on the dare to spend overnight in the empty house (in order to force her twin brother to take her friend Val to the winter dance) seemed like a harmless outing to Emma. Even becoming romantically involved with the dashing ghost in that house seemed okay too at first; but Charlie and Val must struggle to break up this affair before tragedy repeats.

There are advantages to having a twin who knows your mind, even if it is your brother...and this may be what can help Emma the most. Read this supernatural thriller...and don’t trespass in empty houses in your neighborhood ever again.

By Lyla Anderson of Post Middle School Library, Arlington School District

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

What fun are expensive clothes and gifts and people who obey your commands when they really fear you and El Patron, the giver of your life? Young Matt, a clone raised in secret but brought into the House of the Scorpion when children discover his existence, searches for his destiny among the robotic workers and hateful family members. Being clone to the ruler of Opium, an independent country along the Mexican-United States border has its sacrifices and Matt must make wise choices quickly to stay alive.

By Lyla Anderson of Post Middle School Library, Arlington School District

Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

I've had a long time to think about it and still I ask myself this question. Why did we do whatever Rob asked us to do all the way to the end?

Coop, the Bobster, and I hung out with Rob and he was our leader. Simon Glass, on the other hand, was the geekiest guy in school. A nobody we all hated. So why did we agree to help Rob with his plan to make Simon Glass the most popular guy in school? Looking back on it now I see that Rob was using all of us. But back then he was the coolest guy in B’Vale High. So we went right along with everything--the lies, the manipulation and deception. At first it seemed like a game, harmless and fun. But it soon became clear that for Rob it was really about the power. And by being with him we got something only Rob could give us—his approval.

In the end Rob’s creation had a mind of his own. But when things turned ugly we, at least Bob and I, turned our anger on the creation not the creator. So we went along with Rob all the way to the end—the bloody end!

By Tom Reynolds of Sno-Isle Library System

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

Let’s just say that you are Vince Luca, 17, Italian, and you have a girl in your car, on the beach, in the moonlight. It’s beautiful clear night. You know there is a blanket in the trunk of your car. It’s your big chance with a girl. Major make-out possibilities. Then you open the trunk, and there it is - wrapped around a dead body. 

Your Italian father, is of course, the mob boss. Nice car (it IS a Porsche), dead body. Your girlfriend has trouble keeping down the screams. All is not lost however, Vince meets Kendra, a really great girl with only one drawback- HER father is the FBI agent in charge of getting the goods on Vince’s father. 

This story pulls you back into some really hilarious scenes (what, you don’t think the dead body in the trunk that sends your girlfriend into screaming fits isn't funny?) Try seeing Vince when he realizes his older brother is using his web page as a bookie scheme. Then switch to some serious scenes: Vince feels sorry for one of his father’s underlings, and loans him money to keep the mob off his back.- switch to funny- Vince’s mother constantly cooking for 15 who show up for breakfast, begging people to eat- ok a little stereotyped, but that’s what you’ll find- funny, serious, funny, with great dialog that will keep you into the novel rooting for the mob. Or at least the Son of the Mob.

By Mary Jo Heller of Shoreline Schools

Son of the Mob - Booktalk #2

Vince Luca is just like any other high school guy. Mostly. Somehow he doubts that when his classmates open their car trunks to get a blanket out for their date to sit on, THEY find a beat-up guy trussed like a pork roast. This is what happens when your father is in “the vending machine business”, i.e., he’s a mob boss. Vince wants nothing to do with his father’s business, unlike his older brother, who bagged school after 12th grade to go into the family biz. But he feels bad for the guy in the trunk, and in trying to help him, gets sucked into Dad’s stuff. To make things worse, just when Vince finds a girl he thinks is really great, it turns out that her father is the FBI agent who’s had Vince’s house bugged for years and is trying to take his father down. Romeo and Juliette had nothing to complain about. It’s a funny, light read, but includes questions like “Who’s good, who’s bad, what is betrayal, and does it matter whether the one betrayed is bad or not?”

By Cindy Claypool of King County Library System

Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge

The greatest joy that 16-year-old Ben Bancroft has is settling into the Rialto Theatre to watch Bride of Frankenstein again. It's his escape from cerebral palsy and a life where his overprotective grandmother is his only parent. He certainly never expected to run in to Colleen Minou, well-know stoner. And Grandma isn't impressed when Colleen, dollup up in ripped tights with a neon miniskirt, asks for a ride home and barfs down the side of the car--the outside, fortunately. It's an unlikely friendship between two lonely teenagers from different part of the social campground. Ben's an expensive RV with a flat tire, and Colleen is like the ripped old Army tent we had when I was a kid, that turned anything it touched permanently green if it rained, but they discover they can talk to each other. And isn't that what friendship is about? 

By Cindy Claypool of King County Library System

Warchild by Karin Lowachee

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the heroes from the villains. That’s just one of the problems that space orphan Jos must sort out as he learns about loyalty and trust. Even though nations have conquered space, they brought old traditions, especially warfare, now directed against the alien “Strits.” The most dangerous of these aliens is Warchild, a fierce and elusive battler. Jos becomes involved with this infamous alien and learns who are his heroes and traitors as will you before the story ends.

By Lyla Anderson of Post Middle School Library, Arlington School District 

Warchild - Booktalk #2

So, who’s read “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card? Who liked it enough to want another great military action science fiction book? Do I have a winner for you. The merchant ship Mukudori is Jos’s world, until the pirate, Falcone, destroys the ship, kills all the adults, and enslaves the children. Jos escapes, but is taken beyond known space to the homeworld of the strits, Earth’s alien enemies. There he must learn the language and undertake weapons training. He is destined to become a spy in what was once his home culture. There are no easy choices. Every friendship could lead to betrayal-of him, or by him. The most grueling trial of his life is yet to come.

By Cindy Claypool of King County Library System