2017 Crossover

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Josh and Jordan Bell are fourteen-year-old twins who live to play b-ball. They are exceptional on the court: fast, skilled and dedicated. Their father played professional ball, back in the day, and he encourages and coaches them in the game. Josh’s perfect world starts to fall apart when Jordan gets a girlfriend and the relationship the twins have had is put to the test. The family is further tested when Dad gets sick.

This fast-paced story is about the thrill of playing basketball and making amazing shots on the court. It is written in Josh’s voice who is a rhymer/rapper as well as a basketball phenomenon.

As he progresses through the season he learns that change is not necessarily a bad thing in relationships and that nothing can break the bonds of loyalty between family members. He come to realize that when things get tough it is family who ultimately come through for you.

            Basketball Rule #7


Is the art

Of anticipating,

Of always being prepared

To grab it.

But you can’t

Drop the ball.

Nickie Travis, Teacher-Librarian

Renton School District

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean Song has loved 5 boys and written goodbye letters to each of them explaining why she loved them and why she doesn’t anymore. Those letters were in a teal hatbox in her closet, until the day the box disappears and the letters get mailed! How will Lara face Peter at school every day? He was her first kiss, but it’s been a long time since 8th grade. What will Kenny think? Does he even remember her from church camp all those years ago? But worst of all – how will she face Josh who is now her sister’s boyfriend? He lives in the neighborhood! She sees him every day!

The Song sisters have been closer than close since their mother died. Margo was only 12, but kept the family running efficiently. Now Margot is headed to Scotland for college, Kitty is turning into a bratty tween a little early, and 16 year old Lara Jean is feeling left out and left behind. She’ll have to deal with this disaster without her sister’s help.

This is author Jenny Han at her best – funny, sad, sweet and real. Put yourself in Lara Jean’s place – what would you do if your deepest thought and feelings were suddenly revealed? Would you hide in your room until everyone forgets? Or face them head-on and find some surprises along the way? A great teen romance with some surprises along the way.

Diane Ferbrache, Teacher-Librarian
Hazen High School, Renton, WA

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

“Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival.” Siobhan, Bard of Owen the Dragon-slayer.

Siobhan lives in Canada, a Canada in an alternate world where dragons and people compete for living space, food and fuel. The fossil fuels people depend on are the food that sustains the dragons. Owen, a dragon-slayer-in-training, and his family of dragon slayers move to Siobhan’s small town and life changes for everyone. Siobhan is shy, but musically gifted and when Owen’s family asks her to become his bard, she is thrown into a world about which she knows much less than she thought.

Soon Owen, Siobhan, their parents and friends all have to decide what they are willing to sacrifice to keep their land free and safe; their actions and decisions make for powerful reading.

Alexis Underhill, Teacher-Librarian

Yelm High School, Yelm, WA

Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl

For most of her childhood, Paige Rawl didn't know she was HIV positive. She just knew she and her mom had to take some yucky medicine everyday. She remembers overhearing a conversation between her mother and doctor and hearing the term HIV. When she got home, she asked her mom, "Am I HIV positive or HIV negative?" Her mom knew it was time to tell her the truth. Paige was born HIV positive. She contracted it from her mother who had contracted it from her father. Her father left them when she was little; they weren't really in contact until just before his death from AIDS.

Paige entered middle school like any other kid, a little nervous and very excited. She made friends with another girl, Yasmine, and they were immediately inseparable. They just seemed to get each other. So, during the school's overnight lock-in, as they played games and enjoyed the fun of staying up all night, she didn't think twice about bringing up her HIV status as part of a conversation. Within minutes another student was telling someone not to share a drink with her because she had AIDS. Paige was shocked into silence. Yasmine, who was supposed to be her closest friend, had breached her trust and told. News spread fast and from that moment on, Paige was the target of bullies. Dubbed PAIDS, ridiculed in person, jeered and whispered at in the hallways, the subject of notes and graffiti.

When she sought out the help of adults at her school, they told her to stop being such a drama queen, to just lie and tell everyone she wasn't HIV positive, to quit stirring up trouble because they had protected her as much as they could. Paige waded through the bullying and subsequent depression and eventually found solace in others who shared her story. She is a resilient, inspiring and courageous role model. I would recommend this book to anyone who has been bullied or admits to bullying someone for being different, to anyone who wants to be inspired and challenged.

Heather Nelson, Teen Librarian

Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy

“United we stand, divided we fall.” So goes the expression telling of the importance of working together as a team or as a nation. High school senior Danny Wright believes in this motto and joins the National Guard to serve his country much like his father before him. When his unit is called to Boise to help with crowd control at an out-of-control protest, Danny could not have known that a bullet, accidentally shot from his rifle, could set off a chain of events that would threaten to bring down the Unites States of America.

Many of the protesters were kids his age exercising their right to speak out at the state capitol. The men in Danny’s unit have a variety of opinions about the protesters and their rights. His unit leader wants them ready to fire. Danny’s gun misfires followed by a succession of guns firing from both the National Guard and from the crowd. In the end, twelve citizens are dead. The Governor of Idaho wants to protect identity of the soldiers, but the President of the United States demands they be prosecuted.

Danny returns to school where none of his friends, including his girlfriend, know he was involved in the shooting. People become divided on how they feel about the Governor and his actions. When the President orders troops to move into Idaho to arrest the soldiers, a civil war begins which threatens the unity of the United States.

JoAnn Olsson, Teacher-Librarian

Liberty High School, Renton, WA

Jackaby by William Ritter

Imagine if Sherlock Holmes could see the paranormal world with the same exacting eye that he brought to his real-world detective skills and you’d have Jackaby. With his swirling, voluminous jacket full of mysterious pockets that always seem to have the components he needs, the slightly mad Jackaby trots around late 1800’s London with his new assistant, Abby, in tow. If Abby can stay for a week, she will have outstayed all the other assistants that have come and gone. Possibly, that’s because Jackaby is weird, really, really weird. He has an indoor pond for his former assistant who is now a duck. The duck shares space with an emotional ghost who sometimes helps Jackaby solve crimes.

And that’s not even the weird stuff… But Abby really needs this job, and though she has come close to death several times in her few days with Jackaby, she is really enjoying this crime-solving stuff.

Michael Fleming, Teacher-Librarian

Pacific Cascade Middle School Library, Issaquah, WA

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

Mutiny: an open rebellion by soldiers or sailors against their officers.

In the 1940s an American solider charged with mutiny could be sentenced to death by firing squad. Given that punishment, what could possibly cause a solider to mutiny? How about imminent danger? Or systematic racism? During World War II many African Americans wanted to join the war effort. Although allowed, they were limited to menial jobs and were kept in segregated units. Many black Navy men found themselves at Port Chicago in California where they were given the job of loading bombs on to ships. This already dangerous job was made even more so by commanding officers who gave essentially no training and pushed their sailors to work at unsafe speeds. Under these conditions it should have been no surprise when a massive explosion happened on July 17, 1944, killing 320 people and injuring hundreds more. Imagine being a survivor. Then, imagine being told to go back to work under the same horrible conditions. What would you? Mutiny might not seem so outrageous anymore.

Kirsten Gunn, NBCT Teacher-Librarian

Highline High School, Burien, WA

The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

You can go three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food but after that…you die.

When the power goes out suddenly one afternoon and even charged laptops and cell phones fail to work, 16-year-old Adam Daley knows something strange is happening. He’s now grateful for his old beater car that still works since it does not have any computer components. Adam’s mom, the local police captain, and their neighbor, Herb Campbell, a retired foreign embassy worker, quickly lead their neighborhood to band together immediately to form checkpoints to stop looting and other crimes from permeating their homes. Yet in these dangerous times, Herb warns that it’s only a matter of time before even civilized people turn to violence when survival is at stake. As food and other resources dwindle, and chaos approaches their community, just how far will Adam and his family have to go to survive?

Sherri Ashlock, Teacher-Librarian

Nelsen Middle School

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Imagine waking up in an operating room after being comatose for 5 years. Then realizing that your head is on a totally different body! And not just any body (excuse the pun), but an athletic build with muscles and fitness you could only dream about. Well, this is what happens to Travis in this amazing medical rom-com/ psychological thriller.

It was five years ago that Travis, whose body from the neck down, had been defeated by cancer, and he signed up for a medical experiment. No one, including his family and serious girlfriend, knew for sure if the experiment would work so everyone said their gut wrenching goodbyes. And now here Travis is, awake, in a new and improved body wondering what his next move should be. All his former high school friends have moved on and are out of college, and on top of that his former girlfriend is engaged. Can he get her back? He will certainly try, and at a girls night karaoke nonetheless (and he sings the song Head Over Heels which is my favorite part).

Not only does this author dish out the brilliant losing your head puns, but he also brings up issues about medical experimentation, cloning, genes, and the timeless essential question "Should medicine take the initiative to extend life no matter what the circumstances or moral implications?" This book is Unwind meets Fault in our Stars meets Ferris Beuller's Day Off.

Kathleen Dunbar, Teacher-Librarian

Eastlake High School Library, Sammamish, Washington

Ms. Marvel Volume 1 – G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

16-year-old Kamala is a geeky Muslim-American teen, with typical teen concerns – like hanging out with friends and struggling with parental restrictions – but her biggest concern is just blending in with her peers. Her family and religion make her stand out, but she wants to be the same as everyone else. One night, Kamala is unexpectedly visited by the Avengers and the original Ms. Marvel, and they grant her superhero powers. Adventures ensue! Is Kamala ready for these powerful gifts? Will she be able to learn the secret behind controlling her new powers? And more importantly, will she ever find a way to be normal?

Jocelyn Redel, Teen Librarian

Lynnwood Library

Evergreen Book Award,
Apr 26, 2016, 8:32 PM