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Best Books for Young Adults Annotated List 2004

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Purple Hibiscus . Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. (1-565-12387-5) fiction.  While his Nigerian community sees him as a devout Christian and highly respected man, Kambili’s fanatically religious father has privately always demanded perfection of his family and doled out brutal punishment for anything less.   When an outspoken aunt reenters their lives during the political turbulence of a military coup, the fragile family order begins to crumble, ultimately resulting in tragedy.

Bell, Hilari. The Goblin Wood . HarperCollins/Eos. (0-060-51371-3;  0-060-51372-1  lib) fiction.  A young hedgewitch, a disgraced but honorable knight, and a myriad of goblins are at the center of events in a magical world at war.

Bird, Eugenie.  David Downton, il.,  David Ellwand, photo. Fairie-Ality: The Fashion Collection. Candlewick Press. (0-763- 6 -1413-0) nonfiction.  What will the fairies be wearing this season?   Calla lilies and rose petal dresses, gerbera daisy bell-bottoms, or snakeskin bikinis? This fashion catalogue for the wee folks will set the trends.

Bray, Libba . A Great and Terrible Beauty. Random House/Delacorte.(0-385-73028-4; 0-385-90161-5 lib) fiction.  In 1895 Victorian England, rebellious sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle finds herself embroiled in a decades-old supernatural mystery at a stuffy finishing school that she is being forced to attend after her mother’s tragic death abroad.

Brennan, Herbie. Faerie Wars. Bloomsbury. (1-582-34810-3) fiction.  Henry Atherton, a teen from “our” world, and his octogenarian employer Mr. Fogarty join forces with an animal-loving boy from the faerie world who is in “mortal” danger.

Brooks, Kevin. Lucas. Scholastic/The Chicken House.(0-439-45698-3). Fiction.  Caitlin becomes isolated as the other young adults of Hale Island develop and immediate and intense hatred for the attractive and mysterious newcomer she befriends.

Brooks, Martha. True Confessions of a Heartless Girl. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Melanie Kroupa Bks. (0-374-37806-1) fiction.  After stealing her boyfriend’s money and truck, newly-pregnant Noreen leans in the small town of Pembina Lake and becomes the catalyst for change for the town’s residents.

Buckingham, Dorothea N. Staring Down the Dragon. Sydney Press. (0-972-45773-9 pbk) fiction.  Rell is in cancer remission but can’t quite resume her normal life – she feels as though no one truly understands what she’s been through or how the disease has changed her life.

Burt, Guy. Sophie. Random House/Ballantine Books. (0-345-44659-3) fiction.  Adult Mattie recounts his strange childhood with his sister Sophie, his hostage.

Calhoun, Dia. White Midnight . Farrar, Straus & Giroux (0-374-38389-8) fiction.  Rose, discounted as timid, ugly and inconsequential by her community, finds the inner strength to face her fears as well as Thing” who lives in the Bighouse’s attic, in order to save her beloved Greengarden.

Capuzzo, Michael.  Lars Hokanson, il. Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916. Random House/Crown Publishers (0-375-82231-3;   0-375-92231-8  lib) nonfiction.  A description of both the mass hysteria that gripped the Jersey shore in 1916 and the voyage of the shark that caused it before man knew what a danger a shark could be.

Coburn, Jake. Prep. Penguin Putnam Bks for Young Readers/Dutton (0-525-47135-9) fiction.  Long after a tragedy caused Nick to abandon his Krylon cans and his crew, he is forced to dive back into the prep schoolgangster underworld in order to save the life of Danny, the younger brother of the female friend Nick secretly loves.

Cofer, Judith Ortiz. The Meaning of Consuelo . Farrar, Straus & Giroux    (0-374-20509-4) fiction.  A young girl tells her tragic story of coming of age in 1950s Puerto Rico.   Consuelo struggles to understand her place in the world as her father embraces each technological advance and the promise of wealth it offers, her mother reaches for the past and the natural beauty of the island, her closest friend and cousin begins to reveal his homosexuality, and her younger sister slips quietly into madness.

Crowe, Chris. Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case. Penguin Putnam/Phyllis Fogelman Books. (0-803-72804-2) nonfiction.  When Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, violated the most serious tenet of white supremacy in the summer of 1955, his murder touched off the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Crutcher, Chris. King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography. HarperCollins/Greenwillow Press (0-060-50249-5;  0-060-50250-9  lib) nonfiction.  The autobiography of Margaret A. Edwards award-winning author Chris Crutcher recounts hysterically-funny vignettes of his childhood, profound-yet-simple truths that he learned along the way, and the path and elements leading to writing his honest and gritty young adult books.

Davis, Amanda. Wonder When You’ll Miss Me. HarperCollins/William Morrow & Co. (0-688-16781-0) fiction.  When everything in her life spirals out of control, 16-year-old Faith/Annabelle runs away to the circus.

Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light. Harcourt. (0-152-16705-6) fiction.  In Upstate New York, in 1906, against the background of a true, and truly scandalous murder, fictional character Mattie Gokey fights her family and the societal constraints of the times to become her own person.

Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction.   Sharyn November, ed. Penguin Putnam/Firebird Books. (0-142-50142-5) fiction. A broad range of solidly written sci-fi/fantasy that showcases major authors of the genre with all new original stories, including ones by heavy hitters like Lloyd Alexander, Nancy Springer and Garth Nix.

Fleming, Candace. Ben Franklin’s Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman’s Life.Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. (0-689-83549-3) nonfiction.  A topically organized biography of the printer, writer, scientist, statesman and inventor, the only Founding Father who signed allfour of the documents that are the basis of our country today, modeled on his own Poor Richard’s Almanac.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell and Judith Bloom Fradin. Fight On! Mary Church Terrell’s Battle for Integration. Houghton Mifflin Company/Clarion Books. (0-618-13349-6)  nonfiction.  A biography of an indomitable fighter against all forms of discrimination who, in her late 80s, conducted a successful campaign to integrate D.C. restaurants and movie theaters.

Frank, E. R. Friction: A Novel. S & S/Atheneum/A Richard Jackson Book. (0-689-85384-X) fiction.  An innocent young girl’s budding sexuality contributes to the terrible confusion—and, ultimately, to the tragic consequences—when a new classmate begins an insidious campaign to portray their popular teacher as a pervert.

Freedman, Russell. In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America’s Bill of Rights. Holiday House. (0-832-41585-6) nonfiction.  The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791, listed the individual freedoms guaranteed Americans, but court cases and societal changes have broadened and changed our understanding of those freedoms over the years.

Freese, Barbara.  Coal: A Human History, Perseus Publishing (0-7382-0400-5) nonfiction.  Facts and anecdotes examine the historic, scientific, economic, political, cultural, and literary aspects of coal, as well as the current debates about energy consumption, developing nations, and global warming.

Frost, Helen Keesha’s House. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Frances Foster Books. (0-374-34064-1) fiction.  A verse novel in which Joe, whose aunt had taken him into her house when he was young and in need, now owns that house and does the same for a variety of kids with their own problems.

Going, K. L. Fat Kid Rules the World. Penguin Putnam/G.P.Putnam’s Sons. (0-399-23990-1) fiction.  At 17, Troy struggles with obesity and depression.   He is rescued from a near-suicide attempt by a chance encounter with a homeless teenage punk-rock icon, who convinces Troy to become a drummer for his new band.

Goodman, Alison. Singing the Dogstar Blues. Penguin Putnam/Viking  (0-670-03610-2) fiction.  Seventeen-year-old Joss consoles herself with her blues music as she faces an assassin, unruly demonstrators, a peeved professor, and intrusive high tech security when she is selected as a partner by Mavkel, the first alien to study time travel at the Center for Neo-Historical Studies.

Greenberg, Jan and Sandra Jordan. Runaway Girl: The Artist Louise Bourgeois. Harry N. Abrams/La Martiniere.   (0-810-94237-2). nonfiction.  The French artist Louise Bourgeois was definitely a woman ahead of her time.   Known for her post modern arachnid sculptures, hemp and naturalistic material pieces and rebellious attitude, she is known for coining the phrase “Art is the promise the artist makes to the community that they will not commit murder.”

Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Novel. Random House/Doubleday. (0-385-50945-6) fiction.  Welcome to the world of a 15-year-old autistic teen who knows it will be a “super good day” if he sees 5 red cars in a row or a “black day” if he sees 4 yellow cars in a row.   Christopher can solve quadratic equations in his head but can’t bear to be touched or to eat foods that are touching one another on his plate.

Hampton, Wilborn. September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City. Candlewick Press. (0-763-61949-3) nonfiction.  The destruction of the World Trade Center told through the experiences of people closely involved including survivors who escaped the falling towers, a man who lost his wife, firemen, the mayor, and a perpetrator as well as the author.

Hautman, Pete. Sweetblood. Simon & Schuster. (0-689-85048-4) fiction.  Sixteen year old Lucy comes to terms with her out-of-control sugar diabetes by comparing her disease to being like that of a blood-dependent vampire and immersing herself in Goth culture.

Hearn, Lian. Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori, Book One. Putnam Publishing Group/Riverhead Books (1-573-22225-9)  fiction.  An adventure of epic proportions begins for Kateo when his village is slaughtered and he is rescued by Lord Otori, who somehow guesses at his secret identity.

Henkes, Kevin. Olive’s Ocean. HarperCollins/Greenwillow Books. (0-060-53543-1;  0-060-53544-X lib) fiction.  When Martha’s classmate, Olive, is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Martha sets out to accomplish the things that Olive never had the chance to.

Hoffman, Nina Kiriki. A Stir of Bones. Penguin Putnam/Viking. (0-670-03551-3) fiction.  Fourteen-year-old Susan Backstrom may be perfect in every way, but she’s also hiding a perfectly horrible secret that only three new friends, a love-struck ghost and a helpful haunted House can help her face.

Holt, Kimberly Willis. Keeper of the Night. Henry Holt and Company. (0-805-06361-7) fiction.  Isabel, who is a Guam teenager, and her family, try to survive and heal after her mother’s suicide.

Horvath, Polly. The Canning Season. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (0-374-39956-5) fiction.  Ratchet Clark is quite surprised when her mother sends her off to spend the summer with her twin aunts PenPen and Tilly –the last thing she expects to find is a real home.

Jenkins, A. M. Out of Order. HarperCollins. (0-066-23968-0;  0-066-23969-9  lib) fiction.  High school sophomore, Colt Trammel, struggles to maintain his macho image despite problems with both his girlfriend and his classwork.

Johnson, Angela. The First Part Last. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. (0-689-84922-2) fiction.  The story of Bobby Morris, a teenage father first introduced in Johnson’s Heaven, is told by filling in the “now” and “then” of his life in New York City raising his daughter, Feather.

Johnson, Kathleen Jeffrie. Target. Roaring Brook Press. (0-761-31932-8;  0-761-132790-8  lib) fiction.  Grady struggles through his senior year, haunted by the memory of the gang rape that destroyed his sense of security and self-worth.

Juby, Susan. Alice, I Think. HarperCollins/ HarperTempest. (0-060-51543-0;  0-060-51544-9  lib)  fiction.  Not many girls have given a counselor a breakdown by the age of fifteen, but hopefully Alice Macleod has nowhere else in her small town to go but up.

Koja, Kathe. Buddha Boy. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Frances Foster Books. (0-374-30998-1) fiction.  Justin is shaken from his safe little niche at school when he meets Jinsen; an unusual new student who will only smile at the abuse he faces at the hands of the school’s predators.

Korman, Gordon. Jake, Reinvented. Hyperion. (0-786-81957-X) fiction.  A mysterious new high school student –who instantly becomes the center of the social scene and a star on the football team—harbors secrets from his past that threaten to topple the new identity he’s constructed for himself.

Krisher, Trudy. Uncommon Faith. Holiday House.  (0-823-41791-3)  fiction.  The livery fire in 1837 was only the beginning of the changes in Millbrook, Massachusetts, when young people who felt invisible began to question the established authority, to compare the status of women to the status of slaves, and to object to them both.

Levithan, David. Boy Meets Boy. Random House/Alfred A. Knopf.    (0-375-82400-6;  0-375-92400-0  lib)   fiction.  “Gay boy” Paul finds himself on an emotional rollercoaster as he tries to establish a new relationship with Noah while at the same time caring for Kyle.

Little, Jason. Shutterbug Follies. Bantam Doubleday Dell/Doubleday. (0-385-50346-6) fiction.  Bee’s job as a technician in a one-hour photo lab leads her into a bizarre murder mystery involving an art photographer’s grislysubjects.

Lowachee, Karin. Burndive. Warner Books, Inc./Aspect. (0-446-61318-5) fiction.  Ryan Azarcon is drawn into an interstellar war when his famous family is targeted by assassins.

Mack, Tracy. Birdland. Scholastic, Inc. (0-439-53590-5) fiction.  Jed’s East Village video documentary and the people he meets help him deal with the grief over the recent death of his brother, Zeke, a poet and jazz fan.

Mackler, Carolyn. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. Candlewick Press. (0-763-61958-2) fiction.  Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves learns how to manage her weight, the wandering hands of Froggy Welsh the Fourth, and an accusation of date rape against her perfect older brother when her best friend Shannon moves to Washington and she is forced to deal with her problems on her own for the first time in her life.

Martinez, Manuel Luis. Drift. St. Martin’s Press/Picador. (0-312-30995-3  pbk) fiction.  Set adrift by his family after his dad splits one too many times and his mom has a nervous breakdown, sixteen-year-old Robert Lomos tries to put his life together but keeps screwing up – getting into fights and getting high.   Only his iron-willed Grams truly believes in him.

Maynard, Joyce. The Usual Rules. St. Martin’s Press.   (0-312-24261-1)  fiction.  Thirteen-year-old Wendy tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life after her beloved mother, an executive secretary, dies in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

McNamee, Graham. Acceleration. Random House Children’s Bks/Wendy Lamb (0-385-73119-1,  0-385-90144-5  lib)   fiction.  While working a summer job in the subterranean Lost and Found Office of the Toronto Transit Commission, Duncan discovers a lost journal containing a man’s plans to murder women.

Meyer, L.A. Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy.Harcourt, Inc. (0-152-16731-5)   fiction.  Reduced to begging and thievery on the streets of London, Mary transforms herself into Jacky Faber, ship’s boy on the Britishwarship Dolphin.

Murphy, Jim. An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. Houghton Mifflin Company/Clarion. (0-395-77608-2) nonfiction. Yellow fever disrupted the federal government, divided the medical establishment and destroyed the lives of thousands of Philadelphians in the disastrous epidemic of 1793, one of many in cities around the world until the cause of the disease was identified at the beginning of the 20th century.

Murphy, Jim. Inside the Alamo. Random House, Inc./Delacorte Press  (0-385-32574-6;  0-385-90092-9  lib)  nonfiction.  In February 1836, General Santa Anna led the Mexican Army to the town of San Antonio de Bexar, where they fought and massacred almost all of the men holed up inside the complex of the Alamo Mission defending the newly formed territory of Texas from Santa Anna’s attempts to reclaim it for Mexico.

Murray, Jaye. Bottled Up: A Novel. Penguin Putnam/Dial Books. (0-803-72897-2)  fiction.  Pip is a 17-year-old badass who gets his kicks by drinking, smoking, cutting class, and generally getting in lots of trouble.   But then the school principal gets involved and Pip is forced to come to terms with what he’s doing and the impact it has on his six-year-old brother.

Myracle, Lauren. Kissing Kate. Penguin Putnam/Dutton Books. (0-525-46917-6) fiction.  A brief, intimate episode between two long-time high school girlfriends results in an unbridgeable rift when they react in radically different ways to what has happened at that party – a shared, intimate kiss.

Naidoo, Beverley. Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope. HarperCollins. (0-060-50799-3;  0-060-50800-0  lib) fiction.  Seven short stories, set in South Africa between 1948 and 2000 and focused on individual experiences, white, black and colored, chronicle the stiffening and then collapse of the legal segregation of the races on South Africa known as apartheid.

Napoli, Donna Jo. Breath. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum.  (0-689-86174-5) fiction.  In the late 1200s in rat-infested Hameln, Germany, a young boy with a terrible disease (cystic fibrosis) meets the piper.   Stark and full of vivid imagery of a disease-infested landscape, this book is incredibly addictive.  Napoli based this story on events that truly happened and cleverly manipulates them with the tale of the pied piper.  Rats take the blame for everything.

Osa, Nancy. Cuba 15. Random House/Delacorte Press.  (0-385-73021-7;  0-385-90086-4  lib) fiction.  Fifteen-year-old Violet Paz is struggling to understand her Cuban heritage while her Abuela plans her quinceanero, and she gathers great material for her speech team performances from her crazy family.

Parker, Jeff. The Interman. Octopus. (0-972-55530-7) fiction.  Van Meach is the INTERMAN, a global project worked on in secret by several governments to attempt to create the perfect war machine, an assassin who can adapt to his surroundings no matter what the situation.   Now that these government leaders have decided that Van is too dangerous to live, they are finding that their prototype has become far more successful than they ever hoped…

Pattou, Edith. East. Harcourt Children’s Books. (0-152-04563-5) fiction.  Rose agrees to travel far from her home on the back of the mysterious White Bear, a journey that leads her “East of theSun and West of the Moon” on an adventure she never imagined.

Paulsen, Gary. How Angel Peterson Got His Name: And Other Outrageous Tales About Extreme Sports. Random House Children’s Books/ Wendy Lamb Books. (0-385-72949-9;   0-385-90090-2  lib) nonfiction.  Gary Paulsen relates a series of bizarre and daredevil feats attempted by his friends during their childhood in Minnesota.

Peck, Richard. The River Between Us. Penguin Putnam/Dial.  (0-8037-2735-6) fiction.  In 1916 Howard Leland Hutchings travels to his father’s ancestral home in Southern Illinois and meets Tilly who tells him the story of his father’s kin during the Civil War era.

Pierce, Tamora. Trickster’s Choice. Random House. (0-375-81466-3;  0-375-91466-8  lib)  fiction.  When Aly decides to avoid her famous warrior mother she never dreams that she will be captured by slavers, but finds that this gives her the opportunity to prove that she has all the makings of a spy.

Pratchett, Terry. The Wee Free Men: A Story of Discworld. HarperCollins. (0-060-01236-6;  0-060-01237-4  lib)  fiction.  Armed with an iron frying pan, Tiffany Aching goes with the wee free men who have made her their leader to rescue her little brother, one of a series of young people kidnapped by the Queen of Fairyland.

Rapp, Adam.   Timothy Basil Ering, il. 33 Snowfish. Candlewick Press. (0-763-61874-8) fiction.  Boobie, Curl and Custis are on the run with Boobie’s baby brother in tow as they each attempt to escape their demons and cling to one another in their darkest hours.

Rees, Celia. Pirates!    Bloomsbury/Bloomsbury Children. (1-582-34816-2) fiction.  In the 1720s, dire circumstances propel two girls – a wealthy merchant’s daughter from England and her father’s Jamaican slave – into a life of piracy.

Reeve, Philip. Mortal Engines: A Novel. HarperCollins/Eos.  (0-060-08207-0;  0-060-08208-9  lib) fiction.  In a future so bleak that cities travel on huge tank-like tracks hunting and consuming smaller towns, four teens uncover a diabolical plan to reconstruct the very weapons that killed civilization as we know it.

Roach, Mary. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. (0-393-05093-9) nonfiction.  The book is a journey into the afterlife of human cadavers.   The author Mary Roach gives a humorous, yet touching and respectful and poignant look at how scientists utilize every precious element of the human body.

Rowling, J.K.   Mary Grandpre, il. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Schoastic, Inc. (0-439-35806-X,  0-439-56761-0 lib) fiction.  Harry Potter is haunted by dreams that foreshadow a terrifying secret.   Being a 15-year-old adolescent doesn’t help matters either.  In his fifth year at Hogwarts Harry is snappier and moodier than ever and his hormones and emotions fluctuate continuously.

Rylant, Cynthia. God Went to Beauty School. HarperCollins/HarperTempest. (0-060-09433-8; 0-060-09434-6  lib) fiction.  Very funny, yet thoughtful, collection of poems presenting an alternative view of God.

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. Random House, Inc./Pantheon. (0-375-42230-7) nonfiction.Marjane, the daughter of radical Marxists, grows up in Iran during the time of its revolution and subsequent war with Iraq.

Sis, Peter. The Tree of Life: A Book Depicting the Life of Charles Darwin: Naturalist, Geologist & Thinker. Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Frances Foster    (0-374-45628-3)   nonfiction.  An introduction to the nineteenth century scientist who sailed around the world and wrote a book that changed it, including material from Darwin’s own diaries and detailed illustrations by the author.

Slade, Arthur. Dust. Random House/Delacorte Press. (0-385-73004-7;  0-385-90093-7  lib) fiction.  Eleven-year-old Robert is the only person in Horshoe, Saskatchewan who remains impervious enough to the dazzling visitor and his promise of a rainmaking machine to wonder where all the town’s missing people have gone.

Spinelli, Jerry. Milkweed: A Novel. Random House, Inc./Alfred A. Knopf.  (0-375-81374-8;  0-375-91374-2  lib) fiction.  A resourceful orphan steals to survive the horrors of the Warsaw ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Stroud, Jonathan. The Amulet of Samarkand: Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One. Hyperion Books for Children/Miramax.   (0-786-81859-X;  0-786-85143-0  pbk) fiction.  A brilliant, self-taught young magician named Nathaniel aims to take revenge by conjuring up a powerful djinni named Bartimaeus and commanding him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, the magician who was responsible for humiliating Nathaniel.

Thompson, Craig. Blankets: An Illustrated Novel. Top Shelf Productions. (1-891-83043-0) fiction.  This graphic novel, autobiographical in scope, vibrantly depicts the life of the author.   Simultaneously weaving childhood, adolescence and adulthood, Thompson illuminates the trials and tribulations of being an outcast, attending a zealous bible camp and meeting the girl of his dreams.

Trueman, Terry. Inside Out. HarperCollins/HarperTempest.   (0-066-23962-1;  0-066-23963-X  lib)  fiction.  While waiting for his mom in the coffee shop, sixteen-year-old Zach Wahhsted, who suffers from adolescent onset schizophrenia, becomes the voice of reason when a foiled robbery by a pair of armed teens turns into a hostage situation.

Vance, Susanna. Deep. Random House/Delacorte Press. (0-385-73057-8;  0-385-90080-5  lib)  fiction.  Enthusiastically spoiled thirteen-year-old Birdie Sidwell and solemn, sea-faring seventeen-year-old Morgan become unlikely allies when they both come in contact with a ruthless, utterly charming modern pirate.

Vande Velde, Vivian. Heir Apparent. Harcourt, Inc. (0-152-04560-0)  fiction.  Trapped in a virtual reality game by outside religious agitators who have stormed the video arcade and harmed the sensitive equipment, fourteen-year-old Giannine isn’t just playing to win, she’s playing for her life!

Wittlinger, Ellen. Zigzag. Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. (0-689-84996-6) fiction.  Robin discovers more than the sights during her cross-country trek.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Locomotion. Penguin Putnam/G.P. Putnam’s Sons. (0-399-23115-3) fiction.  A verse novel in which 11-year-old Lonnie recovers from the trauma that results when his parents are killed in a fire.

Wrede, Patricia C. and Caroline Stevermer. Sorcery & Cecelia, Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country. Harcourt, Inc. (0-152-04615-1) fiction.  Cousins Cecelia and Kate, who have grown up raucously in the country, correspond in lively letters during the course of Kate’s first season in London.

Yolen, Jane. Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur. Harcourt, Inc. (0-152-02527-8) fiction.  Assassins, treachery, and sorcery abound in this inventive version of King Arthur’s early days of rule, including the magician’s very risky staging of the test of the sword in the stone.

Zahn, Timothy. Dragon and Thief: A Dragonback Adventure. Tom Doherty Associates/Tor. (0-765-30124-5;  0-765-34272-3  pbk) fiction.  Jack Morgan’s efforts to be cleared of a theft he didn’t make are complicated when he allows Draycos, a symbiotic dragon, to take up residence on his back in the form of a moving tattoo.