In the stacks: Young adult fiction on the shelves

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2005

Young adult fiction is shelved with the library's adult fiction but marked with a green spine label for easy browsing. Though generally written for high school students, some middle school readers and many adults find them worth reading, too.

"Wings," by Julie Gonzalez. All his life, Ian has known that someday he would grow wings and fly. He writes about it in school assignments. He believes that Gravity is his snickering enemy. And sometimes he gets impatient and tries to force his wings to appear by diving off some high point. In alternating chapters, Ian and his brother Ben tell the story of the power of belief.

"Memories of Sun," edited by Jane Kurtz. The twelve stories and three poems in this riveting collection were written by Africans and African-Americans to celebrate their homelands. Annette, a white teenager born and raised in South Africa, visits her father who runs a "reserve" for Bushmen, and finds a sense of belonging she's never known before. An orphaned monkey wins the heart of an American woman in Liberia. And a former child-soldier from Sierra Leone finds peace and purpose in Los Angeles.

"Down the Rabbit Hole," by Peter Abrahams. No one picked Ingrid up after her orthodontist appointment, and now she's an 8th grade murder suspect. Calling on her mentor, Sherlock Holmes, Ingrid starts her own investigation into the murder of the woman who called a cab for her, all the while dodging tricky questions from the police, learning the title role in "Alice in Wonderland," and trying to keep her grades up. The conclusion is perfectly satisfying, though some loose ends are left untied, perhaps in expectation of a sequel.

"Burning City," by Ariel and Joaquin Dorfman. Soft Tidings bills itself as a messenger service with a personal touch: news is not delivered so much as told. The messengers, especially Heller, are very good at their jobs, which often involve bad news. Heller, nicknamed Angel of Death by his coworkers, is the lone cyclist in an office of skaters, has some clear goals: to win the Tour de France, to make the news he delivers bearable for the receivers, and to win over Sylvia, the waitress at his favorite coffee shop.

"Kipling's Choice," by Geert Spillebeen. Over 8 million men died during World War I: one of those was John Kipling. Like his father, John had terrible eyesight that would have disqualified him for military service, but, like his father, John was desperate to fight for his country. And John's father, Rudyard, knew all the strings to pull to make it happen. This is a fictionalized account of John's last days alive, complete with the awful details of his wounds, but it is also the story of one boy's search for his father's approval, and the lengths to which a father will go to fulfill his own dreams.

"The Boyfriend List," by E. Lockhart. Ruby is only 15, but she's seeing a shrink because of her panic attacks, which are probably because her boyfriend dumped her for her best friend. Or maybe because her performance artist mother tells revealing stories about Ruby onstage. Or it could be the lacrosse game she lost, or the graffiti on the bathroom wall with her name on it. She's had a tough two weeks, and this funny, articulate teen-angst novel tells all.


Get a New Perspective meets at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at the downtown library. This month's theme is Slowing Down. Call us at 586-5249 or check our website for more information.

Placing a hold on our material is easy: call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249, or, if you have internet access, your library card, and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our website ( and looking at our catalog or at the In the Stacks column. The columns are hyperlinked to the catalog: simply click on the title you want, and you will be ready to place a hold.

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