This will most likely be my last post for 2012, so it's appropriate to finish discussing this year's Soaring Eagle Book Award nominees. Once 2013 begins, a lot of attention in the world of Young Adult literature will focus on nominees and winners of other national awards, and this blog will likewise focus on those books.
The last three of this year's 14 SEBA nominees are more difficult to group together; although all three are realistic fiction, they differ widely in writing style, plot motivation, and reader appeal. The best thing to do is just to talk about them! So, here goes. . . .
Theodore Boone, Abduction by John Grisham. This book is the second in Grisham's first young adult series. Grisham, a highly popular author of adult crime novels, has developed a teenage character, Theodore Boone, whose parents are both involved in the law. Theodore himself plans to be a lawyer when he grows up. However, in the first book of the series, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, he finds himself in court much sooner than anticipated: Theodore has witnessed a murder and helps to solve it with his keen observation skills. In Theodore Boone: Abduction, Theo's best friend, April, has disappeared. There are sinister happenings in town, and Theo has a bad feeling about April's disappearance. Will he be able to use his detective skills to find his friend before it's too late?
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones. When the "popular" girl and the "outcast" boy connect and start dating, classmates and parents do not understand. Robin has always considered himself a loser; he can't believe that Sophie, the prettiest girl in school, is actually interested in him.. . and neither can Sophie's clique-y friends. Sophie sticks by Robin through all the hurt; but if she knew the total truth about him, about the secrets he hides from her, would she make the same choice? This book is also a sequel to "What My Mother Doesn't Know;" both are written in verse rather than prose.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac are three friends bound together by a common enemy -- cancer. All three have, so far, survived some form of cancer, although at the cost of body parts, freedoms, and any chance of "normal" teenaged lives. This is not a feel-good cancer story; Green writes a gut-wrenching, painfully realistic tale about three teenagers who fight against being defined by their disease. Isaac loses his girlfriend just before surgery to have his second eye removed, and rages against the unfairness. Hazel has been in remission since a miracle drug shrunk her thyroid tumor two years ago, but now relies on an oxygen tank and cannula for every breath. And Gus, the most vibrant and alive of all three, just wants to focus on making Hazel's dream come true. A beautiful story about friendship, love and life.
We had only fourteen nominations for the Soaring Eagle book award this year, rather than fifteen. If you need to view the full list, you can find it at this URL: http://www.ccpls.org/html/soaringeagle.html. Encourage your teen (or you!) to read at least three so that they can vote for their favorite in March. Happy Holidays, and happy reading!