* Virginia Readers' Choice Book List 2013-2014
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen-When 15-year-old orphan Sage is purchased by one of the king's regents, he is instantly thrown into a den of political intrigue that will have repercussions throughout the kingdom. He soon learns the entire royal family is dead, and so, to prevent civil war, the regent is purchasing orphans who may be able to pass for the king's younger son, lost at sea years ago. Before long, Sage finds himself in a desperate competition among other boys his age to earn the right to impersonate the prince and become the ruler of a kingdom.
Hidden by Helen Frost- When fourteen-year-olds Wren and Darra meet at a Michigan summer camp, both are overwhelmed by memories from six years earlier when Darra's father stole a car, unaware that Wren was hiding in the back.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park- In alternating chapters, Park's novel illuminates the stories of two young people living in Sudan. First there is 11-year-old Salva, whose school is attacked by rebels in 1985, launching him on a three-year journey to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Eventually, Salva is chosen to travel to America and is adopted by a family there. The other side of the story focuses on Nya, a young girl living in Sudan in 2008 who must walk eight hours each day to gather water for her family. Desperate for help and change, Nya's prayers are answered when a now-grown Salva returns home and builds a well, helping his people find the water they need to survive.
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt- As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the "skinny thug" that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer--a fiery young lady who "smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain." In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon's birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.
Quarterback Season by Fred Bowen- Matt expects to be the starting quarterback on his middle school team. But after a few practices watching Devro, a talented seventh grader, he’s starting to get nervous. To make matters worse, his English teacher is on his case about a new class assignment: he has to keep a journal. Matt is sure he has nothing to write about—until he begins to record the crazy ups and downs of his team’s season. Devro may be the least of his worries…
Storm Runners by Roland Smith- Chase Masters and his father are "storm runners," racing across the country in pursuit of hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. Anywhere bad weather strikes, they are not far behind. Chase is learning more on the road than he ever would just sitting in a classroom. But when the hurricane of the century hits, he will be tested in ways he never could have imagined.
The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt- Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio- Born with facial defects, Auggie Pullman has had 27 surgeries to correct the problems but still looks vastly different from other children. As such, his parents have homeschooled him his entire life; now, Auggie is ready to begin fifth grade at Beecher Prep. Although Auggie's father feels that sending him out into the real world is tantamount to bringing “a lamb to the slaughter,” Auggie holds his head up high and allows his smart, funny, and brave personality to lead the way. By dividing the narrative among Auggie, his parents, and his peers, author Palacio provides additional perspective on the story, revealing how this transition affects not only Auggie but those around him as well.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick- Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.
You’ll Like it Here by Ruth White- Although Meggie Blue seems to be an average sixth-grader she is abnormally frightened when residents of her small, North Carolina town become fixated on aliens, and soon she and her family are forced to flee, making it clear that all is not as it seems
Battle of the Books
Titles in Red indicate 2011-2012 Virginia Readers' Choice books
Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Grace Lin
Hero - Mike Lupica
Chains - Laurie Halsey Anderson
Moon Over Manifest -C. Vanderpool
When the Whistle Blows - Fran Slayton
Countdown - Ben Mikaelsen
Kick - Walter Dean Myers
Out of My Mind - Sharon Draper
Bystander - James Preller
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda - Tom Angleberger.
Cosmic - Frank Cottrell Boyce
Peak - Roland Smith
The Death-Defying Pepper Roux - Geraldine McCaughrean
Someone is Hiding on Alcatraz Island -Eve Bunting
The Great Escape: Tunnel to Freedom: - Mike Meserole
Hunchback Assignments - Arthur Slade
Walls Within Walls - Maureen Sherry
Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown - Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson
Trash - Andy Mulligan