And now, here are the YA Nerdies by Teri Lesesne

In typical YA fashion, we have broken the rules when it comes to the Nerdies.  Other categories yielded five winners.  YA proves its adolescent rebellious spirit by offering you six.  If, by any chance, you have missed any of these titles, hie thee to a bookstore.  Then, clear your calendars because once you begin one of the YA Nerdies Winners, you will find yourself unable to put it down until you turn the final pages.  These winners demonstrate the range of YA beautifully.  Here we have history, reality, fantasy, and most importantly: riveting stories about finding direction in life.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  Penguin.

Readers will find it in Hazel and Augustus, two teens who meet in a cancer support group.  They are so much more than their diagnoses, their treatments, their diseases.  They are, simply, two teens whose lives are changed through their chance meeting and the friendship that develops from it.  Rather than telling you much about this remarkable book, here is John Green reading the first chapter of his novel:  If you log into Twitter and search using #tfios, you will soon see that this is a book that touches the lives of its readers deeply.  It is that emotional depth that will pull you into the story and then release you, drained, at the end.

See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles.  Candlewick Press.

Fern is a typical twelve year old in many respects.  She can find her parents embarrassing and her little brother Charlie pesky.  Her older sister Sara is too critical at times, and her brother Holden seems to spend a lot of time secreted away.  However, Fern’s life is about to change dramatically.  Life can throw us all curves.  Jo Knowles lets Fern show us how healing is possible.  Kirkus,  in a starred review, noted, “Prescient writing, fully developed characters and completely, tragically believable situations elevate this sad, gripping tale to a must-read level.

Here is a great interview with Jo about her book here:

Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  HarperCollins.

First, there was DIVERGENT.  In this middle story of the trilogy, Roth takes readers further into this futuristic world where Tris continues to discover that all is not what it seems on the surface. Not all who live within the confines of Amity are friendly; sometimes the Erudite seem downright ignorant of the truth.  Daunting members are not always unaware of the risks they face, and Candor are not always truthful.  Perhaps there are some in Abnegation who do not always think of the welfare of others first.  With civilization perhaps on the precipice of war, Tris must join forces with others like her, the Divergent, to find a way to survive.

Here is the official book trailer for INSURGENT.

Free teaching guide for DIVERGENT here:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  Hyperion.

Take a few pages from Scheherazade and add in a vintage WWII movie, combine with the most memorable unreliable narrator, and you might come close to CODE NAME VERITY.  “Verity” was one of two aboard a small plane shot down by the Nazis.  Now she is being tortured and interrogated for any information she might have about the attacks against the Germans.  The New York Times says it best when it calls CODE NAME VERITY a book that, “is a fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel, the kind you have to read twice.”  Better yet, read it and then give it a listen.

Check out the discussion of the book at the Someday My Printz Will Come blog:

Here is the book trailer:

and a link to the author’s web site:

Every Day by David Levithan.  Knopf.

What would it be like to wake each and every day in a new body?  Such has been the life of A, the protagonist of Levithan’s thought-provoking novel that examines what it means to be human.  What defines us?  Our gender, ethnicity, interests? As A travels from the body of one “host” to another, readers will have much to ponder about our true essence and what it is.

Here is the link to the book trailer which features some faces that might be familiar to those who love YA books:

SIX EARLIER DAYS, a prequel to the novel is available in Kindle form here:

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  Scholastic.

Fans of Stiefvater’s earlier work including the Printz Honor winning THE SCORPIO RACES know to expect something out of the ordinary not just in terms of the story but also in terms of the characters who inhabit the world the author has created.  Sixteen year old Blue comes from a family of psychics though she is not one herself.  She lives under a curse of sorts, as she has been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die.  Gansey and his pals are the Raven Boys, four young men who attend a prestigious private school.  They are searching for a legend, and when these characters’ lives intersect, there will be many surprises.  The first in a projected quartet, readers are already salivating for book #2 in the saga.

Here is the book trailer from Maggie’s (she did the animation and music) site:

And a link to the NPR interview about the book here:


Post by Teri Lesesne


Chair, 2013 Odyssey Committee

Executive Director of ALAN