Oldies But Goodies
These books are worth a try even though they've been around a long time. Take a look!
These books were all published on or before the year 2002, so sometimes there may be parts that seem a little dated. BUT, the themes of the books are still relevant today. That's what makes them classics!
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- realistic fiction (F AND)
- Melinda begins her 9th grade year of high school in a state of shock, hardly even talking. At all.
- The reader finds out she called the cops to bust a summer party, but that's not the reason she's not talking.
- Intense. The author makes it very clear what Melinda is going through.
- You should know: Although this is a considered a classic, it's also pretty controversial, and has been a "challenged" book in some places. Not a light read.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- realistic fiction (F HIN) but takes place in the 1960s-ish in Oklahoma.
- Ponyboy believes there are two types of people in the world: greasers and socs. Socs (short for social) has money and can get away with anything. Greasers are outsiders and have to watch out. Ponyboy is proud to be a greaser until tragedy happens that makes him rethink what he thought he knew.
- You should know: The legend goes that S.E. Hinton was a 15 year old girl who was tired of not finding herself or people she knew in the books she read, so she wrote the book herself. Considered one of the first books really written for young adults.
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
- fantasy fiction (F PUL)
- Lyra lives in an alternate-Earth where there are also daemons that are companions to humans. Children begin to disappear in this world because of dark forces at work, and when Lyra's best friend disappears too she vows to find him.
- Lyra teams up with her daemon and a group of other creatures to rescue her friend and right her world again.
- You should know: This is also a controversial book, largely because of the author. When the movie was made there was lots of talk about him being an atheist and pushing that agenda in the book.
Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers
- realistic fiction (F MYE)
- Urban setting; Jamal lives with his mom and sister in Harlem. His older brother is in prison because of a robbery gone bad, and his dad isn't really in the picture.
- Jamal's older brother was the leader of the gang before he got put in jail, and now his friends are saying Jamal should be the leader.
- Jamal struggles with what to do--he knows the dangers of the gang, but he also knows what it can get him.
- You should know: Because of the urban, mid 80s, gang setting, the language is not what we'd use. Takes a little getting used to.
Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
- realistic ficition (F TRU)
- Shawn is a teenage boy with cerebral palsy. That means he can't communicate but he completely understands everything going on around him.
- Throughout the book, he gets more and more worried that his dad wants to "put him out of pain."
- Short but powerful book--really makes you think!
- You should know: This book could be slightly creepy because Terry Trueman has a son with cerebral palsy. There is an interview on his website with more information about the overlap of the book and Trueman's life.
Revenge of the Whale by Nathaniel Philbrick
- historical narrative nonfiction (910 PHI)
- Tells the story of a whaleship in 1819 off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. After a year and a half of near misses at sea, the ship was slammed by a whale and sank.
- The book tells the sometimes-gruesome story of the few survivors of the experience.
- You should know: This is the young adult version of the book "In the Heart of the Sea" by Philbrick. That book is being made into a movie to be released in December.