A Girl’s Point of View High School Book Club Catalog
- All Rivers Flow to the Sea, Alison McGhee. When a car accident leaves a teenage girl in a coma, her surviving sister struggles with grief and guilt as she faces the inevitability of moving on, and letting go. Grades 9 and up, 176 pages.
- Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison. Greenville County, South Carolina, a wild, lush place, is home to the Boatwright family -- rough-hewn men who drink hard and shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who marry young and age all too quickly. At the heart of this astonishing novel is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as "Bone," a South Carolina bastard with an annotated birth certificate to tell the tale. Observing everything with the mercilessly keen eye of a child, Bone finds herself caught up in a family triangle that will test the loyalty of her mother, Anney. Her stepfather, Daddy Glen, calls Bone "cold as death, mean as a snake, and twice as twisty," yet Anney needs Glen. At first gentle with Bone, Daddy Glen becomes steadily colder and more furious - until their final, harrowing encounter, from which there can be no turning back. Ages 14 and up, 309 pages
- Catalyst, Laurie Halse Anderson. Eighteen-year-old Kate, who sometimes chafes at being a preacher's daughter, finds herself losing control in her senior year as she faces difficult neighbors, the possibility that she may not be accepted by the college of her choice, and an unexpected death. Ages 12 and up, 232 pages.
- Cut, Patricia McCormick. Callie suffers from a less familiar teen problem--she cuts herself to relieve her inner frustrations and guilt. The hope and hard-won progress that comes at the conclusion of the novel is believable and heartening for any teen reader who feels alone in her (or his) angst. Along with Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and E.L. Konigsburg's Silent to the Bone, McCormick's Cut expertly tackles an unusual response to harrowing adolescent trouble. Ages 14 and older, 160 pages.
- Dreamland, Sarah Dessen. After her older sister runs away, sixteen-year-old Caitlin decides that she needs to make a major change in her own life and begins an abusive relationship with a boy who is mysterious, brilliant, and dangerous. Ages 12 and up, 250 pages.
- Drowning Anna, Sue Mayfield. When Anna Goldsmith moves her posh city school to a small town, everyone's gossiping. Her accent makes her stick out a mile away, while her near-perfect grades set her apart as a teacher's pet. But when the most popular girl in school, captivating and witty Hayley Parkin, befriends Anna, she couldn't be more thrilled. Then Hayley begins her cruel games. What starts as innocent teasing leads to mean remarks, and even violence, toward frightened Anna. But Hayley's cunning leaves a deeper impression on Anna than anyone, even her best friend Melanie, could have ever anticipated. "Young readers will find this text original and real; parents will read as a frightening wake-up call. It is a book that begs conversation." Ages 12 and up, 253 pages.
- Ellen Foster, Kay Gibbons. The story of an eleven-year-old orphan, driven to desperation by some of the wickedest relatives in literary history, this is the story of her battle for survival. Having suffered abuse and misfortune for much of her life, a young child searches for a better life and finally gets a break in the home of a loving woman with several foster children. Oprah’s Book Club. Ages 12 and up, 144 pages.
- Every Man for Himself: Ten Stories about Being a Guy. Word on the street is that being a guy these days can be kinda rough. Well, here are ten fictional stories, some funny, some sad, that deal with that very subject. Stories about being a guy, written by guys. From Walter Dean Myers's story about a black kid who takes a white girl to the prom, to Mo Willems's comedy about an invincible kid who goes to a high school for superheroes, to graphic novelist Craig Thompson's story about the skaters vs. the wussy football players, each manages to ever-so-subtly reflect the modern-day concerns of guyhood. All Ages, 176 pages.
- The First Part Last, Angela Johnson. Bobby is your classic urban teenaged boy -- impulsive, eager, restless. On his sixteenth birthday he gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever. She's pregnant. Bobby's going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and hanging with friends no longer seem important as they're replaced by visits to Nia's obstetrician and a social worker who says that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption. Winner of the 2004 Coretta Scott King Award, Winner of the 2004 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Ages 12 and up, 144 pages.
- Hanging Onto Max, Margaret Bechard. When his girlfriend decides to give their baby away, seventeen-year-old Sam is determined to keep him and raise him alone. Ages 12 and up, 204 pages.
- Looking for Alaska, John Green. A deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Looking for Alaska traces the journey of Miles Halter, a misfit Florida teenager who leaves the safety of home for a boarding school in Alabama and a chance to explore the "Great Perhaps." Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction. Teens Top 10 Awards, 2006 Michael J. Printz Award Winner. Grades 9 and up, 160 pages.
- My Heartbeat, Garrett Freyman-Weyr. As she tries to understand the closeness between her older brother and his best friend, fourteen-year-old Ellen finds her relationship with each of them changing. Ages 12 and up, 154 pages.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction. Ages 12 and up, 213 pages.
- Prom, Laurie Halse Anderson. Ashley Hannigan's plans for the future don't include the senior prom; they include things like squeaking through to graduate, moving out of her parents' crowded house and into a Philadelphia apartment with her high school dropout boyfriend. Those plans change when Miss Crane, the math teacher, embezzles all the prom money. Before she can say, "Too weird," Ashley finds herself choreographing a school gala that changes everything. Ages 12 and up, 224 pages.
- A Room on Lorelei Street, Mary E. Pearson. A room is not much. It is not arms holding you. Not a kiss on the forehead. Not a packed lunch or a remembered birthday. Just a room. But for seventeen-year-old Zoe, struggling to shed the suffocating responsibility of her alcoholic mother and the controlling guilt of her grandmother, a rented room on Lorelei Street is a fierce grab for control of her own future. Grades 10 and up, 272 pages.
- Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson. Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country. A 2000 Printz Honor Book, 1999 National Book Award Finalist, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Top Ten First Novel of 1999. Grades 8 and up, 198 pages.
- Stained, Jennifer Jacobson. In Weaver Falls, New Hampshire, in 1975, seventeen-year-old Jocelyn looks for answers when her lifelong neighbor and friend, Gabe, turns up missing and she learns that, while her boyfriend has been telling everything to a priest, Gabe has been keeping terrible secrets. Maine Author. Grades 9 and up, 208 pages.
- Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love. 2001 ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Ages 12 and up, 186 pages.
- Sticks and Stones, Beth Goobie. Jujube Gelb is one of the many girls whose names appear on the walls of the boys' bathroom at her high school, but she is the only one to fight back, at first. Grades 9-12, 86 pages.
Dancing In Red Shoes Will Kill You, Dorian Cirrone. Always passed over for the starring roles due to her non-ballerina-esque physique, 16-year-old Kayla must search her heart about body issues, sexism, and conformity to find her true path. Amelia Bloomer List, New York Library Best Book for the Teen Age. Grades 7-10, 213 pages.
- The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, Carolyn Mackler. Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her. Michael L. Printz Honor Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, A YALSA Teens' Top Ten Book. Ages 12 and up, 244 pages.
- Ready Or Not: An All American Girl Novel, Meg Cabot. Samantha Madison is back. She is still a semi-celebrity for saving the president's life and she is still dating his son. She is faced with a huge dilemma when it appears that she not only condemns the president's new Return to Family policy, but also implies that she has slept with David. The ensuing consequences and Samantha's conflicted feelings about sex provide drama. This is a surprisingly political book with a positive attitude about sex. Teen sexuality and honesty about protection, awkwardness, and masturbation are handled in a humorous and sensitive manner. Grades 9-12, 256 pages.
- Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Ann Brahares. During their first summer apart, four teenage girls, best friends since earliest childhood, stay in touch through a shared pair of secondhand jeans that magically adapts to each of their figures and affects their attitudes to their different summer experiences. 2002 ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Ages 12 and up, 294 pages.
- Teen Idol, Meg Cabot. Feisty, red-haired Samantha, a self-described "urban rebel" who has dyed all of her clothes black, is a 15-year-old middle child, uncomfortably wedged between a popular older sister, and a brainy younger sister. Sam's life suddenly changes dramatically when, while standing on the sidewalk one afternoon, she foils an attempt to assassinate the President. She becomes a national hero overnight, is named teen ambassador to the United Nations and eventually lands the president's son as her beau. As Sam learns important truths about herself, Cabot interjects a worthy message into her comedic caper. Grades 9-12, 304 pages.
- Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid. Since her first prize-winning collection of stories, At the Bottom of the River, Jamaica Kincaid has been met with nothing short of amazement. With Annie John, the story of a young girl coming of age in Antigua, Kincaid tears open the theme that lies at the heart of all her fierce, incantatory novels: the ambivalent and essential bonds created by a mother's love. Grades 8 and up, 148 pages.
- The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison's classic Nobel Prize-winning work about a young African-American girl's struggle for beauty and acceptance is narrated by the excellent Ruby Dee. Morrison's brilliant tale is beautifully brought to life by Dee's dramatic, powerful voice. Grades 9 and up, 224 pages.
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker. Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this is the story of two sisters-one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South-who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. This classic work of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life. Grades 10 and up, 300 pages.
- The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros. Esperanza Cordero, a girl coming of age in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, uses poems and stories to express thoughts and emotions about her oppressive environment. Grades 9 and up, 128 pages.
- How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez. It's a long way from Santo Domingo to the Bronx, but if anyone can go the distance, it's the Garcia girls. Four lively latinas plunged from a pampered life of privilege on an island compound into the big-city chaos of New York, they rebel against Mami and Papi's old-world discipline and embrace all that America has to offer. Grades 9 and up, 290 pages.
- Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff. LaVaughn needed a part-time job. What she got was a baby-sitting gig with Jolly, an unwed teen mother. With two kids hanging in the balance, they need to make the best out of life -- and they can only do it for themselves and each other. ALA Notable Children's Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Top of the List, 1998 Corretta Scott King Award. Grades 7 and up, 200 pages.
- A Step from Heaven, An Na. In a stunning novel debut honored with the Michael J. Printz Award for excellence in literature for young adults, writer An Na tells the story of a Korean family that immigrates to California in search of a better life, only to find that the American Dream is harder to achieve than they thought. Told through the eyes of Young Ju, who is a preschooler when the book begins and a young woman heading off to college by the time it ends, A Step from Heaven is a moving and sometimes painful tale about cultural differences, family dynamics, and the struggle to survive. Printz Award Winner, National Book Award Finalist, Amelia Bloomer List. Grades 8 and up, 160 pages.
- 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Maureen Johnson. Self-effacing Ginny, 17, heads off to Europe with a giant purple-and-green backpack and an intriguing itinerary: she must follow the instructions set forth in a series of 13 sealed envelopes provided to her by her recently deceased Aunt Peg, an artist and free spirit. Letter by letter, country by country, Ginny comes into her own as she begins to accept the loss of her beloved mentor. Her realization that she is indeed an adventurer, even without Peg's presence, is the emotional ballast that provides gravity to the novel's delicious fairytale ending. Ages 12 and up, 317 pages.
- The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver. Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places. Ages 12 and older, 336 pages.
- Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd. Lily Owens and Rosalee are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August, after Rosalie insults the town racists. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most. Southeastern Library Association Best Book of 2005. Grades 9 and up, 336 pages.
- Ashes of Roses, Mary Jane Auch. In 1911, 16-year-old Margaret Rose Nolan comes to New York City and faces hardship and disappointment when both parents are forced to return to Ireland. Named one of Booklists Top Ten Historical Novels of 2002, Amelia Bloomer List. Ages 12-15, 249 pages.
- The Minister's Daughter, Julie Hearn. In 1645 in England, the daughters of the town minister successfully accuse a local healer and her granddaughter of witchcraft to conceal an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, but years later during the 1692 Salem trials their lie has unexpected repercussions. Ages 12 and up, 272 pages.
- Northern Light, Jennifer Donnelly. In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story. Newberry Award Winner, American Library Asscociation’s Best Book for Young Adults. Grades 8 and up, 408 pages.
- How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff. To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land. Ages 12 and up, 224 pages.
- Pucker, Melanie Gideon. Thomas Quicksilver, known to his classmates as "Pucker," has always been an outsider. His crazy mother, the secret of his family’s strange origins, and above all, the terrible scars on his face from a childhood fire— these things have kept Thomas isolated and lonely. But now, at seventeen, Thomas is suddenly given the chance to change all that.To be magically healed, even beautiful; to have girls throwing themselves at him.To fit in. The question is, what is he willing to sacrifice? His home? His personality? His mother’s life? Grades 7 and up (all ages), 256 pages.
- Where I Want to Be, Adele Griffin. Griffin has created another well-crafted blend of reality and otherworldliness. Teen sisters Jane and Lily tell the story of their relationship in alternating chapters. The gradually developing plot brings a growing understanding that Jane is telling her story after her death. In life, she had a difficult time separating the real from the pretend. She needed to surround herself with items of comfort and preferred her grandparents' home to anyplace else on Earth; after she dies, she returns to their home and re-creates it as it was when they were alive. Attractive, popular Lily, one year younger than Jane, is coming to terms with her sister's death and mental illness. Also confronting her is the tight hold she has on her recently graduated boyfriend and her return to high school without him. Thoughtful, unique, and ultimately life-affirming, this is a fascinating take on the literary device of a main character speaking after death. Finalist for the 2005 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Grades 7 and up, 160 pages.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou. Superbly told, with the poet's gift for language and observation, Angelou's autobiography of her childhood in Arkansas. Grades 10 and up, 304 pages.
- Smashed, Koren Zailckas. A brilliantly told, "mortifyingly credible story" (The New York Times) of growing up as one of thousands of girls who routinely use brooze as a shortcut to courage, a stand-in for good judgement, and a bludgeon for shyness.
If there is a title that your group would really like to read, but is not on this list, please contact us!