Cindy & Lynn's Best of the Best Books for Teens 2009

Cindy and Lynn: So here we are. Last year we listed our Baker’s Dozen of top books and who are we to argue with tradition? These are our choices for the most outstanding teen books for this year in terms of literary merit. Each list is arranged alphabetically by title. We’ve always wondered how authors feel when they see their books listed on Best of the Year lists. Here’s one answer from author Francisco Stork’s blog.

Cindy: I haven’t read as many books as Lynn this year, so I’m going to punish myself and only list ten. She’s earned the extra three. I still have towering piles of 2009 books I want to read, but the 2010 pubs are piling up and calling strongly.

Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone. Candlewick, 2009.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. Candlewick, 2009.

Charles and Emma: the Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heligman. Holt, 2009.

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost. Farrar/Frances Foster, 2009.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. Holt, 2009.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. Scholastic, 2009.

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge. Penguin/Viking, 2009.

Stitches by David Small. W.W. Norton, 2009.

Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan. Candlewick, 2009.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Random/Wendy Lamb, 2009.

Cindy’s Bonus Track: Since I did limit myself to only ten, I’m going to continue my tradition of listing a book I haven’t quite finished reading. Last year it was Tender Morsels that went on to win a Printz Honor. This year the book that I am still reading is Libba Bray’s Going Bovine. I’m actually listening to it on audio and it’s taken longer than I’d planned, but I am laughing out loud and reveling in this sly send up to Don Quixote with a teen hero diagnosed with the human version of mad cow disease. I’ll go tilting at windmills with Ms. Bray any time. As promised last year, I’ll own up later if I finish the book and don’t agree that it would make my top of the year list.

Lynn: I’ve redone my lists more times than I can count in the last few days and it pains me to leave off several that are also extraordinary. I’d list them but that would be just too sneaky – and Cindy would never let me forget it! I’ll finally cut bait with this Baker’s Dozen.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. Candlewick, 2009.

Charles and Emma: the Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heligman. Holt, 2009.

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost. Farrar/Frances Foster, 2009.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. Holt, 2009.

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge. Harper, 2009.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. Scholastic, 2009.

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge. Penguin/Viking, 2009.

Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan. Candlewick, 2009.

Sweethearts of Rhythm: the Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World by Marilyn Nelson. Penguin/Dial, 2009.

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan. Scholastic, 2009.

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton. Penguin/Philomel, 2009

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Random/Wendy Lamb, 2009.

Years of Dust: the Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin. Penguin/Dutton, 2009.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "Cindy & Lynn's Best of the Best Books for Teens 2009"

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  1. helenfrost@comcast.net' Helen Frost says:

    Since you asked, and since I liked what Francisco Stork had to say, I thought I’d try to express some of what this time of year feels like. It’s on my website (www.helenfrost.net) under “What’s New,” not exactly a blog, just a few things I post when they occur to me.
    Thank you for including me on your list, such a humbling honor to be in this company.

  2. Great stuff, I don’t know how you guys keep up with all these great new books.

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