YSU English Festival: 2011 Book Selections

Posted April 7, 2011 by 1 Comment

This year’s YSU English Festival participants have read 7 books in preparation for this week’s festival. Check out the lists and book profiles below:

Grades 7-9 (Wednesday and Thursday Attendees)

  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Scat by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
  • Chanda’s Wars by Allan Stratton

Grades 10-12 (Friday Attendees)

  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Nation by Terry Prachett
  • Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
  • Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Check out our previous post on The Thief and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love. – Scholastic

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual. – Simon and Schuster

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Mrs. Starch – fearsome biology teacher – never returned from a field trip to Black Vine Swamp.

The principal says she was called away on a “family emergency,” but Nick and Marta don’t buy it. They think Smoke, the class delinquent, has something to do with her disappearance.

And he does! But not in the way that they think. There’s a lot more going on in Black Vine Swamp than any one player in this twisted tale can see. And Nick and Marta will have to reckon with an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off Florida panther before they’ll really begin to see the big picture.

That’s life in the swamp, kids. -Carl Hiaasen web site

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero in THE WEDNESDAY WARS—a wonderfully witty and compelling novel about a teenage boys mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year.

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesnt like Holling—hes sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself. -Powell’s Books

Chanda’s Wars by Allan Stratton

It’s been six months since Mama died, and Chanda is struggling to raise her little brother and sister. Determined to end a family feud, she takes them to her relatives’ remote rural village.

But across the nearby border, a brutal civil war is spreading. Rebels led by the brutal cult leader General Mandiki attack at night, kidnapping children to become child soldiers. All that separates Chanda from the horror is a stretch of rugged bush and a national park alive with predators. Soon, not even that. Before she knows it, Chanda must face the unthinkable with a troubled young tracker as her unlikely ally.

Chanda’s Wars is the unforgettable story of a teenager who risks her life to save her brother and sister. Epic in its sweep, intimate in its humanity, it is a gripping tale of family intrigue, love and courage, forgiveness and hope. -Allan Stratton web site

Nation by Terry Prachett

Something was wrong. The world felt as though something heavy was pressing down on it.

Discover a breathtaking new adventure of a boy whose journey to manhood requires the strength to defy expectations and the courage to forge new beliefs.

-Terry Pratchett web site

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

Climbing the Stairs is a coming-of-age novel set in India in the 1940’s. It is the story of a young girl’s fight for freedom, mirrored by her nation’s struggle for independence. It is also a story that touches on several other themes through the political and personal complications that confront the main characters when an unexpected tragedy strikes. Although it is a work of historical fiction set in Asia, many of the conflicts that drive the plot forward have relevance for us here in the United States. The characters struggle with issues that confront us today: Should a nation ever go to war? If so, when and why? What is violence and what is nonviolence? Should a person ever act violently? The story of Vidya and her family does not seek to answer these questions, but to raise them through the different characters’ beliefs and actions, and to show different points of view. -Official Book web site

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit.” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way. -Emily Lockhart web site

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? (Other than The Hunger Games, of course). Tell us below:


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