Tomorrow is the big day! The Youth Media Awards will be announced at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in the morning. Winners of the Michael Printz Award (high praise for literary achievement in young adult fiction), the William C. Morris Award (best debut teen novel), the Margaret A. Edwards Awards (which is awards to an author for their contibution to young adult literature) and so many more! Check back for details!
Post 9/11 Ryan Smithson decided to join the Army. He’s seventeen-years-old and is quickly accepted into the Reserves. By nineteen he’s deployed to Iraq, leaving behind a brand new bride and loving family. Working as an Army engineer, Ryan and his platoon are responsible for helping to rebuild the country. They occasionally come into contact with the Iraqi people, many of whom are grateful and excited to see American soldiers, and occasionally find themselves in dangerous combat situations. Ryan is open about sharing his experiences as a soldier and his thoughts on serving his country. For the many people who have never served in the military or for the people who are interested in a military career, this is a great read. It’s honest, compelling, touching and sometimes humorous. Smithson allows readers to gain a better understanding and deeper respect for all our service men and women go through.
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Sophie is torn between two worlds—she lives with her father in the states, but goes to visit her mother in the Congo whenever possible. Completely dedicated to her life’s work, Sophie’s mother runs a sanctuary for bonobo apes in the middle of the jungle. The Congo is a dangerous place and Sophie knows better than to stop the driver taking her to the sanctuary. When she sees the pitiful baby bonobo trailing behind a trapper, she can’t resist. Her mother has told her never to buy any of these apes, but if Sophie didn’t, what would happen to the little guy? After all, isn’t this her mom’s ultimate goal? To save bonobos?
Sophie’s mother is furious when she discovers that Sophie has purchased an ape, it just encourages the trappers. The little ape may not even make it, he looks so sick. According to her mother, it’s Sophie’s responsibility to bring him back to health or deal with his demise. She names the little guy Otto and dedicates herself to his care.
Sophie’s mom leaves on a quick business-related trip, leaving her behind at the sanctuary. Civil war breaks out in the Congo and the country is quickly overrun by rebels with machetes and guns. When the rebels take over the sanctuary, Sophie traps herself and Otto in the adult bonobo enclosure behind an electric fence. She’ll have to figure out a way to survive off the land, survive the adult bonobos who aren’t used to much human contact, and the hungry rebels who are determined to find a way past the electrified fence.
If you’re up for a really exciting adventure set in the jungle—look no further!
Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith if you’re looking for another thriller in an exotic location
Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby if you love animals, apes especially
Chicago Tribune's got the scoop on Divergent, the movie!