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Best of 2003
Best of 2001




WHAT TO GIVE, WHAT TO GET
Best Books of 2004

As 2004 comes to a close, we at Teenreads.com have compiled some of our favorite books of the year for teens. These entertaining and memorable reads make for great holiday gifts (to give or to get). Standouts include Carolyn Mackler's third novel VEGAN VIRGIN VALENTINE, in which an overachieving high school senior must reevaluate her priorities; LUNA, an unforgettable novel by Julie Anne Peters about a teen's struggle for self-identity and acceptance; and G.P. Taylor’s SHADOWMANCER, a compelling and breathtaking fantasy full of danger, suspense and unexpected plot twists. We also revisit three series that made their debut this year --- Missing Persons by M.E. Rabb, Everwood, and The Wicked Willow Trilogy --- as well as updates to other series titles, including the final installment in Francine Pascal’s Fearless series and the latest Shopaholic novel by Sophie Kinsella. We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane and make some new discoveries along the way!


VEGAN VIRGIN VALENTINE
Carolyn Mackler
Candlewick Press
Fiction
ISBN: 0763621552
256 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt

Mara Valentine is in control. She's a straight-A senior, a vegan, and her parents' pride and joy. She's neck-and-neck with her womanizing ex-boyfriend for valedictorian and is looking forward to attending Yale in the fall. Mara has her remaining months in Brockport all figured out --- but her plans don't include having V, her pot-smoking, sixteen-year-old niece, come to live with her family. Nor does it involve lusting after her boss or dreaming about grilled cheese sandwiches every night. What does a control freak like Mara do when things start spinning wildly out of control?


LUNA
Julie Anne Peters
Megan Tingley Books/Little, Brown and Company
Fiction
ISBN: 0316733695
256 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt

Regan's brother Liam can't stand the person he is during the day. His true self --- Luna --- only reveals herself at night. In the privacy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister's clothes and makeup. Now everything is about to change --- Luna is preparing to reveal herself to the people she loves. But are Liam's family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives?


SHADOWMANCER
G. P. Taylor
Putnam
Fantasy
ISBN: 0399242562
304 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt

Obadiah Demurral may be a vicar, but knowing what master he truly serves would come as a shock to the villagers of Thorpe. Craving power and filled with insatiable greed, he has welcomed a darkness into his life that enables him to do terrible things, in the hope of gaining control over the universe. He will stop at nothing, and as a shadowmancer --- a sorcerer who speaks to the dead --- he even commands restless souls to do his dirty work.

Who will stand against him? Young Raphah has come from another continent to reclaim the precious artifact --- dangerously volatile in the wrong hands --- that Demurral has stolen. Even younger and less experienced in the ways of battle are Thomas and Kate, accidentally drawn into this war between good and evil that ultimately brings them face-to-face with the powers of darkness in an epic battle.


BE MORE CHILL
Ned Vizzini
Hyperion/Miramax Books
Fiction
ISBN: 0786809957
288 pages

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Jeremy Heere is what most people would consider a typical high school dork. Day after day he stares at beautiful Christine, the girl he can never have, and notes the small defeats that come his way on his Humiliation Sheets --- until he hears about the "squip." A pill-sized supercomputer that is swallowed, the squip is a technological breakthrough guaranteed to make anybody cool. It instructs Jeremy on what clothes to wear, how to walk and talk, and a whole lot more. Before he knows what hit him, Jeremy becomes friends with his former tormentors and has the attention of the Hottest Girls in School. But he discovers that there is a dark side to having a computer inside your brain --- and it can have disastrous consequences.


BUCKING THE SARGE
Christopher Paul Curtis
Wendy Lamb Books
Fiction
ISBN: 0385323077
272 pages

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Luther T. Farrell hates his vicious mother, and for good reason. His mom, aka The Sarge, runs an empire of slums and halfway houses in Flint, Michigan. Luther is just one of the many people trapped in the Sarge's Evil Empire --- but he's about to escape.

If Luther wins the science fair this year, he'll be on track for college and a future as America's best-known and best-loved philosopher. All he has to do is beat his arch-rival Shayla Patrick, the beautiful daughter of Flint's finest undertaker --- and the love of Luther's life.


CRUISE CONTROL
Terry Trueman
HarperTempest
Fiction
ISBN: 0066239605
160 pages


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Paul McDaniel has everything going for him: looks, brains, and enough talent on the basketball court to take him just about anywhere. But at the opposite end of the spectrum is Shawn, who is seriously ill and doesn't even have a working brain. How can Paul pursue his own happiness when all his brother will ever experience is pain? Fueled by rage at what has happened to his family, Paul is ready to explode. And he's haunted by something he can never tell anyone --- but he must face these demons if he wants any kind of future at all.


GIFTS
Ursula K. Le Guin
Harcourt Children's Books
Fantasy
ISBN: 0152051236
288 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt

Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. These gifts can be wondrous: the ability --- with a glance, a gesture, or a word --- to summon animals, bring forth fire, and move the land. But they can also be fearsome: the ability to twist a limb, manipulate the mind, and inflict a wasting illness. The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another, but two young people --- friends since childhood --- decide not to use their gifts.


A HAT FULL OF SKY
Terry Pratchett
HarperCollins
Fantasy
ISBN: 0060586605
288 pages


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Tiffany Aching, aspiring witch and cheese maker extraordinaire, is off to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She leaves behind not only the green, familiar hills of her home but also the blue, tattooed faces of her allies --- the sword-wielding, six-inch-high Nac Mac Feegle. But something is following Tiffany, a beguiling presence that powerful witches cannot protect her from. Soon she will be beyond the help of even the Nac Mac Feegle, lost in body and soul, with no one to show her how to return.


KISSING THE RAIN
Kevin Brooks
The Chicken House/Scholastic
Fiction
ISBN: 043957742X
336 pages


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Moo Nelson has a weight problem and is constantly being teased, shoved and called names by other kids. But everything is different on Moo's bridge. High above the traffic, it's the only place where he can watch the world go by and be in peace. That is, until the night Moo witnesses a car chase and a murder!

Suddenly, everyone --- gangsters, policemen and even the school bullies --- wants something from Moo. They're looking for the truth (or some version of it). Now Moo must decide between the truth and lies, loyalty and loneliness, justice and retribution. And he must do it soon.


THE LAST CHANCE TEXACO
Brent Hartinger
HarperTempest
Fiction
ISBN: 0060509120
240 pages

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Lucy Pitt, now fifteen years old, has spent the last eight years being transferred from one foster home to another. She's currently residing at Kindle Home, a group home for the foster care system's most difficult cases. The kids refer to this place as the Last Chance Texaco because it's the last stop before they get shipped off to a high-security juvenile detention center.

Although Lucy has some rivals at the home, she also has made a number of close friends: her roommate Yolanda, her counselor Leon, and Nate, who she shares garbage duty with after school. When a series of local arsons threatens to close Kindle Home permanently, Lucy must expose the real criminal or risk losing her last chance at happiness.


MESSENGER
Lois Lowry
Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin
Fiction
ISBN: 0618404414
176 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt
• Author Talk

Once a utopian community that prided itself on welcoming new people, Village will soon be closed to all outsiders. As one of the few people able to travel through the dangerous Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village's closing and try to convince Seer's daughter to return with him before it's too late. But Forest has become hostile to Matty as well, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it, armed only with an emerging power he can't yet explain or comprehend.


THE PERFECT SCORE
David Levithan
Simon Spotlight Entertainment
Fiction
ISBN: 0689864817
192 pages

The six high school seniors in THE PERFECT SCORE believe that the Educational Testing Service, which administers the S.A.T. exams to anxious teenagers all across the country, isn't playing fair with the students, so they decide to rebel. They have one common goal --- to steal the answers to the S.A.T. --- and six different reasons for doing it.


STORY TIME
Edward Bloor
Harcourt
Horror/Comedy
ISBN: 0152046704
420 pages


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George and Kate are promised the finest education when they transfer to the Whittaker Magnet School. It boasts the highest test scores in the nation. But at what price? Their new school's curriculum is focused on beating standardized tests and classes are held in dreary, windowless rooms. Worst of all, there seems to be a demon loose in the building, one whose murderous work has only just begun.


TEEN IDOL
Meg Cabot
HarperCollins
Fiction/Romance
ISBN: 0060096160
304 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt

High school junior Jenny Greenley is good at solving problems --- so good in fact that she's the school newspaper's anonymous advice columnist. It's fun solving other people's problems --- even if doesn't make her own (like not having a boyfriend) go away. But when nineteen-year-old movie star Luke Striker comes to town to research a role, he creates havoc that even levelheaded Jenny isn't sure she can repair --- especially since she's right in the middle of it.


TRICKSTER'S QUEEN
Tamora Pierce
Random House
Fantasy
ISBN: 0375814671
480 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt

Alianne, the only daughter of Alanna the Lioness, doesn't want to become a knight like her mother. In TRICKSTER'S CHOICE, following a particularly bad fight with Alanna, Alianne is kidnapped and sent to the Copper Isles to work as a slave for an exiled royal family.

In TRICKSTER'S QUEEN, Tamora Pierce's powerful sequel, Alianne is no longer a slave. She is now spying as part of an underground rebellion against the colonial rulers of the Copper Isles. The people in the rebellion believe that a prophecy, in which a new queen will rise up to take the throne, is about to become a reality.


UNDER THE WOLF, UNDER THE DOG
Adam Rapp
Candlewick Press
Fiction
ISBN: 0763618187
310 pages


• Read a Review

Steve Nugent is in a facility called Burnstone Grove. Its residents include children who are addicts or have tried to commit suicide. But Steve doesn't fit in either group. So why is he being held here? Keeping a journal, in which he recalls his confused and violent past, Steve is left to figure out who he is by examining who he was.


Series Books

Debut Books

MISSING PERSONS
M.E. Rabb
Puffin Books
Ages 12-17

• Author Interview

When their father dies, teen sisters Sophie and Sam Shattenberg run away from their Queens, New York, home to escape their evil stepmother, Enid Gutmyre. The girls change their names, dye their hair, and try to create new lives for themselves in the tiny town of Venice, Indiana. They also take up a new hobby --- solving missing persons cases. At the same time, they're working hard to make sure that they stay missing themselves...


Everwood

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
(Everwood #1)

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Simon Spotlight
ISBN: 0689870825
Ages 12-up
240 pages

After the death of his mother, Ephram Brown moves with his family from New York City to the tiny town of Everwood, Colorado. He always had a great relationship with his mom, but his father, famous neurosurgeon Dr. Andy Brown, was always too busy saving lives to spend any quality time with him and his little sister, Delia. Ephram hates his new home, but at least one cool thing happens --- Ephram falls for the beautiful Amy Abbot. There is one major catch, however. Amy has a boyfriend who is in a coma --- and Ephram's dad might be the only one who can save him.

This touching story is the first in a series of original novels based on the hit WB program.


MOVING ON (Everwood #2)
Emma Harrison
Simon Spotlight
ISBN: 0689870833
Ages 12-up
240 pages

Just when Ephram Brown starts to think that Everwood isn't so bad after all, everything changes. Dr. Brown pulls the town's golden boy, Colin Hart, out of his coma and he makes a miraculous recovery. Everyone is thrilled --- especially his girlfriend Amy, who seems to have completely forgotten the kiss that she and Ephram shared just before Colin woke up. While she's trying to pretend that she barely knows Ephram, Colin wants him to be his new best friend. It is at this point that things really get awkward.


LOVE UNDER WRAPS
(Everwood #3)

Emma Harrison
Simon Spotlight Entertainment
ISBN: 0689871074
Ages 12-up
256 pages

Ephram Brown can't seem to focus on anything but Madison. Ever since he saw her dancing at a wedding and then kissed her at the DMV, he just can't get her out of his head. The problem though is that she's four years older than he is and their being together is technically illegal. They'll have to keep their budding romance a secret --- if he can figure out how to get a gorgeous woman like her to date a half-geek like him.


MAKING CHOICES
(Everwood #4)

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Simon Spotlight Entertainment
ISBN: 0689871082
Ages 12-up
192 pages

Although Ephram and Madison have just broken up, Ephram rebounds rather quickly --- he has a date with Amy Abbott! Understandably he's a nervous wreck, but everything goes well --- so well in fact that they go on future dates, and before long they are together at last. But then reality begins to set in, as Amy heads to UC Boulder to improve her academic record and Ephram is off to intensive piano camp in Connecticut for the summer. Though they promise to try to make their long-distance love work, it's very difficult to be in a relationship with someone who is miles and miles away.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Wicked Willow Trilogy

THE DARKENING:
Wicked Willow #1

Yvonne Navarro
Simon Spotlight
ISBN: 0743427742
Ages 14-up
288 pages

In the woods outside Sunnydale, Willow Rosenberg has exacted a terrible revenge for the murder of her girlfriend Tara Maclay: she has captured Warren, the murderous leader of the Trio, and flayed him alive. Her best friends, Buffy Summers and Xander Harris, arrived too late to stop her.

But the death of Warren isn't enough for Willow, who sets off on a trail of vengeance and magick-gathering to prepare the spell that will bring Tara back to life. And whoever gets in Willow's way is going to regret it --- including Buffy, who is still hoping to save her best friend.


SHATTERED TWILIGHT:
Wicked Willow #2

Yvonne Navarro
Simon Spotlight
ISBN: 0689869533
Ages 14-up
272 pages

Condemned for saving Buffy from their evil phantom and for not protecting the other coven members fully (as she had promised), Willow must come up with a way to restore herself to them --- and to reinforce her position of power, which hangs in the balance. But the truth --- that she battled the phantom because the ghost of Tara told her to --- will only lower Willow's status in the eyes of her coven. As Willow turns to the elements for protection, Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies must find a way to fight back without losing Willow forever.


BROKEN SUNRISE:
Wicked Willow #3

Yvonne Navarro
Simon Spotlight Entertainment
ISBN: 0689869541
Ages 14-up
272 pages

The Ghost of Tara has disappeared. At first Willow thought it was because of something she had done --- or worse, that the universe was again conspiring to hurt her. But it's almost impossible to keep secrets from a witch, especially one as powerful as Willow, and ultimately she learns that Buffy and the gang are the culprits.

Willow desperately wants Tara back. Not only does she miss her immensely, the spirit's presence is necessary to perform the resurrection spell that Willow has been working on. Though her first impulse is to charge off and bring her wrath down upon the heads of her old friends, her coven reminds her that in the past, when Willow has allowed anger to control her, she has failed. Willow must develop an alternate plan to regain Tara's spirit and perform the spell.


Series Updates

Fearless

GONE (Fearless #36)
Francine Pascal
Simon Pulse
ISBN: 0689869193
Ages 16-up
320 pages

As her high school years are winding down, Gaia is back to her normal, fearless self. Unfortunately, the world around her is far from normal. An evil business empire is trying to manufacture and sell anti-fear drugs to U.S. Army soldiers. Gaia wants to call in the CIA, but that means playing by a whole new set of rules. With graduation approaching and the possibility of government involvement, Gaia has serious decisions to make. And her choices will surprise even the most devoted Fearless fan.

GONE is the 36th and final installment in this bestselling series. But there's no reason to fear, Fearless fans...because Francine Pascal is developing a brand new series set to debut in the summer of 2005! You can read more about this series in a letter that Pascal has written to her fans, which appears at the end of the book.


Dangerous Girls

THE TASTE OF NIGHT
(Dangerous Girls #2)

R.L. Stine
HarperCollins
ISBN: 0060596163
Ages 12-up
240 pages

Destiny Weller and her twin sister, Livvy, were as close as two sisters could be --- until Livvy chose to become a vampire, leaving Destiny behind. Now Destiny will do anything to bring Livvy back to the family. But in Livvy's world of endless darkness, she knows there's only one way she and Destiny can be reunited --- Destiny must become a vampire too.


Shopaholic

SHOPAHOLIC & SISTER
Sophie Kinsella
Dial Books
Chick Lit
ISBN: 0385338090
368 pages

• Read a Review & Excerpt

World-class shopper extraordinaire Becky Bloomwood is back --- and as funny as ever in this fourth installment of Sophie Kinsella's bestselling Shopaholic series. It's a hilarious and heartwarming tale of married life, best friends, and long-lost sisters.


The Princess Diaries

PRINCESS IN PINK:
The Princess Diaries, Volume V

Meg Cabot
HarperCollins
ISBN: 0060096101
Ages 12-up
256 pages


• Read a Review & Excerpt

In this newest installment of the popular Princess Diaries series, Mia has one wish: to spend an evening with Michael in a tux and a corsage on her wrist --- in other words, the prom. Michael, however, does not want to go. To make matters worse, a service workers strike (with Grandmre and Lilly at the heart of it and on opposite sides) threatens the very existence of this year's prom.


Gossip Girls

I LIKE IT LIKE THAT
(Gossip Girls #5)

Cecily von Ziegesar
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0316735183
Ages 15-up
208 pages


• Read a Review

It's Spring Break, and love is in the air in Cecily von Ziegesar's fifth installment in the popular Gossip Girls series!

Blair moves in with Serena and they're back to being best friends, but will the truce last? Meanwhile, Nate is playing Nate-in-shining-armor to his crazy new girlfriend, Georgie. But he will definitely get more than he bargained for when he, Georgie, Blair and Serena end up hanging out together in Sun Valley, Idaho. Back in Manhattan Jenny is spending time with a mysteriously nice new boyfriend, while Dan is occupying his hours crying in the office of the Paris Review literary journal. And exactly what is Vanessa doing shopping at Barneys with a guy in a Lacoste shirt?


YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT
(Gossip Girls #6)

Cecily von Ziegesar
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0316735167
Ages 15-up
224 pages


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College is one of the main topics in Cecily von Ziegesar's sixth Gossip Girl novel. Has Nate's devotion to his misbehaving heiress hurt his chances of getting into Brown? Is Blair too busy daydreaming to remember her real mission in life (which is Yale)? Hopefully Serena can help her friend --- that is, if Serena even cares anymore. Everyone is so concerned about college acceptances that they seem to be forgetting an even more important question: will they all graduate?


The A-List

GIRLS ON FILM:
An A-List Novel, #2

Zoey Dean
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0316734756
Ages 15-up
256 pages


• Read a Review

This sequel to THE A-LIST begins with Anna Percy feeling empowered after telling Ben to take a hike. He continues to pursue her though, refusing to go back to Princeton without a reconciliation. Anna is just not sure if she buys his New Year's cover story: that he was helping out a celebrity friend who nearly drank herself to death. In the meantime, Anna wonders if she and Adam have any chemistry. She also bonds with Sam, and after mentioning Ben's New Year's alibi the girls try to guess the identity of the mysterious alcoholic celebrity.


BLONDE AMBITION:
An A-List Novel, #3

Zoey Dean
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0316734748
Ages 15-up
240 pages


• Read a Review

BLONDE AMBITION is the third novel in the A-List series, which takes readers behind the scenes of the luxurious world of Hollywood's rich and famous. Anna Percy came to L.A. from New York to learn how to have a good time. Then her new beau, Ben Birnbaum, and his amazing disappearing act turned out to be anything but. Anna finally begins to understand that telling true love from true lust is far more easily said than done.


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   --- Compiled and written by Tom Donadio

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