Teenage misfit Alice McLeod enters a local beauty pageant, joins a Christian youth group, and tries out martial arts in some of her many attempts at normalcy.
Awards & Honors
• Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, 2005
• Kirkus Reviews starred review, April 1, 2004
A social outcast, therapy regular, and general underachiever, Alice would never have entered the Miss Smithers contest if it weren’t for the $400 clothing allowance. After spending most of it on a pair of leather pants from the local biker shop, she’s forced to skimp on the rest of her pageant wear:
It took me fifteen minutes of hard digging in the Seniors Bin at the New on You United Church Secondhand Store to come up with a two-piece purple suit that more or less fits me. The shoulder pads are admittedly a bit extreme and the ruffle on the bias-cut skirt has seen better days, but the thick gold chain belt fits just right. It is my hope that people will take the suit for early-eighties hipness on my part, rather than an artifact originally belonging to someone who was already old in the 1960s. (p 53)
Can Alice pull together the clothes and personality to win the Miss Smithers crown? Nothing’s gonna stop her from trying!
Juby, Susan. Miss Smithers. New York: HarperTempest, 2004.
The biggest voices in YA fiction bring their most romantic, funny, and surprising prom fantasies to life in this diverse short story collection.
• School Library Journal starred review by Caryl Soriano, May 1, 2007
• NoveList Recommended Reads, Short Stories by Beth Gerall, July 8, 2008
What if your prom date was a set-up with someone you didn’t even know? What if it was your brother? Or a gorilla? Cecily von Ziegesar, Libba Bray, E. Lockhart, John Green, and more of today’s hottest authors write about proms (and in one case, a backwards prom, or “morp”) where anything is possible. You might dance outside in the parking lot, or stumble upon a secret society, or hear him say “I love you” for the first time. When prom night comes, will you be ready?
Levithan, David, and Daniel Ehrenhaft, eds. 21 Proms. New York: Point/Scholastic, 2007.
When Chloe finds love with one of the least popular boys in school, her clique is less than impressed—and their friendship is put to the ultimate test.
• Booklist review by Gillian Engberg, March 15, 2007
• School Library Journal review by Lisa Goldstein, March 1, 2007
• Publishers Weekly review by PW staff, March 5, 2007
Chloe, Mackenzie, Isabel, and Erika—students at Georgia O’Keeffe School for the Arts, aka Fashion High—have been inseparable for years. But during the fall of 11th grade, something begins to change between them. Mackenzie starts hanging out with snobby Nicola, “the most popular fashionista at Fashion High.” The girls all have different advice for Erika as her boyfriend starts pressuring her to have sex. And when Chloe falls for Adam, a math and science geek at the bottom of the social food chain, her friendship with the group is suddenly on the chopping block. Will Chloe choose her sisters over this nerdy-but-lovable mister?
Friedman, Aimee, and Christine Norrie. Breaking Up. New York: Graphix, 2007.
Competing for a scholarship that requires “purity of soul and body,” four very different friends explore their own ideas of love and integrity.
Awards & Honors
• A YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults (Theme: Sex Is…), 2008
The V Club. Members: Eva, the shy good girl with a crush on class dreamboat Riley Marx. Debbie, the fashionista who fools around with lots of guys but never goes all the way. Rich and popular Mandy, who’s considering sex with her longtime boyfriend Eric. And new girl Kai, the athlete with a mysterious past.
Mission: to satisfy the “purity” requirement of a lucrative college scholarship that has everyone talking. Does the winner really have to be a virgin? Find out in The V Club.
Brian, Kate. The V Club. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004.
After Jessica’s best friend moves away from their suburban New Jersey town, she’s left alone to deal with her anxiety about parental relationships, vapid classmates, and of course, boys.
Awards & Honors
• A YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2003
Jessica Darling is in a funk. Ever since Hope moved away, nothing has been able to cheer her up. Not school, not her track meets, definitely not her sister’s upcoming wedding, and not even her own birthday.
I told my parents not to even dare throwing me a Sweet Sixteen party. The very thought of ice-cream cake and pink crepe paper makes me want to hurl. Not to mention the fact that I can’t even imagine who would be on the guest list since I hate all my other friends. I know my parents think I’m being ridiculous. But if the one person I want to be there can’t be there, I’d rather just stay home. And mope. Or sleep.
Besides, I have never been sweet. Maybe not never, but definitely not after the age of three. That’s when my baby blond hair suddenly darkened—and my attitude went with it. Which is why my dad’s nickname for me is “Notso,” as in Jessica Not-So-Darling. (p 5)
McCafferty, Megan. Sloppy Firsts. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001.