2007 Young Adult Fiction Finalists

Finding the best seven titles out of a list of 123 is… daunting, to say the least. The bloggers on this year’s YA nominating panel embraced the challenge, and below you’ll find the books that survived discussion and passionate debate through countless emails and one very long instant-message group chat. We’re proud of our shortlist, and hope you love it as much as we do.

Jackie Parker, YA Fiction Organizer

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie
Little, Brown
Meet Junior, a skinny, teenage Spokane Indian with hydrocephalus, ugly glasses and too many teeth. He knows that to make his dreams come true, he has to go where no one in his tribe has gone before–a white high school outside the reservation. Sherman Alexie’s semi-autobiographical novel comes at you with its chin up and fists flying. You’re guaranteed to fall in love with this scruffy underdog who fights off poverty and despair with goofy, self-deprecating humor and a heart the size of Montana.
–Eisha, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
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Billie Standish Was Here

by Nancy Crocker
Simon & Schuster
Summer 1968. Billie Standish is a young girl with a lot of heart and soul whose life is about to change forever when the rains come pouring down. Newly befriended by a neighbor, Miss Lydia, neither suspect how close danger lurks to young Billie–and it’s not danger from the rising storm waters threatening the town’s levee. Billie Standish is a story of friendship, courage, and devotion that will charm readers young and old as they fall in love with Billie’s world.
–Becky, Becky’s Book Reviews
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Boy Toy

by Barry Lyga
Houghton Mifflin
Eighteen-year-old Josh Mendel can calculate batting averages and earned run averages in an instant, but coming to terms with his past has been impossible. Until, perhaps, now. Bypassing the tawdry and sensational, Barry Lyga takes a ripped-from-the-headlines plot (Teacher-Student Sex Scandal!) and explores the devastation it leaves behind. Told with intelligence and sensitivity, Boy Toy is a powerful story that may occasionally disturb, but ultimately captivate readers.
–Trisha, The YA YA YAs
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The Off Season

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Houghton Mifflin
Farm girl and football player D.J. Schwenk’s refreshing voice and self-deprecating humor return in this continuation of her hilarious and occasionally heartbreaking coming-of-age story. Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s characters are authentic and fully realized, and the story perfectly captures the rhythms and conventions of life in a small, rural town. D.J.’s straightforward and endearing personality shines as she faces up to everyday adversity and struggles to find her voice.
–Anne, LibrariAnne
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Red Glass

by Laura Resau
Sophie, an Arizona teenager full of insecurities and phobias, becomes the foster sister to an orphaned illegal immigrant boy. When the boy’s family is located in southern Mexico, Sophie goes along on the trek to return him, all the while hoping he’ll decide to come with her back to the U.S. As she journeys through Mexico and beyond, evocative settings and vivid characters immerse the reader in Sophie’s world. Sophie finds guardian angels along the way, and discovers inner strength.
–Stacy, Reading, Writing, and Chocolate
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Tips on Having a Gay (ex)Boyfriend

by Carrie Jones
Tips is in many ways a typical high school story–loves lost and won; navigating the social minefields of a small town; figuring out who you are, measured against the way others see you. It depicts a week in the life of Belle, a high school senior who’s just been dumped by her "true love"–for another guy. Belle progresses through heartbreak to jealousy to anger, to genuine concern for Dylan (her ex), whose road will be much tougher than her own. And Belle’s gradual realization that she and Dylan weren’t meant to be opens her to new possibilities. Belle is a sweet and optimistic narrator with quirky but believable friends and family.
–Stacy, Reading, Writing, and Chocolate
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The Wednesday Wars

by Gary D. Schmidt
Condemned to spend every Wednesday afternoon alone with a teacher he is sure hates him, Holling despairs. When two demon rats escape into the classroom walls, and Mrs. Barker brings out Shakespeare, Wednesdays seem to grow even worse. But despair has no place in this very funny and deeply moving book about 7th grade love, the Vietnam War, heroes, true friendship, and the power of giant rats.
–Charlotte, Charlotte’s Library
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Comments 8

  1. Sarcastica

    I will definitely check out those books; I’ve been looking for some new eye candy. I’m surprised Stephenie Meyers Twilight series didn’t make it though.

  2. Stacy DeKeyser

    Twilight wasn’t a contender for this category. There’s a separate category for SF/F. (can’t wait to see that list!)
    But there were lots of good books that didn’t make the YA list. I wish we could’ve chosen 20 finalists!

  3. Anne

    The Fantasy and Science Fiction list was published last week, if you want to scroll down. Alas, “Twilight” isn’t on it. I know the Fantasy panel also felt like they had a very tough job and they got to pick 10 titles!
    Many thanks to all the panelists for their hard work.

  4. Doret

    I’ve only read two of the finalist. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part time Indian and The Wednesday War. I loved Wednesday War but I thought it was more middle grade fiction. Think I’ll check out Boy Toy tomorrow.

  5. Brian Mandabach

    Yay for everyone, especially Carrie Jones! Not only do I adore her, but I love seeing the FLUX label on the short list. I’m also psyched because I’m an old fan of Alexie and a new fan of Lyga. I better check out the others.
    Thanks to the panel for doing all that reading for making those tough decisions!

  6. Beth Fehlbaum, author of Courage in Patience

    Hey, there! I’m a YA fiction novelist. My debut novel, Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse, comes out in September. I’m at work getting the word out about the book, and I am seeking host blogs for my virtual book tour which will begin in March– my book goes on sale next month. PLEASE e-mail me at beth@bethfehlbaum.com, if you would like to talk with me about my tour! Thanks!

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