Here's the first of two parts, number five in our ongoing series of short lists of great contemporary fiction titles is titled; Searching, struggling, choosing and changing.
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. Sherman Alexie. New York: Little, Brown, 2007.
Budding cartoonist Junior wants to rise above the life everyone expects him to live. So he leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. First person recount. Suggested level: secondary.
Ask me no questions. Marina Budhos. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006.
Fourteen-year-old Nadira, her sister, and their parents leave Bangladesh for New York City, but the expiration of their visas and the events of September 11, 2001, bring frustration, sorrow, and terror for the whole family. Suggested level: secondary.
The astonishing life of Octavian Nothing, traitor to the nation. Volume 1 The pox party / taken from accounts by his own hand and other sundry sources. Collected by M.T. Anderson of Boston. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2006.
Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War. Suggested level: secondary.
Finding Violet Park. Jenny Valentine. London: HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2007.
Sixteen-year-old Lucas Swain becomes intrigued by a lost urn of ashes on a shelf in a cab office. Convinced that its occupant, Violet Park, is trying to communicate with him, Lucas gains possession of the urn. He little realises that his quest will take him on a voyage of discovery and identity, forcing him to confront what happened to his missing father. Suggested level: secondary.
Genesis. Bernard Beckett. Dunedin, N.Z.: Longacre Press, 2006.
In the new Republic, the people serve the state and the Philosophers who guide it. Until one man, Adam Forde, put himself at grave risk and changed everything. In a terrifying and stifling examination environment a young Academy candidate, Anaximander, is put through a gruelling exercise in interpreting the history and origins of her society. Her speciality: the life of Adam Forde. What secrets has she discovered and what is her suprising link to Adam Forde? Suggested level: secondary.
What I was. Meg Rosoff. Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin, 2007.
Hilary is in his fourth boarding school, having been thrown out of three before this, the school really doesn’t provide for him. When he comes across Finn, a youth who lives alone on a tidal island this changes his life. Finn doesn’t go to school but has learnt as much as is possible with the resources available. As time goes on the friendship deepens but can they keep their friendship a secret and what are the secrets that both are holding in their hearts? Suggested level: secondary.
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