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Top Teen Titles #96-99

Ready for more surprises on our countdown of the Top 100 Teen Titles?
Running Loose Cover#99 Running Loose by Chris Crutcher. Greenwillow Books, 2003. ISBN: 9780060094911 224 pp

Honors received:
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
Booklist Editor’s Choice
ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
SLJ Best of the Best Book 2000
Nominee, 1988-1989 Iowa Teen Award
Nominee, 1995-1996 ILF Rosie
2003 Mock Printz Survey for 1983 

Can you tell for whom these covers are marketed?

I think the publishers chose the fewest words possible from reviews to describe Running Loose. 

“The book raises important issues for adolescents to consider.”
— School Library Journal

“A tightly plotted tale. Compassionate, funny, and sensitive.”
— Publishers Weekly

“A hard-hitting and candid coming-of-age story.”

— ALA Booklist 

So what is Running Loose about? The publisher’s blurb states: 

Louie Banks has it made.  He’s got a starting spot on the football team, good friends, and a smart, beautiful girlfriend who loves him as much as he loves her.

Early in the fall, he sees all his ideas of fair play go up in smoke; by spring, what he cares about most has Running Loosebeen destroyed. How can Louie keep going when he’s lost everything?

Aha! A coming of age book from the guys point of view. Some tragedy. Football. Bullying. Racism. One of the more interesting reviews I found of this online was actually on the Amazon website. (Shame on me for being elitist) The Amazon site had yet another cover to make it fall in line with the series look. 

There are reviews on GoodReads, LibraryThing, and on 

You can read an excerpt of Running Loose on the HarperCollins site. My copy was worn out, so looks like I’ll be placing a reorder soon.

#98 Prama by Jamie Ponti. Simon Pulse Publishing, 2008. ISBN13: 9781416961000 Prama Cover194 pp

Read an excerpt from Powell’s.

There weren’t many reviews out there, but reading the one on TeensReadToo helped me understand from a teen point of view why this title is wanted and needed. Prom is Drama. This book is told from 6 points of view. 

This is a hard title to get my hands on. It isn’t in any Nashville School library and it’s only at one branch of the massive Nashville Public Library. I do have some of the Romantic Comedies written by Jamie Ponti and explored her website.

Need a listing of books about Prom? Check out this one from RIYL (Read If You Like). In the meantime, I hope some of you have read Prama and can chime in with more information. 

#97 The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby Schmais. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, December, 2009 ISBN13: 9780385906739. 288 p.

The author/publisher’s blurb: 
Lotus Lowenstein dreams of moving to Paris and becoming an existentialist. Yet here she is trapped in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a New-Agey mom, an out-of-work dad, and a chess champion brother who dreams of being a rock star. Merci à Dieu for Lotus’s best friend, Joni, who loves French culture enough to cofound their high school’s first French Club with Lotus. At the first meeting, the cutest boy in the world walks in. His name is Sean, and he too loves French culture and worships Jean-Paul Sartre.   Things come to a head when all three depart for Montreal with their teacher, Ms. G, on the French Club’s first official field trip. Will Sean choose Joni over Lotus? And will Lotus and Joni’s friendship ever recover?    

Did you even know how to spell existentialism  when you were a sophomore? I confess that I do love many things French. I have visited the south of France and Monte Carlo, but have never been to Paris. <sigh> Every year I hang an Eiffel Tower ornament on my tree. Lotus and I would have been friends. I kept a diary. She writes a diary. She wants to visit France. I want to visit France. I wanted to study French (but after one class, they forced me to take Home Ec instead in order to schedule high level math/science classes. You could either study math & science at my since-demolished high school or foreign languages. I still hate Home Economics.) 

If you’ve missed this new title, check out the appeal which popped it into 97th position and read an excerpt here

Check out this interview on Alice’s CWIM Blog.

GreenBeanTeenQueen participated in the blog tour and suggested Lotus may help fill the void being left by the finale of The Princess Diaries and The Georgia Nicolson Series this year. 

The quick synopsis suggested everywhere is An adorable, completely original YA voice.

Shelf Elf posted her interview of Libby Schmais during the blog tour with the great name: My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have-a-Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza. Okay, readers, to make it easier, here was the complete schedule so you can go back and catch all of the blog tour. 

December 2, 2009 –  YA Authors Café
December 3, 2009 – Carrie’s YA Bookshelf 
December 4, 2009 – GreenbeanTeenQueen
December 7, 2009 – Pop Culture Junkie 
December 8, 2009 – Steph Su Reads  
December 9, 2009 –  The Book Butterfly  
December 10, 2009 –In Bed with Books  
December 11, 2009 – Book, Line and Sinker  
December 14, 2009 – Bookworming in the 21st Century  
December 15, 2009 – Booking Mama  
December 16, 2009 – Shelf Elf
December 17, 2009 – Chick Lit Teens
December 18, 2009 – Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

You can check out The Pillow Book Of Lotus Lowenstein’s facebook page and the YouTube Book Trailer.

Convinced you might have missed something yet? Stay tuned to see what else is popping up in this list. 

#96 Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. Apple Soup/Knopf, 1995 ISBN 0-679-87088-1 88 pages. Mick Harte Was HereGrades 3+. Available from Random House.

Grades 3+? How did it end up on the Top Teen List? Well, while it is a bit smaller, easier read with a totally different focus, Mick Harte Was Here deals with grief. We librarians of teens can tell you many stories about them dying to read about dying. (Is Lurlene McDaniel popular at your school, too?) 

Barbara Park manages to whip out a message book that doesn’t knock you down with the punch, but sticks to you. It’s almost like she has written a sticky-hand-like novel. Sticky Stretch HandKnown widely now as the author of the Junie B. Jones books, Barbara Park’s books for older readers were must-have’s in my upper elementary collection, so I shouldn’t be surprised you readers chose one for the top 100.

As Carol Hurst pointed out on the Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site,  
"The difficult part is the tragedy it tells us about. We hear about it from Phoebe, Mick’s older sister, and she tells us right away, "I don’t want to make you cry. I just want to tell you about Mick. But I thought you should know right up front that he’s not here anymore. I just thought that would be fair." The reader hopes she doesn’t mean that he’s dead. Perhaps she means he’s gone away. We’re in denial with the family for at least part of the book. "

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute includes a review on their website. Gretchen Behrens Lenart prepared the first draft of a Teaching Guide in May 2000 and the work was completed under the direction of the Bicycle Head Injury Prevention Program of the California Department of Health Services, State and Local Injury Control Section under a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is available in pdf format online. 
Book trailers available

These 5th grade students created a bike safety video after reading the book Mick Harte was Here.

What’s next? Check back again soon. Oh, and for those of you who want to read 30,000 word essays on each title… get over it. I’d much rather post a little bit and sit back for you to comment on the titles on this end of the spectrum.


  1. I didn’t know Mick Harte was considered “teen.” I have 4th/5th graders who like that one too. But Carol Hurst is wrong. Everyone I know knows Mick is dead before they read that first page. And they certainly do afterwards.

  2. @Jim, I agree with you. I think Mick Harte should have popped up on AFuse#8’s lilst but there was a group of educators online who encouraged it for grades 5-7. Going by ages and going by grades is difficult. I even found “parent groups” complaining the topic was too mature for elementary.

  3. Wow. I’ve read almost all of the books coming up on the Middle Grade list, but so far none of these. I guess I’m a better children’s librarian than teen librarian! But thanks for the good ideas of books to read!

  4. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I didn’t even vote in this poll because I can think of so few YA books I truly enjoyed/went back to, etc. I expected this list to have much more variety in what people put down than children’s books, due to that.

    Teen books just don’t seem to have the same passion behind them, at least not for me.