Hot and Heavy fiction picks for your students

At the start of each new school year, one of our Juvenile Ficition buyers traditionally compiles a list of recent books suitable for use in the middle and high school classroom. We give them only two instructions: Make them HOT enough to grab the students attention, and HEAVY enough to earn a place on the syllabus.

This year Tiemen compiled our list, paying particular attention to books that will appeal to boys. Here are fifteen great books,  full of ‘ what ifs’….

You can click on the green “Large Quantity Discount” button lql.jpg on each book’s information page to see how much it costs per copy when you order more more than ten copies.  And before you order 30 copies of a book for your class, get a copy for yourself to make sure it’s suitable – teachers and librarians get 10% off at The American Book Center!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part -Time Indian – Sherman Alexie 1 sherman alexie

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

1 ja asherClay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Boy in the Striped Pyamas – Boyne

1 john boyneWhen Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do.

A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But, Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than what meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Little Brother – Cory Doctorow

1 cory doctorowBig Brother is watching you. Who’s watching back?

Marcus is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works — and how to work the system. Smart, fast and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco.

In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison, where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state, where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Zoe’s Tale – John Scalzi

1 john scalziHow do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history? I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old. Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale:

How I did what I did – how I did what I had to do – not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes. It’s a story you know. But you don’t know it all.

Paper Towns – John Green

1 john greenWho is the real Margo? Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life – dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge – he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. She has disappeared. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance …and they are for him. Trailing Margo’s disconnected path across the USA, the closer Q gets, the less sure he is of who he is looking for.

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

1 neil gaimanWhen a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him – after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod’s life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

George’s Secret Key to The Universe – Lucy & Steven Hawking

1 hawkingTake a roller coaster ride through the vastness of space and, in the midst of an exciting adventure, discover the mysteries of physics, science and the universe with George, his new friends next door – the scientist Eric and his daughter, Annie – and a super-intelligent computer called Cosmos, which can take them to the edge of a black hole and back again. Or can it? And who else would like to get their hands on Cosmos? This book offers a funny and hugely informative romp through space, time and the universe.

The Giver – Lois Lowry

1 giverIt’s a perfect world, where everything looks right. Everyone is provided for. Each Family Unit is entitled to one female and male child. Each member of The Community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders, and they never make a mistake.

Jonas, a sensitive twelve-year-old boy, had never thought there was anything wrong with his Community, until one day hes discovers that The Community is not as perfect as it seems. Although they appear to have everything, they are missing something of great importance. It is up to Jonas, with the help of the Giver, to find what long ago had been lost.

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

1 leviathanThe year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that his parents have been assassinated and that he is now a target for the Clanker Powers, a group determined to take over the globe with their mechanical machinery. They will stop at nothing to get what they want, so Alek knows his only choice is to keep on running.

When he meets Deryn Sharpe, an orphan girl who has disguised herself as a boy so she can to join the British Air Service, they form an uneasy, but necessary, alliance. But the pair will soon discover that their emerging friendship will dramatically change their lives and the entire course of the Great World War…

Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

1 Lock and keyRuby Cooper likes to expect the worst. That way, she’s never disappointed.

Abandoned by her mother and forced to leave the house she calls home, Ruby is facing too many changes. Her lonely world has been transformed into a life of luxury by her long lost sister, but all Ruby wants to do is leave – she can make it on her own. Even Nate, the gorgeous boy-next-door can’t seem to change her mind.

Will Ruby realize first impressions don’t always count? And that sometimes, people can surprise you, so it’s ok to let the closest ones in . . .

Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

1 hunger gamesKatniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States.

Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

1 aliceAlice is one of the most beloved characters of English writing. A bright and inquisitive child, one boring summer afternoon, she follows a white rabbit down a rabbit-hole. At the bottom, she finds herself in a bizarre world full of strange creatures, and attends a very strange tea party and croquet match.

This immensely witty and unique story mixes satire and puzzles, comedy and anxiety, to provide an astute depiction of the experience of childhood.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

1 book thief1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp.

Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. It’s a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. And it’s narrated by Death himself.

1984 – George Orwell

1 orwell

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal.

When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent; even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101.

Nineteen Eight-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.