I've been reading many award-winning books this past month. I recently finished
Looking for Alaska by John Green which won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. This award has not been around for as many years as the Newbery and Caldecott awards. One of the wonderful consequences is that every year there is more young adult literature being published. Looking for Alaska was a good book, but not my favorite of the year, or my favorite YA book. It is the story of a high school student who goes off to an Alabama boarding school. He finds freedom, guilty pleasures, and the enigmatic Alaska. She is literate, beautiful, sexual, adventurous and self-destructive. The language and sexual situations are aptly and realistically drawn, but sophisticated in nature. Miles's narration is naive with self-deprecating humor, and he has an obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully, which adds to the believability. This book is for older teens, eighth grade and up.
I've also read one of the Printz honor books, Elizabeth Partridge's John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth. This I loved! I truly love nonfiction and Elizabeth Partridge is one of the best writers of nonfiction for young people. I do like the Beatles, but I'm not a huge fan. This book is about John Lennon, but also the Beatles, and the times. I was impressed with the story of how the Beatles began. The background of the musicians was fascinating, too. This book can be blunt because John Lennon did use the language of the 60's and he lived the rough life of a musician from that time. This is for young people in eighth grade and up.