Monday, November 27, 2006

Loved in Texas

Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies was just selected to be on the 2007-2008 Lone Star Reading list, which I'm told by those in the literary know is a pretty cool thing. Compiled by the Texas Library Association, the books were selected in hopes of motivating young adults to become life-long readers and to participate in the community of readers in Texas. You can check out the details at

I haven't read most of the books on the list (okay, I haven't read any of them yet!), but coincidentally, I'm doing a book reading/signing this Sunday at Capitola Book Cafe with Ann Jaramillo. Her book, La Linea, another Lone Star honoree, is right by my bed for tonight's reading.

If you're looking for a meaningful holiday gift for a 5th-9th grader, this is a good shopping list. I'm including the entire list here.

Lone Star Reading List 2007 - 2008
1. Buckley-Archer, Linda. Gideon The Cutpurse: Being the First Part of the Gideon Trilogy. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. 2006.
In 1763 pickpocket Gideon Seymour is hiding from Tar Man when Peter and Kate, two timetraveling children from the 21st century, fall from the sky and into his life.
2. Bunting, Eve. The Lambkins. Joanna Cotler. 2005.
After being kidnapped by the lonely widow of a brilliant geneticist, Kyle finds himself shrunk to
doll-size and living with three other children in a dollhouse from which there seems to be no
3. Cabot, Meg. Avalon High. Harper Collins Publishers. 2006.
Having moved to Annapolis, Maryland, with her medievalist parents, high school junior Ellie
enrolls at Avalon High School where several students may or may not be reincarnations of King
Arthur and his court.
4. Carter, Ally. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. Hyperion. 2006.
As a sophomore at a secret spy school and the daughter of a former CIA operative, Cammie is
sheltered from "normal teenage life" until she meets a local boy while on a class surveillance
5. Chima, Cinda Williams. Warrior Heir. Hyperion Books for Children. 2006.
After learning about his magical ancestry and his own warrior powers, sixteen-year-old Jack
embarks on a training program to fight enemy wizards
6. Enthoven, Sam. Black Tattoo. Razorbill. 2006.
A sprawling fantasy epic set in modern day London, about a fourteen-year old boy, Charlie, who
thinks he's been given superpowers, but in fact has been possessed by a demon. The adventure
brings Charlie--as well as his friend, Jack, and Esme, the one girl raised to stop the demon--from the streets of London into Hell itself, as they prepare for a battle with ultimate stakes.
7. Han, Jenny. Shug. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2006.
A twelve-year-old girl learns about friendship, first loves, and self-worth in a small town in the
8. Harkrader, Lisa. Airball: My Life in Briefs. Roaring Brook Press. 2005.
Uncoordinated Kansas seventh-grader Kirby Nickel braves his coach's ire and becomes captain of the basketball team in order to help him prove that NBA star Brett McGrew is the father he has never known.
9. Jaramillo, Ann. La Linea. Roaring Brook Press. 2006.
When fifteen-year-old Miguel's time finally comes to leave his poor Mexican village, cross the
border illegally, and join his parents in California, his younger sister's determination to join him
soon imperils them both.
10. Korman, Gordon. Born to Rock. Hyperion Books for Children. 2006.
High school senior Leo Caraway, a conservative Republican, learns that his biological father is a
punk rock legend.
11. Lisle, Janet Taylor. Black Duck. Sleuth/Philomel. 2006.
Years afterwards, Ruben Hart tells the story of how, in 1929 Newport, Rhode Island, his family
and his best friend's family were caught up in the violent competition among groups trying to
control the local rum-smuggling trade.
12. Lupica, Mike. Heat. Philomel Books. 2006.
Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from
playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof.
13. Mass, Wendy. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Little, Brown & Company. 2006.
Everything changes when the box arrives. Jeremy's father, who died five years ago, left behind a box for Jeremy to open on his 13th birthday. According to the writing on the box, it holds the
meaning of life! The problem is, the keys are missing, and the box is made so that only the keys
will open it without destroying what's inside.
14. McKernan, Victoria. Shackleton’s Stowaway. Random House. 2005.
A fictionalized account of the adventures of eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow, who stowed
away for the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition and, after their ship Endurance was crushed by ice, endured many hardships, including the loss of the toes of his left foot to frostbite, during the nearly two-year return journey across sea and ice.
15. Meehl, Brian. Out of Patience. Delacorte. 2006.
Twelve-year-old Jake Waters cannot wait to escape the small town of Patience, Kansas, until the arrival of a cursed toilet plunger causes him to reevaluate his feelings toward his family and its history.
16. Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Dairy Queen: A Novel. Houghton Mifflin. 2006.
After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.
17. Papademetriou, Lisa. The Wizard, the Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey. Razorbill. 2006.
Two mismatched teenage girls must find their way back home to New Jersey after being zapped into the pages of a fantasy novel.
18. Sonnenblick, Jordan. Notes from the Midnight Driver. Scholastic Press. 2006
16-year-old Alex decides to get even. His parents are separated, his father is dating his former
third-grade teacher, and being 16 isn't easy, especially when it comes to girls. Instead of revenge though, Alex ends up in trouble with the law and is ordered to do community service at a senior center where he is assigned to Solomon Lewis, a "difficult" senior with a lot of gusto, advice for Alex, and a puzzling (yet colorful) Yiddish vocabulary. Eventually, the pair learn to deal with their past and each other in ways that are humorous, entertaining, and life changing.
19. Van Draanen, Wendelin. Runaway. Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2006.
After running away from her fifth foster home, Holly, a twelve-year-old orphan, travels across the country, keeping a journal of her experiences and struggle to survive.
20. Wolfson, Jill. Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies. Henry Holt. 2006.
Whitney has been in so many foster homes that she can give a complete rundown on the most
common varieties of foster parents—from the look-on-the-bright-side types to those unfortunate examples of pure evil. But one thing she doesn’t know much about is trees. This means heading for Foster Home #12 (which is all the way at the top of the map of California, where there looks to be nothing but trees) has Whitney feeling a little nervous. She is pretty sure that the middle of nowhere is going to be just one more place where a hyper, loud-mouthed kid who is messy and small for her age won’t be welcome for long.

Great Reviews for Home

Some great new reviews are coming in for Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies:

From Kirkus -- "Eleven-year-old Whitney, aka Termite, arrives at her 12th foster home, in remote Forest Glen, prepared for the worst. Termite soon discovers that foster children are a cottage industry in this logging town where layoffs have meant psychological as well as economic depression for the loggers. Termite might be the loudest of the band of fosters at Forest Glen Elementary, but she is by no means the most eccentric. From this ragtag band, Termite fashions a cohesive mutual support group and, with her foster brother as an unlikely ally, goes head to head with the newly re-hired loggers who want to cut down an aged redwood lovingly known as Big Momma. A sweet, spirited tale told with warmth and humor about a determined misfit who finds a home at last in a family and a community."

From VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) -- Sixth grader Whitney is heading out to her twelfth foster home-this time in the middle of nowhere. Born with a heart condition and ADHD, she knows that she is a handful and that this one will end up to be just one more place where other people belong. She just wishes that stupid feeling would not slip in at the worst possible moment-the one that makes her hope that this family will be the one "down on their knees, praying night and day about having a superfunny, hyper, loudmouthed, messy, small-for-her-age foster kid." Needing to squash that idea down before it gets out of hand, Whitney makes sure that she gets noticed on her own terms before anyone gets any ideas about who she is or what she needs. What she does not count on is a school where half the students are fosters in a broken-down town torn between the logging industry and the environmentalists. Finding a hidden nature girl under her city background, Whitney makes a stand for her beliefs and rallies the support of some surprising allies along the way. Written with humor and sensitivity, this book from the author of a 2005 Perfect Ten novel, What I Call Life (Henry Holt, 2005/VOYA December 2005), tackles issues from fitting in with family and friends to getting through school to making a difference in the community. There is no preaching here, just honest to goodness situational humor perfect for starting a discussion on environmental topics. It might just encourage youth to find ways to stand out while fitting in. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9).