Every year, OYAN members choose their favorite novels for teens from the past two years. Nominations depend upon what the nominator thinks teens in Oregon will like to read or have been reading with enthusiasm, and the final list is created based on a vote of the OYAN membership. (For details, see the official selection process.)
The votes have been counted; here are this year’s winners!
- The Haters by Jesse Andrews: A trio of misfits — Wes, Corey and Ash — break out of a stuffy jazz camp and hit the road, forming an inept, dysfunctional band and gigging anywhere that will host them. Friendships are tested and discoveries made on their wild, anarchic road trip.
- Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neil Bascomb: Norway found itself invaded by Germany during World War II despite its status as a neutral country. The country was important to the Nazis because it had possessed an essential resource that could be used for the construction of nuclear bombs. This is the story of Norway’s partisans and scientists who worked to stymie Germany’s quest for the bomb.
- The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry: Travel back to the border between France and Spain in the Thirteenth Century, when brutal inquisitors sought to brutally purge the countryside of “heretics.” Dolssa is a healer who believes her powers come from Christ … and she is on the inquisitors’ hit list.
- Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown: Jo is out and proud in the more progressive urban environment of Atlanta. When her family relocates to the countryside, Jo’s father asks her to keep her sexuality a secret — a feat easier said then done when romance can surprise you at the most unexpected times.
- The Reader: Sea of Ink and Gold by Traci Chee: When Sefia’s father is cruelly murdered, she must flee her home with one prized possession: a mysterious book that some would kill for. Pursued by dangerous assassins, she teams up with a mysterious boy and must learn to read if she wants to survive.
- The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge: Faith’s Victorian-era scientist father has moved them to a gray, rain-soaked island off the coast of Britain. He is soon found dead, and Faith suspects foul play rather than suicide.
- Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley: It is Anglet’s dangerous job to repair steeples in an alternate Victorian version of South Africa. Her life takes a dangerous turn when a member of her steeple crew is murdered and a civil war threatens to erupt.
- The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry: Olivia has spent her life believing that her father murdered her mother. New evidence points to her father’s innocence — and death. She returns to Oregon hoping to bury the past, but memories and secrets drift to the surface and may put her into the crosshairs of a killer.
- We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: Henry is haunted by the suicide of his boyfriend and memories of a childhood alien abduction. The aliens told him that the world would end — but that he also would have the power to save it. As he grapples with an abusive boyfriend and school bullies, he wonders if he should just let it end.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston: Hermione is raped at her cheerleading camp, but she is not sure who the culprit was. All she knows is that it resulted in her pregnancy. Returning to her hometown, she faces terrible victim blaming and rumors while she tries to recover and live.
- Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King: Promising artist Sarah becomes disillusioned following a brush with a cynical art teacher. Separated from her passion, she aimlessly wanders until she meets her past and future selves who may help her to reconcile deep-seated family trauma.
- The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis: The murderer of her sister may have gotten away with the crime, but Alex took violent vigilante revenge. Now she’s trying to live in the real world, violence and hurt simmering just below the surface.
- Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick: Top student and star athlete Nanette’s life changes when a teacher gives her a rare copy of a cult classic book to read over. She becomes wrapped up in the ideas the book champions — so much so that she teams up with another super fan to track down the author and unravel its mysteries.
- Pax by Sarah Pennypacker: His father’s move forces Peter to abandon his best friend: a fox named Pax who he has raised since its infancy. Not one to give up, Peter embarks on an epic journey spanning hundreds of miles through wooded terrain to reunite with his companion.
- Railhead by Phillip Reeve: Humans live on distant worlds separated by mysterious K-gates and depend on living trains to facilitate travel between them. Zed is a thief from the streets of a dystopian world. He is recruited by a man to steal a mysterious object from a wealthy family and finds himself over his head and on the run, unsure of who to trust.
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: Salt to the Sea is historical fiction covering a little-known ocean disaster: the wreck of the refugee ship Wilhelm Gustloff in the waning days of World War II. The harrowing story is told with heartbreak and hope from the perspectives of four eclectic people who are escaping the destruction of the war.
- Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer: There’s a new trend at Mara’s high school: spontaneous combustion! Her peers are literally melting all around her. Investigations into the cause begin as the body count increases in this darkly humorous, off-beat coming-of-age story.
- The Memory of Light by Francisco Stork: High school student Vicky Cruz seemed to have it all: caring parents, good grades, friends, and a seemingly bright future. Why is she waking up in a Texas hospital after attempting suicide? She turns to a trusted psychiatrist and peers in group therapy as she tries to rebuild her life and heal from her illness.
- Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley: Solomon is remembered as the kid who suffered a severe breakdown, undressed, and then sat in the fountain outside of his middle school. Three years later, Solomon is still agoraphobic and confined to his house. Enter Lisa, who has been thinking about him ever since the incident and wants to write an essay about him … and perhaps help him in the process.
- The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters: It’s the 1920s in a small Oregon town, and the Ku Klux Klan is so pervasive that membership is almost expected if you are a white male. Hanalee’s African-American father has died, but she suspects that it was foul play — not the accident that everyone in town claims it was. She swears revenge on Joe, the boy who hit him with his car, but she soon finds that the mystery goes deeper than she could have imagined.
The winning titles were booktalked at the Oregon Library Association conference in Salem this week.
Special thanks to Traci Glass at the Eugene Public Library for managing the nomination, voting, and pamphlet design process!