Gateway Readers Award 2012/2013 Nominees & Book Trailers
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Book Trailers for the 2012/2013 Gateways
Students in Mrs. McDonald's film class created 11 of the videos. Many thanks to those students for taking the time to create a short movie to promote reading! These 11 are covered by creative commons share-alike non-commercial license; feel free to show them at your school without asking permission.
Brief descriptions of each nominee by LSHS LMS Michael Russell.
A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron: Told from the perspective of Bailey, a dog who ruminates through his four incarnations (a feral puppy, a pet, a police dog...) about what his purpose truly is. Written by the same humor columnist who wrote "8 simple rules for dating my teenage daughter."
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: After Amy's dad dies, her mom decides to relocate the family from California to Connecticut. The only way to get the family car and the remaining posessions there is for Amy to road trip. But since Amy refuses to drive, her mom arranges for a friend she barely knows, a college sophomore named Roger who has just had his heart broken, to do the driving. Despite a carefully planned out route by Amy's mom, the two young adults take a number of side trips to see the country along the way. Anyone who has travelled along the route will recognize many of the places and stops along the way, but this is more than a road trip across the country: it is a road trip through Amy & Roger's young and wonderful lives.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: Sam has tormented classmates and treated family members badly, but suddenly has the chance at redemption when she must repeat the same day (seven times in all) until she gets it right. It's Groundhog Day set in a high school, but rather than memorizing French poetry and changing flat tires for old ladies (like Bill Murray in the movie), Sam learns a few more valuable lessons.
Blank Confessions by Pete Hautman: At just 170 pages, this is the thinnest book of the litter by far. 16 year-old Shayne Blank calmly admits to police that he has committed a murder. In alternating chapters, we hear Shayne's explanation mixed with the narrative of Mikey, a scrawney high schooler who has been bullied by his sister's drug dealing boyfriend. A suspenseful book that will likely leave plenty of room for discussion.
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder: A year after Lucca's death in a car accident, Gabe begins haunting the dreams of Lucca's girlfriend Brooklyn and his brother Nico. Gabe committed suicide after the wreck, and through the dreams pushes Nico and Lucca into an odd but enthralling relationship. Written in free verse with few clues as to which protagonist (Nico or Brooklyn) is speaking.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John: Piper, who is deaf, agrees to manage a high school thrasher rock band called Dumb. The band won Seattle's Battle of the Bands but isn't getting any paying work-- yet. Despite not being able to hear the band, Piper promises to get the band gigs that pay real money. A behind-the-scenes book with interesting twists and some substance as Antony John explores Piper's relationship with her hearing family and the egocentric embattled band members.
Matched by Ally Condie: Cassia gets a shocking surprise at her match ceremony. She is going to marry her childhood best friend, Xander. While not an impossibility, it is a statistical anomoly that almost never happens in a society where everything is carefully planned and carried out by the government. There is no crime, meals are delivered at specific times and individually for each person, and everything is peaceful and perfect. Or so the government would have everyone believe. Shortly after the matching ceremony, Xander's face disappears off of Cassia's microcard (something all the other young adults use to get to know the stranger they will soon marry). Ky, another boy from her town but with a questionable past, appears on the card instead, forcing Cassia to question not only who her true match is, but more importantly, the entire system of government. First of a trilogy with echoes of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World or M.T. Anderson's Feed, and similar themes to (but without the action and suspense of) Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly: Andi is a shadow of her former self. Her little brother was murdered on her watch, her mother had a nervous breakdown and her father wants to put her mom into a home under a psychiatric care. Plus, Andi is one missing project away from being expelled from her elite New York prep academy. Her world-famous genetecist father forces Andi to go to Paris with him over winter break, where he is working on research related to the French Revolution. There, Andi finds-- literally-- the key to a secret past, and finds herself unwittingly time-travelled back to the French Revolution. Intriguing characters and a well-crafted past/present timeline make this one of the best YA books of the year.
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry: America is fourteen years into Rot & Ruin, where six billion worldwide have died and come back to life (yes, Zombies). 15 year old Benny must find a job to continue getting food rations, which are important since he's still among the living. However, his general laziness doesn't give him many job opportunities. He agrees to tag along with his half-brother, a zombie bounty hunter. Benny finds an old-West mentality and other bounty hunters who capture children to pit them against zombies for sport, among other things, and eventually learns to respect both his own humanity and the feelings of zombies.
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles: Carlos Fuentes got involved with a gang in Mexico, and to try and save his future (and his life), she ships high school-age Carlos to Colorado to live with his collegiate brother Alex. Carlos quickly finds himself in trouble again when he is caught with drugs, although he-- and the reader-- know it was a frame-job by a local drug lord who possibly has ties to the Mexican gang Carlos ran away from. To stay out of jail, Carlos agrees to move in with the director of an after-school at-risk program, Professor Westford, and his family. There, Carlos is inexplicably drawn to the professor's daughter, the classic-car restoring granola brainiac Kiera. The budding romance and the suspense of Carlos trying to insulate the Westfords while being pressured by the drug lord make this a page-turning read. Carlos is a particularly memorable character as he battles his outward machismo and inner nice guy that breaks away from the typical stereotypes.
Sea by Heidi King: Sienna secretly hopes her mother might still be alive since her mom's body was never found after her plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean. Sienna, now 15, travels to an Indonesian refugee camp to help her dad's psychiatric team following the 2004 tsunami. There she meets Dani, who exposes Sienna to local culture and helps her pick her way through the grief and loss.
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi: Nailer is a small teenager working as a scavenger on the wrecked oil tankers along the devastated Gulf Coast. He dreams of breaking free from the light crew where he works in horrible conditions, knowing that soon he'll be too big to crawl through the ducts salvaging copper wire since he has no future prospects once he grows. By lucky chance or fate, after a city-killer hurricane he and a friend stumble on the wreck of an elegant clipper that could provide him his escape. Yet the discovery leads to the most important decision of his life, and sets him on a course that will impact many lives. Part suspense thriller, part do-the-right thing tale, author Paolo Bacigalupi has written a book that will grab teen readers. Highly recommended, especially for reluctant male readers.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Lennie, who has always been perfectly happy in the shadow of her energetic older sister Bailey, is devastated when 17 year old Bailey suddenly and unexpectedly dies. In her grief, she unwittingly attracts attention and finds two boyfriends and her life gets a bit more complicated. Wuthering Heights plays a signficant role in the book, which might make readers want to check out the classic for additional reading.
Sorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew Quick: Amber Appleton refuses to let her tough circumstances dim her enthusiasm. She lives on a school bus with her alcoholic mother. Amber is a shining beacon of hope and optimism-- she volunteers at an old folks home just because she can, she helps out with an autistic student, she goes before the school board to fight to keep a teacher's job, she volunteers to teach Korean women English, she's adopted a puppy she found in a shoe box. A tragedy finally cracks Amber's rosy outlook, sending Amber into erya deep depression that threatens to shatter her bedrock faith. Author Matthew Quick veers often into philosophy and religion through Amber, posing questions that will likely appeal to many teens facing their own issues.
Split by Swati Avasthi: Jace's dad is a highly respected judge in Chicago, but he mercilessly beats his wife. When 16 year-old Jace tries to step in and stop a particularly nasty beating, his dad kicks Jace out of the house. Jace drives all night to New Mexico, where he arrives on the doorstep of his 22 year old brother Christian. The two haven't seen each other in five years, after Christian left the family to escape the beatings he too was suffering. The two brothers struggle to communicate given their histories, and while they establish a temporary home for Jace, the younger brother holds out hope that they can rescue their mom from the abuses of their ever-watchful father. The suspense of whether the mother will join the siblings in New Mexico mixed with Jace's new (but iffy) outlook keep the book moving. An all-too realistic read with an all-too realistic ending.
Additional information on LSHS and the Gateways.
What is the Gateway Readers Award? Each year, a committee within the Missouri Association of School Librarians creates a list of 15 new books that are of interest to high school students. High school students in Missouri who read at least three of the 15 nominated books can vote for their favorite in March. The book which receives the most votes in state-wide voting is declared that year's winner! Previous winners include Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (2008), Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (2009), Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2010), and Hunger Games (2011). View previous Gateway nominees: 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2014
See past Gateway winners at the MASL Website.