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2016 In the Margins - Titles that Did Not Make the List

These books were nominated but did not make our official 2016 list. Included below are nominations with our original annotations. There may be some or many books on this list that work for your kids. The fact that they didn't make our list doesn't mean there aren't some awesome books. These books just simply did not meet our charge.

A few of the various reasons these books didn't make our list is below:

  • has not been widely read
  • the story was unrealistic.
  • not enough action in the book for reluctant readers
  • moralistic
  • needs editing
  • received so-so, non-existent or negative teen feedback from more than one site
  • racial stereotyping that is not addressed or not adequately addressed
  • has received negative feedback
  • the book is too juvenile / the character is too young
  • the book is good but supports a very narrow readership.
  • Guys probably won't read it.
  • Not broad appeal.
  • Too long.

Did Not Make the 2016 List

Forman, Gayle. I Was Here.
Penguin Young Readers Group. January 2015. $18.99HB. 288p
ISBN 9780451471475.
Meg thought she knew everything about her best friend who just committed suicide. When she opens up an encrypted file on her deceased friend's computer, she finds out there's was a lot more to her friend's death than anyone could imagine.

Hough, Robert and Gerry Rasmussen. Diego's Crossing. Annick Press. September 2015. $21.99HB 152p. 9781554517572. Diego is forced to take his brother's place in the next drug run, a job he doesn't want to do but has to do to for the health and safety of his family.

Johansson, J.R. Cut Me Free. Ferrar Straus, & Giroux. January 2015. $17.99HB. 304p. ISBN 9780374300234. After escaping years of in-prisoned abuse at the hands of her very own parents, Piper must risk all and fight back the demons of her past in order to help someone else she recognizes to be in the same situation she once was in.

Jones, Patrick. Locked Out series.
Darby Creek Publishers.
$27.99HB / $9.99PB.
Guarding Secrets.
March 2015. 96p.
ISBN 9781467758017.
Raising Heaven.
January 2015. 96p.
ISBN 9781467760393.
Two hi-lo titles from the Locked Out series featuring stories of youth forced to deal with a world without parents who are incarcerated. In Guarding Secrets, Camila Hernandez works hard at keeping people from finding out she is the daughter of a woman who is on death row. In Raising Heaven, 17 year old Deja's mother gives birth to baby Heaven behind prison bars. Deja tries hard to be the surrogate parent for her little sister, but finds this is much harder than she thought.

Krossing, Karen. Punch Like a Girl.
Orca Books. April 2015. 240p. $10.35PB.
ISBN 9781459808287.
Tori keeps her sexual assault a secret, and the pain of holding it in, causes her to act out violently. It's not until she volunteers at a women's shelter that she realizes strength of speaking out. A book in verse.

Manzano, Sonia. Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.
Scholastic, Inc. August 2015. 272p. $17.99HB.
ISBN 9780545621847.
This chronicles the story of Sonia Manzano, the actress that played Maria on TV's Sesame Street. Her story is told with tinges of humor and warmth but does not avoid the dark realities of poverty and domestic abuse.

Moran, Rachel. Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution
W. W. Norton & Company. September 2015. 320p.$15.95PB.
ISBN 9780545621847.
Bored into a troubled family life, Rachel runs away from home and becomes a prostitute to survive. She shares her hard hitting memoir of the harshness this life had on her from the age of 14 to 22. Leaving no stones uncovered, she spares no detail in the damaging effect this world has on the psyche.

Mullen, Diane C. Tagged.
Charlesbridge. May 2015. 288p. $16.95HB.
ISBN 9781580895835.
Fourteen year old Liam O'Malley is a talented graffiti artist living in a Minneapolis housing projects with his single mother and younger siblings. When Liam is coerced into tagging for his older brother's gang, his life is threatened and his grades begin to drop which causes him to lose his scholarship at an elite prep school for fine arts. Short chapters and punchy first person narrative works well for reluctant readers.

Oates, Stephanie. Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.
Penguin Young Readers. June 2015. 400p. $17.99HB.
ISBN 9780803740709.
17 year old Minnow's hands were ordered amputated by the leader of her family's religious cult when she refused to participate in an ordered marriage to a aged member of the group. The same night her hands were amputated, someone committed murder and set the commune on fire. Minnow is found in the streets clutching the remains of her hands and put into juvenile detention for the deed. If authorities can persuade her to share what she knows of that night, she could be set free.

Patterson, James. Public School Superhero.
Little Brown. March 2015. 304p. $13.99HB
ISBN 9780316342315.
Kenny Wright is a chess playing nerd that lives in an urban neighborhood with his grandmother. Because he doesn't fit the stereotype, he is bullied daily. He escapes from the mockery by fantasizing about being a superhero and eventually makes friends with a peer he is assigned to teach the game of chess to. This book features over 150 pieces of line art and graphic framed sequences which will catch the interests of the reluctant reader in the manner of The Wimpy Kid (Amulet Books) and Big Nate (Balzer & Bray) series.

P ayne, Mary Jennifer. Since You've Been Gone.
Dundurn Press. February 2015. 224p. $12.99 PB.
ISBN 9781459728189.
Edie and her mother have been running from something as long as Edie can remember. This last move, finds them literally relocated to London, and later we find out they are running from Edie's abusive father. But the move is not the solution, for Edie ends up the daily prey to bullies and when her mother vanishes, she doesn't know what to do. Calling the authorities is not an option, for that could cause her to be returned to father.

Sher, Emil. Young Man With a Camera.
Scholastic, Inc. September 2015. 240p. $17.99HB.
ISBN 9780545541312.
T was severely burned at an early age and this has not only marked him as an outcast, it's caused him to be unmercifully teased every day by the same 3 boys whom no one ever believes are as cruel as T says they are. When these bullies discover that T has proof of their involvement in the death of a homeless woman, they set T up to take the fall and T is taken into custody for a crime he didn't commit. Bold black and white photos help to tell this story that has no happy ever after.

Spears, Kat. Breakaway.
St. Martin's Press. September 2015. 304p. $18.99HB.
ISBN 9781250065513.
When Jason's younger sister dies, he not only loses a sibling, he loses his parents who are consumed in grief and even his close friends who go their separate ways. Then Jason meets up with Raine, and a most unlikely romance begins to emerge.

Workman, P.D. June & Justin.
pdworkman. May 2015. 416p. $27.97HB
ISBN 9781926500331.
June and Justin is the second installation the Between the Cracks series and the younger siblings to the protagonist in the series' first installation, Ruby of the same name. With Ruby gone, June has had to suffer for the same thing that forced Ruby out of the house. When the siblings run away, they vow not to stop running until they can locate Ruby.

Vandal, Roland. Off the Ropes: My Story.
Gordon J. Shillingford Publishers. October 2015. 220p. $24.95.
ISBN 9781927922095.
This autobiographical member of the author's journey from sexual abuse as a child to drugs, crime, and attempted suicide as an adult speaks forcefully to the reader on the power and strength of speaking up instead of holding issues and feelings that have hurt you inside. 


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