Past Thumbs Up! Award Winners

2008 Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

The story of Mena, a high school freshman who has been ostracized by her church, her friends, and even her parents for blowing the whistle on an ugly campaign to reform a supposedly gay schoolmate.  Mena then finds herself embroiled in further drama when the unit on evolution comes up in science class and she has to begin to reconcile her lifelong beliefs with her growing respect for her science teacher – and interest in her lab partner, Casey.

2008 Honor Books:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

Don’t Call Me Ishmael - Michael Gerard Bauer

Freak Show - James St. James

Twisted - Laurie Halse Anderson

2007 Rash by Pete Hautman

Hautman has crafted a chilling satire which tells the story of Bo, a struggling teenager. In the year 2076 it's illegal to litter or verbally assault another person in the Safer States of America. Bo has five family members in jail, and due to his temper he is sent to a remote work camp where he has to make fast food pizzas, play the dangerous and illegal game of football, and battle the bears that live in the cold north.

2007 Honor Books:

2006 Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie - David Lubar

Scott hilariously documents in his journal (not a diary!) the trials and tribulations of his first year in high school—falling in love, drifting apart from his friends, dealing with his mother's pregnancy, and learning more about himself than he expected.

2006 Honor Books:

Looking for Alaska - John Green

Twilight: A Novel - Stephenie Meyer

Peeps - Scott Westerfeld

2005 Airborn – Kenneth Oppel

Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface.

2005 Honor Books:

The Supernaturalist – Eoin Colfer

The Blue Girl – Charles de Lint

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy – Gary Schmidt

2004 Pirates! – Celia Rees

In 1722, after arriving with her brother at the family's Jamaican plantation where she is to be married off, sixteen-year-old Nancy Kington escapes with her slave friend, Minerva Sharpe, and together they become pirates traveling the world in search of treasure.

2004 Honor Books:

Green Angel – Alice Hoffman

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things – Carolyn Mackler

Acceleration – Graham McNamee

East – Edith Pattou

2003 America: A Novel – E. R. Frank

Teenage America, a part-black, part-white, part-anything boy who has spent many years in institutions for disturbed, antisocial behavior, tries to piece his life together.

2003 Honor Books:

Ashes of Roses – Mary Jane Auch

This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen

The House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer

Stoner & Spaz – Ronald Koertge

 2002 You Don't Know Me - David Klass

Fourteen-year-old John creates alternative realities in his mind as he tries to deal with his mother's abusive boyfriend, his crush on a beautiful, but shallow classmate, and other problems at school.

2002 Honor Books:

The Misfits - James Howe

What My Mother Doesn't Know - Sonya Sones

2001 Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer

When 16-year-old Hope, waitress extraordinaire, and her Aunt Addie move to Wisconsin to work at the Welcome Stairways Diner, Hope isn't sure she will fit in. But she soon finds herself involved in a political campaign to oust the town's corrupt mayor.

2001 Honor Books:

Battle Dress - Amy Efaw

Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

Homeless Bird - Gloria Whelan

2000 Hard Love - Ellen Wittlinger

After starting to publish a zine in which he writes about his secret feelings about his lonely life and his parents' divorce, sixteen-year-old John meets an unusual girl and begins to develop a healthier personality.

2000 Honor Books:

Adventures of Blue Avenger: a Novel - Norma Howe

Keeping the Moon - Sarah Dessen

1999 Door Near Here - Heather Quarles

Fifteen-year-old Katherine Donavon struggles to maintain a semi-normal home life for her and her three siblings, after their single mother's alcoholism becomes debilitating.

1999 Honor Books:

Rules of the Road - Joan Bauer

Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen

Armageddon Summer - Jane Yolen & Bruce Coville

1998 Doing Time: Notes From An Undergrad - Rob Thomas

A collection of ten short stories that focus on high school students responses to one of their requirements for graduating: 200 hours of community service.

1998 Honor Book: Tangerine - Edward Bloor

1997 Mr. Was - Pete Hautman

 After his dying grandfather tries to strangle him, Jack Lund discovers a door that leads him fifty years into the past and involves him in events that determine his own future.

1996 Only Alien On The Planet - Kristen Randle

After starting her senior year at a new school, Ginny finds herself drawn to the reclusive Smitty. While trying to understand Smitty's quiet pain and refusal to speak, Ginny finds herself falling in love with him and trying to help him emerge from his unhappy world.

1995 The Ramsay Scallop - Frances Temple

At the turn of the fourteenth century in England, fourteen-year-old Elenor finds her betrothal to an ambitious lord's son launching her on a memorable pilgrimage to far off Spain during the times of the Crusades.

1994 Make Lemonade - Virginia Euwer Wolffe

Accepting a part-time baby-sitting job to earn college money, fourteen-year-old LaVaughn come to love and understand her two charges, and their unmarried teenage mother Jolly, in a way no one else seems to want to.

1993 Somewhere In The Darkness - Walter Dean Myers

Jimmy faces the most difficult challenge of his life when he accompanies his father, who has recently escaped from prison, on a trip halfway across the country.

1992 Athletic Shorts - Chris Crutcher

A collection of short stories featuring characters from Crutcher's earlier works, plus some new ones. Fat Angus Bethune experiences several moments of sweet revenge, Louie Banks reaches out to a friend dying of AIDS and Johnny & his father come to terms about their relationship.

1991 Road To Memphis - Mildred Taylor

Sadistically teased by two white boys in 1940s rural Mississippi, a black youth severely injures one of the boys with a tire iron and enlists Cassie's help in trying to flee the state.

1991 Honor Book: The Silver Kiss - Annette Curtis Klause

1990 Phoenix Rising: Or How To Survive Your Life - Cynthia Grant

Helen's death at eighteen from cancer shatters the lives of her parents and siblings, especially her younger sister Jessie who tries to cope with her feelings of pain and confusion by reading pages from Helen's diary.

1990 Honor Book: Children of the River - Linda Crew

1989 Sex Education - Jenny Davis

Working together on a term project for their sex education class, David and Livvie are instructed to care for someone else for the semester and they choose a lonely, pregnant neighbor, a task that proves more difficult than they had anticipated.

1988 Year Of The Gopher - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Pressured by his family to get into Harvard, high school senior George Richard decides to forego college, and over the next year, while his friends are off at school, George takes on a series of "gopher" jobs and reexamines his life.

1988 Honor Book: Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey

1987 Flight Of The Cassowary - John LaVert

Sixteen-year-old John finds life in high school and at home increasingly distorted when he becomes obsessed with the parallels between people and animals and starts responding to everything around him according to the laws of nature.