Teens/young adults: take a journey into the “wild west” and beyond with these selections from the shelves of the Abington Community Library.
“Daughters Unto Devils” by Amy Lukavics
When 16-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries. When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.
“Eden West” by Pete Hautman
During an eventful year for the Christian cult where he has grown up, seventeen-year-old Jacob finds his faith and devotion tested when he meets new friends from the outside world and encounters temptations that threaten his contentment.
“Going Over” by Beth Kephart
In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall—Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West.
“Goodbye Stranger” by Rebecca Stead
As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her best friends, curvacious Em, crusader Tab, and a curious new friend—or more than friend—Sherm, she finds the answer she has been seeking since she barely survived an accident at age eight: “What is my purpose?”
“In a Handful of Dust,” audiobook, by Mindy McGinnis
Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach. When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.
“Kissing in America” by Margo Rabb
Sixteen-year-old Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the West Coast to see Eva’s romantic hero again. As the they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.
“Knife Edge” series by Andrew Lane
In his sixth adventure, something sinister is afoot in the house in the west of Ireland in which young Sherlock is staying.
“The Museum of Intangible Things” by Wendy Wunder
Best friends Hannah and Zoe, seventeen, leave their down-and-out New Jersey town and drive west chasing storms, making new friends, and seeking the intangibles—audacity, insouciance, happiness—that their lives have lacked.
“My Antonia” by Willa Cather
A successful lawyer remembers his boyhood in Nebraska and his friendship with an immigrant Bohemian girl named Antonia.
“Pivot Point” by Kasie West
A girl with the power to search alternate futures lives out six weeks of two different lives in alternating chapters. Both futures hold the potential for love and loss, and ultimately she is forced to choose which fate she is willing to live through.
“Shane” by Jack Schaefer
In the summer of 1889, a mysterious man rides into a small Wyoming valley, where he joins homesteaders who take a stand against a bullying cattle rancher, and where he changes the lives of a young boy and his parents.
“Under a Painted Sky” by Stacey Lee
In 1845, Sammy, a Chinese American girl, and Annamae, an African American slave girl, disguise themselves as boys and travel on the Oregon Trail to California from Missouri.
“Walk On Earth a Stranger” by Rae Carson
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend — who might want to be something more. She also has a secret. Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it. When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California — where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
“Woods Runner” by Gary Paulsen
From his 1776 Pennsylvania homestead, thirteen-year-old Samuel, who is a highly-skilled woodsman, sets out toward New York City to rescue his parents from the band of British soldiers and Indians who kidnapped them after slaughtering most of their community. Includes historical notes at the end of each chapter.
Sandy Longo is head of public services and assist director at the Abington Community Library. Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.