The Thumbs Up! Award is given annually by the Teen Services Division of the Michigan Library Association to recognize and promote an outstanding contribution to teen literature that has both literary quality and teen appeal for those 13 to 18 years of age. The award includes a statewide teen vote of 10 books. These 10 books were narrowed from over 100 by professional librarians across the state.

TEENS: Read all of these books (or as many as you want) and select the ONE that you feel is the best book. Vote now by accessing the online voting ballot and make your selection. Voting ends May 31, 2014.

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Boxers & Saints
Gene Luen Yang, Lark Pien


This two-volume graphic novel tells the intertwined stories of Little Bao and Vibiana, two young people caught on opposite sides of the Boxer Rebellion. Little Bao’s story tells of his life growing up in the village outside of the large cities and how the life of the farmers grew worse and worse as the wealth was consolidated in the hands of the foreign entities who effectively ruled China. Vibiana’s story is one of a young girl whose life is altered when she discovers the teachings of Christianity and the avenue it allows her to forge a life of her own outside of the roles her family has assigned for her.

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Reality Boy
A.S. King


Gerald Faust used to be one of the most popular people on TV, back when he was a reality TV star as a child. Now, he has problems dealing with his anger issues that land him in the special education class at his high school. Gerald is not sure how much more he can take when, battered and broken, he begins to fight back in a positive way.

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Two Boys Kissing
David Levithan


The story of two boys attempting to break the world record for longest kiss is told through the voices of the boys and young men of the generation before them who died of AIDS. Their attempt is the catalyst for varied stories of young men in the towns nearby who are going through challenges of their own,
some of not of their own making and others due to the misunderstandings that have always plagued those young and in love.

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Far Far Away
Tom McNeal


The Ghost of Jacob Grimm is a constant companion to young Jeremy Johnson Johnson, the only one in the world who can see him, as he struggles to save his grandfather’s store from foreclosure, get his father back on his feet, and maybe win the affection of Ginger Boultinghouse, the fiery young woman who tells him a fairy tale about falling in love with the first person you see after eating the cakes produced by Sten Blix, the town baker. Jacob is also protecting him from a person known only as the Finder of Occasions, who unbeknownst to Jeremy, is waiting to destroy Jeremy and all he holds dear.

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More Than This
Patrick Ness


Seth begins his story by drowning in the ocean after his relationship falls apart. Before that, the thing his parents won’t talk about that left his brother a shattered mess happened. And before that was the event where he was forced to make the decision that altered his life forever. Thinking he is dead, Seth is shocked when he awakes in his old house halfway across the world with a shattered memory, wondering how he got there and finding that he may be the only person left in the whole world.

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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Matthew Quick


Before following through on his plan to kill his former best friend and then himself, Leonard embarks on a mission to give gifts to the four people in his life he still considers his friends. However, plans always go awry, and Leonard finds himself struggling to follow through due to the reactions his gifts elicit from those he holds closest.

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Eleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell


When Eleanor gets picked on while searching for a seat on the bus, Park grudgingly lets her sit with him. This simple act sets in motion a complicated relationship between them based on music, comic books, and eventually affection. But both Eleanor and Park have issues outside of the little world they build for themselves on the bus, and can they hold on to it when everything seems to be trying to tear it down?

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Marcus Sedgwick


In 2073, Eric is sent to an island off the coast called the Blessed Island to investigate a mysterious flower called the Dragon Orchid. There he meets an island of people who guard the secret while putting on a show of being kind and helpful. As he stumbles upon the secret of the Dragon Orchid, Eric relives seven interconnected stories of love, betrayal, tragedy, and horror, revealing the true history of his life and his connection to a young woman named Merle.

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Out of The Easy
Ruta Sepetys


Josie is the daughter of a prostitute who dreams of leaving New Orleans behind and going off to college, saving up money working in a bookstore during the day and cleaning the brothel where her mother works each morning. Looked out for by Willie, the brothel Madame, Josie is close to achieving her dream when a wealthy patron of the brothel is murdered, evidence points to Josie’s mother and her seedy boyfriend who just blew back into town. Josie relies on her wits, the help of her friends, and the experience of Willie as she attempts to find out what connection her mother had in the death of a man that Josie dreams may be her father.

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Andrew Smith


Ryan Dean West is the scrawniest, most hormone driven 14-year-old junior at his boarding school, who also just happens to be the winger for his schools rugby team. After he is caught hacking his teacher’s phone, he is forced to room with one of his teammates in the dorm for trouble makers, deal with the advances of his new roommate’s girlfriend while he figures out how to get his best friend Annie, who he is madly in love/lust with, but who views him as a little kid, to fall in love with him.

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