Marc Talbert's Pillow of Clouds (1991) is very beautifully written (the main character has some poetry in the book, so clearly this is an interest of the author) and a heart wrenching story of a boy torn between staying with his father in New Mexico and going back to his unhappy mother in Iowa. It's not dated, but definitely of the late 89s school of problem novels. The trend now seems to be more toward action and adventure. Still, come February whe all of my students want to be depressed, this will circulate.
Theodore Taylor's The Bomb (1995) was really interesting historical fiction. Set in the Bikini Atoll, it follows one boy there from the Japanese occupation, liberation, and the setting up of an atomic bomb test site by the Americans. I have about ten boys who love all things concerning WWII who will find this facet of the war something that they have not seen. Taylor was stationed on one of the ships mentioned in the book, and the experience stayed with him for fifty years before he wrote this.
Taylor's Sniper (1989) is a good mystery for boys who also like action, adventure, and big, dangerous animals. Ben's parents are away from their large cat sanctuary when someone starts shooting at the cats, eventually setting fire near the enclosure. Ben, whose parents think he is mediocre, tries to deal with the situation himself, eventually figuring out who is responsible and helping the authorities catch the person. Very good.
Stephanie Tolan's Who's There (1994) is a great evil ghost story. I just wish I'd read it before the big mystery units were assigned! Drew and Evan go to live with an unknown aunt and grandfather after the death of their parents, and find a ghost. It turns out to be the aunt's step mother AND brother, and a lot of family secrets are unveiled. Spooky cold, overwhelming rose smells-- lots of good ghostly details.
I am trying very hard to complete Mother Reader's challenge of posting on five blogs a day. I tend only to comment on blogs listed in my own blog roll, so I am trying to post on five new blogs a day. As long as this can be 15 blogs one day and none on the weekends, I am good. It's helpful to discover new (to me) readers of YA books!