Am giving a presentation to teachers on "Connecting Boys and Books". Since I have an "honorary guy" certificate from the men at Boys Rule! Boys Read!, I am as qualified as any middle aged woman out there to do this. Some of my advice was that teachers don't have to read every single book to be able to recommend it to students. They just need to know a little about popular titles. This got me thinking about the books for which I have one sentence descriptions that get trotted out (all too) frequently.
Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three. It's like Lord of the Rings Lite.
Carter, Dean. Hand of the Devil: A reporter goes to an island inhabited by a giant killer mosquito whose venom liquefies its victims and its psychopathic, serial killer handler.
Dessen, Sarah. Lock and Key. A girl's mother is unable to care for her, so she moves in with an older sister she doesn't know well and struggles to deal with this new situation.
Holm, Jennifer. Boston Jane. A girl heads out to Alaskan gold rush territory to get married, only to find when she gets there that her fiance has abandoned her.
Kehret, Peg. Abduction!: A girl's brother is kidnapped, and when she tries to find him, she gets kidnapped, too.
McNamee, Graham. Acceleration. While working in a public transportation lost and found, a boy finds the journal detailing a planned murder, and tries to stop it.
Zindel, Paul. Reef of Death. I didn't read any further than when the man gets his legs bitten off.
Random books: I don't remember a lot about this, but it did creep me out.
You get the idea. Once the students have a little bit of an idea what the book is about, it's your enthusiasm that sells the book. It doesn't hurt the pitch to say "I loved it", if you've read it; "The principal/my son/our librarian loved it" if you haven't; "This has been really popular"; or "This is Joe Sixthgrader's favorite."