The Nutmeg Book Award encourages children in grades 4-12 to read quality literature and to choose their favorite from a list of ten nominated titles. Jointly sponsored by the Connecticut Library Association (CLA) and the Connecticut Assoiation of School Librarians (CASL), the Nutmeg Committee is comprised of children’s librarians and school library media specialists who are members of our sponsoring organizations.
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2017 Teen Nutmeg Nominees (grades 7 & 8)
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
During summer vacation at her mother’s bonobo sanctuary in the Congo, 14 year-old Sophie rescues a young ape, Otto from a local poacher. After her mother takes a group of apes to a remote release site, militants attack the camp, killing the sanctuary workers. Sophie and Otto escape death by hiding in an enclosure. Their only hope is to reach the release site on the other side of the country. Together, they embark on a long journey through war-torn villages and the jungle while struggling to stay alive, reach safety and find Sophie’s mother.
Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal
Jeremy Johnson Johnson lives in the town of Never Better and claims to hear the ghostly voice of one of the Brothers Grimm, Jacob. Townspeople find Jeremy odd. He only wants to study so he can get far away from Never Better but he must deal with a reclusive father, an unseen, evil entity, a magical cake, and a trouble-making girl named Ginger who finds him exceedingly interesting. In this twisted fairy tale, no one lives happily after.
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt is not like other kids. Having always been warned by his father to stay away from magic, he tries to fail the exam that will admit him to the Magisterium. But Callum manages to pass the Iron Trial and now heads into an uncertain future in the magical world. Now, Callum and his two new friends at the boarding school for magicians must face the twisted, sinister adventures and enemies that await them.
The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
Piper finds Anna, a girl with a tattoo on her arm who doesn’t remember a thing about her life. But the Dragonfly tattoo proves that she’s protected by the king. Piper must get past the peculiar green-eyed boy, stow away on the Great 401 train, and return Anna to claim the reward. Life just got dangerous, magical, and very exciting.
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
This story is told by Budo, 9-year-old Max’s imaginary friend. Budo has been for four years – a long time – because Max is autistic. While Max fears being sent to a special school, Budo is terrified of disappearing, the fate of all imaginary friends. But when Max is abducted by a teacher at his school, Budo must do what he can to rescue Max. As long as Max is with his kidnapper, Budo exists. But Budo knows that Max is better off with his parents and learns to “let go” and Max’s parents allow themselves to accept their son as he is.
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Irish orphans Molly and Kip travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite as it seems. The siblings are confronted by a mysterious and menacing stranger and the spine-tingling secrets of the cursed house begin to unfold.
Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington
It’s summer in Texas and a genealogy project has sixth grader Sarah Nelson stressed out. How can she avoid sharing her secrets – that her mother is institutionalized for trying to drown Sarah when she was a toddler and that her father is an alcoholic? Sarah wonders if she shows signs of being crazy and struggles to face her challenges through journal entries addressed to Atticus Finch (yes, the character from To Kill a Mockingbird). Through writing and with support from two empathetic grown-ups, Sarah makes sense of the world and has an extraordinary summer.
Swagger by Carl Deuker
Seventeen-year-old basketball player Jonas moves to Seattle and starts over with a new team. Efforts to earn a scholarship are hindered when he barely gets to play. A new coach arrives; both Jonas and teammate Levi see more court time on a winning team. But when Levi share with Jonas that Coach Hartwell has sexually assaulted him, Jonas must decide what to do. Should he remain silent or risk his future basketball career by reporting the coach/
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Veda is an aspiring classical dancer in India. After a devastating accident leaves her with a prosthetic leg, her hopes and dreams of dancing are shattered and Veda is forced to start over. Will she ever dance again?
Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard
Thirteen-year-old Trav goes to live with Gram in Minnesota to learn more about his dead father, a bank robber who disappeared before Trav’s birth. Neither the robber’s body nor the stolen cash was ever recovered. Locals begin to suspect Trav of knowing where the cash is when some turns up in stores. Trav and two pals try to prove his innocence. Is the loot stashed in town? Who is threatening Trav? What begins as an adventure to learn about his part has Trav facing a frightening and dangerous adversary – someone who is after the stolen money!
2016 High School Nutmeg Nominees (grades 9-12)
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Caden Bosch is a brilliant student until his mind splits between his everyday life and delusions that place him on a sailing ship headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, in the Marianas Trench. Shusterman uses artwork and experiences from his own son’s struggle with mental illness to give readers a glimpse into the darkness of schizophrenia.
A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier
A 50% death rate offers little hope to victims of the deadly Spanish Flu. When Cleo Berry escapes her quarantined school, she plans on hiding at home to ride out the sickness. But a chance encounter with a brave nurse forces her to reconsider whether hiding is the right thing to do after all.
Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isable Quintero
Gabi isn’t shy about her feelings, her appetite, or her writing, and her smart attitude helps her cope with her messy life. How else can she deal with the fact that her father is a meth addict, one friend is pregnant, the other just got kicked out of his house, and she’s got college applications due?
How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon
After Tariq’s shocking murder, his community must piece together the truth. However, the voices of his community diverge as everyone remembers the incident in a slightly different way. Those who knew him well, and those who didn’t, must all determine, “how it went down.”
Jackaby by William Ritter
A blend of Sherlock and Doctor Who, with a detective who can see what no one else can, and his newest assistant, Abigail, who has a knack for noticing details. In their first case together, a serial killer is on the loose in 19th-century New Fiddleham, and Jackaby suspects a supernatural villain.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Fraternal twins Noah, the painfully shy artist, and Jude, the outspoken daredevil, are driven apart by competition and jealousy. Only if they can find their way back to each other will they discover more about love, the world, and themselves.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Mim was dragged from her home in Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi to live with her father and stepmother, but before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back home. Mim hops aboard a bus to Cleveland on a journey full of unexpected twists and turns, forcing her to redefine her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Kelsea has spent her life in exile, being groomed for the day she will claim her birthright as Queen. Her people have been enslaved in exchange for gifts and political favors, but with the help of the knights of the Queen’s Guard and a magical sapphire, Kelsea will fight the battle of her life: to free her people and to save her kingdom from the evil sorceress, the Red Queen of Mortmense.
Sway by Kat Spears
Whatever you want, Jesse can get it. It’ll cost you, though. And it’s not money he wants in return – it’s favors. His no-questions asked, judgement-free services have worked for him all his life, but when Bridget is the item in question, suddenly Jesse’s rules don’t make sense. And no payment will be enough to soothe his conscience for selling out one of the only genuinely good people he’s ever known.
Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Kortya
After Jace witnesses a brutal murder, he is sent into hiding to keep the killers from finding the only living witness to their crime. But they are hot on his trail, and more dangerous than the wildfires racing across the Montana mountains, where Jace thinks he is supposed to be safe.