All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Neal Shusterman

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Neal Shusterman was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Though he had lots of interests and aspirations in high school, he credits his ninth-grade English teacher, who challenged him to write a story a month for extra credit, with nurturing his sense of himself as writer.

No years of toiling in anonymity for Shusterman — within a year of graduation from college at UC Irvine, he had landed both a book deal and a job working on a movie script, and his life as a full-time writer — of young-adult literature, TV shows music, stage plays, short films, even games — had begun.

Shusterman's books for teens, including The Schwa Was Here, Everlost, and Unwind, have won numerous national awards. His latest book, Antsy Does Time, is a companion title to The Schwa Was Here.

Shusterman lives with his family in Southern California.

Selected Books

from Neal Shusterman

Full Tilt

Age Level: 12-14

Blake is a cautious young man who finds himself in the middle of a nightmare when he is forced to survive seven harrowing amusement park rides in an effort to save his brother. The surreal scenes and characters, as well as psychological drama, will leave readers spellbound by Blake's battle for his soul.

Buy Full Tilt

The Schwa Was Here

Age Level: 12-14

Anthony "Antsy" Bonano may not always be appreciated, but at least he gets noticed. Not true for Calvin Schwa who is so overlooked, he's practically invisible. Antsy sees money to be made from Calvin's unique ability, which works well until both are caught and punished by the powerful and eccentric Mr. Crawley.

Buy The Schwa Was Here

Antsy Does Time

Age Level: 12-14

Gunnar Umlaut says he only has six months to live. So eighth-grader Anthony "Antsy" Bonano does the only thing he can think of to help-he gives Gunnar a month of his own life. This symbolic gesture is soon copied by everyone at school, but will it make a difference, especially if Gunnar isn't telling the truth?

Buy Antsy Does Time


Age Level: 12-14

In the throes of teenage rebellion Connor Lassiter seems to have forgotten that his bad behavior could make him an Unwind. So when his parents sign the order to have their troublemaker son unwound, Connor runs away to avoid the fate of having his entire body cut to pieces and redistributed as parts. During his escape, he meets Risa and Lev, also scheduled for unwinding — unless they can survive until their 18th birthdays.

Buy Unwind


Age Level: 14-16

Nick and Allie head toward the light after a head-on car accident, but the teens — strangers to each other — collide again and don't quite make it. They end up in Everlost, and learn from other inhabitants about their ghostly new existence as Afterlights and the dangers of this alternative hereafter.

Buy Everlost

The Shadow Club

Age Level: 12-14

Tired of being second best, a group of junior high students led by Jared Mercer and his friend Cheryl form the Shadow Club to prank and humiliate those who have bested them for years. When someone starts playing really dangerous tricks and a life is nearly lost, the hidden cruelness of the club's members rises to the surface.

Buy The Shadow Club

Challenger Deep

Age Level: 12-14

Challenger Deep is a stand-alone novel by Neal Shusterman, author of The Unwind Dystology. It deals frankly with issues surrounding teenage mental illness. Caden, the narrator, experiences paranoid and delusional thinking and is hospitalized. A character attempts suicide. Violence in the book is mostly imaginary and centered on a fantastical ship on which the captain and his parrot want to kill each other. Language is mild, with an instance or two each of "hell," "damn," "bastard," and "ass." Sexual content is limited to hand-holding and one night of cuddling in bed. Caden's parents are mildly intoxicated in one scene. Caden takes a "cocktail" of prescribed medications, and the regimen helps him heal.

Buy Challenger Deep

Tesla's Attic: The Accelerati Trilogy, Book One

Age Level: 9-12

After their home burns down, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother, and their father move into a ramshackle Victorian house they've inherited. When Nick opens the door to his attic room, he's hit in the head by a toaster. That's just the beginning of his weird experiences with the old junk stored up there. After getting rid of the odd antiques in a garage sale, Nick befriends some local kids-Mitch, Caitlin, and Vincent-and they discover that all of the objects have extraordinary properties. What's more, Nick figures out that the attic is a strange magnetic vortex, which attracts all sorts of trouble. It's as if the attic itself has an intelligence… and a purpose.

Buy Tesla's Attic: The Accelerati Trilogy, Book One


Age Level: 12-14

In a world where everyone is immortal, Scythes keep the population in check by gleaning individuals. Feared, and alternately courted by sycophants or resented by the grieving, their power is almost absolute. Citra and Rowan have been chosen, but a bloodthirsty faction is determined to insure that only one of them will survive their apprenticeship.

Buy Scythe