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YALSA RECOMMENDATIONS: Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Social Sciences

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The economics book


Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about economics in one handy, colorful, and easy-to-browse book.


Scoreboard, baby : a story of college football, crime, and complicity

Armstrong, Ken, 1962-

796.3326 ARMSTRO

Rape, attempted murder, and drug charges fill the rap sheets of a many members of a college football team. Why isn’t the media or the community talking or doing anything about it?


Sticks and stones : defeating the culture of bullying and rediscovering the power of character and empathy

Bazelon, Emily.

302.343 BAZELON

Bazelon digs into and defines bullying culture, from the classroom to the internet.


Notes from no man's land : American essays

Biss, Eula.

305.8009 BISS

Biss’s series of essays, set in various places in the United States, explore race, racial identity, and racial privilege, highlighting the complexities of diversity in America.


Behind the beautiful forevers

Boo, Katherine.

305.569 BOO

Connect with the residents of Annawadi, a makeshift settlement on the outskirts of the Mumbai airport, as they confront global change and inequality in modern India with hope and imagination.


Quiet : the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking

Cain, Susan.

155.232 CAIN

It takes all types to make things happen. A fascinating look at how introverts have contributed to society and how it can be a good thing to be “quiet.”


The big house : image and reality of the American prison

Cox, Stephen D., 1948-

365.973 COX

A history of large prisons, why they were designed and built as they were, and the stark reality of the prisoners who inhabit them.


Something like normal

Doller, Trish.


Travis’s leave of absence from the Marines brings him back to Florida not as a hero, but as a man who has to clean up the messes he left behind as a boy. In the midst of doing so, he grapples with PTSD and what it means to have lost a best friend on the battlefield.


Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America

Ehrenreich, Barbara.

305.569 EHRENRE

Can you really survive on minimum wage? To find out, Ehrenreich left her middle-class life for a year to see what life is really like for America’s working poor.


The round house

Erdrich, Louise, author.


After his tribal specialist mother is brutally attacked, fourteen-year-old Joe Coutz sets off with his three friends to find out who is responsible.


The Good braider : a novel

Farish, Terry.


The long, hard, and ultimately hopeful journey of a young Sudanese refugee from a country terrorized by war to Portland, Maine, where cultural differences present a continuing struggle.


The new kids : big dreams and brave journeys at a high school for immigrant teens

Hauser, Brooke.

373.18 HAUSER

Spend one year in a high school with immigrant English-language learning students from over 40 different countries who speak over 25 different languages. At times funny, heartbreaking, frustrating, and inspiring, these students discover what it means to be “the new kids” in school and out.


Half the sky : turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide

Kristof, Nicholas D., 1959-

362.8309 KRISTOF

From the brutality of human trafficking to heartbreaking maternal death rates, this work brings to light these atrocities through women’s personal stories and provides guidance on how we can all take part in the opportunity to change the conditions of women’s lives across the globe.


Girl in translation

Kwok, Jean.


Kim Chang grows up living a double life: a scholar at school during the day and Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Kim must translate not just her language, but her role within each of her worlds.


Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game

Lewis, Michael (Michael M.)

796.357 LEWIS

A low-budget baseball team, the Oakland A’s, attempts to make it big by looking beyond the superficial pull of a nice swing, good looks, and so-called “hustle,” to see what really matters in putting together a winning team: the numbers.



McCormick, Patricia, 1956-


When Lakshmi’s stepfather sells her (a common practice in her poor village), the thirteen-year-old does not expect to end up in a Calcutta brothel, where her life becomes a nightmare she can’t escape.


War brothers : the graphic novel

McKay, Sharon E.


This moving graphic novel discusses the kidnapping and training of child soldiers in Uganda. These children not only face the harsh reality of war, but also the rehabilitation to normal life after seeing such horrors.


The other Wes Moore : one name, two fates

Moore, Wes, 1978-


Two kids with the same name grew up only blocks away from each other. One went on to become a scholar and businessman, while the other is serving a life sentence in prison.


Private : Bradley Manning, Wikileaks, and the biggest exposure of official secrets in American history

Nicks, Denver.

355.1334 NICKS

The story of Bradley Manning, the military intelligence analyst who leaked thousands of classified documents to the public through WikiLeaks. Nicks reveals the story of a young misfit, who leaked the documents because of dissatisfaction with serving in the military and the anticipated notoriety that would follow.


The smartest kids in the world : and how they got that way

Ripley, Amanda.

370.9 RIPLEY

A literary journalist followed three teenagers who spent a school year living in Finland, South Korea, and Poland. Each country’s different educational styles bring up the question of which teaching style gets the best results.


17 & gone

Suma, Nova Ren.


Lauren keeps meeting girls who went missing at age 17, but her experiences with them might not be ghostly encounters. They might be signs of a more troubling illness inside her.


Smarter than you think : how technology is changing our minds for the better

Thompson, Clive, 1968-

303.4833 THOMPSO

Technology doesn’t own us; we own technology. Thompson delves into how we use technology to better ourselves, our memories, and our society more broadly.


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