Contemporary

Author Title Rating Reading Level

Anderson, Laurie Halse Catalyst Excellent 8 & up

Preacher's kids - PK's- are usually either really, really good or really, really bad. Kate Malone manages, somehow, to be both. Good Kate is who you see on the outside; she is sweet, helpful, and kind, the women in her church think "why can't all teenagers by like her?". Bad Kate lives on the inside and is disrespectful, disagreeable and even prays with her eyes open and her head unbowed. The two Kates manage to coexist because each is kept in her place with the science of organization and exercise, running to be precise. Her life runs like clockwork until little pieces of the clock begin to break. Her neighbors' house burns down and her father, being a Good Man of God, invites them to stay and Kate is forced to share her room with her archenemy, Teri. As time continues to march on, Kate is waiting to hear from MIT, the only college she's applied to. She runs, she goes to school, she helps out around the house, she is numb. Just when it seems like things could not possibly get worse, something happens that sends her world reeling completely off its axis. Now Kate is left to pick up the pieces and decide which direction is least painful.

Anderson, Laurie Halse Prom Very good 9 & up

The senior prom is the highlight of the year...at least for most students. Ashley Hannigan, however, is not one of them.She's something of a non-conformist, much to her mother's dismay. Ashley's best friend, Nat, is totally into the hype of the prom. She's even the head of the prom committee. As it usually does, tragedy strikes when and where you least expect it.The faculty adviser is arrested for "misappropriating" the prom funds and the whole event is in jeopardy of being canceled. Nat kicks into high gear, roping Ashley into the melee, to her dismay and her mother's delight. With the help of eccentric characters, most of whom belong to Ashley's family, the girls manage to create a spectacular event out of absolutely nothing and learn more about themselves than they ever imagined.

Anderson, Laurie Halse Speak Excellent 9 & p

The Freshman Year, also known as the year of all things new and scary. Each time your books are “accidentally” knocked out of your hands or you are given the wrong directions to your next class or any of a number of humiliations reminds you of your status. For Melinda multiply all of these factors by one hundred because she did the "wrong" thing in the eyes of the “right” people. She called the police because things got out of hand at a party celebrating the end of the summer and now no one talks to her, not even the friends she’s known for ages. But she can’t tell anyone what really happened at that party so she just avoids IT, completely. She stops speaking, her grades take a nosedive, and all she wants to do is escape IT. But IT won’t stay away and eventually, she will have to face what happened if she wants to move on with her life.

Bauer, Joan Hope Was Here Excellent 7 & up

Food is Hope’s life-blood. She and her aunt Addie, an amazing diner cook, travel around the United States working at different diners. Hope’s waitress’ skills have been honed to near perfection but she longs for some permanence in her life. In this latest move from the exciting city of New York to a rural diner in Wisconsin is the most difficult of all. This small town is full of characters, just as most small towns are. Hope’s occupation has made her adept at reading people. One character her instincts say to trust is G. T. Stoop who owns the diner in which she works. He decides to run for mayor in spite of the fact that he has leukemia. Hope and her aunt become embroiled in the local politics and the corruption that has been the status quo.

Bawden, Nina Granny the Pag Excellent 7 & up

Grandmothers bake cookies, wear soft, flowered dresses, and call you names like “darling” or “sweetheart”. Not Cat’s granny! She rides a Harley Davidson, wears leather, and worst of all, she smokes like a chimney. Cat came to live with the Pag at the age of six because her mother and father couldn’t take care of her and be actors too. Now, at twelve, Cat’s life with the Pag is threatened. Her parents suddenly want her to live with them but she absolutely does not, especially after spending only a week with them. Other people, like her school headmaster, seem determined to separate her from the only stable home she’s ever known. Cat is equally determined to fight. She believes that children should have the right to choose with whom they want to live and she hires a solicitor to help her in her quest. Through it all, Cat realizes that she is more like the Pag than she thought and that is a good thing.

Block, Francesca Lia Wasteland Poor 9 & up

In a powerful but tragic story of love, Francesca Block draws you into a world of secrets revealed too late and the ultimate forbidden love. Marina and Lex, close in age and even closer emotionally, are brother and sister. He is protective to the extreme and she wants his approval on every aspect of her life. In one night, their love for one another is realized during an illicit encounter and their world is blown apart. Marina blocks out her feelings but when Lex commits suicide, she must face what happened and the consequences that follow.

Bloor, Edward Tangerine Excellent 6-8

Tangerine, a citrus fruit grown in Florida, is also the name of a town in Florida. Paul Fisher is a 7th grader who “sees” a move from one school to another as a new beginning for him. Paul is legally blind as the result of looking directly into an eclipse…at least that’s the story he’s been told and must wear very strong glasses. His father is very wrapped up in his older brother’s football career and hardly notices that Paul is an excellent goalie in soccer. His dreams to play for his new school are almost dashed when his mother fills out a disability for vision impairment, which makes him ineligible to play. When a sinkhole forms and swallows the field and several mobile units, he is given permission to go to another school nearby. Tangerine Middle School is a tough place but Paul is determined to get on the soccer team, one of the toughest gangs in school.

Bo, Ben Skullcrack Very good 8 & up

Everyone needs to escape their lives sometimes. Jonah needs it more than most. His father is a drunk and abusive, his mother is dead, and he's starting to think he's going crazy. Jonah's escape is a lonely stretch of beach called Skullcrack. Its name is well deserved because, unless you are an expert surfer and know the cove like the back of your hand, you will end up with your skull in pieces on the ocean floor. When he gives himself up to the waves, nothing else matters. He is seeing things though, and that matters. A girl appears to him, calling. A strange man called the Bone Man comes to stay and he opens up mysteries Jonah didn't even know existed. He needs to find the girl who is haunting him and Bone Man shows him the way. It is dangerous and warnings glare in Jonah's mind but there is something inside driving him...to what, is the question that he is beginning to dread.

Bowler, Tim Apocalypse Very good 8 & up

Kit and his parents are taking one final sailing trip on their much-loved boat when things go terribly wrong. A strange fog creeps over the sea, the compasses are swirling madly, even their watches have stopped but worst of all are the eerie cries that come over the water. Suddenly, Kit spies a small carved boat floating in the choppy sea. When he reaches down to get it, he is horrified to see that it is clutched in the hand of a dead man who looks strangely like him. This is only the beginning of trouble. The boat smashes into a rock and limps to the beach of a seemingly deserted island. Once ashore, the family discovers that there are inhabitants who instantly and intensely hate Kit. They are given until morning to fix their boat but before morning, life as they know it will change for the worse and suddenly, Kit is fighting for his life and the lives of his parents.

Bowler, Tim Firmament Very good 7-9

From across the pond comes a story of a boy trying to make sense of the devastating loss of his father and the gift he gave him. Luke is a musician or, as his piano teacher suggests, he is music. His hands are made for the keys, made for climbing, and lately, made for mischief. Trying to fill the void left when his father dies of cancer, he gets involved with Skin and his gang. As an initiation, they want him to break into Mrs. Little's house and steal valuables. Instead of finding treasures, however, Luke discovers a secret that changes the course of his life and those around him forever.

Brashares, Ann Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Excellent 8 & up

Four girls, best friends since before birth are about to experience the magic of the Pants. It is the first summer that they will be apart. Three are going away and one is stuck at home alone. Enter the Pants, ordinary jeans, actually, bought at a second hand store on a whim by Carmen. As she’s packing for her trip, each of the girls, Tibby, Lena, and Bridget tries on the pants. Amazingly, they fit each of the very diverse body-types and actually make each girl feel wonderfully different. They are deemed magical. As the Pants travel with each girl, she discovers a little bit more about herself, some of it good and some not so good. In the end, they come full circle and the girls realize that they have something special, not just in the pants, but in each other’s hearts.

Brooks, Bruce Vanishing Excellent 7-9

Alice’s parents were in the throes of divorce. She assumed that she’d go to live with her father as she’s always done in tough times. But, instead, she is sent to live with her mother and new stepfather. Her mother drinks too much and the stepfather doesn’t seem to like her much. When bronchitis forces a hospital stay, an idea forms in Alice’s head. If she stays sick, she’ll have to stay in the hospital and away from her family. In order to accomplish this, she goes on a hunger strike and refuses to eat. It seems to be a perfect solution until the hallucinations start and eventually take over. The doctor warns her that she may go into a coma and even die. Rex, a boy who has a terminal disease, has befriended her and through his sarcastic humor, she begins to see her life differently and even begin to cope with it.

Brooks, Kevin Lucas Excellent 8 & up

What is it about being different that brings on fear in people? Whatever it is, Caitlin comes face to face with its ugliness. Lucas is a young, handsome drifter whose simple movement whispers secrets to the breezes that nudge at Caitlin's soul. She finds the mystery and self assurance of him irresistible. Her connection with him, however, puts her in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between him and the turning tides of the town's general distrust of strangers. Things begin to spin violently out of control when a girl accuses Lucas of attacking her and, later, ends up badly beaten. Could Lucas have done these things? Has Caitlin put her trust in an uncontrollably violent boy?

Brooks, Kevin Martyn Pig Good 8 & up

Can you imagine going through life with "Pig" as your last name? The abuse from classmates is endless. If that isn't enough to make life miserable, Martyn's mother left long ago and his father is a pathetic, sadistic drunk. Martyn cleans up his father's messes and keeps his own life under control...that is until the day freedom comes in a package of death. In a drunken rage, Mr. Pig lunges at his son but he falls, head first, into the brick fireplace. Martyn just stands there, knowing his father is dead, knowing that he should call the police, knowing that he should do a lot of things but he doesn't until it's too late. He comes up with a brilliant plan and it seems to go off without a hitch and he thinks that his problems are over but one last twisted turn of events sends his life catapulting in a very different direction.

Brooks, Martha Bone Dance Excellent 8 & up

Two young people are brought together by the living and the dead, by good and bad that sometimes "get all bunched up together." Both have close-knit families that surround them with love and both have lost a parent to death.

Alexandra has lived with her mother, grandfather and aunt since her father took off just after she was born. He would, occasionally, send her letters on her birthday that would send her hopes soaring but soon to crash down again because he just wasn't coming home. When the news comes that he has died, she is devastated to know that she'll never meet him but also shocked to learn that he has left her a bit of money and some prairie land that had been in the LaFreniere family for generations.

Lonny LaFreniere was adopted by his stepfather when his mother married Pops and they developed a relationship as close as blood. When he was 12, he and his friend found a bone that had been dug up by an animal from an Indian burial mound. They were curious about what else was buried there so they began to dig. As they dug, Lonny could feel the spirits of the ancestors waking and the boys immediately covered the hole they'd dug. That very night, Lonny's mother had a heart attack and died, leaving Lonny to carry the guilt that somehow his actions had caused her death. Lonny and Alex are both haunted and guided through their journeys as they intertwine, by the spirits of their loved ones who want to release them from the bonds of death so they can learn to live.

Brown, Jennifer Hate List Excellent 8 & up

Hate lists, everybody has one, whether on paper or in your head, of things you hate...maybe even people too. Valerie and her boyfriend Nick have a really long list. Girls who parade around with their ponytails swishing calling her Sister Death because of all the black she wears. Jocks who constantly push Nick around and drop chewed gum in his mashed potatoes. It's just a notebook with words and names but on one tragic morning in May, it becomes a death list. Nick opens fire, targeting people from the list. Christie, the girl who'd just destroyed Val's mp3 player on the bus, is first. Val is just behind Nick and hears a bang and sees a river of blood pouring out onto the floor of the Commons. Time slows down and Val realizes, with horror, what Nick has just done. She kneels by Christie trying to stop the blood then she runs, understanding that she might be the only one who can stop the shooting. She rushes to follow Nick. He rounds on another victim, Jessica. Suddenly, she is between Nick and Jessica, yelling for him to stop. There's pain in her leg and Val goes down and remembers nothing more. Nick is gone, killing himself after shooting her. Many others are killed or injured. It's all too horrible to comprehend but not as bad as what comes next. Valerie has to return to the school where it all happened to complete her senior year.

Bryant, Jen The fortune of Carmen Navarro Very good 9 & up

The line between love and obsession is a razor's edge...one misstep and your life is in tatters. Ryan Sweeny is the next in a long, regimented line of military men. He is a junior at the prestigious Valley Forge Military Academy. With his 3.8 gpa and strict work ethic, he is destined for greatness at West Point. Enter the sultry gypsy singer Carmen. She is unlike anything Ryan has ever seen and he is immediately smitten, especially when she writes a song about him. At first, it's just flirting, soft touches, quick smiles and sweet words. Carmen is like a wild thing, though, she is passionate but craves freedom. The moment a boy clamps down and tries to own her, she bolts. Ryan can't help himself. He's in love and he wants her for himself so he peruses with the same vigor he once dedicated to his studies. Things change; grades plummet, discipline lags and suddenly Ryan's future is on the line...one misstep and he will be torn to shreds.

Cadnum, Michael Edge Excellent 9 & up

actually enjoyed writing. It was the last straw and Zachary quit school. One day, an incident that starts out amusing, ends with gunfire. Zachary beats a hasty retreat before things go from bad to worse. He falls, clutching at anything that would help him survive. His hand closes around the cold steel of a gun. He slips it into his pocket and continues running. Several months later, Zachary’s life begins to come apart at the seams. His father is shot in a car jacking attempt and the man who did it gets off because there were no reliable witnesses to the crime and his father can’t remember the incident. Zachary’s world continues to spin out of control. He tries to bury himself in his work, his girlfriend or the garden his mom and he planted but he can’t block out the visions of his father lying in the hospital bed with tubes and wires everywhere, knowing that he won’t ever be able to walk or even move his body from the neck down. He knows he has the power to do something about the tragedy but will he do it?

Cadnum, Michael Red Handed Excellent 8 & up

Steven has talent. He is an excellent boxer and has aspirations to earn real money doing it. He has a problem with his temper and he uses illegal moves in the ring, which will get him disqualified if he isn’t careful. He has another problem…his best friend Raymond has a new acquaintance who is real trouble. Chad is fascinating in the same way that is a hooded cobra weaving before it strikes. Before long, Steven is drawn into the seductive, dangerous dance. He needs money to enter a fight in a neighboring town. He can’t ask his father because he has little extra and his mother doesn’t agree with his sport of choice. Chad offers a way but is it worth the risk? Steve is faced with a tough decision and time is running out.

Caletti, Deb Secret life of Prince Charming Very good 9 & up

When your heart gets broken, you lash out...at him, at yourself, at life. You become jaded and your sentences all seem to start with "All men are !@#$. It's all Quinn has ever heard from her mother, her aunt and even her grandmother. Quinn is a very sensible girl, perhaps because of the miles of caution tape that has always surrounded her. She's the one who makes good choices, dates good (if boring) boys, dependable. Then, the good boy dumps her and she begins to wonder if her mother/aunt/grandmother aren't right. Added to the strange mix is her recent reconnection with her father. He's larger than life, charismatic, charming. He is also arrogant, selfish and a liar. When she finds objects in his house that have the names of different women written on them, things that he claimed he'd collected from his travels, she begins to wonder about them and she does something totally out of character, something decidedly not dependable. She decides to embark on a quest to return all of the things to their rightful owners. With her half-sister, younger sister and a boy on his way to a gig, Quinn may have just bitten off more than she can chew.

Calonita, Jen Sleepaway Girls Excellent 7 & up

Have you ever been a third wheel? Sam was not looking forward to being one when her best friend Mal started dating just before the summer started. So, she made a bold move and applied to be a counselor in training at a camp in upstate New York. She is excited and nervous, since she's never been to camp before. The first day is an auspicious one...she meets some friends and makes an enemy. Ashley is the camp alpha female. She's in all the camp videos and advertising materials. She's supermodel beautiful and her father runs the camp. Still, when the other kids find out that Sam was in a popular national commercial, Ashley immediately turns nasty. To make matters even more complicated, there are two boys vying for her attention; Hunter is the uber-hot flirt who singles Sam out right away; the other is Cole, a handsome boy who is easy to be around and laugh with. It doesn't take long for Sam to figure out which one is the good guy but getting him is another matter entirely, especially when Ashely sees the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Castle, Jennifer The Beginning of After Excellent 7 & up

Every story has a beginning and an end, a before and an after. For Laurel, her life is split in two; before the accident that takes away her entire family and after. Before, she and her best friend think about boys, the prom and college; After, they struggle with the grief that is nearly a physical presence between them. Before, David Kaufman, whose father was the driver of the car and only survivor, was just the intriguing bad boy next door. After, he is the dive-bomber who drops into and out of her life, leaving questions, confusion and his dog behind for her to deal with. Before, there were her mother, father and little brother. After, there are empty rooms and words left unsaid. As Laurel struggles through the after, trying not to forget the before, she finds herself drawn to David but unable to understand his running away from their new reality and the father who is beginning to awaken. Before was happy and wonderful. After is full of pain and loss but her parents before gives Laurel the strength to survive and even flourish.

Clark, Judith Wolf on the Fold Fair 8 & up

Kenny, a 14-year-old boy who's just lost his dad, is now the man of the family. He is faced with the responsibility of finding work, which means quitting school. As he sets out on a cold morning, his mother sends him off with a warning "Be careful going through the flatlands." As he approaches the area, he stops to defrost his hands and what happens next will stay with him the rest of his life and will shape the man he becomes.

So starts a series of stories that revolve around Kenny's life as a child, a young man, a father and a grandfather during a 70 year span of time. Each character is unique and has his or her own story of pain and trial but the thread that binds them together is Kenny and his family.

Clements, Andrew Things Not Seen Excellent 6-9

Have you ever felt invisible...like no one really sees you? What if you awoke one morning and found that you were literally invisible? You look into the mirror and know that you should see yourself with serious bed-head and sleep-droopy eyes but you don't see anything. You can't tell anyone because once they believed you were telling the truth, you'd become some scientific experiment and the news event in every newspaper, magazine and television show. You'd be a freak. Just ask Bobby Phillips how it feels. He knows because it happened to him.

Cooper, Ilene Sam I Am Very good 6-7

Sam is your average 12-year-old with your average pre-teen problems with girls, best friends and school. That is until the family dog knocks down the Hanukkah bush, a.k.a. Christmas tree. This seemingly minor accident has a ripple effect that no one could have predicted and wrought a change in the family’s long-held traditions and beliefs. His mother is devastated at the loss of her precious Christmas ornaments, many of which she’d been collecting since childhood. His father has never been religious and would be satisfied if he remembered to light the Hanukah candles and order take-away for Christmas dinner. To make matters worse, Sam’s parents invite their mothers to share Christmas/Hanukah eve with the family. Not such a great idea, as it turns out. Both mothers have their own ideas about holidays and traditions and. All of these confusing feelings and beliefs were brought to a head when Sam is assigned a research project on the Holocaust. As he talks to different people who were alive when World War II was being fought, his questions about faith grow. He turns to his parents, his older sister, his grandmothers, his friends for help him understand. Finally, he begins to talk to God but the only problem is that God doesn’t talk back, at least not in the way that Sam wants Him to. Eventually, his family faces their differences in belief and realizes that, by not dealing with it, they have created a huge rift in their lives. The story ends with the decision to give the children a taste of both faiths and they can decide which to follow.

Cormier, Robert Rag and Bone Shop Excellent 9 & up

“A seven-year-old girl is brutally murdered. A twelve-year-old boy named Jason was the last person to see her alive-except, of course, for the killer. Unless Jason is the killer.”

The police are being pressured from all directions to find the perpetrator of such a horrible crime so they bring in Trent, a detective particularly adept at getting suspects to confess. He is highly trained to read body language, voice inflection, and other visual clues to determine guilt. His first impressions of Jason are that he is innocent of the crime but personal problems in his own life begin to make him doubt himself so he keeps pushing. The police are not looking for another suspect as their entire focus is on Jason. Jason thinks he is helping with the investigation since he was the last person to see the girl alive but he is no match for the verbal and emotional skills that are Trent’s hallmark. He confesses to the crime but is he actually guilty of it?

Creech, Sharon Ruby Holler Excellent 6-8

The "trouble twins" are Dallas and Florida Carter, so named because of the travel flyers on which they were lying inside of a Carter's box. The Trepids, who run the orphanage, were not child-friendly. They dpn't like noise or movement or crying, or broken things or just about anything that Dallas and Florida do. Foster family after foster family bring them back very soon after taking them in. The twins had decided that their only way out was to escape on the night train and go somewhere. Enter Sairy and Tiller, an older couple who's children were grown and gone. They are very different indeed. When the children break something, they don't get beaten. When they do something wrong, they don't get thrown "down in a spidery basement" or a whuppin, nor do Sairy and Tiller take them back to the orphanage. It is a very different way of doing things in Florida's and Dallas' minds!! As they help to prepare for trips the old couple want to take, they learn much about themselves and about belonging somewhere and even about love.

Cross, Gillian Where I Belong Very good 7 & up

Life in modern day Somalia is brutal. A walk to the market might mean death at the hands of bandits or rogue boys with guns. Geri, the nickname her little brother Mahmoud gave her, is the beautiful eldest daughter of a nomadic family. For them, life is the most difficult with bandits and thieves all around. Geri's father decides that her best chance and the family's best chance at survival is for her to live in London. Soon, she is placed in the home of Abdi whose father mysteriously disappeared in Somalia years before. Geri has a new name, Khadija, a new family and a new home. One very strange day, Khadija and Abdi, her "brother", are out walking when they are approached by a woman with her face and hair covered. Even though she recognizes the covering, Khadija knows that this woman is not Muslim. She is actually Sandy Dexter, the most famous fashion designer in the world. Sandy is quite taken by Khadija's dark beauty and the way she moves her body as she walks. Soon, Khadija has yet another name, Qarsoon, the Hidden One, and the new face of Sandy's latest collection. She and Abdi are sworn to secrecy about her Khadija's identity and about Sandy's new plan. Just as things are settling down, an urgent message comes...Mahmoud has been kidnapped and the bandits are asking for $10,000 ransom! Now, more than ever, she needs someone she can trust and who can help her.

Crowley, Cath Words in Deep Blue Excellent 8 & up

No matter how you deal with it, losing someone hurts. It leaves a them-shaped hole in your soul. In the book Words in Deep Blue, Rachel has pushed her grief deep inside. So deep, in fact, that she feels almost nothing at all. She has finished school, for now, and has moved back to where she grew up; back to where the boy who was her best friend and secret crush (who broke her heart) lives. No one there, save her aunt, knows about her brother's death. They do know that something has changed the once-carefree girl into a quiet, sometimes cruel person. Her one refuge is the bookshop where she works but it is also a curse because "The Boy", also known as Henry, works there, as well. As they work together, they find a comfortable rhythm. Her job is to catalog the stories in the Letter Library. It is the heart and soul of the bookstore where people have left notes to others, known and unknown, inside of books. His job is to help his slowly disintegrating family decide whether to sell their beloved bookshop or not. Together, they reveal themselves to each other and help heal the hurt that each one caused.

Dessen, Sarah Along for the Ride Excellent 8 & up

Riding bikes, food fights, prom, making friends, having a boyfriend...all of these things are rites of passage for your average teenager. But average is one thing that Auden has never been. Since early childhood, she has been a little grown-up...trying to be the steady one, never rocking the boat, making excellent grades all to please her demanding parents. Then the arguing between her parents escalates and the divorce goes through. Now, she's graduated from high school, her father's has remarried and is having another baby and Auden realizes that she's never done any of the things that other teenagers, including her free spirited older brother, have done. In a moment of spontaneity, she decides to pack her things and spend the summer at the beach where her father and his new wife, Heidi, and their baby live. It's a decision that changes everything.

Dessen, Sarah This Lullaby Excellent 8 & up

Six weeks is all it takes for Remy to find, date then dump a guy. The first flush of romance lasts for about 2 weeks; the relationship then moves into the movie/dinner dates and sitting together at lunch, which lasts 3 weeks; during the third week, things cool considerably and Remy gears up for "the speech" in which she tells the guy that it's over; finally, she tries to let him down gently and moves on to the next one. It's become one of many rules for her life, rules she's learned by observing her mother's life. Her mother, who has been married and divorced 4 times, is heading for marriage number 5. In the midst of planning wedding 5, Remy meets Dexter and her rules suddenly don't seem to be working for her. He is her polar opposite; messy, chaotic, impetuous and worst of all, a musician who believes in true love. Her rules keep her safe but, perhaps her problem with Dexter is that he is giving her a glimpse of what the love songs he sings are all about and it scares her silly.

Dessen, Sarah The Truth About Forever Excellent 8 & up

Summer stretches ahead of Macy and she's not very excited about it. Jason, her boyfriend, is away at Brain camp and she is working in his stead at the library's information desk where she is not particularly welcome. Her evenings are taken up with SAT drills and the time in between, she avoids grieving the loss of her beloved father who died very suddenly. Her summer takes an unexpected turn, one day, when she decides to moonlight with an unorthodox, wacky catering company called Wish. She doesn't know it yet, but her life will be changed dramatically and forever.

Deuker, Carl Payback Time Very good 6-9

Mitch wants nothing more than to be a journalist when he grows up. He has been on the school newspaper since middle school and now he's a senior and hopes to be editor. That honor, however, goes to pretty, popular Alyssa. Worse still, she assigns him to be sports reporter! Sports!! He wants to do real news stories but Alyssa explains that the students really only read the sports stories. There is a silver lining, though, he will work with the local newspaper reporter and have his stories published in that newspaper, which will look great on his college apps. So, sports reporting it is. From the start, Mitch's reporter antennae is buzzing. Something is amiss on the team. The star player is still Horst Diamond and he's still as conceited as ever but there's a new guy on the team, Angel, who might just be even better. The thing is, Coach McNulty doesn't play him. Even stranger, he won't allow Mitch and his photographer, Kimi, to interview or take pictures of him. During the games, Angel has lightening speed and Hulk Hogan strength. Many times, the team's wins are because of his plays. But, the local paper's articles never include anything about him. What secrets are swirling around Angel? What does McNulty have to do with it? As Mitch and Kimi dig deeper, trouble is brewing and their words and pictures might just cost more than they bargained for.

Deuker, Carl Runner Very good 6-9

When the going gets tough, Chance starts running. The only thing he feels is his heart beating, his feet pounding, and the wind rushing through his hair. His father is an alcoholic, his mother left them, he is a senior with no plan. He runs a lot. It's his running that gets him noticed, but not by a college recruiter. A fat man approaches him with a deal. Run everyday (he does already), stop to stretch by the rocks on the beach (he does that too) and pick up any packages he finds there and put them in a locker and ask no questions. On some level, he knows that this "job" is not on the up and up but his dad just lost his job...again and their docking fees for the dilapidated boat they live on are months overdue and they do need to eat occasionally. When the fat man's car goes over a cliff, mysteriously, Chance knows that he's going to have to stop running and find a way out of the situation before it's too late.

Dionne, Erin Total Tragedy...Girl Named Hamlet Excellent 7 & u p

In the "official" parenting handbook there must be an entire section dedicated to "Ways to Embarrass Your Children". Your parents did it to you, their parents did it to them, and so on. Hamlet Kennedy's parents started early...at birth, actually. You see, Hamlet is a girl named after an insane man who sees ghosts and talks to himself! As if that wasn't bad enough, her little sister, Desdemona, is an off-the-charts genius and will be starting 8th grade with her. If you haven't guessed it yet, Hamlet's parents are Shakespearean scholars, which wouldn't be so bad if they wouldn't bring their work home with them...they dress in full Elizabethan costumes. I'll bet you didn't think it could possibly get worse, did you? You'd be wrong. Hamlet's 8th grade English and history classes are doing a joint project on, you guessed it, Shakespeare! For a girl who just wants to be a normal, blend-in kind of kid, sometimes life is tragically unique.

Donnelly, Jennifer Revolution Very good 9 & up

Andi is a girl walking a tightrope between sanity and desolation. Her father has left, her mother can't cope and her brother, Trueman, is dead and all of it is her fault. As the end of her senior year approaches, it is not at all clear that Andi will graduate and she's really beyond caring. Her father steps in and forces her hand by hospitalizing her mother and whisking her off to Paris for her winter holiday. Her scientist father, an expert in DNA analysis, is there to test a heart believed to be that of Louis-Charles, the son of Marie Antoinette and King Louis. Andi's assignment is to write her outline and introduction for her senior term paper on Amande Malherbeau, her favorite musician and inspiration to many modern bands. Andi's only outlet for her pain is music. She loses herself in it and when her father's colleague lets her play an instrument from the 1700s, she is in heaven. Inside the case, Andi finds a beautiful journal written by Alexandrine Paradis, a girl who was cast in the tragic role of care giver for the prince and the revolution that doomed him. Louis-Charles and Trueman were the same age when they died so she feels an instant connection to this girl who lived two centuries ago. Her words become an obsession and then they become terrifyingly real. Andi suddenly finds that she wants to live but it might already be too late.

Durkee, Sarah The Fruit Bowl Project Very good 6-9

Have you ever met a superstar? How about being related to one? Ms. Vallis' cousin is married to Nick Thompson, musician extraordinaire and the students in her 8th grade writer's workshop are about to meet him! He is coming to talk about writing. His secret? When he's writing lyrics, he imagines a bowl of fruit and how he's going to paint it...but with words rather than colors. It's a concept that grabs the imagination of the students, some immediately others grudgingly. His challenge to the kids is to paint their own bowl of fruit. There are no restrictions and very few rules. With the students, he comes up with the "fruit", seemingly ordinary events that each of them must turn into something interesting. In two weeks time, he will return to see what they have come up with.

Earls, Nick After Summer Good 8 & up

Is there life after graduation? Alex's is spent waiting for his university confirmation. Besides that, his life after graduation seems like it's going to be the same as every other summer of his life...surfing, watching cricket on TV, playing pool with Len.... But then something happens. A girl on a board slices through the waves just behind him. Her body is perfectly balanced, all graceful muscles and movements. Alex's summer and his life are about to change.

Emond, Stephen Happyface Excellent 8 & up

Family dynamics can be difficult to navigate. Add alcohol, marital issues and two kids with completely opposite personalities, one a popular college jock the other an artistic nerdy freshman, and you have a disaster waiting to happen. When it does and the dust settles, Happyface is born. In a new town, Happyface is happy (obviously) and has friends for the first time ever. Parties, cutting class, diving grades soon follow. Happyface is not who he seems. It's a mask used to hide from the fallout of tragedy. Before it's all over, Happyface will have a lot of explaining and apologizing to do but most importantly, Happyface will have to shed the smile so that his real face can come through, scars and all.

Erskine Kathryn Quaking Excellent 9 & up

There's a war raging in the Middle East but for Matt, short for Matilda (but don't dare call her that), the battle is closer to home. She's been passed around from home to home after her father beats her mother to death and now she's landed in a Quaker family in rural Pennsylvania. She has crafted an indestructible (she thinks) wall around her made out of black...black clothes, black make up and an icy I-don't-need-anything-least-of-all-you look that keeps most people away. The Rat, however, is different. He is a bully and tows the party line set up by her World Civics teacher Mr. Morehead. They spew hate and intolerance and target anyone who wants a peaceful resolution to the war. Matt wages her own quiet war of words with Mr. Morehead and he retaliates with bad grades and the Rat trips her up and menaces her whenever possible. Tensions in the town heat up when churches and meeting houses are targeted for violence. Meanwhile on the home front, Matt is finding that her wall is being breached by Sam and Jessica and even Rory, the other foster child with severe developmental challenges. They are not like any other family she's known. They seem to truly care about her and want the best for her. They even confront Mr. Morehead when he fails her term paper that she writes from the perspective of a Middle Eastern woman. Now Matt is caught between wanting to fight for her beliefs and those of her new family and protecting herself from the violence that leaves her feeling helpless and quaking in her boots.

Ferris, Jean Of Sound Mind Excellent 6-8

Theo is a senior in high school and, while others are excitedly planning their futures, he knows that his lies close to home. Theo is the only member of his family who can hear. His parents and younger brother are deaf and speak in Sign Language. The role of interpreter has always fallen to him. His mother, Palma, is a famous sculptor who is overly dramatic and needy. His younger brother relies on him for help with his homework and for company. Thomas, his father, is the only one who tries to give Theo some freedom.

Life changes drastically when Thomas becomes extremely ill. Matters are further complicated by Ivy, a new girl at school who speaks sign as well because her father is deaf. Palma is self-absorbed and frightened so she retreats to her studio, rarely coming out to accept any responsibilities of running the household. Everything falls to Theo but through it all, Ivy and Theo help each other and become more independent as well as begin the healing process that comes, eventually, with loss.

Fields, Terri After the Death of Anna Gonzles Excellent 8 & up

Suicide; everyone knows the saying "it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem." So why didn't Anna know that? As school begins with the dark announcement, the news is absorbed into the community at large. The Principal: "This is too much to ask"; the football player " The game doesn't always go your way. But damn it, Anna, you don't stop playing."; the classmate: "Actually, I hope...Anna will be in her seat seventh hour and life will go on, just like it's supposed to." Forty-seven voices of those she left behind to wonder why, speak in this heart-breaking novel written in prose form

Flake, Sharon Bang! Very good 8 & up

Jason, sweet innocent Jason was gunned down while playing with his toy soldiers on the front porch of his house and his brother Mann saw it happen and couldn't do anything to save him. The sound, Bang, of the gun shot, Bang, is heard on a daily basis in Mann's neighborhood. Everyone he knows has lost someone to gunfire. His parents love him very much but his father thinks he's soft. In a desperate and insane effort to toughen him up, his father takes Mann and his best friend, Kee-lee camping and leaves them to fend for themselves. They have a little money and a gun, of which Mann is terrified. From the outset, nothing seems to go right for the boys. Even when they get home safely, things aren't much changed. Guns still go off, people still get killed, and his father is still crazy for Mann to survive to become a real man.

Fleischman, Paul Seek Excellent 7 & up

Rob is a senior in high school and has just received an assignment from his English teacher to write his autobiography. “I grew up in a house built of voices…” his grandfather’s voice full of history; his grandmother’s full of literary elegance; his mother’s full of loss and strength. Before he was born, his father, Lenny, left his mother. He just wasn’t ready to be a father or to be tied down. Lenny was a radio show host and left Rob a tape of one of his shows, which Rob listened to over and over trying to get to know his dad. As he writes his autobiography, he listens to all of the voices, which weave a wonderful story of family, loss and getting to know one’s self.

Flinn, Alex Fade to Black Good 8 & up

Alex Crusan has AIDS...or at least that's the rumor going around school. That's not exactly the truth. He is HIV positive but that's enough to make him public enemy number 1 and the target of cruel notes in his locker, rocks thrown through a window of his house and now an attack on him personally. The windows of his car are smashed by someone with a baseball bat. The shattering glass cuts Alex's face, arms and upper body and he is hospitalized. Who did he see through the glass? There was a witness but is she telling the truth about who she saw? The suspect, Clinton Cole, has great animosity toward Alex but was he really the culprit? All three must search their souls to get to the truth of what really happened and what to do next.

Breathing Underwater Excellent 8 & up

Nick Andreas is handsome, smart, part of the in-crowd but he has a dark side and a secret. The moment he sees Caitlin, he falls for her. As their relationship develops, Nick finds it difficult to share her with other people. He gets frustrated when he sees her talking to another boy at school. When she's asked to perform in a school production, he all but forbids her to accept. When she does accept, he tells her that she's really not that good and it would be an embarrassment if she performed. Then, it happened...an argument and his hand speeding toward her face then contact. Stunned, Nick and Caitlin move through the next few days until Nick finds himself in court for assault. He is convicted and sentenced to attending a family violence class. His friends have abandoned him, he's lost Caitlin for good, and now he has to sit in a circle and share his experiences with other boys who hit their girlfriends. It's not his fault, though; not really. It's how anger is dealt with in his family. Suddenly, Nick realizes that the bruises he's hidden for so long may be more deep than he realized. Now he has a choice to make; to take a long look at himself and his father and try to change or continue down the self-destructive road he's been on his whole life.

Nothing to Lose Very good 8 & up

Lots of people have things they need to escape...strict parents, broken relationships, failed tests. But where do you go when you've killed someone? Michael joins the carnival and becomes the Whack-a-Mole operator. For a year, he lives in anonymity then the carnival returns to Miami and he reads in the newspaper that his mother was arrested charged with the murder of his abusive stepfather. He has to do something, he can't go on hiding forever.

Diva Excellent 8 & up

"Diva" - usually a fabulously glamorous, beautiful, self-assured woman who has more talent in her little finger than most people have in their whole bodies. This description does not really fit Caitlin. She is shy, recently recovered from obesity, and she sings opera, which is really her only diva-esque quality. She's good, too but it's just not cool enough for her "friends" or her mother. Caitlin needs a change. She auditions for a spot in the Miami High School of the Arts and gets in. The only problem will be convincing her mother to let her go. Blackmail always works. Once there, she finds that, while in her old school she was considered too weird but here, she's not weird enough and she's not sure she can make it.

Frank, E. R. America Excellent 8 & up

America, so called because he looks like everyone but no one in particular. He thinks of himself as “a boy who gets lost easy and is not worth the trouble of finding,” and no one takes the trouble until he is taken in by Mrs. Harper. She treats him with kindness, even when he messes up but his mother comes back into his life and turns it upside down. Eventually, he runs away, living in a mall, central park and end up as a patient in a residential treatment facility. He is angry and “bad” and one day tries to kill himself, which lands him at Ridgeway. There he meets Dr. B who takes the trouble to ease American’s story of pain, betrayal and abuse from him so that healing can begin.

Friction Very good 8 & up

The new kid in school is always trying, sometimes desperately, to fit in. Stacy, however, seems very different. She is hard to miss with her long, dark black hair and tongue ring. She waltzes into class and announces "Lets get this party started". Alex is assigned to show Stacy around. As they begin a tentative friendship, Stacy makes comments that cause Alex to question the what is the truth about herself, her friends and, worst of all, Simon, her favorite teacher. As the situation escalates, her friends begin to believe the lies (or are they lies?) that Stacy is spreading about her and Simon. Why is she doing this and why does Alex suddenly feel uncomfortable around Simon?

Wrecked Excellent 8 & up

Have you ever killed anyone? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like? That day was just like any other. After a nasty argument with her father, Anna heads off to Ellen's then on to a party. She is the designated driver for the night. When she realizes that it's way past curfew, Anna scoops Ellen up and into the car. Ellen is more than a little drunk. She is singing a U2 song at the top of her lungs. She looks a little like she's going to throw up. Then lights appear directly in front of Anna, then darkness. When she wakes, she's in the hospital and her mother is by her side but her father and brother are not. The person in the other car is dead. The person in the other car was Cameron...her brother's girlfriend, Cameron. Nothing is the same now. Nothing will ever be the same again.

Fredericks, Mariah The True Meaning of Cleavage Excellent 9 & up

Opposites attract. That is definitely the case in the friendship of Sari and Jess. They've been friends since elementary school and are preparing to take a major step toward adulthood together...as high school freshmen. Sari is excited about the possibilities. Jess is not, so much. Sari gets the whole fashion thing. Jess is obsessed with science fiction and a self-proclaimed geek. They start the year together, thinking that their friendship can withstand anything. Neither is prepared, however, for the chaos that occurs when Sari falls "madly, psychotically in love" with a senior boy who, incidentally, is dating one of the most beautiful senior girls. The crush turns into obsession, for Sari, when things move from the day-dream phase to the physical phase. Rumors start. The gossip is cruel and Jess feels powerless to do anything about it. Will their friendship be able to survive this year of possibilities?

Gardner, Whitney You're Welcome, Universe Excellent 9 & up

The slur was nasty and Julia could not let that stand. Jordyn is her best (and only) friend so Julia paints over the ugliness with a beautiful mural on the school wall, late at night, without permission. Days later, she is kicked out of her nice, safe school for the deaf. Why? Because Jordyn snitched on her to the principal. Now, Julia is stuck in a regular public school with a t00-perky interpreter and the weight of her two mother’s disappointment. The only thing left to her is her art and she’s not about to give that up. In an effort to carve out her own space, she tags several locations only to find them changed the next day. Not just change but improved. She’s been called out and must answer but at what cost? With some unexpected allies, Julia finds herself in the middle of a graffiti war that touches more than just overpasses and water towers.

Giles, Gail Shattering Glass Excellent 9 & up

Have you ever lost control of yourself; who you are, what you stand for? Have you ever given it away to someone else without even realizing you did it until it was too late? The only one who didn't lose himself in Rob Haynes circle of power was Simon Glass, the experiment.

Rob was the kingpin of his school. His rise to power was meteoric, burning through those who previously held the office. His groupies were hand selected for their unique personalities and their devotion to him. When Rob decided that he wanted to make the school nerd, Simon, popular, they each had a job. One taught him how to dress and dance, another taught him how to drive, a third whipped him into shape, and another went so far as to gave him his girlfriend. All was going well until the night that Simon showed his backbone and turned on Rob and the others, giving up secrets about each of them and their relationship to Rob. The resulting chaos was shocking and tragic.

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters Very good 8 & up

Sunny is pretty much the opposite of what her name implies. She is controlled and unemotional but then she has to be because her mother is a basket case and her father is a drunk; all because their beloved daughter Jazz is gone. She is presumed dead after a horrific fire burns her apartment building down. Sunny manages to keep things on an even, if bazaar keel. That is until a letter from presumed-dead Jazz arrives, soon followed by presumed-dead Jazz in person. But all is not as it seems. While the girl look, moves and speaks like Jazz and everyone desperately wants her to be Jazz , something is very wrong with her. As Sunny watches Not-Jazz, she begins to realize that there are dark secrets buried that she must uncover in order to find the truth.

Graham, Rosemary Thou Shalt not Dump the Skater Dude Excellent 8 & up

Change is inevitable but that doesn't mean we have to like it. In the course of one year, Kelsey's parents had gotten a divorce (bitter) and her mother had moved them in the middle of the school year (horrible). After her disastrous 8th grade year, Kelsey was determined to make her own choice about what school she was going to and, for once, her parents listened. Her 9th grade year was already better because she had her best friend, Amy, at her side but then something major happened. She caught the eye of the most popular (like television popular) skateboarder around. At first, it was totally cool to be C.J.'s girlfriend. She was popular by association, her brother, a skater wannabe, adored her and all seemed to be well with the world. You hear the "but" coming, right? It doesn't take long for Kelsey to realize that she is no different to C.J. than the hoards of girls in his fan club only with benefits. When the camel's back finally breaks, she tells a very stunned C.J. it's over. No one has ever dumped him and in his shock and anger he lashes out in the most public way. Now Kelsey has to start all over again and try to climb out of the hole that C.J. put her in.

Green, John Looking for Alaska Good 8 & up

What is it that makes the moon revolve around the earth and the earth around the sun? Gravitational pull, that's what. Alaska Young has enough gravitational charisma to attract almost everyone who passes close to her. She is beautiful but dangerous; funny but damaged. Miles Halter is one of those whose orbit brings him too close to the dangerous side, the damaged side but close enough to be dazzled by the beauty and humor of her but will he be able to pull her back, as she begins to spin erratically out of control?

Turtles All The Way Down Excellent 8 & up

Spirals are cool looking figures. They seem to continue in an ever-tightening circle to infinity (and beyond?). Aza is not particularly fond of spirals, though. Her thoughts can sometimes spiral out of control and take her with them. It might start as a simple question, "Did you change your band-aid this morning?" Then, as fast as a machine gun, more questions, doubts, terror crowds out her world and all she knows is the spiral. Her best friend Daisy has stuck by her for most of their lives, no matter what. When the two girls decide to play detective and find the town's missing millionaire who disappeared under suspicious circumstances, their road diverges into uncharted territory for Aza; boys, a particular boy named Davis Pickett who also happens to be the missing millionaire's son. It's a roller coaster ride for Aza as she has to figure out a way to navigate the budding relationship with Davis, maintain her friendship and also deal with her worsening OCD symptoms. It all comes to a head with a crash and Aza must learn to move forward even if it hurts.

Grimes, Nikki Bronx Masquerade Excellent 7 & up

The streets of New York, teenagers, and schools get a really bad rap, these days but something is definitely up in Mr. Ward’s English class. It all started with a simple assignment, another boring assignment but Wesley “Bad Boy” Boon started a revolution without even knowing it. Instead of writing the essay he was assigned, he wrote a poem and read it aloud in class. Suddenly, other kids were asking if they could read a poem to the class and Open Mike Fridays was born. What the kids write is not just poetry; they open a window into their souls, revealing a glimpse of who they really are. By the end of the year, the entire school has heard about Open Mike Fridays and they all want to participate! It just goes to show you, one voice can start something huge!

Haddix, Margaret Take offs and Landings Good 6-8

This is the story of a family dealing with the deep sorrow of loss. The mother, Joan, lost her husband and partner; the 5 children lost their father. In the time that followed, Joan became a well-respected public speaker and traveled quite a lot. No one spoke of the death so the children did not really understand what happened or why their mother traveled so much. One summer, when the oldest two, Lori and Chuck, were 14 and 15 their mother took them on one of her speaking tours for 2 weeks. The story is broken down into chapters titled Lori or Chuck as they tell their inner most thoughts. Insight from mom comes in the form of sections called “what Joan Lawson wanted to say during her speech...”

Lori is resentful and angry with just with everyone but especially her mother and brother Chuck. The problems are complex and Lori struggles to understand why she reacts the way she does and with the way she’d like to behave toward her mom and brother.

Chuck is a slow thinker and is teased mercilessly at school. He thinks that he is really stupid and everything that his mom, sister, schoolmates and grandfather do seems to support that, at least the way Chuck sees it.

Hartnet, Sonya What the Birds See Very good 6-8

Adrian is a fearful boy. He is afraid of quicksand, shopping centers, spontaneous combustion, and sea monsters. His greatest fear, though, is the fear of being left behind. Fear seems to run in his family. He lives with his grandmother who worries that she's too old to raise him and his uncle who lives with his own fears and never goes out. His own mother couldn't take care of him and his father couldn't be bothered. Adrian is a solitary lonely child, but that all changes when a family with three children move in across the street. Nicole, the eldest, is brash and fearless. She says exactly what's on her mind. Adrian is amazed and perplexed by her behavior most of the time but it's what keeps him coming to visit her. Things come to a head in Adrian's house when he overhears his grandmother, aunt and uncle talking about him. He thinks they are going to get rid of him, send him to live in a home and he is beyond terrified. He decides to take action. He goes outside to think and plan when Nicole joins him. She talks of the three missing children and she claims to know where they are. She and Adrian set off to find them but all does not go as planned and tragedy strikes.

Hartinger, Brent Grant and Humble Very good 8 & up

Two boys who couldn't be more different from each other, share a common problem. Harlan is a popular, good looking boy who is always the center of attention. Manny is a geek and the lighting coordinator for his high school's theater. They are both experiencing inexplicable, seemingly psychic visions. Harlan's in the form of premonitions that come on without warning and leave him sweating and terrified. Manny doesn't like to sleep because he has horrific nightmares that leave him worn-out and scared silly. Both sets of parents seem to be hiding something from them and it doesn't take long for the boys to figure out that their horrors are connected to their parents, in some way.

Hiaasen, Carl Hoot Excellent 7 & up

Being the new kid at school is never an easy thing. For Roy, it was old hat. He was used to trying to be invisible and avoid trouble but, in Florida, trouble found him. It came in the form of the school bully, Dana Matherson, who made the bus ride to school miserable. But it was because of Dana that he spotted the running boy, who instantly sparked his curiosity. He began to search for this mysterious boy who seemed to be his own age but didn't go to school or even wear shoes, for that matter. As Roy investigates the mystery, he makes an unlikely new friend and is introduced to the Burrowing Owl, an endangered species and protected by law. Trouble visited once again when Roy became involved with trying to save the owl's habitat from destruction when a large pancake chain tries to build a new restaurant, which would destroy the nests and kill the baby owls. How far is Roy willing to go for these tiny birds?

Hobbs, Will Crossing the Wire Very good 7 & up

Life is very difficult for the Flores family. Fifteen-year-old Victor has been trying to eke out an existence on his family farm ever since his father died. When the devastating news comes that corn prices will not sustain them any more, Victor decides to chance a dangerous trek to the border and try to cross into the United States. He has no money to pay a coyote, men who smuggle human cargo into the U.S., so he must use other means to get in. He jumps train cars, hikes high into the mountains and tries hiding in the toolbox of a pickup truck. Finally, he runs into his old friend Rico, who has also run away to America and the two of them manage to get across the border where they work in fields picking fruits and vegetables. It’s backbreaking work but the pay is a fortune, compared to what they can make at home in Mexico. Through their ordeals, the boys find out who they are and where they belong.

Holmes, Barbara Following Fake Man Excellent 6-8

Life is very difficult for the Flores family. Fifteen-year-old Victor has been trying to eke out an existence on his family farm ever since his father died. When the devastating news comes that corn prices will not sustain them any more, Victor decides to chance a dangerous trek to the border and try to cross into the United States. He has no money to pay a coyote, men who smuggle human cargo into the U.S., so he must use other means to get in. He jumps train cars, hikes high into the mountains and tries hiding in the toolbox of a pickup truck. Finally, he runs into his old friend Rico, who has also run away to America and the two of them manage to get across the border where they work in fields picking fruits and vegetables. It’s backbreaking work but the pay is a fortune, compared to what they can make at home in Mexico. Through their ordeals, the boys find out who they are and where they belong.

Holt, Kimberly Keeper of the Night Very good 6-9

Isabel's mother died and now the memory of her hangs about the house like a ghost. You can't quite see her but you feel the effects of her presence. There is truth that is being held captive in the house and the hearts of those who live there. Tata sleeps curled on the floor where mama was found. Olivia cannon sleep through the night without wetting the bed or having nightmares waking her. Frank carves his rage and hurt into the walls of his room and the soft flesh of his arms. Isabel is left to try to pick up the pieces of her family's broken heart, but how can she do that when she can hardly see through her own veil of pain?

Hooper, Mary Amy Good 6-8

Ever heard the saying "Two's company but three's a crowd?" Amy has become all too aware of how it feels to be the third. There used to be 4 of them, two and two, but then one moved away and Amy found herself the odd one out. She is very lonely and begins to spend more and more time on the computer hopping from chat room to chat room. She is becoming what she dreads most...a loner, a loser. Enter Zed, and exciting and handsome boy who seems truly interested in Amy. They enter into an online relationship that is moving rather quickly to a f2f, face to face meeting. Amy's parents are alarmists, an Amy's opinion. They only see the negative; but is she only seeing the positive? Is he really the boy he says he is or are her parents right?

Hopkins, Ellen Crank Excellent 8 & up

Quiet, sweet daughter, excellent grades, good friends...all of these describe Kristina. Unbeknownst to her lurked a darker, not so nice girl named Bree. Bree rears her audacious head one summer when Kristina talks her mom into letting her visit her father, an unknown entity since the divorce. On the first day, a tanned, golden eyed boy, gorgeous beyond belief, is lounging on the balcony of her father's seedy apartment complex. Bree rears her head, just a little, sending Thoughts into Kristina's consciousness. A couple of days later, Adam speaks to her and Bree comes alive, once more, accepting Kristina's first cigarette. It's not such a great leap to pot then harder stuff. Her father does it, why shouldn't she? Where Kristina is shy and reserved, Bree is brash and sensuous. Soon, Bree completely takes over and introduces the good girl to The Monster, heroin. As the monster takes hold, Bree becomes more insatiable. When the summer is over, both Bree and Kristina are heartbroken to leave Adam and the monster. Back home, she becomes Kristina again but Bree is not so easily put away; neither is the monster. When it rears its ugly head again, no amount of cajoling will put it back and Kristina is on a headlong, crash course to disaster.

Howe, James Misfits Excellent 8 & up

Loser, fairy, geek, beanpole, whale-tale, wimp... Do you know how it feels to be called one of these names? An old saying goes "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." Those who say that have never been called names. The problem is that once you've heard them enough, you start to believe them. Bobby, Addie, Skeezie and Joe want to put a stop to the name-calling in their middle school. They form a third party to run in the student council elections called the No-Name party. They decide that it doesn't matter that the election is really just a popularity contest. They only want their voices heard, no matter what the outcome. In the process, they discover that being heard and understood is much more important than winning.

The Watcher Good 6-9

She is a lonely sentinel as she sits and watches everything that happens. She believes herself invisible to those she observes. She writes, but no one know about what. Evan calls her the watcher and thinks she sits in judgment of him; Callie just thinks she's strange to not want to play on the beach; Chris tries to reach out to her but none of them know the real truth about her.

James Howe captures the desperate loneliness and fear experienced by victims of abuse in this story in prose. The story that Margaret tells gives the reader brief, enigmatic glimpses into her true life. There is "the beast", the singing doll with the key, the prince and the angel. Their true identities are revealed as the story progresses. It is a sad book but ends on a hopeful note. I really liked this book, even though it's subject matter is rather depressing.

Hughes, Mark I am the Wallpaper Excellent 7-9

No matter how pretty the wallpaper is, it's still just background that no one usually notices. Have you ever felt that way? Floey has been wallpaper for most of her life, so she can sympathize. Her older sister is the flamboyant one who attracts all the attention so when she suddenly gets married, Floey decides that it's her time to come off the wall. She begins by starting a new diary where she records her thoughts and ideas about her new self, which include her understanding of Zen philosophy and newly found love of Haiku poetry. Her plans are nearly thwarted when her mother invites her young cousins (9 and 10, respectively) to stay with them for a few weeks. The new Floey seems to be working out really well, but not with the people she wants. The younger crowd, 10 and 11 year old boys in particular, are constantly hanging around her, ogling her and she doesn't understand why until the discovers floeysnewlife.com and her whole life is an open book, literally. How this 13-year-old will keep her new life from spinning out of control will leave you laughing even as it reminds you of your, sometimes painful, youth.

Huser, Glen Touch of the Clown Fair 8-10

Barbara Stanwyck and Olivia de Havilland are movie stars from a time long gone. They are also the names of two girls who are the victims of movie-buff parents. With names like that, life should be grand for these two girls but with the death of their mother and Olivia's disability, life is anything but grand.

They live with their father and grandmother, both of whom are alcoholics and depressed beyond belief. Everything falls on Barbara. She cleans up when her sister has an accident. She feeds her and takes care of the house and tries desperately to hold onto the memories of better times when mom was alive. One sunny afternoon, the girls have escaped the smoky, alcoholic house to play in the park. On their way home, Olivia is struck by a man on a bicycle. He is unlike anyone they have ever seen before. Cosmo turns out to be a clown. He offers to get Barbara in the clown workshop he’s conducting. As Barbara gets more involved with the workshop, tensions at home escalate. When she and Livvy get separated, she arrives home to a furious and drunk father who beats her for losing her younger sister. She runs to the only place she feels safe, with Cosmo. When she gets to his house, she finds him extremely ill. He gets her as well as himself to the hospital (he has AIDS) and calls the police.

Jocelyn, Marthe Would You? Very good 8 & up

It's summer and Natalie is free to join her wacky group of friends to do...well nothing! Some of the nothing they do is to find pools in backyards to swim in...that don't belong to any of them. Nat's sister, Claire, is heading off to college in the fall and she is very excited about it...Nat, not so much. She and Claire have shared a room and a host of sisterly secrets since she was born. With Claire gone, who will she complain to? Who will share her clothes? Who will she talk to about her first kiss? That night, Claire had decided to break up with her boyfriend, Joe, because she was going away in the fall and wanted freedom. That night, Natalie passed flashing lights on the road. That night, she came home to tragedy and everything changed. The horror that was now Natalie's life was going to the hospital to sit with the lump that was now Claire and trying to keep it together for her parents, who were train wrecks. Would Claire ever wake up? Would she ever be Claire again?

Kent, Deborah Why Me? Fair 7-8

It's summer and Natalie is free to join her wacky group of friends to do...well nothing! Some of the nothing they do is to find pools in backyards to swim in...that don't belong to any of them. Nat's sister, Claire, is heading off to college in the fall and she is very excited about it...Nat, not so much. She and Claire have shared a room and a host of sisterly secrets since she was born. With Claire gone, who will she complain to? Who will share her clothes? Who will she talk to about her first kiss? That night, Claire had decided to break up with her boyfriend, Joe, because she was going away in the fall and wanted freedom. That night, Natalie passed flashing lights on the road. That night, she came home to tragedy and everything changed. The horror that was now Natalie's life was going to the hospital to sit with the lump that was now Claire and trying to keep it together for her parents, who were train wrecks. Would Claire ever wake up? Would she ever be Claire again?

Klass, David Dark Angel Excellent 8 & up

Is evil real? Can you touch it? Can you kill it? Seventeen-year-old Jeff is about to find out. His brother, Troy, was convicted of murdering a kid six years ago and was sentenced to life in prison. Or so everyone thought. His conviction was overturned because of a technicality; he is coming home. Jeff does not want him there but his parents are determined to give Troy a chance. At first, Troy seems to be working hard to change things around for himself. And even Jeff begins to reach out to his brother. But then a teammate of Jeff's goes missing and Jeff is sure that Troy is involved. What happens next, however, no one is prepared for and Jeff if left to pick up the pieces.

Home of the Braves Excellent 7 & up

As Joe heads into his senior year of high school, looking forward to continuing his comfortable existence. He is the captain of a fun-loving but not very good soccer team. He begins to notice that Kris, the girl he's known forever, is very pretty and flirting with him. Then, with the arrival of a world class soccer player from Brazil, his world is shaken to it's very core and Joe is not sure what to do about it. The Brazilian joins the soccer team and, for the first time in Joe's high school career, they begin to win games and have fans. He should be happy but when he spots Kris hanging out with the Brazilian, he watches his chance to date her go down the drain Another of Joe's friends, Ed the Mouse, begins to act really strangely after being bullied by football players. He has no one to talk to about the changes in his life and he feels like things are spiraling out of control.

You Don't Know Me Excellent 7 & up

“You don’t know me at all. You don’t know where I’m writing this from. You have no power over me.” These words are the beginning of an intriguing book about a young man who is dealing with a horrible home situation along with the everyday pains of growing up. He speaks as if he is conversing directly with someone…the reader, his mother, his stepfather??

John is a 14-year-old boy who lives much of his life in his own head. It’s the only safe place to which he can retreat when things in his life get to be too much to handle. Nothing is as it seems. John’s reality is, to the rest of the world, fantasy. His tuba, for instance is not a tuba. It is a giant frog, which pretends to be a tuba. It is not a tuba “because it has never produced a musical sound.” His explanations as to why things are not what they seem to be are insightful and, often, humorous. John deals with his first crush, a date with this crush and then is crushed by her. No one, not even his friends, notice that things are not well with him at home. His teachers, except for the band teacher who comes through in the end, are oblivious to his troubles.

Klise, Kate Deliver Us From Normal Very good 7-9

If you live in a town called Normal, one would expect that the townsfolk would be, well, normal. Charles Harrisong’s family is anything but normal. They stand out too much. First of all, they live in a mustard colored brick house, which they rent. They shopped at Bargain Bonanza, with its corny western theme and where shopping is an ordeal for the five Harrisong kids. Even their name wasn’t normal…Harrison, Harrissong, Haresong…all misspellings of his real last name, Harrisong. Life couldn’t get much more embarrassing, could it? It could and it did and the Harrisong’s fled in the middle of the night to embark on a whole new adventure, for better or worse.

Koertge, Ron Deadville Excellent 8 & up

There are as many ways to grieve the death of a loved one as there are people grieving. Some get angry; some cry all the time; others check out, one way or another. Ryan is in the latter group...he spends his time getting stoned with Andy, listening to music, hiding from life every since cancer claimed his little sister's life two years earlier. Just as he's settling into another day of fog and forgetfullness, something happens that shakes him out of his lethargy. Popular, beautiful Charlotte Silano falls from her horse and has fallen into a coma. Ryan finds himself drawn to her hospital room like a moth to a flame. At first, he just sits but soon he's talking to her about life and living, something he's been trying not to do. Will it be enough to save them both?

Margaux with an X Excellent 8 & up

One would think that being jaw-dropping gorgeous and mega-popular means a problem-free existence. Margaux, however, knows better. She is both and hates it. Her mother is less than involved, being a shopping network addict. Her father simply uses her brilliance to help him win at gambling. The only thing her best friend encourages her to do is be a cruel tease. Margaux has had enough and that's when she meets Danny Riley. He's nothing like anyone she's ever met. He's geeky, skinny, but with a quaint chivalrousness that charms her. And he can match her lightening-quick wit and banter perfectly. As their friendship forms, they discover that each has pain and disappointment in their lives but learn how to cope.

Lawrence, Iain Light Keepers Daughter Excellent 9 & up

Johnny is a typical boy. He plays war with the beautifully carved nutcracker soldiers that his father made for him. He spends hours imagining battles and glorious victories. In 1914, however, the battles become real for Johnny as his father goes off to fight the Germans. Johnny is sent to live with his aunt in the English countryside, far from London where he grew up but has become a very dangerous place. The letters his father writes at the beginning of the war are cheerful and full of heroic tales. He sends along more soldiers that he’s carved, many of which are based on soldiers in his division. Soon, though, the letters reveal the ugliness of war and the soldiers Johnny receives reflect the emotions and tragedy that his father experiences. As Johnny continues to play his war games, the simulations he imagines seem to come true on the real battlefield. He begins to believe that as he plays, he has some magical power over his father’s fate and the outcome of the war.

Levitan, David Every You, Every Me Excellent 9 & up

Snippets of memory, of conversations, of time spent flutter through Evan's mind. Ariel. Her voice and her laughter filter through in between thoughts of school, family, friends. She is gone and he feels/might be/is responsible. Those last days were manic. She was in her moods, and out again. Then it happened and he is bereft, unable to move on. He begins to wonder if he's going...no, he won't use the word. When photographs begin showing up, first on the path in the woods just before he walked along then in his locker and even in Jack's locker. Pictures of her and Evan and Jack in familiar, special places, then a picture of stranger. Who was he? Who was taking the pictures? What did he or she know about Ariel? What did he and Jack know about her? Evan knows that he should just leave it alone but he can't rest until he finds the photographer; until he learns what went wrong.

Limb, Sue Girl Nearly 16 Absolute Torture Good 7-9

The summer is all planned. Jess will spend all of it staring, longingly, into Fred's eyes, strolling in the park, going to concerts, engaging in clever banter! It would be her most romantic summer ever...until disaster struck. Her nutty mum announced with a flourish that they were going on a 2 week road trip, ending with a visit to her nerdy but adorable father's beach place. Under normal, Fred-less circumstances, this trip would be enjoyable but now Jess was desperate to think of some dreadful disease she could contract in less than 24 hours that would keep her at home. If the timing of the trip wasn't bad enough, her mother had scheduled several stops at the graves of several dearly departed literary giant from Great Britain's long and illustrious history. At the end of the line, awaits a surprise that her parents have kept secret since their divorce. Will the adage, "absence makes the heart grow fonder," be true or will she lose Fred to someone more, beautiful, funnier, more available? The torture of it all!!

Lion, Melissa Swollen Very good 8 & up

Old people die, not 17-year-old track stars, right? Owen died in his sleep from a "heart condition" but rumors swirl about the real reason. There are grief counselors on hand to help the students through the tragedy but many wonder how they're supposed to feel about it? Everyone is different. Linda, his girlfriend is sad and scared. Chloe, the girl who grew up with him, cries a lot. Samantha feels hopeful; there's a new boy at school and she is determined to have him .

Lisle, Janet The Crying Rocks Very good 7-9

her pay her way by searching for cigarette butts. "Don't ask me! I can't remember anything," says Joelle. She looks nothing like her adopted parents, Aunt Mary Louise and Vernon, who are fair and short. Joelle is tall, lithe, and very dark, like an Indian, observes Carlos, a friend in her neighborhood. He tells her about a painting in the local library of the Narragansett Indians and Joelle can't resist sneaking a peak. There is a flicker of recognition, which piques her interest. She and Carlos begin hiking in the woods to find ancient Indian sites in the area. They find one called Crying Rocks, where it is said the souls of murdered Indian children cry out. Being there and hearing the strange, eerie sound sparks vague memories in Joelle and horrible ones in Carlos. Both must face what happened in the past and learn to move on.

Lubar, David Dunk Excellent 7 & up

A voice rips through the crowd on the boardwalk, "Hey, Where'd you get that wig? You scalp it off a poodle? Yeah, you. What's the matter? Did you get glue in your ears when you pasted on that wig?" The Bozo was in complete control of the crowd. He knew just what to say that was funny enough to make the crowd laugh and nasty enough to hook the mark. Once insulted enough, the mark will spend a wad of money to have his revenge and the Bozo is dunked. This is just about the coolest performance that Chad has ever seen in all his years growing up on the boardwalk of the Jersey shore. He is hooked and wants more than anything to get into that tank and hurl insults into the crowd. When he meets the man behind the Bozo face, however, he realizes that there's more to being the Bozo than just being able to hook a mark and that malicious humor has more power than he ever imagined.

Lynch, Chris Inexcusable Very good 8 & up

Good guys just don't do this sort of thing! They don't hurt people so what she's saying about him just couldn't be right. Good guys know when to stop. They don't press their advantage, especially when she's his best friend in the whole world. For a good guy like Keir to do something like that is inconceivable, incomprehensible, inexcusable.

Freewill Good 8 & up

Will is an extremely confused young man in desperate pain. A year earlier his father ran his car off the road killing himself and his wife, Will’s stepmother. There was no reason for the accident and the possibility of murder/suicide loom in Will’s mind. He is living with his grandparents and going to a special school where he takes woodworking. He finds that he has a particular talent in this area but he is so lost in his anguish that he loses interest in making the functional items that his teacher assigns. Instead he begins to carve these strange totems. They are as haunting as they are beautiful…and they begin to appear at the scenes of a rash of teen suicides. Soon people begin to focus their attention on Will, which forces him to take a look at himself and his pain.

Who the Man Excellent 9 & up

Different...no body wants to be different, not really but different is certainly what Earl Pryor is. At thirteen, he stands taller than anyone in his middle school, including most of his teachers, and he has to shave. High school kids ask him to buy their beer. He doesn't have many friends because people think he's a tough guy, always looking for a fight, and fight he will, when provoked. When he gets suspended from school for fighting, he has a lot of time on his hands. He's known for a long time that things weren't right at home between his mom and his dad but soon it become obvious just how bad. Everything and everyone he's counted on fails him and he's learning early that it takes more than just being big to be a man.

Marcus, Kimberly Exposed Excellent 9 & up

BFF...such a trite way to describe a friendship especially for Liz and Kate. For most of their lives, they have been inseparable. Kate is a dancer, graceful, beautiful, determined. Liz is a photographer, focused, balanced, composed. Both are certain that nothing can ever come between them...until it does. One Friday, they are at Liz's house for the weekly slumber party. Liz makes some snide comments about Kate's boyfriend and the two part ways in a huff. Liz sleeps upstairs in her room and Kate is on the couch down stairs. When she wakes, Kate is gone. At first, Liz thinks that she's just miffed about their argument the night before and things will go back to normal later. When Monday comes, however, Kate pointedly avoids her all day. Liz soon realizes that something is very wrong when she starts to hear whisperings all around her and classmates begin to avoid her as well. When she finally confronts Kate, what she tells her shakes her to her very core. Can it be true? Can something so horrible have happened without her knowing?

McCormick, Patricia Cut Good 8 & p

After the track meet was over, she just kept on running, past the crowd, cars, and houses until she reached home. She went into the kitchen where it happened…the first of many times… “a perfect, straight line of blood bloomed…” and she felt something, finally. Callie, a 15-year-old is in deep trouble. Her self-inflicted cuts are soon discovered and she is sent to Sea Pines, a residential treatment facility. Somewhere along the line she stopped talking. They aren’t even sure what to do with her at Sea Pines. She sits and listens to the other girls in group therapy and begins to be drawn out of her closed, safe world. It makes her afraid but she discovers that feeling afraid is better than not feeling anything.

McDaniel, Lurlene Breathless Very good 8 & up

He is beautiful...perfect form and balance on the diving board high above the pool. His body launches from the platform, tight and controlled, flawless. The crowd roars its approval. Out of the pool, he is just as controlled, just as flawless; a beautiful girlfriend who adores him; a little sister who worships him; a best friend who would do anything for him. Then comes the day at the lake. He climbs the cliff, walks to the edge, ready to jump. When he does, his leg just breaks...before he hits the water. At the hospital the uglies word in the human language is spoken. Cancer. Travis' perfect life suddenly falls apart. There are endless treatments, his leg is amputated, the cancer goes away then returns with a vengeance and the pain is unbearable. He wants the control back. He doesn't want the cancer to rule his coming and his going so he devises a plan. The only question is whether I will help him. He asks, I argue, plead, beg. It's unbecoming but I love him and don't want him to go

McNamee, Graham Acceleration Very good 8 & up

"The feel of the soft, worn leather makes me cringe---feels too much like skin." This is the thought that Duncan has when he finds the journal. His job working in the lost and found of the subway is boring him nearly to tears. There's no sun, no trees, no windows but the temperature, even on the hottest day, is cool, which is the only perk. The journal is one of many lost books that has found its way here but its pages hold the secrets of a murderer in training. Duncan tries to turn it in to the police but they shrug it off, like it was something he had created for fun. He decides to enlist the help of his friend Vinny to find try to find the guy himself. They research serial killers and apply what they learn to what they read in the journal. They find his "comfort zone" and Duncan even spots one of his potential victims, just as she is described in the journal. They have become stalkers but will their efforts thwart the murderer?

McNeal, Laura Crushed Very good 7 & up

"Something definitely happening," Audrey writes in the margin of her notebook on the day that a new and very good looking boy named Wickham Hill joins her class. Audrey and her three best friends are somewhat nerdy in their new high school, which is why what happens next is so amazing. Wickham notices her; not only notices her but asks her for a study date, then another dinner date. Audrey is so excited about this new relationship that she really doesn't pay attention to what's going on around her until everything falls apart and it's too late. When the dust settles, she finds friends in unlikely places and enemies where she least expects.

Zipped Very good 7 & up

"File not found" the second worst phrase to appear on a computer screen. Mick has deleted the rough draft of his term paper and is in a panic to find it. He searches through all the files on the computer but doesn't find it. What he does find, though, sends him reeling. Sexy email messages to and from his stepmother, Nora, are in the trash file and they are not to and from his father. Instantly, the stepmother he loves becomes enemy number 1 but he can't bring himself to tell his father nor can he confront Nora. So he sets out to find who her lover is. On the up-side, other parts of his life are looking better. Lisa, the object of his unrequited affection, seems to be interested in him. He has a summer job. He meets a college girl who has begun to call and email him. Still, the pall of Nora's affair is coloring everything a shade darker and Mick has got to figure out what he's going to do with what he knows.

Mikaelsen, Ben Touching Spirit Bear Excellent 8 & up

Cole is a young man full of anger, rage and even hate. He has been in and out of trouble for fighting for many years. His father is an alcoholic with a bad temper and his mother is afraid of him. Enter Peter Driscoll, Cole’s latest victim. Peter turns Cole in after he’d bragged about breaking in and destroying a hardware store. Cole cornered Peter outside of school and began beating him. His rage took over and he lost control, hitting Peter in the face and finally smashing his head into the sidewalk. Peter was gravely injured and had to endure many months of physical therapy. This vicious attack was the last straw for Cole but his parole officer saw something in him and approached him and his parents about trying Circle of Justice, a “healing form of justice practiced by native cultures for thousands of years”. It involved spending time alone on an island with supplies and regular checks by the keepers. There is little chance for escape as it would require a long swim through freezing water to get to the mainland.

Myers, Walter Dean Shooter Very good 9 & up

"Cameron is a good-looking young man, neatly dressed, of medium to dark complexion. He seems reasonably comfortable and no more nervous than would be expected under the circumstances. A letter informing Cameron of his Miranda rights was drafted, signed by him and put on file. The initial taped interview began at 10:30 on the morning... This was six months after the incident at the high school." So begins the story of three teenagers on a downward spiral toward tragedy. Told via reports from different adults in charge of the case, the psychologist, sheriff, an FBI agent, all of whom spoke to the two surviving teens about what lead up to the deadly shooting.

Northorp, Michael Trapped Very good 8 & up

There's never been anything like it before. The storm seemed to start like they usually do...smallish flakes floating down then larger ones coming down faster. This time, though, the snow came so fast and hard that it caught everyone off guard. The busses got away before things got really bad. Those students who waited for rides from parents, however, could only stand by and watch the snow pile higher and higher. Soon, it was obvious that no one was coming for them. The only adult makes the decision to hike out for help but does not return. When the power cuts out and the heat with it though, things start getting really scary. The snow piles higher, there's only so much wood to burn and soon they are going to have to make a decision that may have tragic consequences and not everyone will make it out.

Oates, Joyce Carol Big Mouth and Ugly Girl Excellent 7 & up

Ugly Girl. Typically, this would be a derogatory name but not for Ursula Riggs. It is a persona that came from Ursula's decision to not play the typical teenage girl. She is above all of that...literally. She is very tall and powerfully built, much to strong for ordinary beauty. Ugly Girl cannot be hurt by what other say. Ugly Girl cannot be hurt by her mother who is more focused on her petite, perfect younger sister. Ugly Girl does not get involved in petty stuff like friends and dating. That is until Matt Donahgy, a.k.a. Big Mouth, gets into trouble.

Ockler, Sarah Fixing Delilah Excellent 8 & up

Keeping secrets seems to be what Delilah's family does best. It is her mother's superpowe. Eight years ago they packed up and left the lake house in Vermont, never to return, never any explanation. Her mother hides the secret of what happened that day by working, working, working. Now, however, she is being forced out of hiding. Nana is dead and they have to go back to finalize her affairs and decide what to do with the old house. Memories haunt every room and secrets swirl around like small breezes, disturbing the dust of forgetfulness. Delilah has steeled herself against feeling anything. It works well until she sees her best friend from long ago, little Ricky, who now goes by Patrick and has grown into a very handsome young man. In the warm summer days that follow, Delilah uncovers the diary of her long-dead aunt, after whom she is named and with it's discovery comes the opening of many old wounds. She just can't let things go any more. She needs to know what happened 8 years ago and the long held secrets that have broken her family apart. What happens next is like a hurricane with its leading edge that whips up the waters and the wind followed by the devastating storm surge that wreaks havoc with all in it's path. Finally, there's the aftermath when you try to piece together things that were shattered. Some things can be salvaged and put back together, others are lost forever. What survives is what's most important.

Omololy, C.J. Dirty Little Secrets Good 8 & up

Appearances can be deceiving; Don't judge a book by its cover; It's what's on the inside that counts...All of these statements are about appearances and all are absolutely true for sophomore Lucy. Anyone on the outside of Lucy's life would see a normal looking girl in a normal looking house, living a normal life. But all the secrets she's spent her life keeping come screaming at you as soon as you cross the threshold of the front door. In every room, on every available surface, from floor to ceiling junk is piled high. Lucy and her compulsively hoarding mother live in squalor. Her brother and sister have escaped but Lucy still has another two years to deal with the mess that is her life. Outside of the house, however, Lucy has some semblance of your average teenage life. For the first time, "normal" is within reach. She has a best friend to hang out with. A boy she's liked for years is paying her some attention. But then, it all comes crashing down, literally, and her life will change forever.

Patrick, Cat Forgotten Very good 8 & up

Journaling is usually something you do because your teacher assigns it as homework. For London, however, it's completely different. If she doesn't leave notes for herself each night, she remembers nothing at all of the day! For some strange reason, her brain resets each night and there's nothing left of the day before. To make matters worse or at least more weird, London can "remember" the future. She can see what's going to happen but not what has happened. Very few people know about her condition...her mother, obviously and her best friend Jamie are the only ones. They help fill in any gaps she might have left in her notes, making her life as normal as can be expected. One day, something happens that makes her truly regret her problem and it all starts with a fire drill, an embarrassing PE ensemble and a very cold morning. As she stands shivering in the parking lot, a handsome boy walks over to her and gives her his sweatshirt. It's the start of something she wants desperately to remember. Playing in the background of her life are future memories. One in particular triggers something in her mind. She sees a funeral; at first she can't figure out whose but then she realizes that it's a child! What a horrifying thought! But who is the child? Why does this particular vision keep returning? As things begin to unravel and truths are revealed, remembering the past becomes imperitive.

de la Pena, Matt Mexican Whiteboy Very good 9 & up

Danny is caught in between. He's too brown to be white and he's too pale to be Mexican. But, no matter what color he is, there's no denying that the boy can pitch. He's not powerfully built but his arms are long and his aim, deadly. At 95 mph, you'd think he'd be the star of the team. Not so. His problem is control and consistency. He gets on the mound, in front of everyone and stalls. His problem is in his head, literally. His father left the family to return to Mexico and Danny is left floundering, thinking that it's all his fault. He's shut down; not just on the field either. He hardly speaks. He digs his fingernails into his arms when he's stressed. That summer, he wants to be close to his father so he goes to stay with his Mexican relatives in National city. There he finds that, instead of shunning him because he can't speak Spanish, he is accepted. His pitching arm doesn't hurt either. Here he might just be able to figure out who he is but only if he has the courage to face the truth about his father.

Plum-Ucci, Carol The Body of Christopher Creed Excellent 8 & up

Chris was the kind of kid that most people either picked on or ignored. He was different from most, weird, if you asked any of his classmates. So when Chris vanished, his weirdness became exaggerated and seemed to permeate the minds of the town’s people. Torey is neither friend nor enemy of Chris’s. He becomes involved with the mystery because of an e-mail from Chris, which mentions his name. “…Torey Adams… I don’t understand why I get nothing and these boys get everything – athletic ability, good personalities, beautiful girlfriends.” He ends the letter, “I wish no malice on anyone. I only wish to be gone. Therefore, I AM.” Torey feels, somehow, responsible yet he knows there’s more to the story than Chris just being jealous of him and his friends. As he begins to look deeper, he comes to realize that people are not always who they seem, including those he thought were friends, and that parents do not always do what they are supposed to do.

Following Christopher Creed Excellent 8 & up

It's been years...enough so that maybe now, the story could be told. At least that's what Mike decides after selling his laptop to buy a ticket to Steepleton so that he could write it. He has a few challenges to contend with, though. For one, he's legally blind ever since being hit in the head with a baseball his freshman year at college. The other is his editor-in-chief who was dead set against this story so it's up to him to sell it. Being blind does have its upside. People tend to overlook or feel sorry for you, which Mike plays for all its worth, if it will get him closer to the people whose story he's here to tell and he's always been able to sweet talk the editor. It's a strange place, Steepleton. There's a feeling, an energy that's not wholly benign. Out in the woods, people have claimed to see strange lights coming up from the ground. The local teens believe that it's Christopher Creed who disappeared more than 4 years earlier after being bullied mercilessly. One teen, in particular believes with his whole heart, that the lights are or signal the return of his brother Chris. Justin is a very disturbed young man struggling with a serious drug addiction. When a body turns up buried in a shallow grave, all of the players are drawn back to the eerie town for one last gathering. All hoping to put to rest the mystery of Christopher Creed, once and for all.

What Happened to Lani Garver Excellent 8 & up

Being the new kid is never an easy thing. You are automatically viewed as strange or mysterious. Lani Garver both. No one seems to know much about who he is, where he came from or even how old he is. But most disturbing of all was that no one could tell, for sure, whether Lani was a girl or a boy. Claire was a popular girl who wasn't sure if she really was or not. When her best friend, Macy, decides to investigate this strange newcomer, she goes along. She's not, however, into tormenting him as others in her crowd seem to be. In a strange twist, Claire befriends Lani and realizes that she's really not so different from him. As a result of this new friendship, Claire's world is turned upside down and inside out. Lani is far more intriguing than anyone else she's ever known but this does not stop the tragedy that propels Claire into a whole new life.

Preller, James Bystander Excellent 7 & up

When you are the new kid at school, you either want to be invisible or get in with the popular crowd and sometimes, a little of both. Eric is a smart but damaged kid who's warily scoping the scene when Griffin pops up on his radar. Griffin is a popular, confident boy with his own entourage and a mean streak just barely below the surface. He wants Eric to join his pack and, at first, it's great. Soon, however, Eric is drawn into the darkness that Griff inhabits and he wants out. He's walking a tightrope between pack member and target when one appalling event pushes him to take a giant leap; a move that might just make him Griffin's next victim.

Ray, Delia Here Lies Linc Excellent 6-8

Parents are quite often the source for some of the most embarrassing moments in their children's lives. It can be the way they dress or their behavior or what they do for a living. For Linc Crenshaw, his mom is guilty of all three...she dresses like a hippie, she gets excited about the weirdest things and, worst of all, she studies grave yards and death rituals! Linc has grown up playing in grave yards all over the world! Now, though, he's 12-years-old and going to a public middle school for the first time ever and he's determined to be just like everyone else. Alas, normalcy is just not meant to be for, on the first day of school, Linc's American Studies teacher announces that their research assignment for the semester and it requires a class trip to the local cemetery with a very special guest speaker...you guessed it, his very own mother! At first, Linc is mortified but, when he picks the strange statue that everyone thinks is cursed as his project, everything suddenly changes. Secrets long held are unearthed and Linc's life will never be the same again.

Ripkin, Cal Hothead Excellent 6-8

Connor Sullivan is the best player on his baseball team, the Orioles but you'd never know it by his behavior. He's cool at the plate and as short stop and he never misses...until the day he does then everything about him changes. It was an error, a stupid, rookie error. The ball was heading straight for him then it bounced off the heel of his hand and rolled out in front of him. He just stared for a second then he lost his stuff, pulling off his glove and kicking it almost into the dugout! Where had that come from? Connor was instantly ashamed and promised his no-nonsense coach that it would never happen again. But it did and worse...he struck out and proceeded to throw a major temper tantrum and was kicked out of the game. Worse still, he yelled at his best friend, trying to lay the blame on him. Just to add icing to this Mt. Vesuvius cake, the sports writer for the school paper, one Melissa Morrow, is doing a feature story on him and caught all of his melt-downs on video. He has to get it together or risk disappointing his coach, his parents, his team mates and himself.

Scott, Elizabeth Between Here and Forever Very good 8 & up

Abby is the quiet, average looking sister. Tess is charismatic, beautiful, sweet, out-going...perfect. Abby isn't bitter, there's really no use being so because she can't change the way things are. Things do change themselves, though, and sometimes for the worse. Tess is now lying in the hospital in a coma and Abby is determined that she's going to wake her up. Ever since the accident, Abby comes to the hospital every day. Sometimes she sees Tess's eyes move but no one believes her. They just smile and turn away, pity rolling off of them in waves. One afternoon something else changes. Eli, the most beautiful boy anyone's ever seen starts working in the hospital and, upon hearing his voice, Abby is certain that Tess moved her eyes again. He's just her type so he's going to be the one to wake her up. Some surprising things begin to happen and Abby is just not sure what to make of them. When Eli visits Tess, it's Abby he talks to, confides in, telling her a painful secret and Abby sees that he's not perfect either. Then she figures something out about her perfect sister, something that was right in front of her the whole time but she missed, something that proves what everyone else close to Tess has always known...Tess is not perfect. No one is but what will it mean for Abby? Can she accept imperfection in Tess, Eli, herself?

Scott, Mindi Freefall Very good 9 & up

Death is inevitable, everyone knows that, but you're not supposed to die until you're old, right? Seth had never thought much about death until the morning he found his best friend and fellow band mate Isaac lying under the bushes. He looked like he was just passed out on his back but when Seth nudged him to get up, Isaac didn't move. Just like that, life careened off course leaving Seth floundering and devastated. He blamed himself. Why hadn't he made sure Isaac got home or put him on the couch inside? The numbing effect of alcohol was not even enough to dull the pain and playing in their band has become impossible because he has developed a debilitating case of stage fright. A chance encounter with beautiful Rosetta brings about an unexpected change. Rosetta's life, from the outside, seems perfect. She has popular friends and lots of money. Things are not what they seem, however. Rosetta has had tragedy strike at her heart, as well, but together they make a pact to help each other through the painful memories and move past blaming themselves for things out of their control.

Selznick, Brian Wonderstruck Excellent 6 & up

Ben and his mom were two peas in a pod. Elaine is a librarian who encouraged her son to ask questions and seek answers. Ben soaked up the library atmosphere like a sponge. They took daily walks together around the Gunflint Lake in Minnesota and collect oddities they'd find. For Christmas, one year, Ben's mom gave him a box with a beautifully carved picture of wolves. He dreamed of them quite often and thought of them as his guardians. He knew nothing of his father and only asked his mom once about him...he didn't like the pain he saw in her face. When Elaine was killed in a car crash, Ben moved in with his aunt and uncle, next door. One night, Ben can't sleep. He looks out of his window and sees a light on in his old house...his mother's light. What he discovers there will change the course of his life forever. Rose is a young girl who has been deaf as long as she can remember. Her parents keep her inside of her house because they are afraid that she will be hurt if she ventures out. She can see the city of New York just across the river, it's lights glowing brightly in the night sky. Rose longs to go there and experience the world. One day, she sees a newspaper that advertises a new Broadway show starring an actress Rose knows well. She makes a daring decision that will alter the course of her life completely..

Shaw, Susan Black-eyed Suzie Excellent 8 & up

This is Suzie. She used to be normal but now she lives in a box of her own making; four walls that close in on her so that she has to sit with her knees under her chin and arms wrapped protectively around them. Her box has blocked out all of the words she used to have, so now she cannot speak nor can she eat or sleep in her small space. Suzie's mother insists that it is only a phase that she's going through or that she is punishing the family, that nothing is wrong...she's doing it on purpose. Her father and sister can do nothing but watch as Suzie wastes away. Things change when Uncle Elliot comes by the house to speak to his brother. He immediately recognizes that Suzie is in serious trouble and she is whisked away, box and all, to a hospital. Her mother is angry, so angry and Suzie's box closes in tighter. She finds herself in St. Dorothy's, a mental hospital, where she is surrounded by people who want her to talk, eat, sleep, things she is not capable of doing. But slowly, slowly, she begins to feel safe and to trust those around her until the walls begin to push back and she is able to see what made her retreat into her self-made box and how to deal with the world outside of it.

Shaw, Tucker Flavor of the Week Excellent 7 & up

To some, food is simple sustenance; to others, it's an art form. Cyril is a sixteen-year-old cooking prodigy whose dishes evoke a whole range of emotions from those who taste it. Cyril is an overweight, slightly nerdy boy who he doesn't want anyone to know about his cooking prowess because it would only make call more attention to his nerdiness and size. To make matters more sticky is his love for his lab partner and school beauty, Rose, who only knows him as a "friend-friend". Enter Nick, Cyril's supermodel best friend who notices and is noticed by Rose. In an attempt to woo her, Nick enlists Cyril's help to cook Rose a spectacular dinner. His food works it's magic but Rose thinks that Nick is the cook. As Nick and Cyril get deeper into their deception, the heat turns up when Rose begins to suspect something.

Shulman, Polly Enthusiasm Good 8 & up

We all know those people who are perky all the time. When we are being nice, we call them bubbly. When it's too early in the morning, the epithet is a little more harsh. Ashleigh is just such a person. Julie, her best friend and one most likely to get dragged into her wild schemes, calls her an enthusiast. Ashleigh's latest obsession just happens to be Julie's favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. The wild scheme she's thought up is to crash the the cotillion at the local all-boy prep school. This wouldn't be so bad except that she wants to go dressed in Jane Austen-inspired clothing.

The madcap adventure that follows is a delightful romp through the roller coaster ride that is teenaged romance. It's comedy, tragedy, misinterpreted messages, awkward moments and even some poetry thrown in to mix it up a bit. If romance is your thing, then this is the book for you.

Shusterman, Neal The Schwa Was Here Excellent 7-9

Is it possible to be invisible, literally? To be standing right in front of someone and not be seen, no matter what you are doing or wearing? If you really want to know, just ask the Schwa. Anthony Bonano has heard all of the stories about him but when he actually meets Schwa, he realizes that there might just be something to them. He decides to perform scientific experiments to prove or disprove the Schwa Effect. These experiments include the Schwa sitting in a completely empty classroom and wearing a Day-Glo orange sombrero and singing God Bless America at the top of his lungs. No one noticed him. Amazing, right? To Anthony and Schwa it spelled big bucks. They began selling the Schwa's services to do things like sneak into the teacher's lounge and spy, and hanging out in the kitchen to see who was stealing snack cakes that the principal was blaming on the students. The real money, however, was in the dares. $32 for Schwa thumbing his nose at the principal in his office; $26 for sticking his finger in the school bully's mashed potatoes and not get beaten up. But the most audacious and, potentially most profitable dare was to sneak into the local mystery man's apartment and steal a dog bowl. This dare, as it turns out, changes Anthony's and Schwa's lives forever.

Smith, Greg Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo Good 6-8

Friends since grade school, Elias, Shohei and Honoria are smack in the middle of a rather difficult phase of their lives known as high school. Elias, the youngest of four brothers all bearing the first name of Johann, is entering the science fair with about as much enthusiasm as a prisoner walking the plank over shark infested waters. Shohei is the Japanese-born adopted son whose parents are force-feeding him bits and pieces of his native culture and slacker partner in Elias’ science fair project. Hornoria is a serious participant of the fair and has undertaken the extraordinary task of trying to teach a pair of piranha to prefer bananas over meat and figure out a way to tell Shohei that she likes him as more than just a friend. Each must navigate through personal minefields made up of family and emotional time bombs in order to survive That Which Is life.

Smith, Cynthia L. Rain is not My Indian Name Very good 7 & up

alen and Rain, Rain and Galen...the two were inseparable best friends but things were changing between them that year. Rain began to catch herself daydreaming about kissing Galen and wondering what to do about it. It was New Year's Eve, Rain's 14th birthday and the two were out celebrating when Rain had decided to hurry things along. The birthday gift that Galen gives her and the look in his eyes lets Rain know that there's no reason to rush, that he's thinking of her too. She heads home floating on cloud nine. When she wakes the next morning, her life is changed forever. Galen was hit by a car on his way home and is dead. Rain shuts herself off from her family, her friends and especially Galen's mother. Ironically, it's Galen's mother, Mrs. Owens who draws her out into the world again when she opposes funding for an Indian camp being run by Rain's aunt. Rain is not ready to join the campers but, when she's hired by the town's newspaper to provide photographs for a story on the controversial camp, she stands on the fringes of it, watching until events force her to come out of hiding and get involved.

Smith, Sherri Lucy the Giant Excellent 7 & up

What would a giant look like, besides really tall? This giant from Alaska rescues grown men from bars and young girls from inside of lockers and stray dogs from the street. The man she rescues is her alcoholic father. The girl she rescues is now her best (and only) friend. The dog is Bar, the keeper of her secrets and her true confidant. Lucy's life is ugly, though she is not...she's just really tall. One day Bar gets very sick and she confesses to her father that she has him, hoping he would get them to the vet to save Bar's life but he doesn't and Bar dies. This is the last straw for Lucy. She ends up at a local McDonalds and is mistaken for a member of a tour leaving for Kodiak, Alaska. When she arrives in Kodiak she is again mistaken for someone else; someone older than her actual 15 years and this lands her a job on a fishing boat and a way to survive. On the boat, she earns her place with the crew but all is not perfect and Lucy learns some tough lessons about herself and the world she lives in.

Tolan, Stephanie Flight of the Raven Very good 7-9

“Lies," her father had said. Of course. The government always lied, and the media were controlled by the government. She knew that. She’d always known it. But which were the lies? Amber does not live the life of an average teenager. It all changed when her mother was killed by the police during a peaceful demonstration then covered up. Not long after, her angry, disillusioned father founded the Free Mountain Militia. The missions that the militia took on, had gotten increasingly violent. The latest was the bombing of a bridge where 183 people were killed and Amber struggles with who to turn to for the truth. When her father returns from this latest mission, he has brought with him a hostage. Elijah is a runaway from Laurel Mountain mental institution that the men found hiding in the woods. He lives inside of his head where it’s safe. He is not crazy, as most people think. He and several other children were part of an experimental group who had developed very specialized skills. The experiment had been abandoned and the children ended up in Laurel Mountain. Elijah’s abilities eventually earn him a place with this violent group, whether he likes it or not.

Vance, Susan Deep Very good 8 & up

Two girls are brought together by extraordinary circumstances that change their lives. One girl, Birdie, is the asthmatic only child of doting parents about to embark on the family trip of a lifetime... a year in the Caribbean. The other, Morgan, is the only surviving child of free-spirited parents who set sail 17 years earlier to travel the world.

Upon arriving in St. Martins, Birdie and her parents are befriended by a young, handsome Aussie yachtsman, who is not what he seems. Morgan has abandoned her parents who have become alcoholics after the death of their oldest daughter and is sailing alone. The two are captured by a madman and must help each other survive the most frightening experience that either has ever been through.

Valentine, Jenny Me, the Missing and the Dead Very good 8 & up

What happens when someone goes missing? When a person dies, you know where they are...at least corporeally. You either buried them or cremated them...so underground, in the wind or in an urn. But missing? You know nothing for sure. Lucas' dad went missing five years earlier. Just gone...no note, no word, nothing. Lately, Lucas has taken to wearing his father's clothing, which is difficult for his mother. She calls him a walking shrine. One day, he's meeting his friend Ed and doesn't feel like walking or taking the Tube so he walks into a cab office to get a ride. On a shelf, looking completely out of place, is a beautiful urn. The owner of the cab company tells him that someone left the urn and it's formerly living occupant on the seat of one of his cabs. After leaving the office, Lucas cannot get the thought of Violet (the name on the urn) off his mind. He schemes with his grandmother to rescue her, a decision that will unlock more secrets than Lucas is ready to handle.

Wallace, Rich Restless Good 7-9

Herbie has taken on a lot in the past few weeks. He’s decided that he’s going to play two sports in one season just because his coach said he’d “wimp out on the first day” of either football or cross-country. He is out late one night running through a graveyard when he feels someone following him. He slows to look but sees nothing. This feeling of being followed stays with him for the rest of his run and makes him more than a little uneasy but also a little intrigued. He begins to make his run through the cemetery a regular thing and each time his experiences with this presence become more intense. One evening he actually sees the young man who’s been following him but instead of flesh and bone making contact with him, the man seems to materialize out of thin air and touches him for only an instant then he is gone. Each night afterward, Herbie senses, and on occasion, see other spirits, including that of his older brother, Frank, who died when Herbie was young. Herbie, Frank and the ghost of Eamon, the original spirit he encountered, are intertwined in their search for understanding of each one’s experiences in life and in death and how to move on from them.

Warman, Jessica Breathless Excellent 9 & up

Katie dives into the pool, the water swallowing her washing the rest of the world away. The water is her escape and she has a lot of reasons to need to get away. Her father is a psychiatrist who works all the time; her mother is an artist who drinks all the time and her older brother is fighting a battle against schizophrenia. It's a battle he's losing. As his violence escalates, Katie's parents send her away to a boarding school. Things are different here. She has friends, a budding relationship with the captain of the boys swim team, and the very real possibility of going to Yale after graduation. All of it, however, is built on a lie. A lie that begins to crumble under the weight of one unthinkable act.

Wealer, Sara Bennett Rival Excellent 8 & up

Do you really ever know your friends? Do they really know you? Does anyone really care? Brooke and Kathryn have only one thing in common...opera and the desire to sing it. Otherwise, they are polar opposites. Brooke is the daughter of a famous singer and an actor who is alone most of the time, now that her older twin brothers are off at university. Those two older brothers gifted her with popularity beyond belief; popularity = power in high school. Kathryn is a shy but very beautiful girl whose best friend is Matt, a slightly geeky boy she's known her whole life. When the two girls finally meet, each feels a very strong connection with the other. Friendship with Brooke brings things into Kathryn's life she's never experienced before; Parties, lots of friends, handsome boys...it's almost overwhelming. Kathryn introduces Brooke to what a functional, happy family looks like. Soon, however, a rivalry begins between them. Brooke's friends accept Kathryn just a little too quickly. Boys pay attention to Kathryn's natural and unassuming beauty. The Honors Choir director gives Kathryn a solo. One night at a party, things explode. With one punch, their friendship is destroyed and the true rivalry begins.

Weatherly, Lee Child X Excellent 7 & up

Jules’ life is pretty typical. Marty, her best friend, and she chatter together after class and try to avoid gross guys like Adrian Benton. They stick together through teasing and crushes. They even audition for parts in a play based on their favorite book, Northern Lights (a.k.a. The Golden Compass). Then, suddenly, her world falls apart. Her father has left her and her mother. Sure they fight, like most parents do but this is different. Photographers appear around every corner snapping her photo and the whispering she hears all around her is maddening but no one will tell her what’s going on. It becomes apparent, one day, when she and Marty read the front page of the news paper and find answers that only lead to more questions, painful ones.

Weaver, Will Checkered Flag Cheater Very good 9 & up

It's a strange thing seeing your face two stories tall. Trace Bonham is still getting used to being the face of Team Blu Racing. Off the track, giggling girls ask him for his autograph, many offering much more. On the track, though, things are tougher. He blows away the competition every time he gets behind the wheel and at the end of every race the tech guys ask to check his engine because no on has ever seen a stock car run so fast. Eventually, Trace begins to wonder if it's his skill as a driver or something more. There's a lot at stake, as Trace contemplates his choices; does he continue racing, not knowing if it's his skill or a modified engine or quit and risk not finding another sponsor. He's dreamed of racing for most of his life and has worked hard to get where he is but will he sell his soul to keep it?

Whelan, Gloria See What I See Excellent 8 & up

"I see my life in paintings. Right now I see my mom as a painting by the artist de Kooning, a scribbled woman, all angry eyes and open mouth with sharp teeth." Kate sees life differently from everyone else. When she paints, the rest of the world disappears and all that's left is color, paint and canvas. She's been given a scholarship to an art school in Detroit...the same city where her famous artist father lives; the father she's not seen since she was a small child; the father who has had nothing to do with her and that her mother hates with everything in her being. To her, going to school in the same city where he lives seems like a betrayal.The scholarship does not include housing so Kate decides to show up on his doorstep, thinking that he will have to let her in. The man she finds on the other side of the door is not what she expected. Reclusive artist Dalton Quinn is very sick, dying, in fact and is none too pleased that she's there. After a lot of angry words and hurt feelings, Kate and her father settle into an uncomfortable existence consisting of regular bouts of yelling and door slamming but what Kate doesn't know yet is that her life is about to change drastically and completely, for better and for worse.

Whitley, Kimberly See you Down the Road Very good 8 & up

Moving every few months; finding new scams to pull on unsuspecting people; never finishing a whole year of school; this is Bridget's life and not one she's sure she really wants. Her family are part of the Irish Travelers who go from town to town taking what they can and not looking back. She has been promised in marriage to Patrick already, though she is only 16. She catches glimpses of a world she can never be a part of but is desperately curious about. But no one leaves the Travelers, ever. But when she intercepts strange phone calls, she begins to wonder about that.

Wynn-Jones, Tim A Thief in the House of Memory Very good 6-8

The thing about memory is that it just can't be trusted to stay put and it's not always the truth. Dec's mom has been gone for six years. His dad has moved on, his little sister doesn't even remember her, they even live in a new house just down the road from the Big House. When a would-be burglar is accidentally killed in the old house, all of his memories of his mother come flooding back with such force that it's hard to tell reality from dream. Then there are the unanswered questions...What really happened to his free-spirited mother? Why is it that no one ever talks about her? If the answers do come, will they provide closure or more pain?

Zadoff, Allen Food, Girls and Other things I Can't Have Excellent 8 & up

It's high school. There are impenetrable groups: The Jocks, The Cheerleaders, The Geeks, The Goths, etc. You can approach enemy lines but never, ever can the lines be breached...or can they? Andy Zansky, 307 lbs. of geekness has always been perfectly content to be a great student, member of the Model UN and hang with the rest of the geeks at school. But not any more. Andy met a girl at one of his mom's catering functions and, before he knew what his mouth was saying, he told her he was a jock! So, after an infamous "run" on the soccer field, which ended with him tangled in the goal and 6 guys and one pair of shorts down, he walks in to the coaches office asking to try out for the football team. As it happens, there's an opening at center just Andrew's size. The only problem is that Andy has never played football. In fact, he's never even been to a game before. And, worst of all, he suffers from chronic asthma and there's no way his over-protective mom is going to sign the permission form. With the help of an unlikely ally, in the form of the most popular, best looking quarterback, O. Douglas, Andy finds a way. Crossing the line and reinventing yourself is not all it's cracked up to be, however, and Andy has some tough lessons to learn.