Ink and Ashes – Valynne E Maetani – Mystery, Realistic, Romance
Sixteen-year-old Claire Takata barely remembers her father, who passed away ten years ago. She adores her stepfather, but when Claire discovers an old letter written by her father to her stepfather, she wonders why her mother and stepfather have kept this “friendship” secret. Claire and her brothers gradually piece together clues that lead to discovering their father was involved with the yakuza, a Japanese organized crime organization. This knowledge puts Claire and her family in danger as she is stalked by a black SUV and receives coded messages understood only by someone knowledgeable in Japanese culture. As her friendship with best friend, Forrest, begins to turn romantic, the mystery and danger intrude upon her life at school when she becomes the target of a teacher’s anger. But Claire is determined to solve this mystery on her own terms.
Raymie Nightingale – Kate DiCamillo – Family, Friendship, Realistic
Raymie Clarke’s father has left town with the dental hygienist. But Raymie has a plan to bring him back. All she needs to do is win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire title. When her dad sees her picture in the paper, he will come running back to her – maybe. Raymie needs a talent to enter the competition so she signs up for baton twirling lessons. Here she meets two competitors – Louisiana, an orphan with a show business background who needs the money to survive, and stubborn Beverly, a girl who plans to sabotage the competition. An unlikely friendship develops among the three girls as all have experienced loss. The lesson learned is that even when life seems out of control, persistence pays off.