Kamran Smith has a hero – his older brother, Darius. In many ways, Kamran is following in his hero’s footsteps. He is a star football player, popular with his classmates, and is planning on attending West Point, just like Darius. Unfortunately, Kamran returns home from a school dance to discover Darius, who was serving in Afghanistan, has been identified in al qaeda videos as the spokesman for the group. Kamran can’t believe Darius has willingly joined the terrorist group and begins to see hidden messages in the videos. While Kamran and his parents are held in a government detention facility, Kamran tries to get the government agents investigating the family to believe the messages he claims Darius is sending. Kamran finally takes it upon himself to escape from the facility to go find and rescue Darius. Just like Alan Gratz’s other novels, this one will have you on the edge of your seat as you read to find out if Kamran is right about his brother. And great news just in - Alan Gratz will visit our middle school students in October 2019!
Afterward – Jennifer Mathieu – Realistic, Family
Caroline’s little autistic brother was kidnapped under her watch. Found in an apartment in another city after four days, Ethan is unable to tell anyone what happened to him in that apartment, but it is clear to Caroline that it was horrific due to his new, unusual behaviors. With her parents dealing with their own problems and ignoring Ethan, Caroline seeks out the one other person who could tell her what happened, Dylan Anderson who, four years earlier, was kidnapped from their same town and found with Ethan in the kidnapper’s apartment. But Dylan is dealing with his own problems and doesn’t remember much about the four days Ethan was with him. Being over protected by his parents and seeing a therapist to help him deal with the trauma he experienced, Caroline’s presence brings memories to mind that Dylan is trying to suppress. Eventually, an usual friendship forms and over the course of a year, Dylan begins to remember.
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.