Noah and Jude are artistic, fraternal twins, both hoping to gain acceptance into an elite art school. But at age 13, they begin to grow apart. Told in alternating chapters, Noah’s take place when the twins are 13. Jude’s take place three years later, after a tragic family accident, when they are 16. Noah is dealing with the need for parent approval, bullies and being gay. Jude is dealing with artistic rivalry with her brother and guilt. Both are feeling responsible for the tragedy. Love, loss, betrayal, acceptance and forgiveness all play a role in this emotional rollercoaster.
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!
Fabiola Toussaint was born in the US and raised by her mother in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Now, as a teenager, Fabiola and her mother are moving to Detroit for a better life. But when Fabiola’s mother is detained in New York City for lack of proper documents, Fabiola must finish the journey alone. She is shocked by the grittiness of urban Detroit and the loud, rambunctious behavior of her three female cousins. Her aunt is sick and must conserve her energy – hence, her tough daughters have learned to take care of themselves. When Fabiola is offered a way to get her mother released in exchange for information about one of the cousin’s drug-dealing boyfriends, Fabiola finds herself in a dangerous situation. What she has learned from observing her cousins just might help her out.
Vince Luca is your typical 17-year-old just trying to survive the ups and downs of high school. However, his family is a major problem. Vince is the son of a Mob boss, a less than reputable profession, running a “vending machine business.” The pressure is on Vince to do some of the family’s dirty work, but Vince wants no part of it, especially after he landed in jail due to his 16th birthday present, a Porsche, turning out to be “hot.” When Vince falls for Kendra, dating gets a bit tricky because Kendra’s father is an FBI agent trying to chase down the Luca family. This is a laugh-out-loud page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Jessica, a 16-years-old star on the school’s track team, lives to run and is hoping for a track scholarship for college. But when the team bus is involved in an accident, Jessica’s leg is crushed along with her plans for the future. Jessica struggles to deal with being an amputee, missed schoolwork, self-worth, and her prosthetic leg. While there is a special type of prosthetic leg made for running, she knows her family cannot afford the enormous expense, so she gives up dreams of running again and throws herself into catching up on her schoolwork with the help of Rosa, a student with her own problems.
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.
The Memory Book – Lara Avery – Realistic
What would you do if you were losing your memory? Deny it? Let depression take over? Try to prevent it from happening?
Sammie, an extremely talented high school senior, faces this challenge when she is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder she shares with her deceased grandmother. She will lose her memory, slowly at first, then her health, and finally her life. This is tough news for a 17-year-old. But she isn’t going to go down without a fight. Sammie decides to carry on with her plans to win the national debate championship, give the valedictorian’s speech at graduation, and enter NYU in the fall to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer. In addition, she writes a memory book to her future self so she will be able to remember who she is, what she is trying to accomplish, and all the important people and events in her life. What would you include in a memory book if you were in Sammie McCoy’s shoes?
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day – John David Anderson – Realistic, Humorous
Ms. Bixby – a 6th grade teacher unlike any other Topher, Brand and Steve have ever had. Each of the boys has a special secret as to why Ms. Bixby is special to them, even though they wouldn’t dare admit it to anyone else. So when their teacher announces she has to take a leave of absence due to health issues, the boys become concerned. They band together to carry out a risky plan to give her a special day, but first they have to collect some items.
This is a heartwarming story about the relationship between a teacher and three of her “not the best” students. You will discover why each has a special place in her heart. Be warned: a box of tissues nearby might be good at the end.