The longest Muiriel has stayed in one foster care placement is eleven months. That was in 3rd grade, when the mom and dad wanted to adopt her. But Muir couldn’t stand being the only child in the house, which led to the inability to sleep, and eventually, a move to a new foster home. Since then, Muir has asked to leave a home whenever things have gotten too comfortable.
Now 17-years-old, Muir is taken to Francine’s, a 60ish-year-old woman who lives alone on an island thirty minutes from Seattle. Muir’s social worker, Joellen, asks Muir to try her best to last her entire senior year in this home before she ages out of foster care. Likewise, Joellen has asked Francine to take in just one more teen before retiring from foster care parenting. What will it take to keep Muir in one place for a year? And what can Francine provide that other foster parents could not?
Twelve-year-old Olympia is a budding artist. That’s no surprise since her father restores art pieces with his business partner, Apollo, and her mother is a sculptor. Ollie lives a pretty normal life in SoHo (New York City) in 1981 when her life falls apart. Her dad leaves in the middle of the night leaving only a cryptic message for Ollie, her mom has gone to bed and won’t get up, and there are strangers knocking at the door inquiring about a missing piece of art. Ollie knows the answer to this mystery lies with her father, if she could only find him. Hiding her problems from best friends Alex and Richard, she manages to get herself to school, complete projects, exist on cans of soup, and try to solve the mystery, all while begging her mother to get up. It isn’t until tragedy strikes the neighborhood that Ollie learns she can’t solve the problems on her own. This story of friendship will appeal to any student artist as well as middle school students who may have a family member dealing with depression.
Liv’s older brother shot himself. It was an accident. Always the dare devil, Jonah picked up the gun, pointed it at his head, and pulled the trigger. Now he is in a vegetative state with round the clock care by a team of nurses, Dr. Kate, Liv and their mother. Jonah’s friend and neighbor, Clay, tried to stop Jonah from playing around with the gun that belonged to Clay’s father. Now the neighboring families are caught in a lawsuit over negligence and payment for skyrocketing medical bills, and Liv finds herself falling for Clay – the enemy.
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.