,Something in Between – Melissa De La Cruz – Realistic, Friendship
Jasmine’s senior year is going great. She is class valedictorian, a national scholarship winner, and captain of an award-winning cheerleading squad. While her Filipino family is very close, her parents have a secret. They, along with their children, are undocumented immigrants. This means Jasmine does not qualify for her college scholarships, her only hope of going to college. Add to this that her boyfriend is Royce Blakely, son of Congressman Blakely, who is sponsoring an anti-immigration bill in Washington, DC. Suddenly, Jasmine’s future is very uncertain as the bill seeks to send all undocumented immigrants back to their country of origin. Jasmine does not remember that country. She doesn’t know the language. Will she really have to leave the US and the American Dream? Will she ever be able to go to college?
This is a timely novel as our government deals with the issues of undocumented immigrants and their children who may be citizens of the US.
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy – Kate Hattemer – Realistic, Friendship
A reality TV show, For Arts Sake, is being filmed at the prestigious high school, Selwyn Arts Academy. The 20 talented student contestants compete each week with the usual one contestant being eliminated. But Ethan and his three friends smell a rat! Inspired by the study of controversial poet, Ezra Pound, the group decides to take down the show by writing a vigilante long poem, which they anonymously distribute in stages to the student body. When Luke, one of the four friends, jumps ship and becomes a contestant, the remaining three dig for the dirt on the school’s leadership and their favorite teacher in order to save the school. Readers who appreciate sarcasm and some sophisticated vocabulary will likely enjoy this novel.
Ghost – Jason Reynolds – Realistic, Sports
Ghost Cranshaw has been running for most of his life, ever since his dad chased him and his mother around their apartment and down the street with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Now his father has been in jail for three years and 8th grader Ghost has many problems at school. With time on his hands, Ghost begins watching, and participating in, an elite middle school track team practice on his way home from school. When the strict coach notices how fast Ghost can run, he sets out to convince Ghost’s mother to let him practice with the team. The problem is, with dad in jail, Ghost’s mom can’t afford the expensive running shoes. Ghost comes up with his own plan for getting them, and you can guess his plan is not good. Fortunately for Ghost, Coach believes he could become the best sprinter in the city and does all he can to help Ghost turn his life around by becoming a member of the Defenders. First in a projected series highlighting four members of the track team.