Named to School Library Journal Best Books of 2014
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn't want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it's important to wait until you're married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, "Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas." Eyes open, legs closed. That's as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don't mind it. I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait until you're married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she will think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White.
Isabel Quintero is a library technician in the Inland Empire. She is also the events coordinator for Orange Monkey and helps edit the poetry journal Tin Cannon. Gabi is her debut novel.
"Deeply felt. Presents a moral question with great care and sensitivity." —The New York Times
"A spellbinding story about rites of passage." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A realistic story with the intensity of a fable." —The Horn Book (starred review)
"Thought-provoking." —School Library Journal (starred review)
In Palmer LaRue's hometown of Waymer, turning ten is the biggest event of a boy's life. But for Palmer, his tenth birthday is not something to look forward to, but something to dread. Then one day, a visitor appears on his windowsill, and Palmer knows that this, more than anything else, is a sign that his time is up. Somehow, he must learn how to stop being afraid and stand up for what he believes in.
Wringer is a powerful tour de force from Newbery Medal winner Jerry Spinelli.
But Robby grabs the note, and before Linda stops talking it has gone halfway around the room.
That's where it all starts. There's something about Linda that makes a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they can go -- but nobody, least of all Jill, expects the fun to end where it does.
A New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year
Travis is back from college for the summer, and he's just starting to settle in to the usual pattern at home: drinking, drugging, watching porn, and hooking up.
But Travis isn't settling in like he used to; something isn't right. Maybe it's that deadly debauch in Hawaii, the memories of which Travis can't quite shake. Maybe it's Laura, Travis's ex, who reappears on the scene after a messy breakup and seems to want to get together -- or not. Or maybe it's his suddenly sensing how empty and messed up his life is, and wanting out.
But once you're at the party, it's tough to leave...
"Sáenz' poetic narrative will captivate readers from the first sentence to the last paragraph of this beautifully written novel. . . . It is also a celebration of life and a song of hope in celebration of family and friendship, one that will resonate loud and long with teens."—Kirkus Reviews
"…There is never a question of either Sáenz’s own extraordinary capacity for caring and compassion or the authenticity of the experiences he records in this heartfelt account of healing and hope."—Booklist
"Offering insight into [an adolescent's] addiction, dysfunction and mental illness, particularly in the wake of traumatic events, Sáenz's artful rendition of the healing process will not soon be forgotten."—Publishers Weekly
"Sáenz weaves together [18-year-old] Zach's past, present, and changing disposition toward his future with stylistic grace and emotional insight. This is a powerful and edifying look into both a tortured psyche and the methods by which it can be healed."—School Library Journal
Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He's also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn't remember how he got there. He's not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive—well, what's up with that?
I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things down on our hearts. See, on some people's hearts he writes Happy and on some people's hearts he writes Sad and on some people's hearts he writes Crazy on some people's hearts he writes Genius and on some people's hearts he writes Angry and on some people's hearts he writes Winner and on some people's hearts he writes Loser.
It's all like a game to him. Him. God. And it's all pretty much random. He takes out his pen and starts writing on our blank hearts. When it came to my turn, he wrote. I don't like God very much. Apparently he doesn't like me very much either. Sad
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a prolific novelist, poet, and author of children's books. Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, his first novel for young adults, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a Young Adult Library Services Association Top Ten Books for Young Adults pick in 2005.
Jimmy is dead now—gunned down in front of his little sister, Mina, and his brother, Tito. And Tito is left wondering: Was Jimmy in a gang after all? Ice Breaker Joe and Lamar think so. They say Jimmy was skimming their drug money. And if the missing cash isn't returned, Tito may have to pay—with his life.
Some people go to the crossroads, but Tito's crossroads laid themselves down in front of him. His brother Jimmy sprawls on the sidewalk at his feet. Shot in a drive by. Now a gang claims that Jimmy was their Ace Man. They say Tito must take his place and resolve some unfinished business. They give him a gun. "You need protection. It's not safe on the street." What path will be choose at the crossroads? He knows one leads to safety and one to death . . . but which is which?
Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it’s the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily’s new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there’s Bridge. She’s started wearing cat ears and is the only one who’s still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework.
It’s also the beginning of seventh grade for Sherm Russo. He wonders: what does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
By the time Valentine’s Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart?
“Sensitively explores togetherness, aloneness, betrayal and love.” —The New York Times
A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, NPR, and more!
Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.
Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one at her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift. She’s not the only one seeking answers, though, and danger grows as she discovers new truths.
Who can Aura trust with her secrets? And to whom will she give her heart?
"You don't understand anything," Jude said.
After Jude watches his drug-dealer father get gunned down at the kitchen table, he's taken from their dangerous neighborhood to a comfortable home, an elite private school, and a mother he doesn't remember. Only fifteen, Jude is under suspicion for his father's murder, but to save his own life, he can't tell the police what he knows.
To make things worse, Jude's mother is the district attorney. She can protect him from the police -- but when Jude's classmate overdoses on heroin, Jude is implicated, and his mother decides to prosecute. Jude is determined to clear his name, though he doesn't know that mysteries from his past have yet to be revealed -- secrets that will forever alter the course of his life.
Jude's gripping story is at once moving and horrifying as it traces a young man's quest for acceptance and his incredible capacity for hope and resilience. Kate Morgenroth, whose adult novels have been called "nearly impossible to put down" by Time Out New York and "compulsively readable" by Entertainment Weekly, here shows more of her considerable talent.
Since her mother's sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward—because her mother is, in a way, still there. She's being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.
Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important—grades, crushes, college plans—Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her—Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma's own. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?
Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with powerful writing that will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.
James is a popular author, and a notorious bad-boy with a major cocaine addiction. Kaden's visit to San Francisco quickly turns from an exciting adventure to a wild disaster as he experiences things he's never dreamed of and uncovers secrets about his family that alter his world forever.
When Aura is paired with a new foreign-exchange student to research the Shift for a class project, she is determined to ignore her partner’s sexy Scottish accent and discover the cause of the Shift so she can reverse it.
Then Logan dies a most untimely death. Forced to reconsider her relationship with the living and the dead, Aura is caught in a love triangle with her violet-hued boyfriend and her hot research partner... one of whom may hold the key to reversing the Shift.
This witch lives a charmed life…
For Hadley Bishop, being at the top of the social pyramid has its drawbacks. She’s always kept her frenemies close and her secrets closer—one big secret in particular. Her key to magically having it all? She’s an actual witch.
As a descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, Hadley understands the consequences if her secret gets out. But there’s no way to cover up an attack that causes every adult in the coven to vanish. Now it’s up to Hadley to lead a group of young witches against the Parrishables, an age-old rival coven who are the likely culprits. Of course, she’ll have to deal with all of this while also trying to figure out her feelings for a mysterious guy named Asher, who has plenty of secrets of his own. With everything at stake, can Hadley trust her magic…and her heart?
But when a freak accident sidelines Genna, her perfect life starts breaking apart into a million less-than-perfect pieces. No more scholarships. Spiraling grades. And she’s sure Jake Butler, her forever crush, will have zero interest in someone as broken as she is.
Except Jake does want to stick around. He may have started falling for the girl Genna used to be, but he’ll wait for the girl she could become—if she can find enough left in her to pick up the pieces and start again.
Houston, sophomore year: Steve is on top of the world. He and his friends are the talk of the school. He’s in love with a terrific girl. He can even deal with “the astronaut”—a world-famous hero who happens to be his father.
San Diego, senior year: Steve is bummed out, drugged out, flunking out. A no-nonsense counselor says he can graduate if he writes a 100-page paper. So Steve starts writing, and as the paper becomes more and more personal, he reveals how a National Merit Scholar has become an under-achieving stoner. And in telling how he got to where he is, Steve discovers how to get to where he wants to be.
Lyla finds a great friend in Jamie on her first day of school, but when Lyla makes the cheerleading squad and a clique of popular girls invites her to join them, Jamie is left behind. Lyla knows bullying when she sees it, though, and when she sees the girls viciously teasing classmates on Facebook, including Jamie, she is smart enough to get out. But no one dumps these girls, and now they're out for revenge.
Patricia Polacco has taken up the cause against bullies ever since Thank You, Mr. Falker, and her passion shines through in this powerful story of a girl who stands up for a friend.
Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time when Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn't wake up.
Convinced that his own actions led to his friend's death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.
Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth soon realizes he isn't the only one who needs saving . . .
Here is the all-too-familiar story of Monica. She and Katie have been friends since kindergarten. Monica loves being around her when she's nice. But there are times when Katie can be just plain mean. And Monica doesn't understand why.
Monica is a target of relational aggression, emotional bullying among friends who will use name-calling and manipulation to humiliate and exclude. But with a little help from a supportive adult—her mother—Monica learns to cope and thrive by facing her fears and reclaiming power from her bully.
Including a foreword by the founder of the The Ophelia Project, as well as helpful tips, discussion questions, and additional resources, My Secret Bully is a vital resource for children, parents, teachers, and counselors.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Readers will relate to [Kit's] anguish and her spirit and courage."
David is only trying to be cool when he helps some of the popular kids steal Old Lady Bayfield’s cane. But when the plan backfires, he’s the one the “old witch” curses. Now David can’t seem to do anything right. The cool kids taunt him and his only friends are freaks. He even walks into Spanish class with his fly unzipped! And when he finally gets up the nerve to ask out a cute girl, his pants fall down in midsentence. Is it the Bayfield curse at work? Or is David simply turning into a total loser?
It’s been a trying year for teen witch Hadley Bishop—she led her coven into battle against the Parrishables and lost her mother in a surprise attack. Now that the Parrishables and their leader, Samuel Parris, have been defeated, Hadley is looking forward to a relaxing, love-filled summer with boyfriend Asher Astley.
Hadley’s summer plans take an unexpected turn though when she and her coven head off to a witchy summer intensive. Once there, Hadley immediately finds herself in a power struggle with Brooklyn Sparks. Like Hadley, Brooklyn is gorgeous and popular, but she’s also…Asher’s ex-girlfriend?!
As if this news isn’t enough to rattle Hadley, there are rumors of a rogue witch in the woods, and someone is playing dangerous pranks around camp. Hadley suspects that Brooklyn is behind the pranks, but is she willing to risk losing her friends and Asher to prove it? In this electrifying conclusion to the Life’s a Witch series, Hadley will discover that love is more powerful than any spell—but it comes with a price.
Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen.
On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers. This newfound freedom leads to a spell-assisted makeover, entree into the cool clique, and the attention of her longtime crush, Asher. Even better, Brooklyn discovers her true power: the ability to magically match couples with a love spell.
But Brooklyn’s quest for popularity is not without its price. As the clique escalates their initiation tests and she relies on her powers to complete the tasks, Brooklyn finds herself in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: if she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for!
Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. There’s a new cub at school, Queenie McBear, and Sister really wants to be her friend. Will she try and change who she is in order to get Queenie to like her, or will she realize that she’s wonderful just as she is. Includes over 50 bonus stickers!
A girl is missing. Three girls are lying. One girl can get to the truth.
Emily Huvar vanished without a trace. And the clues are right beneath Raine’s fingertips. Literally. Raine isn’t like other eighth graders. One touch of a glittering sparkle that only Raine can see, and she’s swept into a memory from the past. If she touches enough sparkles, she can piece together what happened to Emily.
When Raine realizes that the cliquey group of girls making her life miserable know more than they’re letting on about Emily’s disappearance, she has to do something. She’ll use her supernatural gift for good . . . to fight evil.
But is it too late to save Emily?
Sparkling praise for THE DISAPPEARANCE OF EMILY H.:
“The Disappearance of Emily H has everything—a quirky, believable heroine, a complex mystery that keeps you guessing, and even a touch of the paranormal. Readers won’t put this one down until the final sparkle.” — Gordon Korman, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“An extra-special extrasensory suspense story with unexpected twists and turns.” —Eric Walters, author of The Rule of Three
"An involving mystery thriller with a touch of fantasy and just a hint of romance."--Booklist
"Realistically captures the quiet horror of bullying . . . the mystery of Emily’s whereabouts unfolds with gripping tension and a dramatic conclusion."--PW
"Magic exposes the extent of vicious school bullying in this arresting middle school mystery."--Kirkus Reviews
"Will be well received . . . a scary exposé on the power of cell phones and the Internet in high schools." --VOYA
From the Hardcover edition.
It's all Brigitte's fault -- for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. Just as bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own -- and quick.
But she hadn't planned on a dust storm.
Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.
When the school paper calls him “Grant Middle’s best hope for its first-ever city-wide championship,” Josh feels like he’s starting to get noticed—in good and bad ways. Seeing Josh’s talent, his father drags him out of the school baseball tryouts and gets him in the running for the Titans, the local youth championship team coached by Rocky Valentine.
All Josh really wants to do is play ball, but now Rocky wants him to gulp down protein shakes and other supplements. Suspicious, Josh and his new friend, Jaden, uncover a dangerous secret—and catch the attention of one man who will do anything to keep them from exposing it.
Leah Kurtz has finally found a place to call home, a town where she and baby Addy can live in peace, far from the drug-infested place she grew up. Chris is one of the best parts of her new life, the only person who’s ever made her feel safe. And now that she’s found him, there’s no way she can tell the truth:
Her real name is Faith, not Leah. She’s seventeen, not nineteen. And the baby isn’t hers—Faith kidnapped her.
Faith’s history catches up with her when a cop starts asking questions and Chris’s aunt spots her picture in the newspaper. She knows it’s time to run again, but if Faith leaves, she’ll lose Chris. If Chris is in love with a lie, though, did Faith ever really have him in the first place?
In Destroy, James deals with writer’s block while attempting to compose his sophomore novel amid the overwhelming haze of drugs, sex, and a chance to finally be with the girl he’s always wanted.
Reeve McClain, Jr. -- Junebug -- has decided to skip his birthday. Since ten is the age when boys in the projects are forced to join gangs or are ensnared by drug dealers, Junebug would rather remain nine. Still, he does have a birthday wish: to someday become a ship's captain and sail away. So Junebug comes up with a plan to launch a flotilla, fifty glass bottles containing notes with his wish, in the hope that someone somewhere will help to make his dream come true.
Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.
As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves…even if that means betraying her own heart.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi. Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the North Shore of Long Island. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets.
That's the recipe for The Truth About Twinkie Pie, a voice-driven middle-grade debut about the true meaning of family and friendship.
"[A] powerful story of growth and change, brimming with honesty and hope." - Publishers Weekly
"Students who might not yet be ready for Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give will find an equally compelling narrator and story in Pretty." - VOYA Reviews
Sophie's perspective on what being pretty really means changes drastically in the second adjective-busting novel by the author of Husky, Justin Sayre.
Sayre details the private and public life of a thirteen-year-old burdened with far more than the middle-school adjective of Pretty. Though she appears confident, stylish, and easygoing at school, Sophie lives a nightmare at home. When her mother's alcohol addiction spirals out of control, Sophie's Auntie Amara steps in to help. She teaches Sophie new lessons about her family and heritage, while also challenging her to rethink how she feels about friends, boys, and even her sense of place in the Brooklyn neighborhood where she lives. Sayre, a master storyteller in the coming-of-age genre, asks readers to confront superficial assumptions about gender and beauty, and breathes new life into the canon of middle-grade realistic fiction.
Phillippe Diederich was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Mexico City and Miami. His parents were forced out of Haiti by the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier in 1963. As a photojournalist, Diederich has traveled extensively through Mexico and witnessed the terrible tragedies of the Drug Wars.
Charlie Lewis is really good at math. So good, that he’s approached by a mysterious woman who needs his help. The woman is carrying an incredible item: an actual moon rock, one of the most valuable objects on Earth, and she’s investigating the theft of a box of moon rocks from NASA’s vault at the Johnson Space Center, and believes the stolen rocks are now in the possession of a former astronaut.
Although she claims to work at NASA, Charlie suspects she is something else—but he decides the adventure is too good to pass up. Charlie and the whiz kids go undercover by entering the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s paper airplane contest, and head down to the nation’s capital. Working together, they master the principles of aerodynamics, wind science, and gravity to excel in the competition.
Charlie must decide how far he’ll go to solve the mystery of the stolen moon rocks; is he willing to betray a new friendship? Or has he unwittingly been drawn into something even bigger than some missing chunks of the moon?
Everyone says that Marvin is going to ride his new mountain bike down Suicide Hill. And everyone is coming to watch him do it—his friends, his family, even his older brother. But the truth is, Marvin can’t climb onto the seat without wobbling. And shifting gears? Braking? Forget about it! What’s Marvin going to do?
Hilarious and relatable, Marvin Redpost is perfect for kids who love to bond with quirky characters like Junie B. Jones and George Brown, Class Clown.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Pretty, blond, popular Cameron Beekman has it all -- lots of girlfriends, a hot boyfriend, and a successful family. She's perfection. Gone are her days as the outcast, huge-nosed "Beakface." Which, as it turns out, was nothing a good nose job couldn't fix.
While her little sister, Allie, struggles with doubts about her own approaching "procedure," Cameron wants more. She's headed to UC "Santa Barbie" and needs to look the part. After all, why settle for smart and pretty when smart and drop-dead gorgeous is just a surgery away?