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RAL
Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws (age 12+)
by Janette Rallison
school ... friendship ... sports
Publisher comments: Going head-to-head with your best friend is never easy, on the court or off. Josie loves hottie Ethan Lancaster, the captain of the basketball team, but she never can do or say the right thing in front of him. So how can it be fair that Ethan is only interested in her best friend, Cami, when Cami isnt even trying for his affection? Or is she? Cami dreams of winning her basketball teams coveted MVP award, and earning the chance to take the court during a special halftime demonstration with WNBA star Rebecca Lobo, but her best friend, Josie, is a better player. So how can it be fair that Josie is a shoo-in for the honor if she is barely interested in basketball in the first place and isnt even trying to be the best? Or is she?
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POL
The Pity Party: 8th Grade in the Life of Me, Cass (age 12+)
by Alison Pollet
humor ... friendship ... school
Publisher comments: When eighth grade begins, Cass feels like the entire school is out to get her. She's stuck in classes without her closest friends Penelope and Tillie to keep her company. And as if that weren't bad enough, this is the year that students take an extended field trip to Elston Prep's nature retreat in the countryside. Cass confronts her problems with spirited resilience, and she forges an unexpected friendship with Rod Punkin, the school's biggest behavior problem. When Rod goes missing, Cass embarks on a secret rescue mission in this funny, witty, and utterly moving story about being thirteen.
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PET
Define Normal: a Novel (age 12+)
by Julie Anne Peters
school ... friendship
Catalog: When she agrees to meet with Jasmine as a peer counselor at their middle school, Antonia never dreams that this girl with the black lipstick and pierced eyebrow will end up helping her deal with the serious problems she faces at home and become a good friend.
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PAS
Sweet Valley High, Senior Year Series (age 12+)
by Francine Pascal
friendship
Catalog: The seniors at Sweet Valley High gear up for Valentine's Day, each hoping for a happy ending, but mysteries and difficulties abound: Elizabeth gets a love note from a secret admirer; Andy grows concerned about Dave's reluctance to go public; and Will and Melissa may be entering troubled waters.
title: Be Mine
title: Can't Stay Away
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O'C
The Calypso Chronicles (age 12+)
by Tyne O'Connell
humor ... school ... friendship
Publisher comments: When Calypso returns from Los Angeles to her English boarding school for the summer term, she is determined to fit in with the popular crowd. Her plan is to pretend her mother's gay assistant back home is her boyfriend. And to her surprise, the trick works...at least at first. She makes a whole batch of new friends, and even finds herself winning the unwritten contest to woo the prince at the boys' school next door. But one girl, Honey, undermines all her efforts. When Calypso and Prince Freddy end up in the tabloids and everything seems set to go down the drain, it's Calypso's parents and sense of humor that save her from utter humiliation.
title: Pulling Princes
title: Dueling Princes
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GIL
Dairy Queen: A Novel (age 12+)
by Catherine Gilbert
sports ... friendship
Publisher comments: When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.
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MOR
The Year of Secret Assignments (age 12+)
by Jaclyn Moriarty
realistic ... friendship ... humor ... school ... letters/journal
Publisher comments: The Ashbury-Brookfield pen pal program is designed to bring together the two rival schools in a spirit of harmony and "the Joy of the Envelope." But when Cassie, Lydia, and Emily send their first letters to Matthew, Charlie, and Sebastian, things don't go quite as planned. What starts out as a simple letter exchange soon leads to secret missions, false alarms, lock picking, mistaken identities, and an all-out war between the schools--not to mention some really excellent kissing.
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LIM
Girl, 15, Charming But Insane (age 12+)
by Sue Limb
humor ... realistic ... growing up ... friendship
Publisher comments:
sequel: Girl, Nearly 16, Absolute Torture
sequel: Girl, Going on 17, Pants on Fire
sequel: Girl, Barely 15, Flirting for England
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KAN
Confessions of a Not It Girl (age 12+)
by Melissa Kantor
realistic ... friendship ... school ... growing up ... humor
Publisher comments: Catalog: High schooler Jan Miller, hoping for a senior year romance, just cannot seem to do anything right, especially when compared to her best friend Rebecca who has just been named a New York "It Girl," but things start looking up when an old crush moves back to town.
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JUB
Miss Smithers (age 12+)
by Susan Juby
realistic ... letters/journal ... humor ... enterprise ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: In Spite of the premature publication of my 'zine and resulting renewed social ostracism, things are happening for me! I've been stood up by the coolest girl in school, I have a Jesus bracelet, I ate dinner at a steak restaurant and lived to tell, I may be a virgin until I marry, I'm a Miss Smithers candidate, and I HAVE LEATHER PANTS! Susan Juby's delightful second novel is about finding the perfect outfit and finding oneself, about winning a pageant and winning at love.
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JUB
Alice, I Think (age 12+)
by Susan Juby
realistic ... school ... letters/journal ... humor ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: "I grew up in one of those loving families that fails to prepare a person for real life..." A few weeks into first grade Alice's parents took her out of school and have taught her at home ever since. Now she's about to enter high school, with the stated goal of boosting the self-esteem of her counselor, Death Lord Bob. Bob is happy now. But what about Alice? Will she be able to interact with people her own age who are not home-based learners? Will she be able to survive some sort of boy-girl interaction? Or is this best left until after high school? Until middle age? What about a unique and innovative career path? A new look? (This must, like career choice, reflect uniqueness.) Alice, I Thinkis the story of a teenager attempting to survive her parents, her hometown, and her reentry into society. Told through keenly observant, satirical journal entries, Susan Juby's first novel is wise, witty, and utterly original.
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JAH
Country Girl, City Girl (age 12+)
by Lisa Jahn-Clough
growing up ... identity ... friendship
Publisher comments: Phoebe Sharp has long red braids. She wears old beat-up sneakers and clothes from Goodwill. She lives with her father and brother on a small farm in Maine, where she reads fairy tales to her goats and snaps pictures with her Instamatic camera. Phoebe doesn't have a single friend, never mind a boyfriend—that is, not until she meets Melita. Melita arrives at the Sharps' farm in a see-through T-shirt and strappy platform sandals that show off her drawn-on "tattoo." With her caramel-colored skin, stylish clothes, and urban attitude, Melita seems as different from Phoebe as two teenage girls could be. Through the summer, the girls grow to know each other. As their friendship develops, confusing feelings also begin to emerge. Could their friendship be deepening into something more?
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FRI
Perfect (age 12+)
by Natasha Friend
friendship ... family ... illness/loss
Publisher comments: Thirteen-year-old Isabelle Lee struggles with an eating disorder while dealing with a turbulent home life and social pressures at school. The author brings a depth of characterization, humor, and a real adolescent's voice to this multileveled story about the desire to be perfect in an imperfect world.
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HAR
The Clique Series (age 12+)
by Lisi Harrison
school ... friendship
Publisher comments: This juicy new series introduces a group of girls who are navigating the social minefields of eighth grade at New York's Westchester County's most exclusive private school.
title: The Clique
title: Best Friends for Never: A Clique Novel
title: Revenge of the Wannabes: A Clique Novel
title: Invasion of the Boy Snatchers: A Clique Novel
title: The Pretty Committee Strikes Back: A Clique Novel
title: Dial L for Loser: A Clique Novel
title: It's Not Easy Being Mean: A Clique Novel
title: Sealed with a Diss: A Clique Novel
title: Bratfest at Tiffany's: A Clique Novel
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DES
Someone Like You (age 12+)
by Sarah Dessen
friendship ... growing up ... realistic
Publisher comments: Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she's carrying his baby, she's devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Though their friendship may be tested by the strain, like a true friendship, it will endure.
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CAB
How to be Popular (age 12+)
by Meg Cabot
humor ... friendship
Publisher comments: Do you want to be popular? Everyone wants to be popular, or at least, Stephanie Landry does. Steph's been the least popular girl in her class since a certain cherry Super Big Gulp catastrophe five years earlier. Does being popular matter? It matters a lot, to Steph. That's why this year, she has a plan to get in with the It Crowd in no time flat. She's got a secret weapon: an old book called (what else?) How to Be Popular. All Steph has to do is follow the instructions in The Book, and soon she'll be partying with the popular kids (including school quarterback Mark Finley) instead of sitting on The Hill Saturday nights, stargazing with her nerdy best pal Becca, and even nerdier Jason (now kind of hot, but still). But don't forget the most important thing about popularity! It's easy to become popular. What isn't so easy? Staying that way.
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HAU
Godless (age 12+)
by Pete Hautman
adventure ... enterprise ... friendship
Publisher comments: "Why mess around with Catholicism when you can have your own customized religion?" Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god: the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting, and dangerous. When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.
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CHO
Daniel Half Human and the Good Nazi (age 12+)
by David Chotjewitz
bigotry ... identity ... friendship ... war ... survival ... historical
Publisher comments: All his life, Daniel has been hiding. He just doesn't know it. Until the spring of 1933, he's enjoyed a comfortable German boyhood with his well-to-do family, in school, at soccer. Daniel's even enjoyed jail...for one exciting night...with his best friend, Armin, after they've been caught painting a swastika on a wall in the hated Communist section of Hamburg. In their cell, the boys cut their wrists, mingle blood, and swear lasting brotherhood. Then, a thunderclap: Daniel learns to his horror that his mother is Jewish, that he is therefore half-Jewish and, in Aryan eyes, half-human. Daniel keeps the truth a secret. He and Armin still talk of joining the Hitler Youth. But Armin's father, an out-of-work longshoreman and a Socialist, forbids it. Armin joins anyway, with fateful consequences for Daniel's family. Throughout World War II, and until the story's haunting final scene, each friend holds the life of the other in his hands.
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BOY
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: A Fable (age 12+)
by John Boyne
war ... survival ... historical ... friendship
Publisher comments: Berlin 1942. When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
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BAT
Two Suns in the Sky (age 12+)
by Miriam Bat-Ami
war ... survival ... friendship ... historical
Publisher comments: During World War II, a 15-year-old girl meets a young Jewish refugee in a New York shelter and soon learns the history behind her city through interaction with her new friend, as well as the barriers that exist when different cultures unite.
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MAR
Baby-Sitters Club Friends Forever Series (age 12+)
by Ann M. Martin
realistic ... friendship ... school
Members of the Baby-Sitters Club rely on each other as they move into high school. They truly are friends forever.
title: Graduation Day
title: Mary Anne's Big Break-up
title: Claudia and the Disaster Date
title: Stacey and the Boyfriend Trap
title: Stacey's Problem
title: Welcome Home Mary Anne
title: Kristy and the Kidnapper
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WIL
The Girls Quartet (age 12+)
by Jacqueline Wilson
humor ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: Ellie's starting ninth grade and she's got some very definite goals. She'll stay best friends with Magda and Nadine. She'll go on a diet and stick to it. She'll get a glamorous hairstyle. And she'll get a boyfriend. Even if she has to settle for one who likes her more than she likes him. Any guy will do, right?
title: Girls in Love
title: Girls Under Pressure
title: Girls Out Late
title: Girls in Tears
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CHO
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period (age 12+)
by Gennifer Choldenko
realistic ... humor ... friendship ... school
Publisher comments: Kirsten's parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has fallen under the spell of the school's queen bee, Brianna. It seems like only Kirsten's younger science-geek sister is on her side. Walker's goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom has sent him to because she thinks he's going to screw up like his cousin. But he's a good kid. So is his friend Matteo, though no one knows why he'll do absolutely anything that hot blond Brianna asks of him. But all of this feels almost trivial when Kirsten and Walker discover a secret that shakes them both to the core. Fast paced, marvelously funny, and brutally honest, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period touches on universal truths about human nature.
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BRO
The Moves Make the Man: A Novel (age 12+)
by Bruce Brooks
illness/loss ... friendship
Catalog: A black boy and an emotionally troubled white boy in North Carolina form a precarious friendship.
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BRA
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series (age 12+)
by Ann Brashares
growing up ... adventure ... friendship
Publisher comments: Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn't look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they're great. She'd love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they're fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants... The next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants, and the most memorable summer of their lives, begins.
title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
title: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood
title: Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood
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CAB
Airhead (age 12+)
by Meg Cabot
growing up ... friendship ... identity
Publisher comments: EM Watts is gone. Emerson Watts didn't even want to go to the new SoHo Stark Megastore grand opening. But someone needed to look out for her sister, Frida, whose crush, British heartthrob Gabriel Luna, would be singing and signing autographs there, along with the newly appointed Face of Stark, teen supermodel sensation Nikki Howard. How was Em to know that disaster would strike, changing her, and life as she'd known it, forever? One bizarre accident later, and Em Watts, always the tomboy, never the party princess, is no longer herself. Literally. Now getting her best friend, Christopher, to notice that she's actually a girl is the least of Em's problems. But what Em's pretty sure she'll never be able to accept might just turn out to be the one thing that's going to make her dream come true.
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FRE
The True Meaning of Cleavage (age 12+)
by Mariah Fredericks
growing up ... friendship
Publisher comments: Cool is cool and geek is geek, and at Eldridge the two definitely do not mix. Sari and Jess are best friends and total opposites. They've liked each other ever since they discovered that they are the only two normal people at Eldridge Alternative. As they prepare to face the trials of ninth grade, Sari is psyched. Jess is not. How can she face the Prada Mafia, the most evil clique in school? Or Mr. McGuiness's unnervingly long nose hair? What if something really interesting happens to Sari and nothing whatsoever happens to Jess? But not even Jess can predict the mayhem that erupts when Sari falls madly in love with David Cole. David is a senior. He's been dating Thea Melendez for forever. So he couldn't possibly be interested in Sari. Or could he? And if he is, where does that leave Jess?
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GEO
Looks (age 12+)
by Madeleine George
growing up ... school ... friendship
Publisher comments: Meghan Ball is both the most visible and the most invisible person in school. Her massive size is impossible to ignore, yet people freely spill their secrets in front of her, perhaps because they think she isn't listening. But she is. Now her attention has turned to a new girl: Aimee Zorn, with her stick-figure body and defiant attitude. Meghan is determined to befriend Aimee, and when she ultimately succeeds, the two join forces to take down their shared enemy. This provocative story explores the ways in which girls use food and their bodies to say what they cannot: I'm lonely.
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HAD
Just Ella (age 12+)
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
friendship ... princesses
Publisher comments: You've heard the fairytale: a glass slipper, Prince Charming, happily ever after... Welcome to reality: royal genealogy lessons, needlepoint, acting like "a proper lady," and (worst of all) a prince who is not the least bit interesting, and certainly not charming. As soon-to-be princess Ella deals with her newfound status, she comes to realize she is not "your majesty" material. But breaking off a royal engagement is no easy feat, especially when you're crushing on another boy in the palace.... For Ella to escape, it will take intelligence, determination, and spunk...and no ladylike behavior allowed.
sequel: Palace of Mirrors
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HOP
Truth or Dare Series (age 12+)
by Cathy Hopkins
growing up ... friendship
Publisher comments: Dear Squidge, I really like you but...I ripped the letter up. Pathetic. "How am I going to do this, Bec? Help me." Becca's face clouded. "He's going to be devastated. He really adores you." Cat's always been the perfect girl next door. Thoughtful friend. Supportive girlfriend. Surrogate mother to her three younger siblings. A great help to her dad since her mum died. But now Cat's facing some major dilemmas. A game of truth or dare lands her in hot water when she's asked for a truth she can't reveal. On top of this, she doesn't want to hurt her boyfriend by telling him the truth, but she knows it's over between them. Is it right to tell lies to protect people or keep the peace? Can the truth be too hurtful? Cat tries to sort all this out, and in doing so, discovers a lot about herself and others.
title: White Lies and Barefaced Truths
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HOP
Mates and Dates Series (age 12+)
by Cathy Hopkins
growing up ... friendship
Publisher comments: He talked, I listened. As I tried to appear interested, I thought that even Mojo was more interested in what I had to say. And he's a dog. Theresa Joanne (T. J. to her friends) is having a difficult year. First her best friend moves away. Then there's the problem with boys: They never seem to notice that she's a girl. But when Lucy befriends T. J., things start to look up. But will Lucy's best friends Nesta and Izzie accept her and let her into their world of sleepovers, secrets, laughter, and advice?
title: Mates, Dates and Cosmic Kisses
title: Mates, Dates and Designer Divas
title: Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras
title: Mates, Dates and Sequin Smiles
title: Mates, Dates and Sleepover Secrets
title: mates, Dates and Sole Survivors
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HUR
Ghostgirl (age 12+)
by Tonya Hurley
friendship ... humor ... school
Publisher comments: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I should die before I awake, I pray the popular attend my wake. Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal. If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we'll go to be seen.
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KAI
The Social Experiments of Dorie Dilts (age 12+)
by P. G. Kain
humor ... math/science/technology ... friendship ... school ... brilliant protagonist
Publisher comments: Objective: Be Selected to Present at Academy Day. Process: Scientific Method. Step 1: Formulate a Question. What would it take to get Tiffany to notice Igor? Dorie is in science geek heaven at the National Academy for Gifted Youth's science program until she realizes she has gone from being a big fish in a small pond to a typically sized Amphiprion percula in a hyperacclimated environment of equally skilled Amphiprion percula. More simply, Dorie no longer rules the lab. Igor Ellis, however, does. Unlike popularity, being cool isn't about fitting in - it's about standing out. This eureka discovery leads Dorie to the solution of her latest puzzle. Eager to prove her science skills, Dorie is conducting a new social experiment. With assistance from her fabulous and fashionable best friend, Dixie, she's about to take Igor from geek to chic.
title: The School For Cool
title: Dumped by Popular Demand
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MAR
The Tomorrow Series (age 12+)
by John Marsden
adventure ... action ... friendship ... survival ... war
Publisher comments: When Ellie and six of her friends return home from a camping trip deep in the bush, they find things hideously wrong: their families gone, houses empty and abandoned, pets and stock dead. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in the town has been taken prisoner. As the horrible reality of the situation becomes evident they have to make a life-and-death decision: to run back into the bush and hide, to give themselves up to be with their families, or to stay and try to fight. This reveting, tautly-drawn novel seems at times to be only a step away from today's headlines.
title: Tomorrow, When the War Began
title: The Dead of Night
title: A Killing Frost
title: Darkness Be My Friend
title: Burning For Revenge
title: The Night is For Hunting
title: The Other Side of Dawn
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PAL
Cindy Ella (age 12+)
by Robin Palmer
growing up ... school ... friendship
Publisher comments: Prom fever has infected LA, especially Cindy's two annoying stepsisters, and her overly Botoxed stepmother. Cindy seems to be the only one immune to it all. But her anti-prom letter in the school newspaper does more to turn Cindy into Queen of the Freaks than close the gap between the popular kids and the rest of the students. Everyone thinks she's committed social suicide, except for her two best friends, the yoga goddess India and John Hughes-worshiping Malcolm, and shockingly, the most popular senior at Castle Heights High and Cindy's crush, Adam Silver. Suddenly Cindy starts to think that maybe her social life could have a happily ever after. But there's still the rest of the school to deal with. With a little bit of help from an unexpected source and a fabulous pair of heels, Cindy realizes that she still has a chance at a happily ever after.
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PET
The Rule of Won (age 12+)
by Stefan Petrucha
realistic ... action ... adventure ... friendship ... school
Publisher comments: The secret of The Rule of Won is simple, yet its power has been suppressed for generations. The universe is one of infinite abundance. Ask, and you shall receive. Umm, yeah right. Meet Caleb Dunne, slacker extraordinaire. Caleb prefers to glide through life with the minimal amount of effort, so he isnt too jazzed when his overachieving girlfriend, Vicky, convinces him to join a new school club based on a controversial book, The Rule of Won. Slackers dont join school clubs, do they? As The Rule gains popularity, though, the club members start to gain power within the school. From dark posts on the clubs online message board to all-out threats in the hallways, it becomes apparent that the group is getting out of control. For slacker Caleb, though, the only thing worse than doing something is not doing something. Darkly funny and exceptionally thought-provoking, The Rule of Won, inspired by the ideas behind books like the runaway hit The Secret, shines a light on the dangers of group thinking and the inner desires that can sometimes get the best of us all.
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VAI
Lucky (age 12+)
by Rachel Vail
realistic ... humor ... friendship
Publisher comments: It's all good, and lucky Phoebe Avery plans to celebrate by throwing an end-of-the-year bash with her four closest friends. Everything will be perfect, from the guest list to the fashion photographer to the engraved invitations. The only thing left to do is find the perfect dress, until Phoebe goes from having it all to hiding all she's lost. Phoebe's older sisters warn her to keep the family's crisis totally secret. Unfortunately, her alpha-girl best friend looks increasingly suspicious, and Phoebe's crush starts sending seriously mixed signals. Phoebe tries hard to keep smiling, but when her mother is humiliated in Neiman Marcus while buying Phoebe that perfect dress and her father decides to cancel her party, she panics. How far will she go to keep up her image as a lucky girl?
sequel: Gorgeous
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WAT
Down Sand Mountain (age 12+)
by Steve Watkins
historical ... bigotry ... growing up ... friendship
Publisher comments: In a tale full of humor and poignancy, a sheltered twelve-year-old boy comes of age in a small Florida mining town amid the changing mores of the 1960s. It's 1966 and Dewey Turner is determined to start the school year right. No more being the brunt of every joke. No more Deweyitis. But after he stains his face with shoe polish trying to mimic the popular Shoeshine Boy at the minstrel show, he begins seventh grade on an even lower rung, earning the nickname Sambo and being barred from the whites only bathroom. The only person willing to talk to him, besides his older brother, Wayne, is fellow outsider Darla Turkel, who wears her hair like Shirley Temple and sings and dances like her, too. Through their friendship, Dewey gains awareness of issues bigger than himself and bigger than his small town of Sand Mountain: issues like race and segregation, the reality of the Vietnam War, abuse, sexuality, and even death and grieving. Written in a riveting, authentic voice, at times light-hearted and humorous and at others devastating and lonely, this deeply affecting story will stay with readers long after the book is closed.
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ZUC
A Taste For Rabbit (age 12+)
by Linda Zuckerman
war ... family ... friendship
Publisher comments: Imagine a world in which there are no people, but foxes are civilized. They eat lower orders with limited brainpower, like rabbits. Now imagine that one day the rabbits disappear, and slowly develop their "own" society away from the foxes. What happens when the two societies once again collide?
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ALL
Gotta Get Some Bish Bash Bosh (age 12+)
by M. E. Allen
friendship ... identity ... growing up
Publisher comments: What would you do if you were dumped 'cause you had no bish bash bosh (a.k.a. self-confidence and sex appeal)? Change your image, of course. You could opt for a new French coif, even if overpriced and results resemble a coconut. Or try a new diet. Good-bye sticky buns, hello fresh fruit. You could join the rugby team for requisite male bonding. Or try to get the support of parents, who suffer from PPFS, Premature Parental Fatigue Syndrome, and are otherwise indifferent to nutritional and style needs. Perhaps this improved self will land you a new love interest. Earn you a spot on the A-list. Thwart your embarrassing best friend. Or help you get even with your ex. It just might work. . . . Meet the new "It Guy" in this witty and hilarious account of one teen's search for popularity and self-confidence.
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ZIM
Reaching for Sun (age 12+)
by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
growing up ... poetry ... friendship
Josie Wyatt knows what it means to be different. Her family’s small farmhouse seems to shrink each time another mansion grows up behind it. She lives with her career-obsessed mom and opinionated Gran, but has never known her father. Then there’s her cerebral palsy: even if Josie wants to forget that she was born with a disability, her mom can’t seem to let it go. Yet when a strange new boy, Jordan, moves into one of the houses nearby, he seems oblivious to all the things that make Josie different. Before long, Josie finds herself reaching out for something she’s never really known: a friend... and possibly more. Interlinked free verse poems tell the beautiful, heartfelt story of a girl, a family farm reduced to a garden, and a year of unforgettable growth.
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CLE
Things Not Seen (age 12+)
by Andrew Clements
science fiction ... the arts ... friendship
Fifteen-year-old Bobby thinks he knows what it's like to be invisible; he's used to being ignored by the popular kids at school (especially the girls). Even his parents hardly seem to notice whether he's home or not. Then one morning, Bobby wakes up to find that he IS invisible. For real. He can't stop wondering if he'll ever reappear, especially when his parents wreck their car and wind up in the hospital. Now Bobby is all alone. How can he survive in a world where he can't be seen? One thing's for sure: Bobby's not going to just wait around to see if his body will decide to show up again on its own. He's got to take action. Fast.
sequel: Things Hoped For
sequel: Things That Are
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SHU
Antsy Does Time (age 12+)
by Neal Shusterman
school ... humor ... friendship
Fueled by friendship and sympathy, Antsy Bonano signs a month of his life over to his adyinga classmate Gunnar Umlaut. Soon everyone at school follows suit, giving new meaning to the idea of aliving on borrowed time. But does Gunnar really have six months to live, or is news of his imminent death greatly exaggerated? When a family member suffers a heart attack after donating two years to Gunnar, Antsy wonders if he has tempted fate by playing God. Fans of the Schwa will welcome favorite and new characters in this wholly fresh tale, which is as touchingly poignant as it is darkly comical.
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SHU
The Schwa Was Here (age 12+)
by Neal Shusterman
humor ... friendship
A Brooklyn eighth-grader nicknamed Antsy befriends the Schwa, an "invisible-ish" boy who is tired of blending into his surroundings and going unnoticed by nearly everyone.
F
KON
The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World (age 12+)
by E. L. Konigsburg
bigotry ... friendship ... historical
Publisher comments: "Ninety percent of who you are is invisible." Amedeo Kaplan seems just like any other new kid who has moved into the town of St. Malo, Florida, a navy town where new faces are the norm. But Amedeo has a secret, a dream: More than anything in the world, he wants to discover something...a place, a process, even a fossil...some treasure that no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would also like to discover a true friend to share these things with. William Wilcox seems like an unlikely candidate for friendship: an aloof boy who is all edges and who owns silence the way other people own words. When Amedeo and William find themselves working together on a house sale for Amedeo's eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender, Amedeo has an inkling that both his wishes may come true. For Mrs. Zender's mansion is crammed with memorabilia of her long life, and there is a story to go with every piece. Soon the boys find themselves caught up in one particular story...a story that links a sketch, a young boy's life, an old man's reminiscence, and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany. It's a story that will take them to the edge of what they know about heroism and the mystery of the human heart.
F
JAM
Perfect World (age 12+)
by Brian James
growing up ... friendship ... identity
Lacie's best friend Jenna wants to grow up fast. Even though Lacie isn't so sure, she follows Jenna anyway. At first it isn't that bad. She even meets a boy whose problems are compatible with hers. But then Jenna's friendship turns fierce and their perfect world comes tumbling down.
F
DYG
Backfield Package (age 12+)
by Thomas Dygard
friendship ... school ... sports
The decision of four high school friends to go to the same college so that they can continue playing football together is shaken when one of them begins to receive attention as a star quarterback.
F
JOR
The Raging Quiet (age 12+)
by Sherryl Jordan
friendship ... bigotry ... identity
Widowed just two days after her marriage, Marnie finds herself an outsider in the remote seaside village of Torcurra. Spurned by the townsfolk who suspect her involvement in her husband's death, she has only two friends: the local priest and the madman known as Raver, even more of an outcast than Marnie herself. Marnie makes a remarkable discovers about Raver, whom she renames Raven, and the two forge a deep bond that begins to heal her own bruised heart. But the suspicious villagers see Raven's transformation as evidence of witchcraft, and suddenly Marnie finds herself facing an ordeal that threatens not only her future with Raven, but her very life.
F
SOT
Local News (age 12+)
by Gary Soto
friendship ... growing up ... short stories
In thirteen stories full of wit and energy, Gary Soto illuminates the ordinary lives of young people. Meet Angel, who would rather fork over twenty bucks than have photos of his naked body plastered all over school; Philip, who discovers he has a "mechanical mind," whatever that means; Estela, known as Stinger, who rules Jose's heart and the racquetball court; and many other kids, all of them with problems as big as only a preteen can make them.

Sat Aug 25 11:55:25 2012
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