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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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JON
Am I Right Or Am I Right? (age 12+)
by Barry Jonsberg
school ... realistic ... family ... humor ... growing up
Publisher comments: Calma Harrison is in love. Not just with herself, but also with the handsome checkout guy at Crazi-Cheep. So stocking shelves at the Crazi-Cheep seems like the perfect job, until that annoying customer tries to hold up the store. And then there's the small matter of the rest of Calma's life, which is fast falling apart: her absent father turns up after five years and wants to "talk," her mother is clearly living a secret second life, and her new best friend is hiding something horrible. Calma is sure she knows exactly what's going on. And clearly her direct, personal intervention is required to make things right. Except, if she's wrong. And then her butting in will make everything much, much worse. Am I Right or Am I Right? is a whip-smart, wise-cracking, big-hearted novel about a girl who is learning that things are not always what they seem, and how to start again when you've gotten it all so very wrong.
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JOH
The Key to the Golden Firebird: A Novel (age 12+)
by Maureen Johnson
realistic ... humor ... growing up ... family ... illness/loss
Publisher comments: The funny thing about stop signs is that they're also start signs. Mayzie is the brainy middle sister, Brooks is the beautiful but conflicted oldest, and Palmer's the quirky baby of the family. In spite of their differences, the Gold sisters have always been close. When their father dies, everything begins to fall apart. Level–headed May is left to fend for herself (and somehow learn to drive), while her two sisters struggle with their own demons. But the girls learn that while there are a lot of rules for the road, there are no rules when it comes to the heart. Together, they discover the key to moving on, and it's the key to their father's Pontiac Firebird. This critically acclaimed, totally compelling book is perfect for readers looking for both a fun ride and a life–changing journey from one of today's best new YA writers. And it fits perfectly in the glove compartment.
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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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HOL
Asphalt Angels (age 12+)
by Ineke Holtwijk
realistic ... adventure ... survival ... growing up
Publisher comments: Thirteen-year-old Alex is the main character in Asphalt Angels, an unsparing look at a band of street kids trying to survive in Rio de Janeiro without family, money, or resources. Theirs is a life of deprivation and despair, lightened by luck and tenacity and the bonds these desperate children must form with one another. Alex is thrown into the streets by his stepfather when his mother dies. Hazards abound: drug-dealing, theft, glue-sniffing, harassment, brutality, even murder. It's not easy steering clear of them, yet Alex manages to survive, eventually making a home with 14 other boys in a house, working in an office, and attending night school. Asphalt Angels grew from the real-life drama the author observed while on assignment. In an afterword, she reports that 10,000 children sleep in Rio's streets, and more than that number roam them by day, victims of inadequate nutrition, education, and shelter, and prey to drugs and violence. Alex is based on a real boy; his name was changed for this story.
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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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MYE
Hoops: A Novel (age 12+)
by Walter Dean Myers
growing up ... sports
Publisher comments: All eyes are on seventeen-year-old Lonnie Jackson while he practices with his team for a city-wide basketball Tournament of Champions. His coach, Cal, knows Lonnie has what it takes to be a pro-basketball player, but warns him about giving in to the pressure. Cal knows because he, too, once had the chance--but sold out. As the Tournament nears, Lonnie learns that some heavy bettors want Cal to keep him on the bench so that the team will lose the championship. As the last seconds of the game tick away Lonnie and Cal must make a decision. Are they willing to blow the chance of a lifetime?
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HOW
Blue Avenger Series (age 12+)
by Norma Howe
growing up ... adventure ... humor
Publisher comments: On his sixteenth birthday, David Schumacher changes his name to Blue Avenger. . . And things start to happen. Within twenty-four hours, David becomes a national hero, starts dating an extraordinary girl named Omaha Nebraska Brown, and bakes an imperfect pie. And that's not all. A tiny sow bug is injured by a lawn mower, some killer bees make their home at San Pablo High School, and there is some activity in the earth's crust. The connection? No one knows for certain. At first, it seems that David's own free will is guiding his momentous decision. But maybe it's something else. Maybe it's the inevitable result of everything that has ever happened to him since his miraculous birth. To find out more about life and death, romance, gun control, lemon meringue pie, and world peace, you'll have to read this book. The decision is yours.
title: The Adventures of Blue Avenger
title: Blue Avenger Cracks the Code
title: Blue Avenger and the Theory of Everything
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FOO
Longlight Legacy Series (age 12+)
by Dennis Foon
war ... science fiction ... fantasy ... growing up
Publisher comments: It's a struggle to survive on post-apocalyptic earth. The wars have transformed the world, and 16-year-old Roan is about to discover a terrible truth. When Roan's parents and the people of Longlight perish in a raid, Roan is filled with rage. Torn between his desire for revenge and the legacy of peace he has inherited, he is taken in by a sect of warriors. With them he learns he has exceptional talent as a fighter. But Roan is haunted by visions he can't understand. When he commits his first act of violence, he flees in disgust into the most wasted lands of all, the Devastation. He meets friends and allies in unexpected places, as his enemies hunt him down. But it is only when Roan meets Alandra that he begins to understand his life's purpose and why his village, Longlight, was destroyed. Dennis Foon has created an immensely powerful and disturbing look at a wasted world. Through the character of Roan, hope and the promise of renewed life seem possible.
title: The Dirt Eaters
title: Freewalker
title: The Keeper's Shadow
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KOS
The Thought of High Windows (age 12+)
by Lynne Kositsky
bigotry ... war ... survival ... historical ... growing up
Publisher comments: Young, Jewish and on the run from the Nazis, Esther is one of a group of children who manage to flee Germany at the beginning of World War II. But as the war rages on and Esther bears witness to its horrors, her pain and isolation grow, until only the highest windows bring the promise of release.
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WIT
Razzle (age 12+)
by Ellen Wittlinger
family ... growing up
Publisher comments: Kenyon Baker is not happy about moving to Cape Cod halfway through high school, but his parents have decided to retire there to run a summer cottage colony. At least they'll let him have his own darkroom, provided he helps prepare the colony for guests. The early hours and hard work compound Ken's unhappiness, but just when he thinks he'll never make it through the summer, he meets Razzle Penney. Skinny, buzz-cut Razzle isn't afraid to act differently from everyone else, and she simultaneously becomes Ken's friend and his muse, as he takes a series of inspiring photos of her. However, Razzle also introduces Ken to beautiful, aggressive Harley, causing a rift in their friendship. Just when it seems things can't get more complicated, Razzle's mother breezes into town, and Razzle learns more about her past than she wants to know....
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DES
The Truth About Forever (age 12+)
by Sarah Dessen
realistic ... growing up ... illness/loss
Publisher comments: Marcy is looking forward to a boring summer: She has a dull job at the library, will log many hours studying for the SATs, and will grieve silently over her father's death. Everything changes when she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew and starts really living life.
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DES
Born Confused (age 12+)
by Tannuja Desai-Hidier
realistic ... growing up ... identity ... humor
Publisher comments: Dimple Lala doesn't know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she's spent her whole life resisting their traditions. Then suddenly she gets to high school and everything Indian is trendy. To make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a "suitable boy." Of course it doesn't go well, until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web. Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue. This is a funny, thoughtful story about finding your heart, finding your culture, and finding your place in America.
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DES
That Summer (age 12+)
by Sarah Dessen
growing up ... realistic ... humor
Publisher comments: For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister, the always perfect Ashley, is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.
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DES
This Lullaby: A Novel (age 12+)
by Sarah Dessen
growing up ... realistic ... humor
Publisher comments: When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about? From acclaimed author Sarah Dessen, this is a captivating novel about a tough-as-nails girl and the unexpectedly charming boy who's determined to soften her up.
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CRE
Children of the River (age 12+)
by Linda Crew
realistic ... growing up ... family ... identity ... survival
Publisher comments: Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt's family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child. Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be "a good Cambodian girl" at home. A good Cambodian girl never dates; she waits for her family to arrange her marriage to a Cambodian boy. Yet Sundara and Jonathan, an extraordinary American boy, are powerfully drawn to each other. Haunted by grief for her lost family and for the life left behind, Sundara longs to be with him. At the same time she wonders, Are her hopes for happiness and new life in America disloyal to her past and her people?
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THO
Midnight's Choice (age 12+)
by Kate Thompson
growing up ... fantasy
Catalog: Tess, who has the ability to change into animal form, must choose between good and evil as she tries to decide whether to "Switch" into a phoenix or a vampire for the rest of time.
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HAU
Sweetblood (age 12+)
by Pete Hautman
fantasy ... growing up
Publisher comments: Sixteen-year-old Lucy Szabo is Undead, at least according to her own theories about vampirism. Lucy believes that the first vampires (with their pale skin, long teeth, and uncontrollable thirst) were dying diabetics. And she should know. She's a diabetic herself. When Lucy becomes involved with Draco, a self-proclaimed "real" vampire she meets in the Transylvania Internet chat room, her world begins crashing down around her. Caught up in late-night parties and Goth culture, she begins to lose control of her grades, relationships, and health. Lucy realizes she needs to make some important choices, and fast. But it may already be too late.
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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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HOG
The Serious Kiss (age 12+)
by Mary Hogan
family ... growing up
Publisher comments: I was forced to face the upsetting fact of my fourteen-year-old life: I'm on my own. It's up to me to create the life I want. I must be mistress of my destiny or I'll never even skim the surface of normal. And that's when the whole fiasco began. One summer day, Libby and her best friend, Nadine, come up with a plan. Before their freshman year is over, they will each experience a serious kiss. Libby already has her ideal boy picked out. Everything is set. But Libby's beer-guzzling father and fast food-addict mother have another plan: The family is moving. To the middle of nowhere. Away from all of Libby's friends and all hope of a normal life, much less a boyfriend. As her life and her family are falling apart, Libby starts to wonder, Is happiness really about being normal? Or is being happy maybe just...being yourself? As she begins to figure out who she is, Libby discovers the most amazing thing of all: being herself could also be the key to a perfect, incredible, wonderful, serious kiss.
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HOF
The Foretelling (age 12+)
by Alice Hoffman
fantasy ... war ... family ... growing up
Publisher comments: A coming-of-age story that pierces the soul and heals the spirit, this is the tale of the future leader of the Amazon women warriors. Rain must hold fast to her inner warrior, but she is startled and mystified by the first stirrings of mercy towards the enemy.
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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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BAU
Rules of the Road (age 12+)
by Joan Bauer
adventure ... growing up ... humor
Publisher comments: Gawky 5'11", 16-year-old Jenna joins her crusty old employer at Gladstone's Shoe Store for an eye-opening cross-country adventure.
sequel: Best Foot Forward
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BAU
Hope Was Here (age 12+)
by Joan Bauer
growing up ... family ... humor
Catalog: When sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways diner, they become involved with the diner owner's political campaign to oust the town's corrupt mayor.
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BAU
Backwater (age 12+)
by Joan Bauer
growing up ... adventure ... nature ... family
Catalog: While compiling a genealogy of her family of successful attorneys, sixteen-year-old history buff Ivy Breedlove treks into the mountain wilderness to interview a reclusive aunt with whom she identifies and who in turn helps her to truly know herself and her family.
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BAR
The Boy Who Dared (age 12+)
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
growing up ... war ... historical
Publisher comments: When 16-year-old Helmuth Hubner listens to the BBC news on an illegal short-wave radio, he quickly discovers Germany is lying to the people. But when he tries to expose the truth with leaflets, he's tried for treason. Sentenced to death and waiting in a jail cell, Helmuth's story emerges in a series of flashbacks that show his growth from a naive child caught up in the patriotism of the times, to a sensitive and mature young man who thinks for himself.
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BLU
What I Saw and How I Lied (age 12+)
by Judy Blundell
growing up ... historical ... mystery ... family
Publisher comments: When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two. As she begins to realize that almost everything she believed to be a truth was really a lie, Evie must get to the heart of the deceptions and choose between her loyalty to her parents and her feelings for the man she loves. Someone will have to be betrayed. The question is . . . who?
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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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YAN
The Alfred Kropp Adventures (age 12+)
by Richard Yancey
growing up ... adventure ... action
Publisher comments: Alfred Kropp is just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle ropes him into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur. But when Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the wrong hands, he undertakes an unlikely quest to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction. This gripping, fast-paced, often hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy's coming of age.
title: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
title: Alfred Kropp: the Seal of Solomon
title: Alfred Kropp: the Thirteenth Skull
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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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FRE
The Possibilities of Sainthood (age 12+)
by Donna Freitas
humor ... growing up
Publisher comments: Antonia Lucia Labella has two secrets: at fifteen, shes still waiting for her first kiss, and she wants to be a saint. An official one. Seem strange? Well, to Antonia, saints are royalty, and she wants her chance at being a princess. All her life she's kept company with these kings and queens of small favors, knowing exactly whom to pray to on every occasion. Unfortunately, the two events Antonia's prayed for seem equally unlikely to happen. Its not for lack of trying. For how long has she been hoping to gain the attention of the love of her life: the tall, dark, and so good-looking Andy Rotellini? Too long to mention. And every month for the last eight years, Antonia has sent a petition to the Vatican proposing a new patron saint and bravely offering herself for the post. So what if shes not dead? But as Antonia learns, in matters of the heart and sainthood, things are about as straightforward as wound-up linguini, and sometimes you need to recognize the signs.
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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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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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JIM
Reaching Out (age 12+)
by Francisco Jimenez
historical ... family ... growing up ... school
Publisher comments: From the perspective of the young adult he was then, Francisco Jimenez describes the challenges he faced in his efforts to continue his education. During his college years, the very family solidarity that allowed Francisco to survive as a child is tested. Not only must he leave his family behind when he goes to Santa Clara University, but while Francisco is there, his father abandons the family and returns to Mexico. This is the story of how Francisco coped with poverty, with his guilt over leaving his family financially strapped, with his self-doubt about succeeding academically, and with separation. Once again his telling is honest, true, and inspiring.
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JIM
Breaking Through (age 12+)
by Francisco Jimenez
historical ... family ... growing up
Publisher comments: "Breaking Through" chronicles the author's teenage years. At the age of 14, Francisco and his family are caught by "la migra" (immigration officers) and forced to leave their California home, but soon find their way back. Jiminez explores the prejudice and challenges they face while also relaying universal adolescent experiences of school, dances and romances.
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JOH
Heaven: A Novel (age 12+)
by Angela Johnson
family ... growing up ... identity
Publisher comments: Marley has lived in Heaven since she was two years old, when her mother found a postcard postmarked HEAVEN, OH on a park bench and decided that was where she wanted to raise her family. And for twelve years, Marley's hometown has lived up to its name. She lives in a house by the river, has loving parents, a funny younger brother, good friends, and receives frequent letters from her mysterious Uncle Jack. Then one day a letter arrives from Alabama, and Marley's life is turned upside down. Marley doesn't even know who she is anymore, but where can she go for answers, when she's been deceived by the very people she should be able to trust the most?
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JOH
The First Part Last (age 12+)
by Angela Johnson
family ... growing up
Publisher comments: Bobby is your classic urban teenaged boy: impulsive, eager, restless. On his sixteenth birthday he gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever. She's pregnant. Bobby's going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and hanging with friends no longer seem important as they're replaced by visits to Nia's obstetrician and a social worker who says that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption. With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson looks at the male side of teen pregnancy as she delves into one young man's struggle to figure out what "the right thing" is and then to do it. No matter what the cost.
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LAR
How to Ditch Your Fairy (age 12+)
by Justine Larbalestier
growing up ... fantasy ... adventure
Publisher comments: Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy, like a specialized good luck charm, is vital to success. And in the case of the students at New Avalon Sports High, it might just determine whether you make the team, pass a class, or find that perfect outfit. But for 14-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all, especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass. Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenza (who has an All-The-Boys-Like-You Fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her hearts desire, it isnt at all what she thought it would be like, and shell have resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy. The question is: will Charlie herself survive the fairy ditching experiment?
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MIK
Touching Spirit Bear (age 12+)
by Ben Mikaelsen
growing up ... survival ... adventure ... action
Publisher comments: Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Alex Driscal in the, parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Alex may have permanent brain damage, and Cole is in the biggest trouble of his life. Cole is offered Circle Justice: a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim and the, community. With prison as his only alternative, Cole plays along. He says he wants to repent, but in his heart Cole blames his alcoholic mom his, abusive dad, wimpy Alex (everyone but himself) for his situation. Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. There, he is mauled by mysterious white bear of Native American legend. Hideously injured, Cole waits for his death. His thoughts shift from from anger to humility. To survive, he must stop blaming others and take responsibility for his life. Rescuers arrive to save Cole's but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that may save his soul.
sequel: Ghost of Spirit Bear
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CAB
The Princess Diaries (age 12+)
by Meg Cabot
princesses ... letters/journal ... growing up ... authorship ... school ... humor
Publisher comments: She's just a New York City girl living with her artist mom... News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that's why a limo meets her at the airport!) Downer: Dad can't have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.) Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material. Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmere, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne. Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty, no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what's a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?
title: The Princess Diaries
title: Princess in the Spotlight
title: Princess in Love
title: Princess in Waiting
title: Project Princess
title: Princess in Pink
title: Princess in Training
title: Party Princess
title: Valentine Princess
title: Princess on the Brink
title: Sweet Sixteen Princess
title: Perfect Princess
title: Princess Mia
title: Forever Princess
title: The Princess Present: A Princess Diaries Book
title: Holiday Princess
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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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PRA
Nation (age 12+)
by Terry Pratchett
survival ... growing up ... adventure ... fantasy ... humor
Publisher comments: The sea has taken everything. Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne, a girl from the other side of the globe — is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave. Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives, all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down.
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REN
Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (age 12+)
by Louise Rennison
growing up ... letters/journal ... humor
Publisher comments: Angus: My mixed-breed cat, half domestic tabby, half Scottish wildcat. The size of a small Labrador, only mad. Likes to stalk Mr. and Mrs. Next Door's poodle. I used to drag him around on a lead, but, as I explained to Mrs. Next Door, he ate it. Thongs: Stupid underwear worn by old Swotty Knickers, Lindsay What's the point of them, anyway? They just go up your bum, as far as I can tell. Full-Frontal Snogging: Kissing with the trimmings, lip to lip, open mouth, tongues...everything (apart from dribble, which is never acceptable). As taught to me by a professional snogger. In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angust if being a teenager. This fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"
title: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
title: Away Laughing on a Fast Camel: Even More Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
title: Dancing in my Nuddypants: Even Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
title: Knocked Out By My Nunganungas: Further, Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
title: Love is a Many Trousered Thing: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
title: On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
title: Startled by His Furry Shorts
title: Stop in the Name of Pants: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
title: Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
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SCH
Trouble (age 12+)
by Gary Schmidt
bigotry ... growing up ... family ... illness/loss
Publisher comments: Henry Smith's father told him that if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you. But Trouble comes careening down the road one night in the form of a pickup truck that strikes Henry's older brother, Franklin. In the truck is Chay Chouan, a young Cambodian from Franklin's preparatory school, and the accident sparks racial tensions in the school, and in the well-established town where Henry's family has lived for generations. Caught between anger and grief, Henry sets out to do the only thing he can think of: climb Mt. Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine, which he and Franklin were going to climb together. Along with Black Dog, whom Henry has rescued from drowning, and a friend, Henry leaves without his parents' knowledge. The journey, both exhilarating and dangerous, turns into an odyssey of discovery about himself, his older sister, Louisa, his ancestry, and why one can never escape from Trouble.
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STA
The House of Djinn (age 12+)
by Suzanne Fisher Staples
growing up ... family
Publisher comments: It has been ten years since Shabanu staged her death to secure the safety of her daughter, Mumtaz, from her husband's murderous brother. Mumtaz has been raised by her father's family with the education and security her mother desired for her, but with little understanding and love. Only her American cousin Jameel, her closest confidant and friend, and the beloved family patriarch, Baba, understand the pain of her loneliness. When Baba unexpectedly dies, Jameel's succession as the Amirzai tribal leader and the arrangement of his marriage to Mumtaz are revealed, causing both to question whether fulfilling their duty to the family is worth giving up their dreams for the future.
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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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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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ALE
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (age 12+)
by Sherman Alexie
humor ... growing up ... letters/journal ... identity
Publisher comments: Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
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BUR
Runs With Horses (age 12+)
by Brian Burks
war ... growing up ... adventure ... action ... historical
Publisher comments: Sixteen years old in 1886, Runs With Horses is a member of the last small band of Apaches continuing to resist the U.S. Army. His training for manhood as a Chiricahua Apache has been difficult but thrilling, and he is eager to accomplish the final two of the four raids required to be-come a warrior. Sadly, this is not possible when they at last surrender to the U.S. Army.
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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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FAR
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm: a novel (age 12+)
by Nancy Farmer
growing up ... mystery ... adventure ... science fiction
General Matsika's children steal out of the house on a forbidden adventure--and disappear. In Zimbabwe, in the year 2194, the children's parents call in Africa's most unusual detectives--the Ear, the Eye and the Arm--who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely.
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COL
La Ultima Oportunidad (age 12+)
by Eoin Colfer
adventure ... action ... humor ... growing up
Meg Finn is in trouble, unearthly trouble. Cast out of her home by her stepfather after her mother's death, Meg is a wanderer, a troublemaker. But after her latest stunt, finding a place to sleep is the least of her worries. Belch, her partner in crime, has gotten her involved in the attempted robbery of an elderly man, Lowrie McCall. And things go horribly wrong. After an accidental explosion, Meg's spirit is flung into limbo, and a race begins between the demonic and the divine to win her soul. Irreverent, hilarious, and touchingly hopeful, The Wish List takes readers on a journey of second chances, where joy is found in the most unexpected places.
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COL
The Wish List (age 12+)
by Eoin Colfer
adventure ... action ... humor ... growing up
Meg Finn is in trouble, unearthly trouble. Cast out of her home by her stepfather after her mother's death, Meg is a wanderer, a troublemaker. But after her latest stunt, finding a place to sleep is the least of her worries. Belch, her partner in crime, has gotten her involved in the attempted robbery of an elderly man, Lowrie McCall. And things go horribly wrong. After an accidental explosion, Meg's spirit is flung into limbo, and a race begins between the demonic and the divine to win her soul. Irreverent, hilarious, and touchingly hopeful, The Wish List takes readers on a journey of second chances, where joy is found in the most unexpected places.
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SMI
Peak (age 12+)
by Roland Smith
family ... adventure ... action ... growing up ... survival
After Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he's left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. But Peak quickly learns that his father's renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings. He wants Peak to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit--and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it's also one that could cost him his life. Roland Smith has created an action-packed adventure about friendship, sacrifice, family, and the drive to take on Everest, despite the incredible risk.
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SHE
Keeping Corner (age 12+)
by Kashmira Sheth
identity ... historical ... growing up
Ba slipped the gold bangles from my wrists. The gold ones were plain so I didn't mind taking them off, but I loved wearing my milk-glass bangles and the lakkh bracelets. A widow can't wear bangles, she said. They are signs of a woman's good fortune. When your husband dies it's over. What if my good fortune comes back? It doesn't. Pretty as a peacock, twelve-year-old Leela had been spoiled all her life. She doesn't care for school and barely marks the growing unrest between the British colonists and her own countrymen. Why should she? Her future has been planned since her engagement at two and marriage at nine. Leela's whole life changes, though, when her husband dies. She's now expected to behave like a proper widow: shaving her head and trading her jewel-toned saris for rough, earth-colored ones. Leela is considered unlucky now, and will have to stay confined to her house for a year ... keep corner ... in preparation for a life of mourning for a boy she barely knew. When her schoolteacher hears of her fate, she offers Leela lessons at home. For the first time, despite her confinement, Leela opens her eyes to the changing world around her. India is suffering from a severe drought, and farmers are unable to pay taxes to the British. She learns about a new leader of the people, a man named Gandhi, who starts a political movement and practices satyagraha-non-violent protest against the colonists as well as the caste system. The quiet strength ofsatyagraha may liberate her country. Could she use the same path to liberate herself?
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SAN
Song of the Sparrow (age 12+)
by Lisa Ann Sandell
growing up ... war ... folklore ... historical
Since the days of King Arthur, there have been poems and paintings created in her name. She is Elaine of Ascolat, the Lady of Shalott, and now there is a book all her own. The year is 490 A.D. and 16-year-old Elaine has a temperament to match her fiery red hair. Living on a military base with her father, brothers, and the rest of Arthur's army, Elaine pines for the handsome Lancelot, and longs for a female friend. But when the cruel, beautiful Gwynivere arrives, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. Can Elaine find the strength to survive the birth of a kingdom?
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RIN
An Acquaintance With Darkness (age 12+)
by Ann Rinaldi
growing up ... historical
Fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush suspects that her uncle is involved in body snatching. Meanwhile, her best friend's family is accused of plotting to kill Abraham Lincoln, and Emily is left unsure of whom she can trust.
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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.
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FLE
Alphabet of Dreams (age 12+)
by Susan Fletcher
growing up ... historical ... family
Young Babak has a magnificent gift: He can dream the future. Mitra, his brave older sister, is sworn to protect him. For them to survive living on the streets, she must do whatever is necessary, including using her brother's talent for profit. When Babak is asked to dream for a powerful Magus, he receives a mysterious vision of two stars dancing in the night. Determined to solve this prophetic riddle, the Magus takes the boy and his sister on an arduous journey across the desert. What they discover will change the world in a way that no dream could ever predict.
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CIS
The House on Mango Street (age 12+)
by Sandra Cisneros
short stories ... growing up ... identity
Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong ... not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperanza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become.
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CUS
Catherine, Called Birdy (age 12+)
by Karen Cushman
growing up ... letters/journal ... historical
Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man--any rich man, no matter how awful. But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call--by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all. Unfortunately, he is also the richest. Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father? Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!
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YEP
Child of the Owl (age 12+)
by Laurence Yep
growing up ... identity ... family
In Child of the Owl, a twelve-year-old girl who knows little about her Chinese heritage is sent to live with her grandmother in San Francisco's Chinatown.
sequel: Thief of Hearts
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RAW
The Yearling (age 12+)
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
nature ... growing up ... animals
A young boy living in the Florida backwoods is forced to decide the fate of a fawn he has lovingly raised as a pet.
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PUL
His Dark Materials (age 12+)
by Philip Pullman
growing up ... spooky ... action ... adventure ... fantasy
Lyra Belaqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar Pantalaimon always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle ... a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold, far North, young Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: She alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.
title: The Golden Compass
title: The Subtle Knife
title: The Amber Spyglass
title: Once Upon a Time in the North
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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.
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PAU
Hatchet (age 12+)
by Gary Paulsen
growing up ... survival ... adventure
Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother has given him as a present and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart ever since his parents' divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self-pity, or despair it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.
sequel: The River
sequel: Brian's Winter
sequel: Brian's Return
sequel: Brian's Hunt
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HEN
Protecting Marie (age 12+)
by Kevin Henkes
family ... animals ... growing up
``Fanny sensed that from the moment she was born she was meant to have a dog. It was as though some unique and independent organ deep inside her, like a tiny heart, couldn't thrive properly without one.'' With humor and compassion Kevin Henkes tells Fanny's story. But this is not just a dog story. This is a story about a girl and her father. This is a story about growing up. This is a story about wanting and getting and realizing that nothing is simple or easy.

Sat Aug 25 11:55:25 2012
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