Portsmouth High School Suggested Book List - City of Portsmouth

123kB Size 2 Downloads 26 Views

life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His ..... depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the ...... **All book summaries were gathered from Amazon. com.
Portsmouth High School Suggested Book List Quality Adolescent Literature by Genre

African-American: Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

Jazmin’s Notebook by Nikki Grimes Jazmin Shelby was "born with clenched fists"-which is okay, since she's got a lot of fighting ahead of her. Her dad died a couple of years back, and now that her mom's in the hospital, it's just her and her big sister, CeCe. But that's fine by Jazmin. She's got her friends, her school, lots of big plans for the future-and a zest for life and laughter that's impossible to resist.

Long Journey Home: Stories from Black History by Julius Lester Meet Rambler, a runaway slave roaming the countryside with a guitar, who knows the only way to stay free is to keep moving. Louis is another runaway, fleeing the plantation where he was raised, because he is about to be sold. And Jake and Mandy's marriage is damaged by slavery—and destroyed by freedom. Here is the African-American experience, brought alive by a master storyteller.

Maizon at Blue Hill by Jacqueline Woodson Maizon takes the biggest step in her life when she accepts a scholarship to boarding school and says good-bye to her grandmother and her best friend, Margaret. Blue Hill is beautiful and challenging-but there are only five black students, and the other four are from wealthy families. Does Maizon belong at Blue Hill after all?

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson Soonie's great-grandma was just seven years old when she was sold to a big plantation without her ma and pa, and with only some fabric and needles to call her own. She pieced together bright patches with names like North Star and Crossroads, patches with secret meanings made into quilts called Show Ways -- maps for slaves to follow to freedom. When she grew up and had a little girl, she passed on this knowledge. And generations later, Soonie -- who was born free -- taught her own daughter how to sew beautiful quilts and how to read. From slavery to freedom, through segregation, freedom marches and the fight for literacy, the tradition they called Show Way has been passed down by the women in Jacqueline Woodson's family as a way to remember the past and celebrate the possibilities of the future. Beautifully rendered in Hudson Talbott's luminous art, this moving, lyrical account pays tribute to women whose strength and knowledge illuminate their daughters' lives.

Silent Thunder: A Civil Way Story by Andrea Davis Children's fiction about slavery typically involves young protagonists struggling with injustice, illiteracy and lack of freedom; Pinkney reinvigorates this familiar framework by infusing her work with a more personal, equally hard-hitting theme. The "silent thunder" of the title refers to the urgent need for enslaved children (and adults) to suppress their own desires and thoughts. As an adult slave warns 11-year-old Summer, "Anything that makes you feel good has gotta stay cooped up, like a toad wriggling inside a croaker sack, else it can be taken away." Yet Summer is practically bursting to chat about everything, wondering who her daddy is, why her mother is so moody, why she has to beat rugs, why she can't have a china-head doll. Her older brother, Rosco, the "body servant" of young Master Lowell, has learned to read from eavesdropping on Lowell's lessons; he teaches Summer to read, too, and when she can't keep this dangerous accomplishment to herself, he makes her a doll in whom she can safely confide. Rosco, meanwhile, grapples with his own secrets, namely his knowledge of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. While Pinkney bows to a few stereotypes, generally her portraits are unusually well nuanced. As Summer and Rosco alternate as narrators, their feelings flow off the page and envelop the reader.

The Longest Ride by Denise Lewis Patrick At fifteen, Midnight Son has already lived quite a courageous life. He has escaped bounty hunters intent on returning him to slavery and has survived a fierce tornado. It seems no challenge is insurmountable for this young cowboy. But when Midnight Son comes upon a vulnerable Indian village during the journey to find his separated family, he knows he must delay his search in order to help his new friends get safely through the final days of the Civil War.

The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake Seventh-grader Maleeka Madison is miserable when a new teacher comes to her depressed inner-city school. Miss Saunders evidently is rich, self-assured in spite of the white birthmark across her black skin, and prone to getting into kids' faces about both their behavior and their academic potential. Black and bright, Maleeka is so swamped by her immediate problems that Miss Saunders's attentions nearly capsize her stability. The girl's mother has just emerged from a two-year period of intense mourning for her dead husband, during which time her daughter has provided her with physical and moral support with no adult assistance. At school, Maleeka endures mean-spirited teasing about the darkness of her skin and her unstylish clothing. She seeks solace in writing an extended creative piece, at Miss Saunders's instigation, and also in the company of a powerful clique of nasty girls. Told in Maleeka's voice, this first novel bristles with attitude that is both genuine and alarming. The young teen understands too well that her brains aren't as valuable as the social standing that she doesn't have. In the end, she is able to respond positively to Miss Saunders; she also becomes socially anointed through the affections of the most popular boy in the school. This message rings true in spite of the fact that Maleeka's salvation isn't exactly politically correct. Young teens will appreciate Flake's authenticity and perhaps realize how to learn from Maleeka's struggle for security and self-assurance.

The Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson In 1955, people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a fourteen-yearold African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The brutality of his murder, the open-casket funeral, and the acquittal of the men tried for the crime left a nation stunned.

Asian: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.

Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien-Chang Cheng's widely acclaimed book recounts in compelling specifics her persecution and imprisonment at the hands of Mao Tse-tung’s "Cultural Revolution" (1966-1976). Inquisitors accused her of being a "spy" and "imperialist," but during the harrowing years of solitary confinement she never gave in, never confessed a lie. We read this, not so much for historical analysis, but, like the literature of the Gulag in Russia, for an example of a humane spirit telling terrible truths honestly, without bitterness or cynicism.

Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol. This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang It's 1966, and twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang has everything a girl could want: brains, tons of friends, and a bright future in Communist China. But it's also the year that China's leader, Mao Tse-tung, launches the Cultural Revolution—and Ji-li's world begins to fall apart. Over the next few years, people who were once her friends and neighbors turn on her and her family, forcing them to live in constant terror of arrest. When Ji-li's father is finally imprisoned, she faces the most difficult dilemma of her life. This is the true story of one girl's determination to hold her family together during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.

Middle East: Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos Since emigrating from Bangladesh, fourteen-year-old Nadira and her family have been living in New York City on expired visas, hoping to realize their dream of becoming legal U.S. citizens. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly being Muslim means you are dangerous -- a suspected terrorist. When Nadira's father is arrested and detained at the U.S.-Canadian border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are told to carry on as if everything is the same. The teachers at Flushing High don't ask any questions, but Aisha falls apart. Nothing matters to her anymore -- not even college. It's up to Nadira to be the strong one and bring her family back together again.

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.

19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye Fowzi, who beats everyone at dominoes; Ibtisam, who wanted to be a doctor; Abu Mahmoud, who knows every eggplant and peach in his West Bank garden; mysterious Uncle Mohammed, who moved to the mountain; a girl in a red sweater dangling a book bag; children in velvet dresses who haunt the candy bowl at the party; Baba Kamalyari, age 71; Mr. Dajani and his swans; Sitti Khadra, who never lost her peace inside.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni The timely and critically acclaimed debut novel is becoming a word-of-mouth phenomenon. An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons-their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples Intertwined portraits of courage and hope in Afghanistan and Pakistan Najmah, a young Afghan girl whose name means “star,” suddenly finds herself alone when her father and older brother are conscripted by the Taliban and her mother and newborn brother are killed in an air raid. An American woman, Elaine, whose Islamic name is Nusrat, is also on her own. She waits out the war in Peshawar, Pakistan, teaching refugee children under the persimmon tree in her garden while her Afghan doctor husband runs a clinic in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Najmah’s father had always assured her that the stars would take care of her, just as Nusrat’s husband had promised that they would tell Nusrat where he was and that he was safe. As the two look to the skies for answers, their fates entwine. Najmah, seeking refuge and hoping to find her father and brother, begins the perilous journey through the mountains to cross the border into Pakistan. And Nusrat’s persimmontree school awaits Najmah’s arrival. Together, they both seek their way home.

Native-American: Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War II by Joseph Bruchac Six-year-old Ned Begay leaves his Navajo home for boarding school, where he learns the English language and American ways. At 16, he enlists in the U.S. Marines during World War II and is trained as a code talker, using his native language to radio battlefield information and commands in a code that was kept secret until 1969. Rooted in his Navajo consciousness and traditions even in dealing with fear, loneliness, and the horrors of the battlefield, Ned tells of his experiences in Hawaii, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The book, addressed to Ned's grandchildren, ends with an author's note about the code talkers as well as lengthy acknowledgments and a bibliography. The narrative pulls no punches about war's brutality and never adopts an avuncular tone. Not every section of the book is riveting, but slowly the succession of scenes, impressions, and remarks build to create a solid, memorable portrayal of Ned Begay. Even when facing complex negative forces within his own country, he is able to reach into his traditional culture to find answers that work for him in a modern context. Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find.

Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajawea by Diane Glancy Stone Heart is a gripping retelling of the story of American legend Sacajawea, the young Shoshoni woman who traveled with Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the West. Presented in Sacajawea’s own voice juxtaposed with excerpts from Lewis and Clark’s diaries, it is a work of moving and illuminating fiction cast from a famed piece of history that has long been masked by myth. Lewis and Clark recorded the external journey, its physical challenges and wonders. Diane Glancy’s Sacajawea experiences the expedition on a different plane, one that lies between the terrestrial and the magical, where clouds speak and ghost horses roam the plains. Both stunningly imagined and meticulously faithful to history, Stone Heart draws a lingering portrait of a woman of resilience and courage.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie The book that launched Sherman Alexie onto the young adult market is now available in a deluxe collector's edition! Beautifully designed with a new look that includes a foil-stamped, die-cut slipcase and interior art, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike. In his nationally acclaimed, semi-autobiographical debut, author Sherman Alexie tells the heartbreaking, hilarious, and beautifully written story of a young Native American teen as he attempts to break free from the life he was destined to live.

The Last Lobo by Roland Smith Jake journeys to the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona to be with his grandfather. Tribal members are complaining that a Mexican wolf-lobo-is killing their livestock, and they are ready-like many ranchers-to blame a wolf reintroduction program in neighboring New Mexico. But the reintroduced wolves are all accounted for, and the experts suspect coyotes or stray dogs. Jake and his grandfather get involved, along with Jake's great uncle, who once trapped wolves for the government. Uncle John is sure there is a lobo, and he wants to catch it alive and return it to its likely home, Mexico. The plot moves quickly, involving readers in Jake's fascination with wolves while he also puts to use skills he has learned in his earlier adventures. A subplot involving a prison parolee once married to one of Jake's cousins is unnecessary and "sensational," and a few other subplot elements are either too easily resolved or unexplained. Nevertheless, Smith's grasp on the central story is sure and effective.

Walks Alone by Brian Burks Burks offers a short but powerful depiction of Apache Indian life circa 1879 and the decimation of the Indians by the U.S. Army. Fifteen-year-old Walks Alone witnesses and survives the massacre of her tribe by U.S. soldiers, escaping with her mute younger brother, who later dies of illness. Although she is ultimately reunited with her grandmother and betrothed to the young man she loves, she loses them both at the Battle of Tres Castillos. Burks' vivid descriptions of incredible physical hardship lend excitement, and the varied and scholarly bibliography is evidence of the author's attempts to accurately portray Apache history and philosophy. This will be an obvious selection for historical fiction

assignments, but it will also draw readers who enjoy Gary Paulsen's survival stories. The brief, action-packed chapters and terse, accessible text will appeal to reluctant readers.

Adventure: Alive by Piers Paul Reid On October 12, 1972, a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying a team of rugby players crashed in the remote snowy peaks of the Andes. Ten weeks later, only sixteen of the forty-five passengers were found alive. This is the true story of those ten weeks spent in the shelter of the plane's fuselage without food and with scarcely any hope of a rescue. The survivors protected and helped one another, and came to the difficult conclusion that to live meant doing the unimaginable. Confronting nature at its most furious, two brave young men risked their lives to hike through the mountains looking for help -- and ultimately found it.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true? Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunky chain, or wear way-toobig pants on purpose? What about the mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backwards? These are the Innovators, the people on the very cusp of cool. Seventeen-yearold Hunter Braque's job is finding them for the retail market. But when a big-money client disappears, Hunter must use all his cool-hunting talents to find her. Along the way he's drawn into a web of brand-name intrigue-a missing cargo of the coolest shoes he's ever seen, ads for products that don't exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"-Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel--are just like ordinary kids--only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time...like when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of whack jobs. Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare--this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and father-figure Jeb--now her betrayed and greatest enemy--that her purpose is to save the world--but can she?

The Book of the Lion by Michael Cadnum Returning to the same era of his "In a Dark Wood," Cadnum's majestic novel--part mystery, part history--chronicles the pageantry and brutality of the Crusades under King Richard.

The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China’s Most Exotic Animal by Vicki Croke Here is the astonishing true story of Ruth Harkness, the Manhattan bohemian socialite who, against all but impossible odds, trekked to Tibet in 1936 to capture the most mysterious animal of the day: a bear that had for countless centuries lived in secret in the labyrinth of lonely cold mountains. In The Lady and the Panda, Vicki Constantine Croke gives us the remarkable account of Ruth Harkness and her extraordinary journey, and restores Harkness to her rightful place along with Sacajawea, Nellie Bly, and Amelia Earhart as one of the great woman adventurers of all time.

Fantasy: Eragon by Christopher Paolini Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple At the start of Stemple's wonderful fantasy debut, his first solo effort (he's collaborated with his mother, Jane Yolen, on children's music books), Douglas "Doc" Stewart, a recovering heroin addict and talented street musician, flees Minnesota for Scotland and his Grandma McLaren, who welcomes her grandson with open arms but warns, "I've buried three husbands and I'll bury you, too, if need be." Doc's subsequent success as a busker in Edinburgh strengthens his resolve to stay clean. During the Fringe arts festival, he meets a fey young woman, Aine, who gives him the gift of sight distilled in white powder he shoots into his arm. This ability to perceive the faery world puts him in grave danger after Aine is abducted by a strange priest, Father Croser, who uses his own magical sight for evil purposes. A "bogie" (or mischievous spirit) enlists Doc's assistance in rescuing Aine, but Doc soon finds himself drawn into a faeryland that's alarmingly similar to the world of addiction he thought he'd escaped forever and an erotic adventure that holds shocking consequences. Fans of Charles de Lint and Clive Barker will find much to like.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien For over fifty years, J.R.R. Tolkien’s peerless fantasy has accumulated worldwide acclaim as the greatest adventure tale ever written. No other writer has created a world as distinct as Middle-earth, complete with its own geography, history, languages, and legends. And no one has created characters as endearing as Tolkien’s large-hearted, hairy-footed hobbits. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings continues to seize the imaginations of readers of all ages, and this new three-volume paperback edition is designed to appeal to the youngest of them.

The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway While growing up under Bartlemy’s protective eye, Nathan Ward senses something else watching him, a shift of shadows in the surrounding Darkwood. Then pieces of his dreams begin to come to life. A man he saved from the ocean washes ashore on the television news. A greenish stone cup set with jewels that has haunted his visions, sounds eerily like one lost by the Thorn family centuries ago–a cup that has recently made its way back into the hands of the village’s last living ancestor.

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black When 17-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system. But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and shoots up a shimmery amber-colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there's Luis' brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet. When a bewildered Val allows Lolli to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been dealing, Val finds herself bound into

service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honorable. And as Val grows to know him, she finds herself torn between her affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

Science Fiction: Feed by M.T. Anderson This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people's brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly entertainment--even on trips to Mars and the moon-and by constant customized murmurs in their brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an outof-work actor. Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox-the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years. Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clement Teens, especially those not in the über-popular set, know all about feeling invisible. But what would happen if you actually did wake up invisible one day? Fifteen-year-old Bobby is faced with this curious predicament in Andrew Clements's compelling novel Things Not Seen. Doing his best to adapt, Bobby informs his parents and grows more and more frustrated as they try to control his (unseen) life. Attempting to take matters in his own hands, he ventures out--naked--to the library, where he meets a blind girl who becomes a

natural confidant. The ensuing drama, involving a nationwide search for other invisible people and a break-in to the computer database at Sears, Roebuck legal department headquarters ("News flash: Invisible people make excellent spies and thieves") is authentic enough in detail to allow readers to overlook the nuttiness of it all. Teens will identify with Bobby's experience of being essentially invisible.

The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen Mark's solo camping trip in the desert turns into a terrifying and thrilling odyssey when a mysterious beam of light transports him to another time on what appears to be another planet. As Mark searches for a pathway back to his own time on Earth, he must make a new life in a new world. His encounters with primitive tribes bring the joy of human bonds, but violence and war as well--and, finally, a contest in which he discovers his own startling powers.

Holocaust: Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived War II by Marisabina Russo Rachel's Oma (her grandmother) has two picture albums. In one the photographs show only happy times -- from after World War II, when she and her daughters had come to America. But the other album includes much sadder times from before -- when their life in Germany was destroyed by the Nazis' rise to power. For as long as Rachel can remember, Oma has closed the other album when she's gotten to the sad part. But today Oma will share it all. Today Rachel will hear about what her grandmother, her mother, and her aunts endured. And she'll see how the power of this Jewish family's love for one another gave them the strength to survive. Marisabina Russo illuminates a difficult subject for young readers with great sensitivity. Based on the author's own family history, Always Remember Me is a heartbreaking -- and inspiring -- book sure to touch anyone who reads it.

Hidden Child by Isaac Millman A powerful story of survival, loss, and hope Isaac was seven when the Germans invaded France and his life changed forever. First his father was taken away, and then, two years later, Isaac and his mother were arrested. Hoping to save Isaac’s life, his mother bribed a guard to take him to safety at a nearby hospital, where he and many other children pretended to be sick, with help from the doctors and nurses. But this proved a temporary haven. As Isaac was shuttled from city to countryside, experiencing the kindness of strangers, and sometimes their cruelty, he had to shed his Jewish identity to become Jean Devolder. But he never forgot who he really was,

and he held on to the hope that after the war he would be reunited with his parents. After more than fifty years of keeping his story to himself, Isaac Millman has broken his silence to tell it in spare prose, vivid composite paintings, and family photos that survived the war.

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gut Opdyke Irent Gut was just 17 in 1939, when the Germans and Russians devoured her native Poland. Just a girl, really. But a girl who saw evil and chose to defy it.

No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel Anita Lobel was barely five years old when World War II began and the Nazis burst into her home in Kraków, Poland. Her life changed forever. She spent her childhood in hiding with her brother and their nanny, moving from countryside to ghetto to convent—where the Nazis finally caught up with them. Since coming to the United States as a teenager, Anita has spent her life making pictures. She has never gone back. She has never looked back. Until now.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Mystery: Acceleration by Graham McNamee It’s a hot, hot summer, and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority’s Lost and Found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging lost things and sifting through accumulated junk. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan’s just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book. It’s a diary filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can’t make himself stop reading.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Cold Water Crossing by David Faxon Cold Water Crossing tells the story of a cold winter evening when three women were unexpectedly left alone on Smuttynose Island when their companions were forced to stay overnight in Portsmouth. Louis Wagner learned of the situation, and allegedly stole a boat and rowed ten miles to commit a despicable crime. Yet one woman survived the night and returned to provide evidence that resulted in the killer's execution three years later. A true Portsmouth NH mystery to this day!

Criminal Minded by Tracy Brown Lamin Michaels learned at his mother's knee the importance of chasing paper, so it's no surprise he gets into the drug game when he's just a teenager. When he meets Zion, a product of the New York City foster care and prison system, Lamin knows that he has meet the perfect partner in crime. Together, they build a huge narcotics empire. Then, Lamin falls hard for a beautiful girl named Lucky. Lucky makes Lamin realize that there is more to life than cash and more cash. When Lamin goes legit with a career in the entertainment industry, Zion tries to keep their business going on both the street and the boardroom. It's not long before Zion becomes the target of a corruption scandal involving murder, extortion and money laundering. Once the dirt is exposed, will Lamin and Zion be able to remain one step ahead, or will their paper chasing days haunt them forever?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eyeopening work in a unique and compelling literary voice.

The Innocent Man by John Grisham In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the Big Leagues, Ron stumbled, his dreams broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then, on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron’s home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death—in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence. Grisham’s first non-fiction work highlights The Innocence Project, which works to free those wrongly convicted.

The Perfect Shot by Elaine Alphin Someone murdered Brian's girlfriend, Amanda. The police think it was her father. Brian isn't so sure. But everyone he knows is telling him to move on, get over it, focus on the present. Focus on basketball. Focus on hitting the perfect shot. Brian hopes that the system will work for Amanda and her father. An innocent man couldn't be wrongly convicted, could he? But then Brian does a school project on Leo Frank, a Jewish man lynched decades ago for the murder of a teenage girl - a murder he didn't commit. Worse still, Brian's teammate Julius gets arrested for nothing more than being a black kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brian can't deny any longer that the system is flawed. As Amanda's father goes on trial, Brian admits to himself that he knows something that could break the case. But if he comes forward, will the real killer try for another perfect show - this time against Brian?

Women of Strength: Babe Didrikson Zaharias: The Making of a Champion by Russell Freedman When Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a child, her goal was to be the greatest athlete who ever lived. Few people come as close to their childhood goals as Babe did. She was an AllAmerican basketball player, an Olympic gold medalist in track and field, and a championship golfer who won eighty-two amateur and professional tournaments. She also mastered tennis, played exhibition baseball, and was an accomplished diver and bowler. The Associated Press elected her Woman Athlete of the Year six times and in 1950 named her Woman Athlete of the Half Century. Babe accomplished all of this at a time when most girls and women didn't take part in these sports. This insightful and well-researched biography from Newbery medalist Russell Freedman brings to life the woman who changed the world's perception of female athletes forever-Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Behind the Mask: The Life of Queen Elizabeth I by Jane Resh Thomas Elizabeth I (1533-1603) impressed herself more vividly on the memory of the world than any other monarch in the history of England. She successfully established and maintained power while refusing to bow to the wishes of those who believed no woman was fit to occupy the English throne. This biography describes the opulent but cruel childhood that shaped the woman Elizabeth became and details her triumphant reign, as well as the unrelenting forces that opposed her. Exploring the answers to some of history's most persistent and intriguing questions, Thomas has created a compelling account of Elizabeth's life that shatters the myths surrounding her and allows readers an unprecedented view of the queen as a human being.

Bossypants by Tina Fey Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Each woman is distinct. Carole King is the product of outerborough, middle-class New York City; Joni Mitchell is a granddaughter of Canadian farmers; and Carly Simon is a child of the Manhattan intellectual upper crust. They collectively represent, in their lives and their songs, a great swath of American girls who came of age in the late 1960s. Their stories trace the arc of the now mythic sixties generation -- female version -- but in a bracingly specific and deeply recalled way, far from cliché. The history of the women of that generation has never been written -- until now, through their resonant lives and emblematic songs.

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory; The Life of Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley A biography of the black woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, led to a bus boycott that helped galvanize the civil rights movement.

Sally Ride: The Story of the First Female in Space by Linda R. Wade Linda Wade is a retired school librarian. She served 23 years in the same school she attended as a child. She has taught writing, both locally and nationally at writing conferences. She received her education from Olivet Nazarene University and Indiana University. She has published 30 books since 1989. She and her husband, Edward, like to travel across the United States visiting their children, historic places, and national parks.

Somebody’s Daughter by Marie Myung-Ok Lee Somebody's Daughter is the story of nineteen-year-old Sarah Thorson, who was adopted as a baby by a Lutheran couple in the Midwest. After dropping out of college, she decides to study in Korea and becomes more and more intrigued by her Korean heritage, eventually embarking on a crusade to find her birth mother. Paralleling Sarah's story is that of Kyungsook, who was forced by difficult circumstances to let her baby be swept away from her immediately after birth, but who has always longed for her lost child.

Ten Queens: Portraits of Women in Power by Milton Meltzer From the courage and beauty of Esther (5th century B.C.) to the fierce battle tactics of Boudicca (A.D. c. 62) to the reforming spirit of Catherine the Great (1729-1796), here are ten essays about the personal and political natures of ten queens by an author who has been called "arguably the best writer of social history for children and adolescents ever." Most of these queens were, by today's standards, astonishingly young. Some were schooled to rule, others not. But all were ambitious, passionate, and determined to hold power. Ten Queens was celebrated as a Booklist Editors' Choice, a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, an International Reading Association's Teachers' Choice, and a Bank Street College Best Book, among many other citations.

Non-Fiction and Memoir: And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner-city Students by Miles Corwin Bestselling author of The Killing Season and veteran Los Angeles Times reporter Miles Corwin spent a school year with twelve high school seniors -- South-Central kids who qualified for a gifted program because of their exceptional IQs and test scores. Sitting alongside them in classrooms where bullets were known to rip through windows, Corwin chronicled their amazing odyssey as they faced the greatest challenges of their academic lives. And Still We Rise is an unforgettable story of transcending obstacles that would dash the hopes of any but the most exceptional spirits.

Black Ice by Lorene Cary In 1972 Lorene Cary, a bright, ambitious black teenager from Philadelphia, was transplanted into the formerly all-white, all-male environs of the elite St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, where she became a scholarship student in a "boot camp" for future American leaders. Like any good student, she was determined to succeed. But Cary was also determined to succeed without selling out. This wonderfully frank and perceptive memoir describes the perils and ambiguities of that double role, in which failing calculus and winning a student election could both be interpreted as betrayals of one's skin. Black Ice is also a universally recognizable document of a woman's adolescence; it is, as Houston Baker says, "a journey into selfhood that resonates with sober reflection, intelligent passion, and joyous love."

Game Change by John Heilmann and Mark Halperin Even before the book was out, its juiciest bits were everywhere: Sarah Palin was serene when chosen for V.P. because it was “God’s plan.” Hillary didn’t know if she could control Bill (duh). Elizabeth Edwards was a shrew, not a saint. Overall, the men from the campaign garner less attention in these anecdote wars than the women and tend to come off better— but only just: Obama, the authors note, can be conceited and windy; McCain was disengaged to the point of recklessness; and John Edwards is a cheating, egotistical blowhard. But, hey, that’s politics, and it’s obvious that authors Heilmann (New York Magazine) and Halperin (Time) worked their sources well—all 200 of them. Some (including the sources themselves) will have trouble with the book’s use of quotes (or lack thereof). The interviews, according to the authors, were conducted “on deep background,” and dialogue was “reconstructed extensively” and with “extreme care.” Sometimes the source of

a quote is clear, as when the book gets inside someone’s head, but not always. Many of the book’s events were covered heavily at the time (Hillary’s presumed juggernaut; Michelle Obama’s initial hostility to her husband’s candidacy), but some of what this volume delivers is totally behind-the-scenes and genuinely jaw-dropping, including the revelation that senators ostensibly for Clinton (New York’s Chuck Schumer) pushed hard for Obama. The McCain camp found Sarah Palin by doing computer searches of female Republican officeholders. A sometimes superficial but intensely readable account of a landmark campaign.

Outbreak! Plagues That Changed History by Bryn Barnard Did the Black Death destroy the feudal system? Did cholera pave the way for modern Manhattan? Did yellow fever help end the slave trade? Remarkably, the answer to all of these questions is yes. Time and again, diseases have impacted the course of human history in surprisingly powerful ways. From influenza to small pox, from tuberculosis to yellow fever, Bryn Barnard describes the symptoms and paths of the world’s worst diseases–and how the epidemics they spawned have changed history forever.

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? How else could one explain that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: “Get to the beach....” And when the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was “When can I surf again?” it became clear that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of courage and faith that this soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin The acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in a highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning,

they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their overworked mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and everyday violence. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash between town and gown, between the hard drinking, drugging, and fighting of "townies" and the ambitions of students debating books and ideas, couldn’t have been more stark. In this unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Dubus shows us how he escaped the cycle of violence and found empathy in channeling the stories of others—bridging, in the process, the rift between his father and himself.

     

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival by Laura Hillenbrand On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin When historian Goodwin was six years old, her father taught her how to keep score for "their" team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. While this activity forged a lifelong bond between father and daughter, her mother formed an equally strong relationship with her through the shared love of reading. Goodwin recounts some wonderful stories in this coming-of-age tale about both her family and an era when baseball truly was the national pastime that brought whole communities together. From details of specific games to descriptions of players, including Jackie Robinson, a great deal of the narrative centers around the sport. Between games and seasons, Goodwin relates the impact of pivotal historical events, such as the Rosenberg trial. Her end of innocence follows with the destruction of Ebbets Field, her

mother's death, and her father's lapse into despair. Goodwin gives listeners reason to consider what each of us has retained of our childhood passions. A poignant but unsentimental journey for all adults and, of course, especially for baseball fans.

Realistic Fiction: A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson A room is not much. It is not arms holding you. Not a kiss on the forehead. Not a packed lunch or a remembered birthday. Just a room. But for seventeen-year-old Zoe, struggling to shed the suffocating responsibility of her alcoholic mother and the controlling guilt of her grandmother, a rented room on Lorelei Street is a fierce grab for control of her own future. Zoe rents her room from Opal Keats, an eccentric old lady who has a difficult past of her own, but who chooses to live in the possibility of the future. Zoe tries to find that same possibility in her own future, promising that she will never go crawling back. But with all odds against her, can a seventeen-year-old with a job slinging hash make it on her own? Zoe struggles with this worry and the guilt of abandoning her mother as she goes to lengths that even she never dreamed she would in order to keep the room on Lorelei Street.

Broken China by Lori Williams China Cup Cameron might miss school or fall asleep in class sometimes, but she's trying hard to be a good mother to Amina, her two-year-old daughter. When tragedy befalls the small family, China must quit school and work full-time to make ends meet. But the only place in town that's willing to hire a fourteen-year-old high-school dropout is Obsidian Queens, a strip club, and China is forced to make some difficult and potentially selfdestructive decisions.

Charmed by Carrie Mac Izzy's mother works far away and leaves Izzy at home, alone with Rob the Slob. Angry at her mother and trying to deal with school, friends and the attentions of charismatic Cody Dillon, Izzy finds her life swirling out of control. Coerced into putting out to help Cody, Izzy finds she is one in a long line of girls ensnared in prostitution, with no way to escape. Believing that her mother will come for her, Izzy manages to fight back and, when the chance appears, make a run for it.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope--a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson Bobby is your classic urban teenaged boy -- impulsive, eager, restless. On his sixteenth birthday he gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, and his 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.

The Last Domino by Adam Meyer At home, high-school junior Travis Ellroy has to live up to the memory of his golden-boy brother who committed suicide. At school he faces constant pressure and ridicule from the jocks and their girlfriends. Then he meets Daniel, a new kid who doesn’t seem afraid of anything. All Travis is good at is drawing, and praise from Daniel leads to a combustible friendship—one where manipulation makes Travis go to violent extremes to get what he thinks he wants and deserves most. Though you know Travis brings a gun to school from the first chapter, the events leading up to that day unfold with gripping tension, making this powerful debut novel impossible to put down.

Twins: A Novel by Marcy Dermansky On the eve of their thirteenth birthday, identical twins Chloe and Sue agree to get matching tattoos to prove their bond is stronger than DNA. So begins Twins, Marcy Dermansky's comic and disturbingly honest debut novel, the extraordinary story of two blond, beautiful, and tormented twin sisters trying to survive adolescence–and each other. Told in alternating voices, Twins introduces two new unforgettable heroines on the verge. The obsessively defiant Sue, four minutes younger, resents and idolizes her seemingly perfect twin, Chloe. All Chloe wants, however, is to please her sister and–only if Sue will allow it–find a friend of her own. Neglected by their wealthy parents and cynical older brother, burdened by a loving dog they can't properly care for, and bewildered by a complex social universe they somehow don't fit into, Chloe and Sue are left to fend for themselves.

Sports: Balls Don’t Lie by Matt de la Pena Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the

pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He’s a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn’t seem to belong. But Sticky can play. And basketball might just be his ticket out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be. A breakout urban masterpiece by newcomer Matt de la Peña, Ball Don’t Lie takes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it.

Blockade Billy by Stephen King Even the most die-hard baseball fans don’t know the story of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely. He may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, but today no one remembers his name. He was the first--and only--player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history.

Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage and Triumph by Travis Roy In October 1995, ready to play his first game as a member of the Boston University hockey team, Travis Roy looked forward to the biggest day of his life. It was big but for all the wrong reasons. Eleven seconds into the game, he cracked his fourth vertebra and was paralyzed from the neck down. With coauthor Swift, Roy tells the inspirational story of his life after the accident. He still can't walk but has regained some mobility in his right arm and has come to realize that his life is worth living. As he describes the stages of his rehabilitation, the agonizing slowness of the process emerges vividly. So does his sense of humor; he recalls, for example, the time he and his fellow patients at Atlanta's Shepherd Center giddily stole some potato chips, only to realize that none of them possessed the dexterity to eat their booty. This is an informative, clear-eyed examination of what it takes to fight back from personal tragedy.

Hoop Kings by Charles R. Smith Tim Duncan cashes in double-digit points by banking it off the backboard. Kevin Garnett makes his new-and-improved moves in 3-D. As for Shaquille O’Neal, just see what it might take to fill his gargantuan shoes (shown actual size). With pumping, energetic, rap-inspired wordplay, Charles R. Smith profiles the distinctive playing styles of twelve of the best male players in basketball.

In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais They were a talented team with a near-perfect record. But for five straight years, when it came to the crunch of the playoffs, the Amherst Lady Hurricanes-a "finesse" high-school girls' basketball team of nice girls from a nice town-somehow lacked the scrappy, harddriving desire to go all the way. Now, led by the strong back-court of all-American Jamila Wideman and three-point specialist Jen Pariseau, and playing beyond their personal best, this is their year to prove themselves in the State Championships. In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle is the fierce, funny, and intimate look into the minds and hearts of one group of girls and their quest for success and, most of all, respect.

The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri What happens when three financial industry whiz kids and certified baseball nuts take over an ailing major league franchise and implement the same strategies that fueled their success on Wall Street? In the case of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, an American League championship happens—the culmination of one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history.

Classic Literature: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora; and the magnificently impecunious Micawber, one of literature’s great comic creations. In David Copperfield—the novel he described as his “favorite child”—Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.

Emma by Jane Austen Sparkling comedy of provincial manners concerns a well-intentioned young heiress and her matchmaking schemes that result in comic confusion for the inhabitants of a 19th-century English village. Droll characterizations of the well-intentioned heroine, her hypochondriacal father, plus many other finely drawn personalities make this sparkling satire of provincial life one of Jane Austen's finest novels.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley A young Swiss student discovers the secret of animating lifeless matter and, by assembling body parts, creates a monster who vows revenge on his creator after being rejected from society.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville Moby Dick is a novel first published in 1851 by American author Herman Melville. Originally misunderstood by its contemporary audiences and critics, Moby Dick is now often referred to as The Great American Novel and is considered one of the treasures of world literature. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby Dick, a white sperm whale of tremendous size and ferocity. Comparatively few whaleships know of Moby Dick, and fewer yet have encountered him. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to take revenge.

Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk Marjorie Morningstar is a love story. It presents one of the greatest characters in modern fiction: Marjorie, the pretty seventeen-year-old who left the respectability of New York's Central Park West to join the theater, live in the teeming streets of Greenwich Village, and seek love in the arms of a brilliant, enigmatic writer. In this memorable novel, Herman Wouk, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has created a story as universal, as sensitive, and as unmistakably authentic as any ever told.

Native Son by Richard Wright Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral that will lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration, poverty, and incomprehension. As a young black man in the Chicago of the '30s, he has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism that

surround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment of panic, these walls begin to close in. There is no help for him--not from his hapless family; not from liberal do-gooders or from his well-meaning yet naive friend Jan; certainly not from the police, prosecutors, or judges. Bigger is debased, aggressive, dangerous, and a violent criminal. As such, he has no claim upon our compassion or sympathy. And yet...

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton This is a deeply moving study of the tyrannical and rigid requirements of New York high society in the late 19th century and the effect of those strictures on the lives of three people. Vividly characterized drama of affection thwarted by a man’s sense of honor, family, and societal pressures. A long-time favorite with readers and critics alike.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck A poignant tale about the life and labors of a Chinese farmer during the sweeping reign of the country’s last emperor.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal—a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

**All book summaries were gathered from Amazon.com.

Comments