In 1920s Oregon, eugenics is legal, mixed-race marriage is not. Gay men are an abomination and the KKK is on the rise. Told in the vein of Hamlet, Cat Winters creates a fast-paced narrative that drags the reader into this horrific period of time in Oregon where only the ghost knows the truth and the main characters' lives hang in the balance. This story reminds readers of how racist and homophobic our past truly was and that we used eugenics before Hitler did. Fourteen and up. Ruth Compton
Chinese American teen, Mercy Wong lives in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1906. She dreams of getting an education at an elite girl’s boarding school, St. Clare’s. Her ambition, intelligence, and determination get her there, despite her heritage and family expectations. She faces discrimination and resistance from fellow students but when the now infamous earthquake of 1906 hits San Francisco destroying the school and much of the city, Mercy and the St. Clare’s girls must work together to survive this tragedy. Strong female characters and clever dialogue abound in this well-developed historical fiction novel. Fourteen and Up. K. Troch
Botille, a tavern girl finds Dolssa lying almost dead by the side of the river. From there, their lives become intertwined in this evocative story of love, faith/heresy, and friendship during medieval France. The three narrators add additional depth by placing listeners right in the middle of France where faith based on fear runs rampant and destroys people's lives. Ruth Compton. Audiobook. 14+
A co-worker described this as the Revenant for kids. Joseph Johnson endures all sorts of trials and adventures after the loos of his family. The final blow is the underhanded sale of his horse, Sarah, by an unscrupulous caregiver. Joseph sets out to get Sarah back through the Northwest wilderness. Along the way he encounters those who would help and hinder. The narrator gives voice to this young man on his quest. This would be a great car trip book for tweens. Jenny Carroll. (10 to 14)
Dutch teen Hanneke works as a black market delivery girl in Amsterdam, 1943. During one of her routine stops, she is asked by one of her customers to find a missing Jewish teenager who disappeared from her hiding place. Hanneke agrees to help locate the missing teen and enlists the help of a local resistance group. She balances her determination to find the missing teen, her grief over her deceased boyfriend, the lies she tells her family, doing what is right despite the dangers,Nazi brutality, and simply surviving in wartime. An excellent choice for those interested in World War II, European history and/or mysteries. K. Troch. 14 and up.
After the death of her beloved mother, lively Inge Marie moves from Copenhagen to the remote island of Bornholm to live with her stern grandmother. Among other zany experiences, Inge Marie’s antics lead to a turkey in her bed and to a parade of cats following her fish scented body around town after she napped in the fish smoke house. Her exuberance brings new life and joy to her grandmother and to the island residents. This fun book, set in Denmark in 1911, gently deals with loss, homelessness, and small community life in a child-friendly way. 7-10. Lisa Cosgrove-Davies
Rural Alaska in 1970 isn't the most uplifting place to spend your teenage years. Ruth hides a secret she can't keep for much longer, and even a cold stroke of luck may not be enough to save Dora. Alyce dreams of dancing somewhere other than on the familiar decks of her family's fishing boat, while Hank, headed for safety, stumbles into serious danger. These four teenagers, voiced quietly and alternatingly by an array of convincing narrators, find their lives interwoven as each abandons the familiar in search of secure passage into adulthood. ~ Kit Ballenger
Four strangers' lives intertwine as World World II draws to a close. Each young adult carries a secret but must trust the others in order to survive. Short chapters and alternating perspectives immerse you in their icy, perilous trek, and Sepetys captures the commonality of humanity in the context of a little-known naval tragedy during the evacuation of (then) East Prussia. Fourteen and Up. Kit Ballenger
This vivid depiction of Malcolm X's life as a child and young adult follows him from the Great Depression to post World War II Harlem, as he moved from Lansing, Michigan, to Boston, Harlem and then returned to Boston, and prison.