The summer 11-year-old Violet expects to be dead and dull turns out to be just the opposite when she finally meets the black grandmother she never knew. Starting with the appealing honey-colored face on the cover, this coming-of-age book directly addresses the issue of race: how it feels to be a bi-racial child. Moving and affirmative. 10-14?, for us, but this is a true 8-12 book. Ten to Fourteen. Kathy Isaacs
Twins Josh and Jordan learned a love of basketball through their father, a former professional player. Their playing is all team work until Jordan meets a girl, and their father develops health problems. A story told in verse, it brims with energy for sports and family. Moved to 10-14 from 14 and up.
After a year of bad luck, Summer hopes her fortune will change, but a family emergency requires her parents’ presence in Japan. Summer learns to make her own luck by helping her strict grandparents work a grueling Midwestern wheat harvest.
Twelve-year-old Willow Chance’s genius makes life harder after her adoptive parents die in a car accident. Her observer/outsider status allows for humor, solace, and surprise as she finds both friends and strangers who care about her and each other.
Abducted Carey and Janessa hide from the world trying to cope during their mother’s absences. After a social worker discovers them and returns them to their father, the lies Carey’s mother told her about their father continue to haunt her.
Funny, smart, and hard working Deza Malone, from Bud, Not Buddy, has to rely on her talents when her Dad goes missing and her Mom loses her job during the Great Depression. Turpin’s narration covers the gamut of emotions, distinguishing each character and bringing Deza’s intelligence and humor to life. The novel fulfills qualities of a superb story punctuated with both laughter and tears. (10-14)
The loss of her mother and grandmother as well as her family home in hurricane Katrina nearly devastates Laurel. Her attempt to cope with the pain sends her to the depths of despair and near death through her addiction to methamphetamine (“moon”).
Caught in the act of scaling a skyscraper, 14-year-old Peak goes to Thailand with his mountain-climbing father, a man determined to lead the youngest-ever climber to the top of Mount Everest. Nail-biting suspense and terrific climbing details abound.
After an accident, motherless Jack is sent to New York to see a specialist. There he is pulled into a ghostly underworld where he hopes to rejoin his mother. This new take on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice makes rewarding reading.