At or Above Lexile:
Forgotten Fire Bagdasarian, Adam (1050)
Based on the experiences of the author's great-uncle during the Armenian Holocaust, this novel is the story of the youngest son of an influential Armenian family who discovers inside himself reserves of strength and courage he did not know existed.
Mostly Harmless Adams, Douglas (970)
In the fifth volume of the Hitchhiker series, Random, the daughter of Arthur Dent, leaves her remote home planet on the edge of the universe to set out a cross-galactic odyssey in search of her ancestors' native planet.
Hound of the Baskervilles Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan (1090)
The recent death of Sir Charles Baskerville stirs up a dangerous business. For the "luminous, ghastly, and spectral" hound of the family legend has been seen roaming the moors at night, and it appears that the new baronet has inherited, along with the ancient house and vast wealth of his family, a dreadful destiny. .
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Anderson, M.T. (1090)
He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother a princess in exile from a faraway land are the only persons in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments and his own chilling role in them. Set against the disquiet of Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson's extraordinary novel takes place at a time when American Patriots rioted and battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim.
The Diary of Anne Frank Frank, Anne (1080)
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic -- a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annex" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Running Scared Dygard, Thomas (1010)
A football coach whose job is on the line discovers a talented quarterback who is afraid to run.
Eva Dickinson, Peter (1010)
After a terrible accident, a young girl wakes up to discover that she has been given the body of a chimpanzee.
Shockwave Cussler, Clive (1010)
Dirk Pitt® is the world's greatest adventure hero -- a man of action who lives by his wits and daring. As Special Projects Director for the U.S. National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), he is cool and courageous, with a love of fast cars and extreme danger.
The Sledding Hill Crutcher, Chris (1010)
Billy, recently deceased, keeps an eye on his best friend, fourteen-year-old Eddie, and helps him stand up to a conservative minister and English teacher who is orchestrating a censorship challenge.
King of Shadows Cooper, Susan (1010)
While in London as part of an all-boy acting company preparing to perform in a replica of the famous Globe Theatre, Nat Field suddenly finds himself transported back to 1599 and performing in the original theater under the tutelage of Shakespeare himself.
What Jamie Saw Coman, Carolyn (1010)
Having fled to a family friend's hillside trailer after his mother's boyfriend tried to throw his baby sister against a wall, nine-year-old Jamie finds himself living an existence full of uncertainty and fear.
Wereling Feasey, Steve (1050)
Fourteen-year-old Trey Laporte is not a kid anymore. Not after the day he wakes up in agony—retina-splitting, vomit-inducing agony. His clothes are torn. His room is trashed. Enter Lucien Charron, the mysterious, long-lost “uncle” with freakish fire-flecked eyes and skin that blisters in the sun. Suddenly, Trey finds himself living in a luxury penthouse at the heart of a strange and sinister empire built on the powers of the Netherworld—vampires, demons, sorcerers, and djinn. And there is a girl—Alexa Charron—who is half vampire, half human, and insanely pretty, with powers all of her own. Trey is falling for her. Trey is training night and day to control the newly discovered power lurking inside him. Now, demons are closing in on every side, and the most psychopathic bloodsucker to rock the Netherworld wants to destroy him.
Eldest Paolini, Christopher (970)
Darkness falls...despair abounds...evil reigns... Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn't know whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battleone that might put Eragon in even graver danger. Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance?
Brisingr Paolini, Christopher (1050)
Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep. First is Eragon's oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran's beloved from King Galbatorix's clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength-as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices-choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice. In Eragon lies the greatest hope for a better Alagaeuml;sia. Can this once simple farm boy rise to become the leader he must to unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?Iron Hand
Having upset the balance between the warring statues of London, twelve-year-old George is confronted with new challenges as he tries to free his captured friends Edie and The Gunner from the formidable Walker and deal with the three strange veins of marble, bronze, and stone that have begun to grow out of his hand.
City of the Beasts Allende, Isabelle (1030)
Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast.But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery. . . .
Kingdom of the Golden Dragon Allende, Isabelle (1080)
Sixteen-year-old Alexander Cold and his friend Nadia accompany his grandmother, a writer for a geography magazine, to a remote forbidden kingdom in the Himalayas. They search for a sacred Golden Dragon statue before it is stolen by a greedy outsider. Along their journey, the group is aided by a Buddhist monk, a young royal disciple, and a tribe of Yeti warriors.
Sword of the Rightful King Yolen, Jane (1010)
The newly crowned King Arthur is unsure of himself; worse, the people are unsure of him. Too many people want the throne, and treachery is everywhere. Merlin must do something before the king is betrayed, or murdered, or--worst of all--gets married. So Merlin magically places a sword into a slab of rock, lets it be known that whosoever removes the blade will rule all of England, and invites any man who would dare, to try to pull out the sword.After a bit of showmanship, Arthur will draw the blade (with a little magical help, of course), and the people will rally around the young king. Except someone else pulls the sword out first. . .
Fields of Fury McPherson, James M. (970)
From the initial Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, to the devastating loss of life at Shiloh as Ulysses S. Grant led the Union to unexpected victory, to the brilliance of Stonewall Jackson's campaign at Shenandoah, to General Pickett's famous charge at Gettysburg, to the Union's triumph at Appo-mattox Court House, Fields of Fury details the war that helped shape us as a nation. Also included are personal anecdotes from the soldiers at the battlefront and the civilians at home, as well as profiles of historical luminaries such as Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Ulysses S. Grant. McPherson also explores the varied roles that women played during the war, healthcare on the battlefield, and the demise of slavery. McPherson's narrative is highlighted with black-and-white photographs taken by Civil War photographers Mathew Brady and Timothy O'Sullivan, period oil paintings, and key campaign and battlefield maps, that make Fields of Fury the consummate book on the American Civil War for kids.
Princess in Waiting Cabot, Meg (970)
Never before has the world seen such a princess. Nor have her own subjects, for that matter. Mia's royal introduction to Genovia has mixed results: while her fashion sense is widely applauded, her position on the installation of public parking meters is met with resistance. But the politics of bureaucracy are nothing next to Mia's real troubles. Between canceled dates with her long-sought-after royal consort, a second semester of the dreaded Algebra, more princess lessons from Grandm re as a result of the Genovian parking-meter thing, and the inability to stop gnawing on her fingernails, isn't there anything Mia is good at besides inheriting an unwanted royal title?
The Monstrumologist Yancy, Richard (990)
In 1888, twelve-year-old Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, a scientist who hunts and studies real-life monsters, as they discover and attempt to destroy a pod of Anthropophagi.
Left for Dead Nelson, Peter (1260)
This book recalls the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis at the end of World War II, the navy cover-up and unfair court martial of the ship's captain, and how a young boy helped the survivors set the record straight fifty-five years later.
Saving Zoe Noel, Alyson (1040)
In Alyson Noël's newest teen novel, one sister's secrets save the other's life--in more ways than one. Meet fifteen-year-old Echo, a typical teen trying to survive high school without being totally traumatized by boy trouble, friend drama, and school issues. As if she didn't have enough on her plate, Echo is also still dealing with the murder of her sister Zoë. Although it's been over a year, Echo is still reeling from tragedy that changed everything. Beautiful and full of life, Zoë was the glue that held her family together, and although the two sisters were as different as night and day, they still had a bond that Echo can't let go of. When Zoë's old boyfriend Marc shows up one day with Zoë's diary, Echo doesn't think there's anything in there she doesn't already know. But as she gives in to curiosity and starts reading, she learns that her sister led a secret life that no one could have guessed--not even Echo.
Lord Sunday Nix, Garth (980)
As Arthur Penhaligon seeks to find the seventh key, complete his quest to save the Kingdom to which he is heir, and learn his true identity, he discovers that he has a greater purpose than he could have imagined.
Savvy Law, Ingrid (1070)
Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.
Missing May Rylant, Cynthia (980)
After the death of the beloved aunt who has raised her, twelve-year-old Summer and her uncle Ob leave their West Virginia trailer in search of the strength to go on living.
Knots in My Yo-Yo String Spinelli, Jerry (980)
This Italian-American Newbery Medalist presents a humorous account of his childhood and youth in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
My Life in Dog Years Paulsen, Gary (1150)
The author describes how dogs have impacted his life from childhood through the present day, recounting the stories of his first dog, Snowball, in the Philippines; Dirk, who protected him from bullies; and Cookie, who saved his life.
Guts Paulsen, Gary (1230)
The author relates incidents in his life and how they inspired parts of his books about the character, Brian Robeson.
The Foxman Paulsen, Gary (1090)
A town boy sent to live on a remote wilderness farm forms a friendship with an elderly, disfigured man who teaches him many things.
The Rifle Paulsen, Gary (1480)
A priceless, handcrafted rifle, fired throughout the American Revolution, is forgotten in a farmhouse attic until the fateful Christmas Eve of 1994.
Caught by the Sea Paulsen, Gary (1210)
For use in schools and libraries only. Falling in love with the ocean set Gary Paulsen on a lifelong learning curve, and readers will understand why his passion has lasted to this day.
The Quilt Paulsen, Gary (1160)
During World War II, while his father is in Europe fighting and his mother is working in Chicago, a six-year-old boy goes to live with his grandmother in a rural Norwegian American community in Minnesota.
A Christmas Sonata Paulsen, Gary (1010)
When a little boy spends Christmas with his dying cousin, they discover that Santa really does exist.
Tunnels Gordon, Roderick (990)
When Will Burrows and his friend Chester embark on a quest to find Will's archaeologist father, who has inexplicably disappeared, they are led to a labyrinthine world underneath London, full of sinister inhabitants with evil intentions toward "Topsoilers" like Will and his father.
Revolution Jennifer Donnelly
Two girls, two centuries and an ocean apart, are thrust together in this gripping novel by the award-winning author of A Northern Light. Brooklyn high school student Andi Alpers feels at the end of several tethers when her father rescues her for a winter break excursion to France. When the ever-curious Andi discovers the ragged journal of an ill-fated Parisian actress, she falls under its thrall. When that emotional connection jolts into the presence, Alpers matures in sudden, unexpected ways.
Fat Kid Rules the World K.L. Going
Actor Matthew Lillard (Scooby Doo, Scream) is briefly accompanied by punk rock music as he reads K. L. Going's novel with expression, enthusiasm, and emotion (Putnam, 2003). Lillard narrates clearly and fluidly, changing his voice for each character and making each role convincing. Troy, a 17-year-old 298 pound "Fat Kid," is considering suicide, but can't think of an approach that won't be funny to those who stifle giggles when they see him carry out everyday tasks. Deep in thought, Troy doesn't notice Curt watching him. Curt interrupts and claims that Troy owes him lunch in exchange for saving his life. Going named Curt after Kurt Cobain, an appropriate namesake for this troubled, genius guitar player determined to form a punk rock band. Curt is convinced Troy is the ideal drummer-except that Troy can't play the drums. These imperfect, but lovable and sometimes funny characters, developed through off-the-wall, powerful descriptions, create a realistic picture of the teen punk music world. Through some difficult life lessons, Curt inspires Troy to see himself differently. Ultimately, though, Troy finds his own path to self-confidence by reaching beyond himself to the needs of others, especially Curt. The poignant relationship is reminiscent of Holes, Of Mice and Men, and Freak the Mighty. The few female characters are portrayed as sexual objects, except for Troy's mother who died of cancer, and Curt's mother who wants nothing to do with him. Sexual references, negative portrayals of adults for most of the novel, and excessive use of expletives, especially the "f word," make this novel most appropriate for individual listening.
Night Hoops Carl Deuker
Nick Abbott finds himself trying to deal with his parent's divorce and a host of other problems that face him during his sophomore year. He wants above all else to be a star player on his high school basketball team. As the story progresses, Nick learns how to control the tempo of a game as a point guard, and he also begins to reach a greater maturity in his life. Central to the story is his relationship with his disturbed and angry teammate and neighbor, Trent Dawson. The young men form an uneasy bond as they quietly practice each night on Nick's backyard court. Eventually, they become a dominating duo on the court, with Trent's aggressiveness complemented by Nick's feel for the game. This is an excellent novel. Nick's first-person narration is authentic throughout. The author perfectly captures the swirl of ideas in the adolescent mind. The descriptions of the games are well written and accurate. Best of all, the complexities of basketball are contrasted with the complexities of life. Nick learns how important it is to make adjustments during the course of a game, and he learns that adjustments are also important in life. This message is imparted subtly, though. Deuker delivers a story that features rounded characters dealing with real problems, set against the backdrop of a varsity basketball season.
Eagle blue : a team, a tribe, and a high school basketball season in Arctic Alaska Michael D’Orso
Eight miles above the Arctic Circle, there's a village with no roads leading to it, but a high school basketball tradition that lights up winter's darkness and a team of native Alaskan boys who know "no quit." D'Orso (coauthor of Like No Other Time with Tom Daschle) follows the Fort Yukon Eagles through their 2005 season to the state championship, shifting between a mesmerizing narrative and the thoughts of the players, their coach and their fans. What emerges is more than a sports story; it's a striking portrait of a community consisting of a traditional culture bombarded with modernity, where alcoholism, domestic violence and school dropout rates run wild. One player compares Fort Yukon to a bucket of crabs: "If one crab gets a claw-hold on the edge... and starts to pull itself out, the others will reach up and grab it and pull it back down." Among D'Orso's unusual characters are the woman who built a public library in her home, the families who adopt abandoned children, and, of course, the boys for whom "hard" has an entirely different meaning (e.g., regularly trudging through "icy darkness" to board flights to Fairbanks for games). With a ghostlike presence, D'Orso lends a voice to a place that deserves to be known.
The First Part Last Angela Johnson
Brief, poetic, and absolutely riveting, this gem of a novel tells the story of a young father struggling to raise an infant. Bobby, 16, is a sensitive and intelligent narrator. His parents are supportive but refuse to take over the child-care duties, so he struggles to balance parenting, school, and friends who don't comprehend his new role. Alternate chapters go back to the story of Bobby's relationship with his girlfriend Nia and how parents and friends reacted to the news of her pregnancy. Bobby's parents are well-developed characters, Nia's upper-class family somewhat less so. Flashbacks lead to the revelation in the final chapters that Nia is in an irreversible coma caused by eclampsia. This twist, which explains why Bobby is raising Feather on his own against the advice of both families, seems melodramatic. So does a chapter in which Bobby snaps from the pressure and spends an entire day spray painting a picture on a brick wall, only to be arrested for vandalism. However, any flaws in the plot are overshadowed by the beautiful writing. Scenes in which Bobby expresses his love for his daughter are breathtaking. Teens who enjoyed Margaret Bechard's Hanging on to Max (Millbrook, 2002) will love this book, too, despite very different conclusions.
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game Michael Lewis
"The young man at the center of this story will one day be among the most highly paid athletes in the National Football League. When we first meet him, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or any of the things a child might learn in school - such as, say, how to read or write. Nor has he ever touched a football." "What changes? He takes up football, and school, after a rich, Evangelical, Republican family plucks him from the mean streets. Their love is the first great force that alters the world's perception of the boy, whom they adopt. The second force is the evolution of professional football itself into a game where the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist turns out to be the priceless combination of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback's greatest vulnerability: his blind side."
Son of the Mob Gordon Korman
Vince Luca is just like any other high-school guy. His best friend, Alex, is vicariously trying to score through him; his brother is a giant pain; and his father keeps bugging him to get motivated. There is just one thing that really sets him apart from other kids - his father happens to be the head of a powerful crime organization.
The Rules of Survival Nancy Werlin
Werlin tackles the topic of child abuse with grace and insight. Narrated by 17-year-old Matt as a letter to his youngest sister, Emmy, The Rules of Survival is his effort to come to terms with the vicious treatment he and his two sisters suffered at the hands of Nikki, their beautiful and unpredictable mother. One of Matts early memories involves getting up during the night to sneak a cookie back to bed and being caught by his mother. Giggling and yelling Cookie thief, she holds a knife to his throat, cutting him just a little bit to teach him not to steal. As much as he fears her manic highs and lows, his greater concern as he grows older is for the safety of his sisters. He and Callie shield Emmy as much as possible from Nikkis volatile moods. Compounding the problem are the adults in their lives–their father and their aunt–who recognize Nikkis instability but find it easier to look the other way. When Nikkis ex-boyfriend Murdoch befriends the children, they want to believe that a more normal future is possible, but are afraid of being disappointed by an adult yet again. The characters captivate readers from the beginning, and short, terse chapters move the plot along with an intensity that will appeal to seasoned Werlin fans and reluctant readers alike. Teens will empathize with these siblings and the secrets they keep in this psychological horror story.
Knights of the Hill Country Tim Tharp
Teachers don’t recognize his smarts, he struggles with his mothers unsuccessful romantic relationships, and he is unsure of himself around girls, but when senior football star Hampton Green is on the field, everything clicks. His Oklahoma team, the Kennisaw Knights, has a five-year winning streak they are trying to take to the record books by securing the state championship one more time. Hamptons best friend, Blaine, has a shallow relationship with the prettiest girl in school and tries to drag Hampton into a similar stereotypical dating scene. Hampton, however, finds himself attracted to self-assured, intelligent Sara, whom Blaine says is not good for his image. As the championship unfolds, things get tense, and Blaine drags Hampton into a confrontation with an enemy from the opposing team, during which Blaine pulls a gun and Hampton must finally assert himself. The teens voice comes in loud and clear, revealing a sensitive, likable character. Hamptons budding romance with Sara is touching and adds an interesting dimension. The conquering of insecurities and gradual self-realization Hampton experiences are reminiscent of Bert Bowden in Terry Daviss If Rock and Roll Were a Machine (Delacorte, 1992), and readers will root as much for his team as for Hampton to be true to himself. The dynamic football scenes will draw readers who enjoyed H. G. Bissingers Friday Night Lights (Da Capo, 2000). The covers hazy silhouette of a football player reflects the strong character inside who will eventually bring his own hazy life into focus.
The World Made Straight Ron Rash
Rash's finely wrought third novel (after Saints at the River) follows the wayward trajectory of high school dropout Travis Shelton, who stumbles on a neighbor's crop of marijuana while out fishing in Madison County, N.C. He steals a few plants to sell to Leonard Shuler, a divorced and disgraced former high school teacher, who is living in a trailer and selling drugs. Travis has a violent run-in with the father-and-son Toomeys, who own the crop, and is left hospitalized and homeless. He moves in with Leonard and his pill-popping girlfriend. There, Travis and Leonard study the Civil War ledgers and journals of a Dr. Candler, and learn of the county's seismic upheaval during the Shelton Laurel Massacre and its aftermath. Meanwhile, the Toomeys, who do business with Leonard, are not finished exacting their pound of flesh, this time from Leonard. Rash's vivid prose depicts his characters' dependence on drugs, alcohol and hell-raising with sympathy, rendering their shared sense of futility and economic entrapment without sentimentality or easy answers. The Civil War sections are less successful, but they convey the past's hold on the present and ground Rash's Appalachian wanderers in a shared vision of American immobility.
Fever 1793 Laurie Halse Anderson
The opening scene of Anderson's ambitious novel about the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Philadelphia in the late 18th century shows a hint of the gallows humor and insight of her previous novel, Speak. Sixteen-year-old Matilda "Mattie" Cook awakens in the sweltering summer heat on August 16th, 1793, to her mother's command to rouse and with a mosquito buzzing in her ear. She shoos her cat from her mother's favorite quilt and thinks to herself, "I had just saved her precious quilt from disaster, but would she appreciate it? Of course not." Mattie's wit again shines through several chapters later during a visit to her wealthy neighbors' house, the Ogilvies. Having refused to let their serving girl, Eliza, coif her for the occasion, Mattie regrets it as soon as she lays eyes on the Ogilvie sisters, who wear matching bombazine gowns, curly hair piled high on their heads ("I should have let Eliza curl my hair. Dash it all"). But thereafter, Mattie's character development, as well as those of her grandfather and widowed mother, takes a back seat to the historical details of Philadelphia and environs. Extremely well researched, Anderson's novel paints a vivid picture of the seedy waterfront, the devastation the disease wreaks on a once thriving city, and the bitterness of neighbor toward neighbor as those suspected of infection are physically cast aside. However, these larger scale views take precedence over the kind of intimate scenes that Anderson crafted so masterfully in Speak. Scenes of historical significance, such as George Washington returning to Philadelphia, then the nation's capital, to signify the end of the epidemic are delivered with more impact than scenes of great personal significance to Mattie.
Skate Michael Harmon
Grade 8 Up–Ian McDermott doesn't have much going for him. He has basically raised himself and his young brother, who has fetal alcohol syndrome. Their mother is a deadbeat drug addict who makes rare appearances in their lives. At Morrison High School, things aren't much better; the administration wants him out. The thing is, Ian isn't going to take any guff from anyone. But one day, he loses his cool and ends up breaking Coach Florence's jaw. The teen knows that he and Sammy have to get away fast before the cops catch up with him. They grab some meager supplies and skate out of Spokane toward Walla Walla to search for their estranged father. Surviving on the lam in the wilderness isn't easy. They cross the state in cold rain, with barely enough provisions. At one point they end up in trouble with a sheriff but escape. The brothers have high hopes that their father will welcome them into his life, but things do not turn out as planned. The author has created a main character who is confident and tragic, but too many convenient coincidences detract from the story being completely believable. Ian's most redeeming quality is the love he has for his brother. The ending is predictable, and the novel does not have the zip that makes it extraordinary, but it does allow readers to breathe a sigh of relief for these siblings.