ANDERSON, M. T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Volume I: The Pox Party. Gr 9 Up–A black youngster raised and educated in a household of philosophers in pre-Revolutionary War Boston learns that despite his seemingly privileged life, he’s actually a slave–and the subject of a scientific experiment to quantify the intelligence of Africans.
BROOKS, Kevin. The Road of the Dead. Gr 8 Up–Even before his sister’s body is found on the moors, 14-year-old Ruben Ford instinctively knows that she is dead, and he and his 17-year-old brother, tough guy Cole, set off to find her killer.
DRAPER, Sharon M. Copper Sun. Gr 8 Up–A 15-year-old Ashanti girl endures physical torture and unspeakable sorrow as she is torn away from her homeland and transported to the Carolinas as a slave.
FROST, Helen. The Braid. Gr 8 Up–The intertwined stories of two Scottish sisters who were separated by circumstances and who live on opposite sides of the Atlantic in the 1850s is presented in alternating narrative poems.
GARDEN, Nancy. Endgame. Gr 9 Up–Fifteen-year-old Gray is bullied, taunted, and physically abused, until he finally cracks and starts shooting.
GOING, K. L. Saint Iggy. Gr 9 Up–Iggy Corso, born addicted to crack, is now 16 and without parental support. When he gets suspended from school, an older friend’s wealthy mother tries to come to his aid but creates a whole new set of problems for him.
JOHNSON, Harriet McBryde. Accidents of Nature. Gr 8 Up–Jean, who has cerebral palsy, has always viewed herself as “normal”; however, when she attends a summer camp for teens with disabilities, a new friend inspires her to question her perceptions and see herselfand the world with open eyes.
KLASS, David. Firestorm. Farrar/Frances Gr 8 Up–In this breakneck-paced eco-thriller, 17-year-old Jack Danielson rudely learns that he is not an all-American teen, but is a visitor from the future who has been sent to save the planet–if he can stay alive.
LEVINE, Gail Carson. Fairest. Gr 6 Up–Awkward and unattractive Aza has an amazing voice, and, in a kingdom of singers, is highly admired. When she meets the beautiful but tone-deaf new queen, she is bullied into using her voice to deceive the kingdom.
LYGA, Barry. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Houghton. Gr 9 Up–A love of comics and an active disdain for everyone else in their high school unites two troubled teens.
SHUSTERMAN, Neal. Everlost. Gr 8 Up–A series of accidents has thrown two teens together in Everlost, a limbolike world filled with places and things that no longer exist. They meet Mary Hightower, a guru for lost kids who reside in Manhattan’s Twin Towers, and try to make sense of what being an Afterlight is all about.
STURTEVANT, Katherine. A True and Faithful Narrative. Gr 7 Up–Defying 17th-century conventions (and her father’s wishes), Meg is determined to become an author, so when a would-be suitor returns to London after surviving a harrowing ordeal, she secretly agrees to write his story and soon finds herself reconsidering the truth found in words–and in her heart.
TURNER, Megan Whalen. The King of Attolia. Gr 7 Up–In a slick political and personal maneuver, the former Thief of Eddis has married the Queen of Attolia and must convince her court and her countrymen that he is a competent and caring ruler.
WERLIN, Nancy. The Rules of Survival. Gr 9 Up–Matt and his younger sisters are terrorized by their mother’s volatile temperament while the other adults in their lives look the other way–until a sympathetic stranger becomes the impetus for change.
YANG, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. Gr 7 Up–This heartfelt coming-of-age story, illlustrated with crisp cartoon panels, blends traditional Chinese fables and legends with modern humor and school yard dynamics.
ZUSAK, Markus. The Book Thief. Knopf. Gr 9 Up–Death narrates this brilliantly conceived, vividly realized World War II-era novel set in a small German town.