Taylor and his mother have moved from a small northern town to the heart of Toronto. The differences are dramatic as Taylor becomes part of a classroom of kids as diverse as the city itself. While taking a shortcut across a junkyard with his new best friend, Simon, Taylor becomes aware of a colony of wild cats that make the junkyard their home. Assisted by his classmates, teacher and the security guard, Mr. Singh, Taylor takes a special interest in caring for the cats. Suddenly there is an announcement-the junkyard is being redeveloped to become condominiums. Can Taylor and his friends save the cats of the colony from certain death?
Ellie and her little brother Max find themselves moving from their grandmother's comfortable home in England to Upper Canada. Their mother is dead, Father wants to start over again, and in 1835 there are many opportunities for settlers in British North America. Despite the strangeness of this vast new world, Ellie is sure things will turn out all right, as long as the family stays together. But once they are in Upper Canada, Father leaves Ellie and Max with strangers on an isolated homestead, while he goes on ahead to find land and build a cabin. Although the mother and father are kind to her, Ellie makes an enemy of their daughter Mary, who is insulted by the newcomer's distant manners, fine clothes and talk of her London home. Ellie's loneliness and discomfort, however, gradually turns into a growing fear. Where is Father? Why hasn't he come back to them? A gripping story for young readers that explored the world of early settlers.
Marta is an outsider at school. Partly because she chooses to be. With parents who were once farmworkers, she was used to moving a lot. It was hard to make friends. Though now the family is settled, trouble seems to follow her. To escape, she draws. Her art teacher thinks she has a gift. He signs her up for a program in another city. As she leaves behind the drama back home, she encounters other places, people, and events that are just as dramatic and even dangerous. Her drawings seem to be responsible. This series of books was designed specifically for struggling teen readers. The contemporary fiction is written at accessible levels and provides substantive content without being edgy. The relatable plots appeal to teens, especially those who are reluctant to read. Books in the series quickly grab their interest with fast-paced storylines that feature realistic, sometimes larger-than-life teen characters readers can identify with or would like to know. Then there is an unexpected twist. The characters' lives are suddenly on the edgeÑof fame, fear, or even sanity. What starts out as fun or routine becomes a nightmare, real or imagined. As characters are tested in mind, body, and spirit, readers have a sense of being there to experience the adventure.
It's hard enough for Eve to adjust to a new high school without the extra weight she's gained over the summer. Her best friend is ashamed to hang out with her, and she's become the focus of a schoolmate's cruelty. Determined not to be "that pathetic fat girl" at school, Eve struggles with a diet and forces herself to join a mentoring program. The diet only makes her food obsessed, and she feels she is failing as a mentor. How can a lonely fat girl gain the confidence she needs to succeed?
Justin is fascinated with the aged guard dog at the corner store. He names it Smokey and sneaks the dog treats. Smokey belongs to a company that supplies working dogs to local businesses. Justin is thrilled to get a job working for Smokey's company, until he learns about the mistreatment of the animals. When Justin can't shake his suspicion that someone in the company is involved in a rash of thefts, he tries to quit. But Justin knows too much, and his boss won't let him go.
On her seventh birthday, Pauline rode across the lawns on her street followed by her best friend Henry, he on the blue wooden horse, she on the red. On the seventh lawn at the top of the street, she collapsed, becoming a sudden victim of the polio outbreak of the summer of 1954. Five years later, when In the Clear begins, she has survived, but paid a heavy price. A brace on her left leg allows her to walk, but she confines herself to her house, humiliated at the notion of being seen. Terrified by what Pauline has already suffered, her mother watches over her, forbidding her to play hockey on the ice rink her father has created in the backyard. In the Clear alternates, chapter by chapter, between Pauline's horror-filled year in the hospital five years earlier and her struggles to adapt in the present of 1959 and 1960. At the end of the book, her triumphs in past and present come together and she is able to move forward with new friendships, a renewed bond with her mother and, most important, a new faith in herself.
In most ways, Poe is like the other kids in his school. He thinks about girls and tries to avoid too much contact with teachers. He has a loving father who helps him with his homework. But Poe has a secret, and almost every day some small act threatens to expose him. He doesn't have a phone number to give to friends. He doesn't have an address. Poe and his father are living in a tent on city land. When the city clears the land to build housing, Poe worries that they might not be able to find another site near his school. Will Poe have to expose his secret to get help for himself and his father?