Psychology professor Odin Fruder has had it. He designs a very special project for his most disruptive students.
One minute Jack's in math class. The next, he's on a dark, cobblestoned, empty street. Empty, that is, except for a skinny girl wrapped in a threadbare shawl. "Matches, mister?" she asks, and just like that, Jack's life collides with one of Hans Christian Andersen's grimmest tales. And just when he has almost convinced himself it was just a weird dream, it happens again. Suddenly, Jack's ideas about what is "real" or "possible" no longer apply. While he and his new girlfriend, Lucy, struggle to understand who or what the Match Girl is, they come to realize they must also find a way to keep Jack away from her. The Match Girl is not just a sad, lonely soul; she's dangerous. And each time Jack is drawn into her gray, solitary world, she becomes stronger, more alive...and more attached to Jack. She wants to keep Jack for her very own, even if that means he will die.
Eight teens are dropped off on a remote west-coast island for a week-long treatment program called INTRO (Into Nature to Renew Ourselves). The story is told by two of them: Alice, whose police-officer mother believes Alice might have a substance-abuse problem, and Caleb, who assaulted his abusive stepfather. They are joined by six other miscreants and three staff: a psychologist, a social worker and an ex-cop. On the first night, one of the girls disappears from her cabin. There is a panicked search of the island, but she is nowhere to be found. The adults seem oddly ineffectual in dealing with the crisis and then the ex-cop gets sick and dies. The radio has been sabotaged, and there is no way to call for help. When the social worker also becomes ill, the kids decide to take matters into their own hands and track down the killer.
Kallie Echo is starting to think dreams are dangerous. Her dad had one to be a rock star and then he died. Now Kallie is practically homeless and her life is falling apart. So when a punk band asks Kallie to sing for them, she must decide if she's got the heart to front a band of rocker chicks (and one trans guy). Can she find a new purpose in punk? And will the drummer with the amazing smile break her heart?The band goes on tour, and everything hinges on Kallie. It's a lot of pressure especially when you throw in substance abuse and Kallie's deadbeat mom showing up at the worst time. Kallie must learn to trust her friends, and herself, if she's going to get over the past and make a new future. But if she dares to dream again, will she lose it all?
Riley and Dashawn have been friends since they were three. They got into skateboarding together and have advanced to the point where it's time to create a Sponsor Me tape. They bring a third skater along, Natasha, and try to get some good clips around a new office development. Then the police storm into the lot. The three skaters quickly scatter, trying their best not to get busted. Riley and Natasha arrive at the meet-up spot. They wait and wait, but Dashawn never shows. The next day Riley visits Dashawn, only to discover that the police have given him a beat-down. Nothing like this has ever happened before, and for Riley it is a wake-up call that whether they know it or not, not everyone lives in the same world he does.
Sixteen-year-old Tom LeFave is trying to hold his world together. His family's marina is struggling. His dad is full of secrets. And the quarterback of the football team hates his guts. When a huge yacht docks at Tom's marina, things look brighter, especially when he meets Kat, the daughter of the boat's owner. Kat and Tom share a love of rum-running history. It's not long, however, before Tom starts to realize there's something more than history happening on the river. And if Tom can't figure it out in time, he just might be history too.
Fifteen-year-old Megan Cause Queen Caliente is president of the political science club and likes to make her voice heard. But after the protest she organized on the Las Vegas Strip takes an unexpected turn, she is suddenly wishing she could disappear. When her mother comes to pick her up at the police station, Megan learns, to her horror, that her whole life has been a lie. Her father is a convicted terrorist, responsible for the deaths of more than two hundred people, and her mother has been living under an assumed name for fifteen years. Megans mom is taken away in handcuffs, and Megan is expected to return to her regular life under the supervision of her aunt. But everyone, students and teachers alike, is treating her differently now. Cruel accusations and gossip, as well as persistent reporters, follow her everywhere. Worried that she is destined to follow in her fathers footsteps, Megan, with the help of the charismatic Matt Mendez, the only person at school who hasnt turned on her, decides to track down the father she thought was dead and get some answers.