Warm illustrations convey the deep bond between an old man and his six cats while teaching the reader about the cycle of life.
Ethan is an anxiety-ridden loner who relies on medication to get through his day. During one of his fairly frequent panic attacks, a girl from school named Gabriella comes to his rescue. Gabe, as she prefers to be known, is facing her own inner turmoil. She has always been a tomboy, but the more pressure she faces to act and dress "like a girl," the more she wonders just who she really is. When he learns that Gabe is being constantly harassed at school, Ethan discovers he is able to overcome his own fears in order to stand up for his new friend. Then Gabe finds a disturbing note in her locker, and the threats begin to escalate. Ethan confronts the person responsible, but things take an unexpected turn, and he suddenly finds himself being questioned by police, accused of assault. With a dose of courage and a surprising ally, the two friends come up with a plan to set things right and end up discovering who they really are along the way.
Josie's friend Amanda is missing. But because she's a runaway with a history of drug use and other risky behavior, no one seems to care. Clem, the owner of the community kitchen in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside where Josie works in exchange for food, advises her to just leave well enough alone. Then a young man whose friend is also missing asks her for help. Josie learns that she, along with the other teens who helped her bring down the cop responsible for the death of her entire family, is becoming known on the street as a person who makes sure justice is done. When the battered bodies of homeless teens start filling the city's morgue, Josie and Team Retribution suspect a connection to their missing friends and begin investigating. They discover an underground fight club where at-risk youth are being forced to fight and even kill each other for sport. Josie is captured and may have to enter the ring herself to save her friends.
Mole lives underground but wishes she could catch the sky and bring the cool breeze, and the sun's warmth and light into her home. Her friends, Squirrel, Bird, and Frog, try to help by grabbing handfuls of sky as a special gift for Mole.
Praised by Jack Gantos, author of Dead End in Norvelt, as "a quick read with a kick at the finish," this debut novel sensitively and memorably captures a teen runner's relationship with his autistic older brother. Like most siblings, Leo and Caleb have a complicated relationship. But Caleb's violent outbursts literally send Leo running. When the family is forced to relocate due to Caleb's uncontrollable behavior, Leo tries to settle into a new school, joining the cross-country team and discovering his talent for racing and endurance for distance. Things even begin to look up for Leo when he befriends Curtis, a potential state champion who teaches Leo strategy and introduces him to would-be girlfriend, Mary. But Leo's stability is short-lived as Caleb escalates his attacks on his brother, resentful of his sport successes and new friendships. Leo can't keep running away from his problems. But, with a little help from Curtis and Mary, he can appreciate his worth as a brother and his own capacity for growth, both on and off the field.
Sixteen-year-old Sydney hates to talk (or even think) about sex. She's also fighting a secret battle against depression, and she's sure she'll never have a boyfriend. When her classmate Paul starts texting and sending her nature photos, she is caught off guard by his interest. Always uncomfortable with any talk about sex, Sydney is shocked when her extroverted sister, Abby, announces that she is going to put on The Vagina Monologues at school. Despite her discomfort, Sydney starts to reexamine her relationship with her body, and with Paul. But her depression worsens, and with the help of her friends, her family, a therapist and some medication, she grapples with what she calls the most dangerous thing about sex: female desire.
After another night of girls, music and booze, seventeen-year-old pop star Darius Zaire falls out of bed and lands on the cruddy floor of his old bedroom. No mansion, no luxury cars, no platinum records. Now he's just ordinary Darren Zegers. Some kind of nightmare has erased everything that happened to change Darren the dweeb into Darius the multimillionaire. Now Darius has to face an ordinary day in the twelfth grade, suffering through remedial English and wondering what happened to the last three years, let alone all his fans and money. He desperately wants to return to his old life, but he is starting to worry that maybe this is reality, and it was his other life that was the dream.