While struggling with the death of her beloved adoptive mother, sixteen-year-old Brenna reconnects with members of her biological family, hoping to discover why her biological mother broke off contact many years earlier. At the same time, she is falling in love with Ryan, who provides support while she grieves but has to leave her when she needs him most. Despite powerful feelings of abandonment, Brenna realizes that getting strong physically and focusing on the needs of others might just help her move beyond her crippling grief, find peace and plan a future for herself. Dancing in the Rain continues the story that began in Shelley Hrdlitschka's bestselling Dancing Naked.
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.
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.
For spring break, sixteen-year-old Maya travels from Vancouver to Palm Springs to visit her grandparents, soak up the sun and play some tennis. When they surprise her with tickets to the Indian Wells tennis tournament, she can't believe her luck. This is going to be the best vacation ever. But on the way back from the match they get into a fender bender. The other driver suggests they just square up and not involve the police or insurance companies. That seems odd to Maya, especially since the passenger of the other vehicle is visibly pregnant. But because Maya was driving, her grandfather is worried about repercussions and agrees to the deal. Later, Maya and her new friend Ruby discover that similar incidents have happened to others in her grandparents' gated community. They start to investigate, and when they spot the woman from the crash working in a clothing store, and clearly not pregnant, they know they are onto something.
Toronto homicide detectives Pratt and Ellis are brought in to investigate a series of hit-and-runs. Someone seems to be trying to kill random people using stolen cars. The detectives try to find any connections between the victims that might indicate something else at work. What they discover is beyond their wildest imagining.
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.
Piano tuner and jazz musician Frank Ryan is in Japan teaching bored housewives how to play piano. Then he gets a gig in a trendy underground bar and ends up ensnared with a young woman with a grudge and the crime boss who owns the bar. Drawn into Tokyo Girls vendetta, Frank stumbles into an underworld where transgressions are paid for by the flash of a razor-sharp cleaver. And for a pianist, that's not a good thing. Tokyo Girl is the follow-up to Beethoven's Tenth, featuring reluctant sleuth Frank Ryan.
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. Megan's 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.
Small-town reporter Claire Abbott wakes from a nightmare, convinced a bomb will go off in the local school. And then, strangely enough, there really is a bomb scare. After the school is cleared by police and their sniffer dog, Claire is certain the threat isn't over. People are behaving strangely. Claire believes a bomber will attack the school. But when? And who is the bomber? Claire must track down the culprit and stop him before the bomb goes off. Race Against Time is the third novel in a series of mysteries featuring journalist and sleuth Claire Abbott.
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.
Declan's life in small-town Quebec is defined by his parents' divorce, his older brother's delinquency and his own lackluster performance at school, which lands him with a tutor he calls Little Miss Perfect. He likes his job at the local ice rink, and he has a couple of good buddies, but his father's five-year absence is a constant source of pain and anger. When he finds out the truth about his parents' divorce, he is forced to reconsider everything he has believed about his family and himself.
Peter Strand is half Chinese and half Cherokee and was adopted by an elderly white couple from Phoenix. Now he's a forensic accountant in San Francisco, where he's struggling with his identity. When his employer asks him to investigate a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, Strand meets a cast of quirky characters who all seem to be hiding a secret. Peter soon finds evidence of a probable fraud, but when fraud leads to murder, he's drawn deeper into a murky mystery. The Black Tortoise is the second book in the Peter Strand Mystery series.
Leo sets out to teach his sister, Toby, that there are lessons to be learned by exploring the past. Little did they know that would stumble upon the answer to an old mystery.
Some playful fairies decide to make mischief with unsuspecting humans. Can true love overcome all obstacles? Two young Athenian couples are put to the test. Comedy reigns in this enchanting fantasy about the nature of romantic love.
"I always knew my father was a pirate and I always knew I wanted to be one, too." At age fifteen, Catherine's life is about to change. Her mother has just died and Catherine can't stand the thought of being sent to live with her aunt in Boston. She longs for a life of adventure. After she discovers her father's secret life as captain of the pirate ship Reprisal, her only thoughts are to join him on the high seas. Catherine imagines a life of sailing the blue waters of the Caribbean, the wind whipping at her back. She's heard tales of bloodshed and brutality but her father's ship would never be like that. Catherine convinces her father to let her join him, disguised as a boy. But once the Reprisal sets sail, she finds life aboard a pirate ship is not for the faint of heart. If her secret is uncovered, punishment will be swift and brutal.
It's bad enough being the new kid, but as a freshman, Jimmy finds school less enjoyable than many of his classmates. Standing 5'5" and weighing 187 pounds, he's subjected to a daily barrage of taunts and torments. His only sources of comfort are his family, his youth group, and his favorite foods. When his English teacher assigns a journal as a writing project, Jimmy chronicles not only his struggles but also his aspirations - to lose weight and win the girl of his dreams. Inspired by a true story and told in first-person journal entries, The Fat Boy Chronicles brings to life the pain and isolation felt by many overweight teenagers as they try to find their way in a world obsessed with outward beauty.
Capital Central High School, or Cap Central as the students like to call it, is in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. Any urban school faces broad challenges, and Cap Central is no different. But some tight-knit juniors meet the difficulties head-on with courage, friendship, determination, and hard work. Jair hated being short. Back in middle school, he'd figured he hadn't hit his growth spurt. But now he was a junior at Cap Central. To compensate, he'd made sure everyone knew how tough he was. And every so often, he'd add to his reputation by punching someone. It had been a while since he had to school someone. But he knew that the new kid would get what was coming to him...
Just like prose, a novel in verse tells a story. But verse is unique because readers access the text through short chapters, or poems. The varying lengths of the chapters are ideal for a struggling reader, giving them breaks to collect their thoughts, to imagine the characters in their mind's eye, and to set the scene - like a frame in a movie. Like watching a movie frame by frame, we watch Lexi is come unglued in this novel in verse. She's alienated from school and family. Her father is in the county jail. She cannot connect with her chain-smoking stepmom. Her brother, Blaine, is trapped in his own autistic world. And her infant sister's death has sent her into a spiral of grief and rebellion. Bright, witty, and irreverent, Lexi tries to navigate the rocky transition from adolescent to young woman. Winner of the 2014 Gold Moonbeam Award.
Capital Central High School, or Cap Central as the students like to call it, is in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. Any urban school faces broad challenges, and Cap Central is no different. But some tight-knit juniors meet the difficulties head-on with courage, friendship, determination, and hard work. Rainie's grades were slipping. Good grades were a lifetime ago. Back when her dad was around. Before her moms boyfriend started hanging out at their house. Commenting on her figure. Looking her up and down. Before she decided to stop eating. Become invisible. Her friends were alarmed, especially Joss. She knew times were tough for Rainie's family. But she felt like there was more going on. Something serious. And she was going to figure it out. Reading Level: 3.5. Interest Level: Young Adult
Capital Central High School, or Cap Central as the students like to call it, is in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. Any urban school faces broad challenges, and Cap Central is no different. But some tight-knit juniors meet the difficulties head-on with courage, friendship, determination, and hard work. Keshawn's life was about before and after. Before, Keshawn didn't have a computer. After, he helped his mom install software on their new computer. To monitor him. What a joke! It got him thinking. He could make money. So he offered his skills. Grades for cash. It was that simple. Only it wasn't. Then he realized Neecy was his way out. She needed good grades. But she wanted to earn them. Keshawn knew she would make it right. Fingers crossed.
Brandi is smart and outgoing, but sometimes insecure and gullible. Marisa is graceful and articulate, but often too driven. Shane is a natural leader with a lot of spirit, but rebellious and headstrong. The girls have been inseparable since middle school. But now they are playing in the big leagues, and it's time to grow up and start thinking about the future. And Port City, Texas, is not all that. High school drama has a way of solidifying or destroying friendships. Will they stay tight or get swallowed up by Port City High? Or will they go from freshman to senior year and beyond remaining the best of friends? Book 3 in the series.
Scream Loud: Vanessa House has a lot on her mind. Shes not perfect like her shy half-sister Victoria. Plus living with her father and his new wife in a cushy lifestyle makes her feel guilty about the struggles her mom and siblings have to endure. Hooking up with a wild friend, she gets out of control. Quiet Strength: After GHH loses their star kicker to the rival high school, Emerson thinks that hes the best guy to take ER Stones place. But the coach wont give him any play time because the season has already started. Emerson has another reason for wanting to make the team. Her name is Vanessa House. Book 3 in the series
All In: Gullible Victoria House worries about everything. She worries about being too fat and not being as bold as her half-sister Vanessa. Then some terrible rumors about her family cause her to rebel and take off. Only baller, Stone Bush, can draw her back and teach her how to stand up for herself. Stand Firm: Stone has vowed to never be like his using, abusing, rock star dad. But now that the coach is threatening to bench him, will he turn to performance enhancing drugs just to keep balling? What will Vanessa think about his use of steroids? Book 4 in the series
Ronette wants to fly solo for a while. But Cornell Londona senior is interested. Ronette's not sure shes ready for another relationship. Besides, Jayson still wants her back; for now he's firmly in the friend column. Chyna, her frenemy roommate, has stolen one of her poems and rapped it, which puts them on the verge of a hip-hop deal. No lie. Now the Houseman Gammas are knocking. Book 3 in the series
More than entertainment, these books can be a powerful coping tool when a struggling reader connects with the text. Paperback books look and feel like a trade edition and are complete in just under 200 pages. Naomi's cousin, Carlotta Valencia, is coming to live with the Martinez family. And she is a handful--a spoiled brat with a chip on her shoulder. She is a flirt. She is brazen. She is promiscuous. But under the eye of the Martinez parents, she now has to do chores and homework. Shes jealous of Naomi. And she has her eye on Ernesto. Then Clay. But Ernesto loves Naomi. And Clay loves Mira at least he finds out he truly loves his girlfriend when he takes Carlotta out; he wants an easy score. But he is spotted by Mira's friends and quickly tells Carlotta to get lost. He realizes he has too much to lose. After getting shot down again and again... embarrassed...deflated...Carlotta cleans up her act. She does her schoolwork. And she starts mentoring a freshman girl who she connects with. Carlotta learns that she has a lot going for her and a lot to offer...thanks to Naomi and Ernesto.