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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sixteen-year-old Rasheed is smart, tough and a survivor. In his neighborhood, he has to be. The streets are run by a gang called the E Street Locals, and they've been trying to jump him in since he was a child. So far, he's managed to escape their clutches. But the gang is not his only problem. Rasheed's sister, Daneeka, was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting, and now she's confined to a wheelchair, mentally frozen at the age of nine. His mother is an addict. His father hasn't been heard from in years. High school is no safer than the streets, so Rasheed seeks solace at the local university campus. There he meets a young woman named Lanaia who takes an interest in him. He also bumps up against a police officer who he thinks at first is hassling him just because he's black. But eventually Rasheed realizes that the officer is only pushing him to become a better person. Though he can't escape his home life, or the gang, as easily as he'd like, Rasheed does learn some valuable lessons in his struggles: you and you alone are accountable for the decisions you make in life; even though the world is not a fair place, you can still accomplish whatever you set your mind to; and we all become stronger when we admit we need someone to lean on.
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.
When a football player from Riley Donovan's school falls to his death from the top of a recreation center, a hunch makes her wonder if he was pushed. But who would do such a thing, and why? Riley's detective aunt tells Riley to leave it alone, but that's not in Riley's nature. When her friend Charlie is accused of the murder, Riley is determined to clear his name, even if it means confronting vicious junkyard dogs, forming an alliance with an old enemy, and putting her own life in danger.
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.
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.