Fourteen-year-old Taz knows one thing for sure: she's a perfect disaster in the kitchen. Every time she tries to cook, chaos ensues. After fires, toxins and more than one minor injury, Taz will be happy if she makes it through her food-science class in one piece. But when the class enters a competitive race for a coveted program and Taz is put in a group that expects to win, the pressure is on. As the competition heats up, Taz is desperate to hold her own and not let her team down.
Hailey McEwan has many interests - soccer, field hockey, animation. She'd probably never have started singing if her best friend, Crissy, hadn't persuaded her to take singing lessons and join her choir. No one had any idea that Hailey would be such a natural, least of all Hailey herself. A shared love of music from pop to opera has been a big part of the girls' friendship, but when the two face off in a competition for a role in a production of The Marriage of Figaro, their closeness turns into a bitter rivalry. Hailey will have to make a tough decision. Is opera as important to her as it is to Crissy? And is landing a role worth losing her best friend?
Thirteen-year-old Chris and his family are setting up a bungee jump in his backyard. It's a real large-scale bungee jump off a bridge that connects his backyard to a small island owned by his family. Not only is it going to be the coolest attraction around, but it also provides Chris with an opportunity to watch a real engineer in action. Chris would be excited about it if things didn't keep going wrong. The rumors of hauntings on the island, once the site of a hospital for children with leprosy, are getting out of control. And there are mysterious mishaps on the bridge. Chris worries that all of these problems will keep customers away. And if the bungee jump isn't a success, his family will lose everything.
Adina has always wanted to be a part of the annual fashion show at her school for the arts. Now that she's finally in the ninth grade, she and her friends can audition. She knows their act could be perfect. They've got great music, gorgeous costumes and wicked dance moves. But Willow is being her usual flaky self, and Sandra's getting touchy. Maybe even a bit mean. Luckily, Seth remains steady and reliable. Their biggest competition is the annoyingly perfect Prima Donnas, who are doing everything they can to undermine Adina and her friends. Adina is used to working hard at everything she does, including her violin, art, drama and singing classes. But her friends are getting sick of her ordering them around. They just don't get what a huge deal this is. When one of the Prima Donnas gets injured during their audition, minutes after Sandra storms off in a huff, the two groups realize that in order to succeed, they may have to work together.
When it comes to cross-country running, Jake does everything right. He eats all the right foods, trains like crazy and reads articles about running in his spare time. There's nothing easy about running, but the hardest part for Jake is that, at the end of the day, Spencer Solomon always wins first place. Determined to take the lead for once, Jake continues to push himself even more. His rigorous training schedule leaves no time for friends, family, pizza or joking around. When Jake is invited to join the Diamond Running Club, he thinks he's found an opportunity to train harder. Instead, with the help of his coach, Jake begins to rediscover what he used to love about running in the first place.
Northern Ireland. In 1999, one year after the Good Friday peace accord, sectarian violence still runs rampant in Belfast and the hatred between Protestant and Catholic runs deep. Liam O'Donnell's father is a peacemaker to the Catholic community. When twelve-year-old Liam's parents are brutally murdered in front of him, he is frozen in place. But when he sees the face of one of the attackers, he is forced to run for his life. Escaping, he finds shelter with a neighboring family. Taken to a police safe house, Liam is betrayed and forced to run again, from the very people who are supposed to be protecting him. Can he escape from his pursuer? Is there anywhere to turn for help?
When Shawn and Daniel witness a gang beating behind the local mall they flee the scene, terrified that they've been seen. They recognize one of the attackers as a locally infamous gang member. When they learn that the kid who was attacked is in critical condition, Shawn wants to go to the police, but Daniel convinces him that they are in more danger if they speak up. The threats they receive from other members of the gang reinforce the boys' fears. When the gang attacks Daniel, Shawn has to put his own safety at risk to help his friend.
Fifteen-year-old Zack finds a homemade CD with the word Famous written on it. Lonely and bored while suspended from school, he puts the CD on and loses himself in the music. Zack has sound-color synesthesia. He sees colors when he hears music, and the music on the Famous CD causes incredible patterns of color for him. Zach becomes obsessed with the girl on the CD and tries to find her. He tracks down the singer, Jolene, in a café where she works while she dreams of the big time. He convinces her to let him help her achieve her dreams, but soon discovers that in her quest for fame, Jolene has done a lot of damage. Stuff We All Get is a gentle critique of celebrity culture in North America.
Kip's only friends are the members of the Daredevil Club, a club whose mission is to complete seven dangerous dares before their rivals, the Wildmen, complete their list of dares. Before the cliff diving accident in which he lost the use of his leg, Kip had been the leader of the Daredevil club. Now he has difficulty completing the dares and suspects that his membership is threatened. As the daredevils plan their final stunt, a dangerous climb along a narrow steel shelf beneath a bridge, they try to convince Kip that he may not be up to the task. Kip refuses to back down even though he suspects his friends might be right.
Keegan and Alex are the only kids in Leamington who haven't volunteered to help out with the town's annual tomato festival. In an attempt to teach them a sense of responsibility, their fathers put them in charge of the tomato toss. The boys decide it's their responsibility to add a little excitement to the event. They exchange the traditional wooden targets for human targets and, before they know it, they are running the most popular event at the fair. The excitement may be too much for the sleepy town and soon the tomato toss is taken to the streets.
The prime directive has been changed and four billion robots with atomic blasters are poised to take over the universe. Only Robbie Packford, Earth boy and grade six math nerd, can stop them. But when Robbie drinks the secret formula that is supposed to make him invincible, he turns into a mythical creature from the planet Kerbosky with a disturbing craving for raw meat. Will Robbie reach the nerve center in time to save planet Earth from destruction? And what do four billion not nice robots have to do with the chances of the Vancouver Canucks winning the Stanley Cup anyway?
Sheila, Rusty and Katie are on the road again. Fresh from their adventures in Barkerville, the trio is now in southern Alberta. Sheila has been anxiously anticipating her reunion with her father and is worried about how they will get along. Her fears are confirmed when they arrive at the Triple W Ranch and he is not there to greet them. When the police arrive, Sheila finds that her father is in big trouble. Developers want to take over his land to build new housing and a golf course, and when the night watchman at the development is shot, all the evidence points to Sheila's father. Sheila tries to help out, but the clues she finds only make things worse. Is Sheila's dad guilty? She doesn't think so and with help from the others sets out to prove it.
Dana is excited about her school trip to Japan despite the fact that she is surrounded by the Melly Mob, "in-crowd" kids who make fun of her. Dana is certain she will be less of an outsider in Japan, home of manga and anime. But she soon discovers that it's just as difficult to fit in with a foreign culture as it is to fit in at school. And the only other manga fan that she meets refuses to talk to her. As Dana learns to meet people halfway and gains some friends in Japan, Melissa, leader of the Melly Mob, makes every effort to remind her that she's still an outsider.
Callie's mother has chained herself to the neighbor's tree and is living inside the treehouse. She refuses to come down until the neighbor, Mr. Wilson, agrees to leave the tree standing. Soon reporters arrive to interview Callie about her mother's protest. Callie doesn't want to talk to anyone. More chaos ensues when Callie's grandmother invites the "singing grannies" to help save the tree, the neighbor's biker friends come to her aid, and Callie's friends show up to try to get themselves on TV. Callie needs to figure out how to get her mother to come down from the tree so that her life can return to normal.
Linda is shy and avoids getting involved at school. But when her high school sets up online chat rooms she can't resist the urge to visit them. Fuelled by interest in a student with the nickname Cyrano, Linda participates in online conversations using the nickname Roxane and gains a reputation as the queen of one-liners. Soon Linda starts receiving gifts from a secret admirer who signs his gifts, "C." She is certain that her life has taken a turn for the better until "C" reveals his true identity.
Claire's life is a mess. She's failing math, her depressed mother won't get off the couch, Eric, the boy of her dreams, is dating her nemesis Lucy. While Claire is wishing her life were better, lightning strikes. Soon afterward, everything changes. With Lucy in the hospital and out of the way, Claire attracts Eric's attention and gets the starring role in the school play. But good fortune has a cost: her newly energized mother reconciles with her deadbeat dad, the dream boy turns out to be a dud and Claire feels terrible guilt about gaining everything Lucy has lost. But how can Claire turn it around when lightning only strikes once?
Rusty, Katie and Sheila are sent out of town with Rusty's grandparents to keep them out of trouble. This time the trio is in historic Barkerville, a gold rush town with a secret. After witnessing what they take to be a ghost in the night, the three friends find themselves involved in a mystery from the past that seems to have a few other people interested as well. New information has come to light about a fortune in missing gold, a centuries-old curse and a missing miner. While the three budding detectives try and figure out which of the aging prospectors they keep running into is actually a ghost, they find they are in a race against time to recover the gold and return it to its rightful owners to avert a tragedy. Will they find the gold in time? Or will they suffer the fate of Three Finger Evans, the missing miner?
When Cody and his friends accept a challenge from a local gang to steal a park bench, their main concern is keeping themselves on the gang's good side. Cody learns that the stolen bench had been dedicated to the father of the English teacher who sponsors the school newspaper; the paper that Cody has just started writing for - and he's worried about the consequences. As the gang applies pressure for more from Cody and his friends, he realizes they've crossed a line, and now he has to figure out how to make it right.
When Charlie Sykes wakes up in hospital in St. John's, he learns that he and his father have been in a car accident and that his father is dying. Charlie inherits little more than the brass key that his father pressed into his hand before he passed away. As far as Charlie knows, he has no family in Newfoundland. But then Uncle Nick shows up and is keen to meet his nephew-not because of who Charlie is, but rather because of what Charlie has: the key. That key will unlock a treasure Uncle Nick began searching for more than thirty years earlier. And he would have found it all those years ago if he hadn't been arrested and sent away for murder. But Charlie isn't convinced he should give up the key. He leads Uncle Nick on a wild chase through old St. John's, across Signal Hill and out to the coast. There, high above the rugged Atlantic, Charlie finally comes face-to-face with Uncle Nick, the treasure, and a family history that will leave him with a new understanding of where he comes from and where he's going.
The summer is off to a lousy start when Levi's bike is stolen from outside the corner store. He feels even worse because he didn't lock it. But when his best friend Riley's locked bike is stolen the very next day, the boys are determined to get both of them back. When they discover there has been a string of bicycle thefts in the area, the friends hatch several plans to find the culprit. There are so many potential suspects--Steve Morrow and his gang, the tattooed guy who sits at the bus stop, the owners of the secondhand-bike store. There's also Emily Grimshaw, Levi's childhood nemesis, who keeps popping up and showing a peculiar interest in the thefts. Does she really want to help or is she involved somehow? And will Levi and Riley ever see their beloved bikes again?
Twelve-year-old Astrid has come to Ghana with her family in 1979 so that her father can help oversee Ghanas first democratic election. Astrid and her brother, Gordo, were told it would be a great family adventure, but they soon find out that everything about Ghana is difficult; the heat, the food, the threat of disease, the soldiers on the roads, the schools. Gordo fits in more easily than Astrid, who is often left to look after her baby sister, Piper, as their mother begins to fall apart under the strain of living in Ghana. When the government is overthrown, Gordo comes down with malaria and a soldier threatens her family, Astrid is surprised to discover how protective she has become of her new home.
When grade-eight science-project time rolls around, J.J. Murphy skips the beakers and the papier mâché and dives into research about jerks. And idiots. But mostly jerks. By his own estimation, his science project, On a Scale from Idiot to Complete Jerk, is groundbreaking, exhaustive, highly scientific and seriously worthy of bonus marks. Beginning with the dawn of humankind and concluding conclusively with a very cool pie chart, the project dissects the elements of jerkosity through extensive case studies and scientific illustrations. It explores the who, what, when, why and how of jerks and, more important, peppers the lively research with sciencey-looking graphs and charts that reveal a lot about J.J., his family and friends, and the jerks of this world.
Life is hard for ten-year-old Safiyah in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi. Too poor to go to school, she makes a meager living for herself and her grandmother Cucu by selling things she finds at the garbage dump. After using scavenged paper to fix up the inside of the hut, Safiyah starts a mural on the outside. As word of the paper house spreads, Safiyah begins to take pride in her creation. When Cucu collapses after a fire, Safiyah stays at the hospital to help care for her grandmother. While Safiyah is away, her friend Pendo works on the mural, which upsets Safiyah. But when Pendo attracts media attention to the paper house, Safiyah and her grandmother are given a chance of a better life.
Melissa is waiting for the "new life" that her mother Sharlene has promised her since a fire devastated their family. But nothing ever seems to change. Melissa has difficulty making friends at school, they never have enough money and her little brother Cody is a brat. When Sharlene announces that they will be spending the month of August at a remote cabin on a wilderness lake, Melissa is less than thrilled. But there is more to do at the lake than she expected, and she is surprised to learn that her mother knows how to paddle a canoe, fish and make bannock and s'mores. On an island in the middle of the lake, Melissa meets Alice, a strange girl who is writing a fantasy novel. Alice shares her tree fort on the island with Melissa, and while at first Melissa is attracted to Alice's strong personality and her stories of her "perfect family," she becomes increasingly uneasy around Alice. As Melissa's relationship with her mother improves and her confidence increases, she is able to hold her own with Alice and start to appreciate her own imperfect family.
Thea and her dad are always on the move, from one small Cariboo town to another, trying to leave behind the pain of Thea's mom's death. They never stay long enough in one place for Thea to make friends, but when her dad gets work renovating a guest ranch on Gumboot Lake, she dares to hope that their wandering days are over. At the ranch she makes friends with Van, a local boy, and works hard to build the trust of an abused horse named Renegade. When Thea unearths the decades-old story of a four-year-old girl who disappeared from the ranch and was never seen again, she enlists Van to help her solve the mystery. When some disturbing facts come to light, she finally starts to come to terms with the losses in her own life.