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.
Josh Johnson's mother wants him to run for class president. Josh just wants to run and hide. If only there were a club to help downtrodden eleven-year-olds escape their parents' ambitions! But since no such club exists, Josh has to invent one -- he calls it Dunces Anonymous, and before he knows it, the membership is up to three. Magnolia and Wang help Josh lose the school presidential election, but that's just the beginning of the club's activities. Magnolia, pressured by her mom into trying out for the role of Juliet in the school's play, finds herself fending off the advances of an overly amorous Romeo. Wang's father has forced him to join the school chess club, but Wang desperately wants to take fencing lessons instead. As the three friends try to free Magnolia from the school play, liberate Wang from the chess club and get rid of horrible Stacey Hogarth, who has vowed to become the new president of Dunces Anonymous, they realize that they all have talents -- if only their parents could see them.
Fifteen-year-old Christine is visiting her eccentric great-aunt in historic Witcombe, where a pickpocket has been victimizing tourists. Aunt Maude owns an antique store and also runs the town’s ghost walk, which gives Christine the opportunity to meet local characters and visitors, including a mysterious young man who seems to know far too much about the crimes. When the pickpocket targets Aunt Maude’s store, Christine is determined to find out who is behind the thefts. Her search takes her through the nooks and crannies of the quaint town full of stories, and she unearths more than one surprise.
After a lifetime of New Age “adventures” with her weirdo hippie mom, fifteen-year-old Maddie is realizing a lifelong dream and visiting New York City. Armed with her 130-item to-do list, Maddie hits the streets of New York with her friend Anna and Anna’s brother, Thomas. Maddie drags her friends around on an epic quest for the ultimate art-show outfit, oblivious to the fact that they don’t share her passion for vintage clothing. Three days into the trip, a most unwelcome surprise--the arrival of Maddie’s mother--threatens to derail the entire adventure. As her mother’s obsession with dietary trends and fortune-tellers takes center stage, and everyone’s tempers get thin, Maddie has to face some ugly facts about how she’s been treating her friends.
When Jason agrees to go camping with his cousin Sean, he doesn’t picture two weeks at a War of 1812 reenactment camp. But that’s where he ends up. The historically accurate camp bans all trappings of modern life, like cell phones and electricity. Jason is not impressed, but they do get to fire muskets, and he secretly likes that, despite the general dorkiness of the camp. And then there’s the cute girl who works in the mess tent. And the sneaking around at night getting into trouble, which is fun—until Jason and his friends keep running into a camp counselor who is clearly up to no good. They resolve to find out exactly what the counselor is up to, but they may have taken on more than they can handle.
Jordie’s cousin Todd has moved back to Montreal and is attending Jordie’s high school. Todd has autism and requires an aide. Todd has not been welcomed in the school. He’s known as a freak, and even other parents seem to resent Todd’s special needs. Jordie does everything he can to distance himself from his cousin, fearful of what his friends might think. When he learns that Todd’s whole family is buckling under the pressure of a hateful letter, Jordie starts to question his own behavior. But Todd’s resources are unique, and he soon finds a way to prove his worth to his peers and to the community at large. Inspired by real-life events, Hate Mail examines the transformative power of speaking out against prejudice.
Chloe thinks of herself as a normal teenage girl—if there's any such thing—until a formless alien being inhabits her body. The being is named Welkin and claims to be a Universal. Welkin has entered Chloe's body as part of a school project. Chloe agrees to let this weirdo observe her life for three days as long as Welkin doesn't interfere. Welkin tries to respect the non-interference portion of the agreement. But Welkin's stream of alien commentary as Chloe deals with boys, her coach and math homework has a comic, and sometimes enlightening, impact on Chloe's life.
Trevor has started his first job at Ashton's Fresh Marketplace, where someone has been tampering with the food. Cayenne has been sprinkled on cookies, garlic put in coffee, and plastic insects hidden in fruit displays to terrify customers. Trevor and his friends Nick and Robyn decide to find out who is out to destroy the store's reputation. Is it Mattie, the disgruntled ex-employee? Or perhaps the competition? Or is it Alex, their schoolmate who doesn't know when a joke has gone too far? Their snooping makes the kids themselves seem suspicious, and soon they realize they have to solve the mystery before Trevor gets fired for a crime he didn't commit.
Following the demise of his first band, Ace has started a duo called Two with Lisa, a girl he has a huge crush on. As Ace and Lisa get serious about their music, Denny, Ace's hapless friend, tries to help out by filming their every move so that he can create the ultimate music video. As a joke, Denny puts together a Two video capturing all of the embarrassing moments—moments that Lisa in particular doesn't want shared. Somehow, the video gets posted on YouTube. Lisa and Ace find themselves starring in the latest comedic viral video. Lisa is humiliated and refuses to talk to Ace—until their fame turns out to have positive results.
Dylan and his friends attract the attention of the police when a summer bonfire gets out of control. Dylan almost loses a job opportunity at a local inn because of his antics, but he is saved by the lies of Heather, an employee of the inn. When he is caught on camera stealing towels from a summer cottage after a skinny-dipping prank, Dylan and his friends become suspects in a number of cottage robberies. Dylan learns everything he can about the robberies, with the hope of clearing his name, and finds himself in more than one sticky situation in the process.
Fourteen-year-old Danny invents a fictitious friend in an effort to fit in at school, but his plan gets out of control, and he learns the truth wasn't so bad after all.
Eric and Chris are avid geocachers who stumble into a very strange search for a series of geocaches. At first they are merely curious, but as the stakes rise and the challenges become more trying, the boys get truly hooked. Convinced they are indeed on the trail of treasure, they become consumed with the search, and though their quest tests their strength, intelligence, courage and even their friendship, they don't give up.
Fourteen-year-old Simone is having trouble making friends at her new school when her leadership studies class is paired with kindergarten students to mentor throughout the school year. To her surprise, Simone enjoys the Kinderbuddy Project, and she develops a special friendship with her Kinderbuddy, Lily. But as the bond between Simone and her Kinderbuddy grows, she realizes that a crisis is looming in Lily's family. Simone calls upon Aaron, the reluctant heartthrob of the class, for help, and they become key witnesses to events neither of them could have predicted.
On a visit to a seaside town in Australia, fifteen-year-old Sam meets Annabel, who works at the local museum. Annabel's interest in history is infectious, and Sam soon finds himself eager to hunt for the remains of a boat called the Mahogany Ship—a shipwreck sought after by many. When a storm creates an erosion hole that exposes a structure, Sam and Annabel are convinced it's the fabled ship. Soon all of the museum staff are at the erosion site to check it out. But the same storm also destroys the museum's power; someone knows the alarms aren't working and steals the museum's most treasured artifact, a large porcelain peacock worth $4 million. As Sam and Annabel search for the thief, they realize there may be a link between the fabled shipwreck and the recent theft.
Camrose, a perfectly normal 12-year-old, has inherited responsibility for an ancient bone flute, an object of quest for two time-wandering rivals, one of them lord of the Otherworld. With the help of her friend Mark and the not-quite-human Miranda, Camrose braves fire and much worse to claim the flute and restore it to its rightful and unexpected owner.
Craig and Tom have been friends since second grade, but that was five years ago and Craig is getting sick of Tom's out-of-bounds behavior. When Craig begins to realize that he may have more potential in school than he ever thought, he starts to distance himself from Tom, who is both the class clown and the school bully. But severing ties with an old friend is never easy, and a foolhardy incident in a local park pulls Craig back into Tom's orbit. Faced with the realities of Tom's home life, Craig must determine the limits of this volatile friendship.
Eleven-year-old Edie Jasmine Snow has a "perfect" thirteen-year-old sister, two loving parents, and a cat named Dusty. She also has a grandmother she suspects is a witch and a grandfather who insists on calling her Albert. Framed by family summer vacations at the lake, All-Season Edie follows Edie through a tumultuous year in which her beloved grandfather becomes ill. In the face of family tragedy, Edie tries to practice witchcraft, learns to dance the flamenco, meets the Greek god Zeus doing his Christmas shopping at the mall, ruins the most important party of her sister's life and realizes that her family is both completely strange and absolutely normal.
Nell has been in foster homes all her lifemost of them have been horrible. She finally gets moved to a home she likes, and the ministry threatens to close it down unless an expensive renovation is made to the house. Nell and the two boys in the home, Billy and Tom, decide to raise the funds themselves. How do kids get large amounts of money quickly? By robbing banks, of course. Their first few heists are successful, but when they almost get caught on their sixth robbery, the friends start to fight about whether they should continue. The bank jobs that were meant to keep their family together just might tear it apart.
The year is 1903, and Charlie Sutherland, a sixteen-year-old orphan, is on the run. Three years earlier, he was sent by Dr. Barnardo's Home in England to work on the remote Alberta homestead of Albert and Buck Brooks. Charlie has been treated poorly by the two brothers, but he has endured. However, when Albert dies under curious circumstances, and Buck accuses him of murder, Charlie has no choice but to run. He ends up in Frank, a coal-mining town in the Rocky Mountains. Once in Frank, Charlie finally finds friendship and a sense of belonging and self-worth—emotional qualities that had eluded him as a mere "Home boy." His new best friend is another English boy, who has recently received the deed to a homestead and is working to save for supplies. Things change dramatically, however, when—as the local aboriginals have for centuries predicted it would—the mountain walks. In this true event of April 29, 1903, Turtle Mountain collapses, burying a portion of the town. What Charlie does next is determined by the lessons he's learned from those he's become close to, the hard-working immigrants and colorful Canadians who struggled against all odds to populate the West.
Chloe McBride has some reservations about accepting her elderly great-aunts' invitation to spend part of the summer with them in Little Venice, but her initial reluctance is outweighed by her curiosity about the mysterious key that came with her aunts' note. She's also anxious to put the humiliating memory of a disastrous piano recital as far behind her as possible. Chloe's great-aunts tell her the legend of her great-grandfather, Dante Magnus, an ambitious magician who vanished without a trace almost a century earlier, and Chloe begins to search for clues to his disappearance. When her investigations eventually lead her to a mysterious rosewood box, which has been hidden for almost a hundred years, Chloe's belief in the power of magic forces her to confront her own fears and ambitions.
In The White Horse Talisman, Chantel, Adam, Holly and Owen must help Equus, the great white horse, find his mate and foal and regain his magical talisman. But as the horse rises, so does the dragon. The age-old battle between good and evil threatens the bond between Chantel and Adam and endangers the quest. Book 1 in the series.