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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sixteen-year-old Bailey is working at her first summer job, as a cabin girl at a fly-in fishing camp at Witch Lake. She struggles with the job at first but enjoys hearing the stories of the area, including the legend of a local ghost. Then April, an older waitress with street smarts, takes Bailey under her wing and the two girls become friends. It’s all good until another waitress burns her arm and has to leave. Bailey gets a sudden promotion, and April is asked to help clean the cabins. April becomes far from friendly and Bailey finds herself alone again and messing up on the job—and possibly seeing the ghost.
Sam and Annabel are visiting Drumheller, Alberta, where the farmland Sam’s mother lives on is host to a dinosaur dig. Annabel, an avid learner, is thrilled to have access to paleontologists and spends as much time as she can near the dig, much to Sam’s dismay. But when they learn the dig has uncovered scientifically important bones, even Sam’s interest is piqued. In fact, the whole town is talking about the dig. When Sam and Annabel learn that Humphrey Battleford, a famous collector of stolen goods, is in the area, they are on high alert to keep the ancient bones safe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.