Sixteen-year-old Kat and her mom haven't seen much of each other since Kat's father died last year. Her mom has taken over the family trucking business and has been away a lot. She promised that Kat could join her on her next run, a journey across the frozen Manitoba lake known as the "winter road." But at the last minute she changes her mind. Kat, who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, stows away in the back of the semi instead. By the time her mother discovers her, it's too late to turn back.
Justin is fascinated with the aged guard dog at the corner store. He names it Smokey and sneaks the dog treats. Smokey belongs to a company that supplies working dogs to local businesses. Justin is thrilled to get a job working for Smokey's company, until he learns about the mistreatment of the animals. When Justin can't shake his suspicion that someone in the company is involved in a rash of thefts, he tries to quit. But Justin knows too much, and his boss won't let him go.
Riley and Dashawn have been friends since they were three. They got into skateboarding together and have advanced to the point where it's time to create a Sponsor Me tape. They bring a third skater along, Natasha, and try to get some good clips around a new office development. Then the police storm into the lot. The three skaters quickly scatter, trying their best not to get busted. Riley and Natasha arrive at the meet-up spot. They wait and wait, but Dashawn never shows. The next day Riley visits Dashawn, only to discover that the police have given him a beat-down. Nothing like this has ever happened before, and for Riley it is a wake-up call that whether they know it or not, not everyone lives in the same world he does.
One minute Jack's in math class. The next, he's on a dark, cobblestoned, empty street. Empty, that is, except for a skinny girl wrapped in a threadbare shawl. "Matches, mister?" she asks, and just like that, Jack's life collides with one of Hans Christian Andersen's grimmest tales. And just when he has almost convinced himself it was just a weird dream, it happens again. Suddenly, Jack's ideas about what is "real" or "possible" no longer apply. While he and his new girlfriend, Lucy, struggle to understand who or what the Match Girl is, they come to realize they must also find a way to keep Jack away from her. The Match Girl is not just a sad, lonely soul; she's dangerous. And each time Jack is drawn into her gray, solitary world, she becomes stronger, more alive...and more attached to Jack. She wants to keep Jack for her very own, even if that means he will die.
More than anything, twelve-year-old Max wants to play hockey like he used to. But since the death of his dad, his mom does more crying than mothering, and Max has to take his special-needs brother, Duncan, with him everywhere he goes. The team needs Max to win the upcoming game against the Red Eagles, but one practice with Duncan makes it evident that it's not safe to leave him unattended on the sidelines. With only a week to figure out how he can play in the big game, Max is feeling the pressure. Will he find a way to be a good teammate, a good brother and a good son, or is it too much for one kid?
When Renata is chosen to play the lead role in the school musical, students who used to ignore her start saying hello and congratulating her in the hall. She is happy until it becomes evident that Karin, a wealthy girl who expected to get the lead role, will go to great lengths to ruin Renata's reputation.
Kallie Echo is starting to think dreams are dangerous. Her dad had one to be a rock star and then he died. Now Kallie is practically homeless and her life is falling apart. So when a punk band asks Kallie to sing for them, she must decide if she's got the heart to front a band of rocker chicks (and one trans guy). Can she find a new purpose in punk? And will the drummer with the amazing smile break her heart?The band goes on tour, and everything hinges on Kallie. It's a lot of pressure especially when you throw in substance abuse and Kallie's deadbeat mom showing up at the worst time. Kallie must learn to trust her friends, and herself, if she's going to get over the past and make a new future. But if she dares to dream again, will she lose it all?
Brielle and Tawni have played cello side by side in orchestras since they were nine years old. Brielle has always played second chair to Tawni's first, and she's been happy with that arrangement. When Tawni is injured, Brielle suddenly finds herself principal cellist. Not only does that mean she'll be thrust into the spotlight, but it also means she is now leader of the cello section. Brielle is terrified. Is she good enough? Will the other musicians accept her? What if she screws up? Despite her fears, Brielle rises to the occasion. Her cello skills, and her leadership skills, improve as she grows into her new role. But just as Brielle is beginning to feel confident, Tawni returns. And she wants her job back. If Brielle steps down now, she'll lose her place in the spotlight. If she doesn't, her friendship could be in jeopardy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Luc Waldon always figured he knew what his passion was: football. He lives it, he breathes it and he thinks he has what it takes to go all the way to the NFL. So when his football coach orders him to sign up for contemporary-dance classes to improve his game, Luc's less than thrilled. When he realizes that dance might actually be his true passion, he faces a tough decision. Is he willing to leave behind the field and a real shot at professional sports, and disappoint his parents, his coach and his teammates, in order to pursue a new dream?
Aneze, a young Aboriginal girl, is left for dead after her village is ripped apart by a wife-raid; her father and brother are killed and her mother is kidnapped. Aneze is the only survivor. She renames herself Orphan Ahwak as she struggles to survive on her own, first in the forest and then in a remote world of tundra and sea-ice. She endures cold and hunger and befriends people whose customs are completely foreign to her. Through it all she remains determined to become a hunter and to find a place in an often hostile and terrifying world.
Dian has been coming to the Dominican Republic with her doctor parents for years. Now that she's thirteen, she had wanted to stay home in Canada, but instead she is helping her parents set up their clinic and looking forward to hanging out with her Dominican friend Aracely. When fourteen-year-old Aracely makes a shocking announcement--she is engaged to be married--Dian struggles to accept that Aracely has the right to choose her own destiny, even if it is very different from what Dian would choose for her.
Joe and his friend Skip are enjoying the thrill of the Big Dip, a famous rollercoaster, until they learn the old man in front of them has been shot. The old man mutters with his dying breath something about getting a Margaret Rose to the police. Joe leaves the crime scene to get on with his life. But someone is desperate for the Margaret Rose and thinks Joe has it. When his sister is kidnapped, Joe is in a race against time to solve the puzzle.
Zack Freedman has complete control and feels a sense of calm on the high wire. If only he could say the same about the rest of his life. His fellow youth circus performer and roommate, Cubby, hates him, and his aunt dumps a yappy, excitable dog on him. When a necklace is stolen during a circus performance and the victim of the theft threatens to shut down the circus, Zack is desperate to solve the mystery so he can keep his place on the wire.
Owen has a crush on Kamryn. Kamryn has a crush on Owen's brother Kyle. Owen knows extreme action is necessary to make sure Kamryn does not end up dating his brother, a jerk who manipulates every situation to get what he wants. So what does Owen do? He manipulates the situation. With the help of his friend Hannah, Owen sets up a blog called The Oracle that gives out relationship advice to local teens. Everything seems to be going great. Hannah and Owen are having fun, and Kamryn seems to be following The Oracle's advice and taking an interest in Owen. Owen thinks he's got it made, but he soon discovers that fraudulent tactics have their consequences.
Ever since he was small, Franklin has been soothed by fire. Staring into the flames helps Franklin forget his problems. And right now, he's got a lot to forget. Franklin's mother has left the family home to be with her hairdresser boyfriend. Franklin's father, the mayor of Montreal West, is too busy worrying about his public image to do anything about the family. As a rash of local fires competes with upcoming elections for media attention, Franklin's father has to work hard to keep the public happy. And Franklin has to reconsider his romance with fire.