Seventeen-year-old Christina McBurney has led a sheltered life. But when her twin brother, Jonathan, dies of consumption, Christina, unwilling to be farmed out as a nursemaid or teacher, runs away from home and her destiny. In Owen Sound she boards the Asia, a steamship that transports passengers and freight throughout the Great Lakes. She doesn't really have a plan other than to get to Sault Ste. Marie. She'll figure things out once she's settled. But a violent storm suddenly rises on Georgian Bay, and the overloaded and top-heavy steamship begins to sink. Christina is tossed overboard. Pulled to safety just before she loses consciousness, she finds herself on a lifeboat, surrounded by a number of bedraggled and terrified passengers and crew. One by one they succumb to their injuries, until only Christina and a brooding young man named Daniel are left alive. The usual rules of society no longer apply - Daniel and Christina must now work together as equals to survive. Big Water is a Fal account of the real-life story of the only two survivors of the sinking of the SS Asia in 1882.
Fourteen-year-old Ava is thrilled when she lands a part in a play based on the true story of orphans sent to Canada in the 1800s to work on farms. But is she good enough to hold her own in a professional production? As the rehearsal pressures crank up, Ava struggles with her character, with the vocal demands of outdoor theater and with the annoying ego of her castmate Kiefer. But as she learns more about the historical Lily on which her part is based, things begin to fall into place. Then one bad decision jeopardizes Ava's chances of being able to perform on opening night.
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.
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.
Life hasn't been easy for fifteen-year-old Lizzie Jackson since her father's sudden death four years ago. Shortly after he died, her mother, Lydia, began dating and drinking herself into oblivion, leaving Lizzie to parent her younger brother, Charlie. Things go from bad to worse when Lydia marries Dean. To protect Charlie from Dean's rage, Lizzie makes herself the target of his abuse. But when Dean sexually assaults Lizzie, things change forever. Can she continue to ensure her brother's safety after she flees their home?
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
Dan Hogg is thrilled when his uncle offers him some work at a food fair, because he wants money to hire a professional trainer to help him with his scrawny physique. His excitement vanishes when he learns that the job is dressing up in a hotdog costume and handing out samples. Every dark cloud has its lining, Dan discovers, when he, or rather Frank Lee Better, his mascot persona, gains the attention of a pretty girl named Brooke. The attention is great until Dan finds himself under attack from Cupcake Katie and a mysterious guy with a strange interest in Brooke. It's not until he's huddling in a bathroom in his tight white underwear that Dan begins to suspect Brooke's attention might be too good to be true.
At first Kaz intends to help the old lady who's fallen in the park. But then he starts thinking about how he never gets what he wants. The next thing he knows, he's running away with her purse. The purse contains only five dollars and a battered watch. When Kaz learns who the old woman is and where the watch came from, he begins to understand consequences in a new way.
Life is full of challenges for thirteen-year-old Liza. She is already having trouble coping with the death of a local homeless man when she learns that her family's apple tree will need to be chopped down. If that wasn't enough, the new principal at school keeps blocking her attempts for a positive outlet by refusing permission for every project that GRRR! (Girls for Renewable Resources, Really!) and BRRR! (Boys for Renewable Resources, Really!) proposes. Liza starts to feel like she needs to create change in her world without seeking permission. When she chooses the school grounds as the site for her latest endeavor, she may have gone too far.
Left alone for the first time on the island he calls home, Simon is looking forward to a day of personal indulgence. His sister Ellen only wants to make sure they get their chores done. Their parents are busy trying to convince the government not to close the lighthouse that the family operates, and it's up to the kids to make sure everything runs smoothly. Neither Simon nor Ellen is prepared for the mysterious and potentially dangerous visitor who brings with him an unexpected storm and a riddle that may lead to treasure - treasure that could help them save the lighthouse. Simon and Ellen have to work together to solve the riddle before the stranger or the weather destroys their chances.
Jessica loves her yearly backpacking trip with her father, but this year everything has changed. This year Jessica has to share her vacation with her new stepmother and her spoiled new stepsister, Amy. Jessica tries to salvage her holiday by sneaking off for a day hike alone, but Amy follows. Jessica is certain that Amy will ruin the day. Amy rises to the challenge of the rigourous hike and Jessica learns that Amy is not as spoiled as she thought. When Amy is injured and night falls, Jessica must face the challenge of hiking through bear country in the dark.
At a Battle of the Bands event, Ace and his best friend Denny notice that girls like musicians, no matter how dorky the dudes might be. Having so far been severely challenged when it comes to meeting girls, they decide to start a band. Ace discovers that he loves playing guitar and electric bass. While Denny tweets their every move and their clean-freak drummer, Pig, polishes everything in sight, Ace tries to write a song that will win at the next local teen songwriting contest. It's more difficult than he thought it would be. When Denny brings a great tune to rehearsal, Ace is devastated that Denny, who rarely practices, is a better songwriter than he is. The contest is only days away when Ace discovers that Denny stole the song, and Ace has to decide if winning is worth the lie.
Maddie has big-city dreams, and this summer she's found her chance to visit New York. An art magazine is holding a portrait painting contest, and the first prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Big Apple. Maddie plans to win, but her mother has different plans for her: a mother-daughter adventure in organic farming. Maddie is furious. How will she find an inspiring subject for her portrait amid the goat poop and chickens? And worse, her new age mother's attempts at pig reiki are an embarrassment. But Maddie befriends the farmer's daughter, Anna, and between dodging her mother and doing her chores, she finds the perfect subject for the portrait contest.
In most ways, Poe is like the other kids in his school. He thinks about girls and tries to avoid too much contact with teachers. He has a loving father who helps him with his homework. But Poe has a secret, and almost every day some small act threatens to expose him. He doesn't have a phone number to give to friends. He doesn't have an address. Poe and his father are living in a tent on city land. When the city clears the land to build housing, Poe worries that they might not be able to find another site near his school. Will Poe have to expose his secret to get help for himself and his father?
Liza, determined to prove that her mother's boyfriend is no good, starts researching the oil company he works for. Liza discovers a lawsuit against the company for compensation that is long overdue to Guatemalan farmers. She starts a group at school called GRRR! (Girls for Renewable Resources, Really!) and launches an attack on Argenta Oil. As her activism activities increase, her objections to her mother's boyfriend become political. She is learning to separate the personal from the political, but when her mother discovers her plans for a demonstration outside the Argenta Oil head office, the two collide in ways Liza least suspected.
Edward is a classic slacker. He's got better ways to spend his time than toiling over homework, and as long as he gets passing grades he's happy. When his fifty percent average is threatened he has to find a way to pull up his grades without applying himself. Edward discovers that special education students get more time to complete tests, and he thinks he's found the perfect scam. Little does he know that manipulating everyone around him will take more work than he ever imagined.
Jim, Mickey and Lisa belong to a secret club called the Sewer Rats. Every Saturday the Sewer Rats reign supreme in paintball wars held in the city's storm drain system. The new kid, Carter, wants to join, but Lisa doesn't want him in the club. When Carter is hurt in his first paintball war, Jim and Mickey suspect that Lisa planned the accident. They try to confront her, but she runs into the tunnels just as a rainstorm begins. Jim and Mickey have to get Lisa out before the tunnels fill with water.
Josh knows he's riding recklessly when he knocks down the old man he suspects is the hermit of Lumberman Creek. But he is shocked when the hermit walks into the forest with his bike after the accident. Being without his beloved bike for a week motivates Josh to hike into the woods and confront the crazy old man. The hermit, Jonathan, has fixed Josh's bike, and Josh learns that he has more in common with the old man than he ever imagined. When Jonathan needs help, Josh has to respect the old man's choices in order to save his life.