Fifteen-year-old Tim loves his job at his dad's pet store, partly because he gets to spend time with his best friend, a black cockatoo named Elmo. But things at work have been tense since the store moved to a larger, more expensive location. To make extra money his father rents out the store's exotic birds for parties and Tim is furious at this exploitation of his friend. When Elmo is stolen from one of the parties, the police are unconcerned about the theft. Tim and his new human friend, Sapna, set out to find Elmo and discover that Elmo is more valuable than they'd ever imagined.
Once again Callie is forced to take part in her mom's latest crusade. They head into ranch country to camp -- bloodthirsty mosquitoes, stinky outhouses and all -- at a protest to save a rural school. Callie's grandmother shows up with her biker buddies and the singing grannies. Callie hates camping and wants nothing to do with the protest. To make matters worse, Callie's only possible ally, her cousin Del, is mad at her. The last time Callie visited, she was thrown from Del's horse, Radish. Callie claimed the horse was vicious and now Del's parents are forcing her to sell Radish. Callie wants to help her cousin, but she's terrified of the horse. Del is just as tenacious as the rest of Callie's family, and Callie is forced to admit that she's not going to be allowed to go home until both the horse and the school are saved.
When Trevor, Nick and Robyn visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Robyn is inspired to raise funds for a dinosaur dig that will close soon if it doesn't find funding. The kids are caught up in another mystery when a chain of suspicious events, including the disappearance of important fossils and a fraudulent discovery at the dig, leads them to wonder what's going on. Is the new visiting scientist behind the fraud, or did Robyn's enthusiasm to save the dig lead her astray?
Fourteen-year-old Matt has only one goal in life: to become a hermit. He has no use for school, but he loves the solitude of the forest. When he hikes up to the cabin he built for himself, he discovers a mysterious stranger named Forrest has moved in. At first Matt doesn't connect Forrest's appearance with the rash of local robberies. Forrest seems to be the perfect hermit, and he teaches Matt the skills he needs to achieve his goal, including how to hunt with a crossbow. But when Forrest tries to kill an endangered Roosevelt elk, Matt questions the ethics of his new friend. When Matt discovers a stolen rifle in his cabin, he finds himself trapped in a dangerous situation.
Turk needs cash, but he's allergic to his own sweat so getting a job is out of the question. Then he makes a discovery: Girls love dogs. Turk's friends will do anything to meet girls. Turk starts a dog walking business. His friends walk the dogs and Turk collects half the money. In an attempt to impress dog-loving Carly, Turk brags about his business in front of the school tough guy, Chuck. When Chuck learns the true nature of Turk's business and wants in on the action, Turk worries that he will lose his business and Carly's respect.
Wilf is convinced his parents want nothing to do with him. When he isn't in school, he is left to his own devices or shipped away to camp. But at fifteen, Wilf is adamant that he is too old for summer camp. When his parents ignore his protests and ship him off anyway, he knows how he will get their attention: He will escape from camp by canoe and spend the rest of his vacation alone in the woods, proving to his parents he deserves his independence. His plan begins to unravel when his cabin mate forces Wilf to take him along. Things go from bad to worse when a younger camper follows them and they all end up in a fight for their lives against the unforgiving river.
Trevor, Nick and Robyn are ready to solve another mystery. When bobsledder Josh Gantz is accused of deliberately injuring a fellow competitor, he runs the risk of being thrown out of the sport -- right before the World Cup. Courtney Gantz asks Trevor, Nick and Robyn to help clear her brother's name. Can they find out who framed Josh? What is the meaning of the strange coded messages they keep finding around Olympic Park? Who eats orange bananas, anyway? The kids must unearth the clues in a race against time, before Josh's championship dreams end up on ice.
The principal announces that the school is implementing uniforms, and Ian finds himself caught in a conflict. His friend Julia wants him to devise a plan to fight the decision, and the principal is determined to convince Ian the uniforms are a good idea. Ian wants nothing to do with the issue. While doing research for a social-justice class, he learns that the manufacturer of the uniforms is on the top-ten list for human-rights violations. When he tells the principal this, all he gets is a reminder that the penalty for refusing to wear the uniforms is suspension, and Ian finds himself caught in a whole new conflict -- one with himself.
It's hard enough for Eve to adjust to a new high school without the extra weight she's gained over the summer. Her best friend is ashamed to hang out with her, and she's become the focus of a schoolmate's cruelty. Determined not to be "that pathetic fat girl" at school, Eve struggles with a diet and forces herself to join a mentoring program. The diet only makes her food obsessed, and she feels she is failing as a mentor. How can a lonely fat girl gain the confidence she needs to succeed?
The students of the 121 Express are infamous for bad behavior and Lucas knows his role on the bus will determine his social standing at his new school. Lucas is tired of being one of the nerds. When he attracts the negative attention of the cool troublemakers, he saves himself by teasing another kid. His ploy works and soon Lucas is right in the center of the mayhem on the bus. He loves his new found popularity, but when the fun and games push the bus driver to a nervous collapse and hospitalizes an elderly lady, Lucas begins to question his choices.
Trevor, Robyn and Nick decide they have a mystery to solve when Trevor discovers a suspicious looking young man snooping around. They learn about missing research involving the use of carob beans to aid in cancer treatment-potentially valuable information. With a shady looking grad student, a bitter activist and an employee of a medical research firm to deal with, our amateur sleuths are faced with their greatest challenge yet.
Angus and his best buddy, Shahid, share a love of science and their robot, Gordon. But recently, the artistic Ella Eckles has had a peculiar effect on Angus. When a stink bomb at the school provides a chance for him to talk to her, he claims to share her interest in reading facial expressions and declares his ambition to become a crime-solving mentalist. He impresses Ella by identifying the stink bomber, but fails to mention he witnessed a scrawny kid setting off the bomb. When Ella's treasured sketchbook is stolen, she asks Angus to find the thief. Shahid thinks Angus should confess that he's not a mentalist, but Angus is certain he can learn to read people and recover Ella's sketchbook. He asks Shahid to help him investigate the suspects: Gaga Girl; the art teacher, Mr. Wilder; and finally, "scrawny kid." Equipped with rearview sunglasses and an informant who lurks in the washroom, the duo bungles their way through a series of encounters that alarm Shahid and provide Angus with some unfamiliar exercise.
Capital Central High School, or Cap Central as the students like to call it, is in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. Any urban school faces broad challenges, and Cap Central is no different. But some tight-knit juniors meet the difficulties head-on with courage, friendship, determination, and hard work. Jair hated being short. Back in middle school, hed figured he hadnt hit his growth spurt. But now he was a junior at Cap Central. To compensate, hed made sure everyone knew how tough he was. And every so often, hed add to his reputation by punching someone. It had been a while since he had to school someone. But he knew that the new kid would get what was coming to him...Reading level: 3.5. Interest Level: Young Adult.
Capital Central High School, or Cap Central as the students like to call it, is in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. Any urban school faces broad challenges, and Cap Central is no different. But some tight-knit juniors meet the difficulties head-on with courage, friendship, determination, and hard work. Rainie's grades were slipping. Good grades were a lifetime ago. Back when her dad was around. Before her moms boyfriend started hanging out at their house. Commenting on her figure. Looking her up and down. Before she decided to stop eating. Become invisible. Her friends were alarmed, especially Joss. She knew times were tough for Rainie's family. But she felt like there was more going on. Something serious. And she was going to figure it out. Reading Level: 3.5. Interest Level: Young Adult
Capital Central High School, or Cap Central as the students like to call it, is in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. Any urban school faces broad challenges, and Cap Central is no different. But some tight-knit juniors meet the difficulties head-on with courage, friendship, determination, and hard work. Keshawns life was about before and after. Before, Keshawn didnt have a computer. After, he helped his mom install software on their new computer. To monitor him. What a joke! It got him thinking. He could make money. So he offered his skills. Grades for cash. It was that simple. Only it wasnt. Then he realized Neecy was his way out. She needed good grades. But she wanted to earn them. Keshawn knew she would make it right. Fingers crossed. Reading Level: 3.5. Interest Level: Young Adult.
Just like prose, a novel in verse tells a story. But verse is unique because readers access the text through short chapters, or poems. The varying lengths of the chapters are ideal for a struggling reader, giving them breaks to collect their thoughts, to imagine the characters in their minds eye, and to set the scenelike a frame in a movie. The structure of poetry makes the books appear less intimidating, with plenty of airy white space. Moreover, the depth and substance conveyed in verse is every bit as deep and real as in a Gravel Road prose novel. Like watching a movie frame by frame, we watch Lexi is come unglued in this novel in verse. Shes alienated from school and family. Her father is in the county jail. She cannot connect with her chain-smoking stepmom. Her brother, Blaine, is trapped in his own autistic world. And her infant sisters death has sent her into a spiral of grief and rebellion. Bright, witty, and irreverent, Lexi tries to navigate the rocky transition from adolescent to young woman.
Brandi is smart and outgoing, but sometimes insecure and gullible. Marisa is graceful and articulate, but often too driven. Shane is a natural leader with a lot of spirit, but rebellious and headstrong. The girls have been inseparable since middle school. But now they are playing in the big leagues, and it's time to grow up and start thinking about the future. And Port City, Texas, is not all that. High school drama has a way of solidifying or destroying friendships. Will they stay tight or get swallowed up by Port City High? Or will they go from freshman to senior year and beyond remaining the best of friends?
Scream Loud: Vanessa House has a lot on her mind. Shes not perfect like her shy half-sister Victoria. Plus living with her father and his new wife in a cushy lifestyle makes her feel guilty about the struggles her mom and siblings have to endure. Hooking up with a wild friend, she gets out of control. Quiet Strength: After GHH loses their star kicker to the rival high school, Emerson thinks that hes the best guy to take ER Stones place. But the coach wont give him any play time because the season has already started. Emerson has another reason for wanting to make the team. Her name is Vanessa House.
All In: Gullible Victoria House worries about everything. She worries about being too fat and not being as bold as her half-sister Vanessa. Then some terrible rumors about her family cause her to rebel and take off. Only baller, Stone Bush, can draw her back and teach her how to stand up for herself. Stand Firm: Stone has vowed to never be like his using, abusing, rock star dad. But now that the coach is threatening to bench him, will he turn to performance enhancing drugs just to keep balling? What will Vanessa think about his use of steroids?
Ronette wants to fly solo for a while. But Cornell Londona senioris interested. Ronettes not sure shes ready for another relationship. Besides, Jayson still wants her back; for now hes firmly in the friend column. Chyna, her frenemy roommate, has stolen one of her poems and rapped it, which puts them on the verge of a hip-hop deal. No lie. Now the Houseman Gammas are knocking
More than entertainment, these books can be a powerful coping tool when a struggling reader connects with the text. Paperback books look and feel like a trade edition and are complete in just under 200 pages. Naomis cousin, Carlotta Valencia, is coming to live with the Martinez family. And she is a handful--a spoiled brat with a chip on her shoulder. She is a flirt. She is brazen. She is promiscuous. But under the eye of the Martinez parents, she now has to do chores and homework. Shes jealous of Naomi. And she has her eye on Ernesto. Then Clay. But Ernesto loves Naomi. And Clay loves Mira at least he finds out he truly loves his girlfriend when he takes Carlotta out; he wants an easy score. But he is spotted by Miras friends and quickly tells Carlotta to get lost. He realizes he has too much to lose. After getting shot down again and again... embarrassed...deflated...Carlotta cleans up her act. She does her schoolwork. And she starts mentoring a freshman girl who she connects with. Carlotta learns that she has a lot going for her and a lot to offer...thanks to Naomi and Ernesto.
More than entertainment, these books can be a powerful coping tool when a struggling reader connects with the text. Paperback books look and feel like a trade edition and are complete in just under 200 pages. Mona Lisa is average. Not pretty. Not ugly. Shes very insecure and lacks self confidence. Monas mom harps on her to start dating. Then Julio begins to show an interest in her. Hes on the track team and a close friend of Ernestos. When Mona returns Julios interest, though, her mom is upset because Julio is not from a good family. Hes poor. His father is practically a bum. They live in a mobile home, and not the plush kind. Not the type of people Mrs. Corsella approves of. And she hatches a plan to get her daughter to date someone more socially acceptable. Mona becomes defiant, running away from home. Her mom is convinced shes been kidnapped by Julio. But Julio turns out to be the hero when Mona calls him to rescue her in Phoenix after she is approached by a smarmy guy and loses all of her cash.
Gravel Road, award-winning realistic teen fiction, highlights the talents of our urban street lit authors. Each book is approximately 200 pages, and is written at a 3.0 reading level. Nasreen and Mia are two very different girls. But they stand out at Arondale High. And kids make assumptions about the only Muslim and the new black girl--the only African American--in school. "Who let you into the suburbs?" Samantha asks. Everyone gawks. Nasreen has kept her head down for years. Eighteen months and shes out, she tells herself. Off to college. Mia is bold. Yeah, she wishes she were somewhere else, but shes not going to take the bullying lying down. She has to live her life. Graduate. Get into a good school. The school administrators are ignorant. And worse. The bullying escalates. Both at school and online. The girls come up with a plan to fight back. To regain some dignity. To turn the tables on the bullies.
More than entertainment, these books can be a powerful coping tool when a struggling reader connects with the text. Paperback books look and feel like a trade edition and are complete in just under 200 pages. Ernesto and Naomi are mentoring two at-risk freshmen whove had it rough. Naomis father isnt happy that shes hanging around at-risk kids, but Ernesto convinces him that the kids are fine. Meanwhile, Clay is up to his cruel tricks. Mira has taken him back, and his parents have rewarded his bad behavior with a new car. Its too hard to resist temptation; someone has let the air out of the new cars tires. Meanwhile, Miras ex- and rebound, Kenny, is floored when Mira dumps him and takes Clay back. Kenny gets another kid to call Clay and accuse Mira of cheating. Clay is livid but doesnt lose his temper like hes done in the past. Is volatile Clay turning over a new leaf? Mira begs Ernesto to find out who made the call.
Real Diva: After some unsettling news for Yaris Fernandez, everyone is "up in her business." Her dad forbids her from seeing her boyfriend, Hagen, who is hangin with the wrong crowd. He even threatens to move the family away. Yaris decides to take charge and fight for whats right. Man Up: Hagen Cruz is making some bad decisions. Hes hangin with gang members and pressuring his girl, Yaris, to go all-the-way. When she says no, he dumps her and gets a ton of grief from her cheer crew. Hes lost so much, but is to too late to rebuild his relationships?