Thirteen-year-old Robbie leads a double life. It's just Robbie and his dad, but no one knows that his dad isn't like most parents. Sometimes he wakes Robbie up in the middle of the night to talk about dying. Sometimes he just leaves without telling Robbie where he’s going. Once when Robbie was younger, he was gone for more than a week. Robbie was terrified of being left alone but even more scared of telling anyone in case he was put into foster care. No one can know. Until one day when Robbie has to show the tough new girl, Harmony, around school. Their first meeting ends horribly and she punches Robbie in the face. But eventually they come to realize that they have a lot more in common than they thought. Can Robbie's new friend be trusted to keep his secret?
Fourteen-year-old Dylan is sent to live with his estranged grandfather, Angus. Basically strangers, the two avoid each other as best they can. One day Dylan discovers a young orca stranded high up on the rocky beach. Dylan runs to tell his grandfather. There’s nothing that can be done, says Angus. The sun is coming up, and soon the orca will die of exposure. But Dylan knows he has to try to save the whale. He collects towels to cover the delicate skin of the orca and begins transporting buckets of water from the ocean below to keep it hydrated. It’s grueling work, and it will be hours before the tide comes back in and the water is high enough for the orca to swim free. Angus is moved by his grandson’s determination and helps as best he can. They both desperately hope that soon the orca will be able to join its family, who have been calling out to it just offshore.
Moving to a new city and a new school is never easy. So Lauren is relieved when Callie, Treena and Maddy welcome her into their group. But then Lauren witnesses their reaction to a first grader in a wheelchair. That boy is her little brother, Will. But she’s afraid that if she tells them, they may not want to be friends with her. Soon Lauren finds herself living a double life as she struggles with the challenges of building new friendships and trying to make it up to Will for not acknowledging him at school. At some point Lauren will have to make a decision. What is more important? Friends or family?
Thirteen-year-old Chloë left her whole life back in Montreal, including her mom and her best friend. Now she's stuck in Victoria with her dad and her estranged grandfather, Uli, who recently had a stroke. When Chloë agrees to help Uli look after his garden, she's determined to find out why he and her dad didn't speak to each other for years. For decades Uli has collected seeds from people in the community, distinct varieties that have been handed down through generations. The result is a garden full of unusual and endangered produce, from pink broccoli to blue kale to purple potatoes. But Chloë learns that the garden will soon be destroyed to make way for a new apartment complex. And the seed collection is missing! Chloë must somehow find a way to save her grandfather's legacy.
Better Together explores how people gather in groups of all kinds to fulfill the basic human need for companionship. From the smallest units of parents, siblings and friends to global organizations that try to build on a foundation of common human experience to meet their goals, people working together are a powerful force for change. Too often, we look at someone and see all the ways we are different. People all around the world come together to build things, teach and entertain each other, and provide everything from better health care to good food to security and education. Better Together examines the many ways we are the same, no matter where we live.
Cade's dad thinks triathlons are for wimps. He doesn't think it's a real sport and wishes Cade would play football instead, like his older brother, Trent. So Cade trains in secret and qualifies to compete in the provincial championship in Sylvan Lake. The night before the event, Cade's coach suddenly can't go, and Cade is forced to ask his dad for a ride there. He only agrees because Trent has a football game nearby. The road trip takes a nasty turn when his dad swerves to avoid a deer and their car hurtles into an ice-cold river. It's up to Cade to use his skills to save his entire family.
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?
Inspired by memories of fantastic family birthday parties, mother-and-daughter team Nikki Tate and Dani Tate-Stratton researched the history of birthdays in order to answer such questions as, How much does where you grow up influence the way you celebrate getting a year older? Have people always celebrated birthdays? The more they investigated, the more they realized that there's a lot more to birthdays than cake, presents, a few games and perhaps a goody bag. They discovered there are as many ways to observe birthdays as there are places in which to do it.
Callie's mother has chained herself to the neighbor's tree and is living inside the treehouse. She refuses to come down until the neighbor, Mr. Wilson, agrees to leave the tree standing. Soon reporters arrive to interview Callie about her mother's protest. Callie doesn't want to talk to anyone. More chaos ensues when Callie's grandmother invites the "singing grannies" to help save the tree, the neighbor's biker friends come to her aid, and Callie's friends show up to try to get themselves on TV. Callie needs to figure out how to get her mother to come down from the tree so that her life can return to normal.
When Charlie Sykes wakes up in hospital in St. John's, he learns that he and his father have been in a car accident and that his father is dying. Charlie inherits little more than the brass key that his father pressed into his hand before he passed away. As far as Charlie knows, he has no family in Newfoundland. But then Uncle Nick shows up and is keen to meet his nephew-not because of who Charlie is, but rather because of what Charlie has: the key. That key will unlock a treasure Uncle Nick began searching for more than thirty years earlier. And he would have found it all those years ago if he hadn't been arrested and sent away for murder. But Charlie isn't convinced he should give up the key. He leads Uncle Nick on a wild chase through old St. John's, across Signal Hill and out to the coast. There, high above the rugged Atlantic, Charlie finally comes face-to-face with Uncle Nick, the treasure, and a family history that will leave him with a new understanding of where he comes from and where he's going.
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.
Unlike his perfect older sister, Jenna, Conner hates his piano lessons and gets bad grades in math. He's really good at bike tricks and he loves animals, but his parents have a no-pets rule and they don't take his bike-riding seriously. When the local animal shelter gets overcrowded, everybody in Conner's pet club agrees to take in a foster pet. Conner has to hide his rat, Oscar, from his family, who would never believe that Oscar is smart and cute and pretty lovable. Or would they?
Quid Pro Quo is a high-stakes, fast-moving legal thriller about real people, and funny people at that. Cyril MacIntyre's mother is a twenty-eight-year-old ex-street kid who drags her son to all her law school classes, then proceeds to get herself kidnapped. That aside, Cyril's life isn't too different from that of other thirteen-year-olds. He has all the usual adolescent issues to deal with: parent problems, self-esteem problems, skin, hair and girl problems. He just has legal problems too. And he's got to solve them if he wants to save his mother's life. Quid Pro Quo is the winner of the Arthur Ellis Award and the CBC Young Canada Reads 2009 award. It has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award and the Ann Connor Brimer Award.
When Josh's mother dies in a phobia-induced car crash, she leaves two questions for her grieving family: how did a snake get into her car; and how do you mourn with no faith to guide you? Twelve-year-old Josh is left alone to find the answers. His father is building a time machine. His four-year-old brother's closest friend is a plastic Power Ranger. His psychiatrist offers nothing more than a blank journal and platitudes.Isolated by grief in a home where every day is pajama day, Josh makes death his research project. He tests the mourning practices of religions he doesn't believe in. He tries to mend his little brother's shattered heart. He observes, records and waits for his life to feel normal, for his mother's death to make sense, for his father to come out of the basement. His observations, recorded in a series of journal entries, are funny, smart, insightful and heartbreaking. His conclusions about the nature of love, loss, grief and the space-time continuum are nothing less than life-changing.
It's 1963, and Jack's family is still reeling from the SIDS death of his baby sister. Adrift in his own life, Jack is convinced that setting a world record will bring his father back to his senses and his mother back to life. But world events, including President Kennedy's assassination, threaten to overshadow any record Jack tries to beat from sausage eating to face slapping. Nothing works, and Jack is about to give up when a new friend suggests a different approach that involves listening to, not breaking, records.
Fiona's life changed forever when her mother died in a South Pacific sailing accident. One year later, everyone tells her it is time to move on. To Fiona, moving on means leaving her mother behind-something she has vowed never to do. But Fiona's father has started dating again. His new girlfriend, Kathy, is a professional psychic who claims she can predict the future and communicate with the dead. Fiona is sure she is a fraud, although she secretly longs for her abilities to be genuine. With the reluctant support of her best friend Abby, Fiona sets out to put an end to her father's new relationship by trying to prove, with decidedly mixed results, that Kathy is a liar.
Colette Faizal isn't superstitious, so she doesn't worry when a fortune-teller advises Colette's mother to "watch for the unexpected." But when her father announces he is going back to Iran, her mother is hurt in a car accident and Colette is sent to live with the grandparents she's never even met, everything the mysterious woman predicted seems to be coming true. As Colette struggles to bring her family back together, she tries to hold on to the last thing the fortune-teller told her: "You will know how to handle what lies ahead."
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Rufus and his sister Alexa hate each other at the best of times. When Rufus's friend Phil manages to hypnotize Alexa, Rufus is ready to enjoy the power. They begin by ordering Alexa to be kind to her parents and Phil. The plan backfires when Alexa sweetly suggests canceling an expensive family vacation in favor of a week at home playing board games. Then Alexa turns on the charm with Phil and suddenly Rufus has to deal with a lovesick amateur hypnotist. Rufus is certain it can't get any stranger until Alexa, still in her hypnotic state, is kind to the brother she's always hated and Rufus is more confused than he's ever been.
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.