Praised by Jack Gantos, author of Dead End in Norvelt, as "a quick read with a kick at the finish," this debut novel sensitively and memorably captures a teen runner's relationship with his autistic older brother. Like most siblings, Leo and Caleb have a complicated relationship. But Caleb's violent outbursts literally send Leo running. When the family is forced to relocate due to Caleb's uncontrollable behavior, Leo tries to settle into a new school, joining the cross-country team and discovering his talent for racing and endurance for distance. Things even begin to look up for Leo when he befriends Curtis, a potential state champion who teaches Leo strategy and introduces him to would-be girlfriend, Mary. But Leo's stability is short-lived as Caleb escalates his attacks on his brother, resentful of his sport successes and new friendships. Leo can't keep running away from his problems. But, with a little help from Curtis and Mary, he can appreciate his worth as a brother and his own capacity for growth, both on and off the field.
Twelve-year-old movie-loving Maisie is in need of a distraction from her current romantic dilemma when her Uncle Walt comes to stay with her family after being hurt on the set of the movie he's filming in Hollywood. Maisie's best friend, Cyrus, has been hanging out a lot with Gary Hackett, whose last-name sounds to Maisie like a cat barfing up a hairball. When it seems as if Hackett might like Maisie romantically, she's none too pleased, and Cyrus is even less impressed. Uncle Walt has a way of pointing Maisie in the right direction, and Maisie's love of movies also keeps her centered. Heading to the local independent theater on Saturdays to see old movies helps Maisie stay grounded as she struggles with growing up, family tensions, a grandma who seems to be losing her memory, and a love triangle she never expected.
Brace yourself for the scariest field trip of your life! Bumbling, cowardly Eugene is forced to transfer to a new school in northern Michigan, in the middle of the year, and in the middle of a blizzard. Eugene is used to weird things happening in his life, but this new place feels really bad. He has no idea how bad it's going to get until he meets his new English teacher, "Ming the Merciless." To save his classmates from a fatal graduation from Ming's School of the Brass Monkeys, Eugene must deliver an unfinished book to a legendary teacher named McGinty, who is hiding in the underworld. With the help of some renegade teachers and his new friends, he begins an epic journey to find McGinty. Will Eugene survive the Cliffs of Notes and the Sea of Hot Lunches? Will he reach McGinty in time to expose Ming's plot? A great choice for the reluctant reader, Brass Monkeys is action-packed and full of twists and turns. It's sure to keep readers guessing until the very end.