Sam Campbell's school team, the Laggan Lairds, always loses. When someone suggests that their name be the Laggan Lard Butts, Sam thinks the team should change its name. What is a Laird anyway? The basketball coach agrees, and soon the whole school is involved in an election for a new team name. Sam and his friends nominate the name Lard Butts. When the basketball team starts winning games after a warm-up cheer of "Go Lard Butts!" it seems the Lard Butt campaign might actually win the election.
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.
Dan is not sure he'll survive the boring field trip to a remote heritage farm. How could a place with no running water, telephone or electricity be anything but dull? The farmer knows nothing about farming and is angry about having to conduct the tour. And what's with his tattoo? The teacher requests a private word with the farmer and then mysteriously disappears. After a messy attack of allergies, Dan is excused to find a tissue. He sneaks back to the school bus and discovers the driver and teacher have been bound and gagged. The farmer is really an escaped convict with nasty plans. Will Dan be able to find help in time?
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.
Peter Strand is half Chinese and half Cherokee and was adopted by an elderly white couple from Phoenix. Now he's a forensic accountant in San Francisco, where he's struggling with his identity. When his employer asks him to investigate a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, Strand meets a cast of quirky characters who all seem to be hiding a secret. Peter soon finds evidence of a probable fraud, but when fraud leads to murder, he's drawn deeper into a murky mystery. The Black Tortoise is the second book in the Peter Strand Mystery series.
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.
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.
Keegan Bishop, championship skier, is almost injured in a dangerous trap set for one of his teammates. Snowboard tracks leading away from the trap are the only clue as to who might be responsible. Keegan teaches himself to snowboard so he can find the culprit on the snowboarding slopes. When Keegan discovers that someone has been stealing snowboards and skis at Bear Mountain resort, and the girl he's just met is somehow involved, he must face his fears and test his new snowboarding skills in a run for safety.
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.
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.
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.
While volunteering at the local zoo, Robyn, Nick and Trevor learn that grizzly bears are being poached and their gall bladders removed for use in alternative medicine. Always ready to solve a mystery, the kids set out to find the poachers. Bear is not only big game, they learn, but big money to poachers. The stakes are high and the suspects many, as the kids head into their most dangerous adventure yet.
As much as life has irrevocably changed since the death of his father, much has stayed the same for Cam. He's always had a great deal of responsibility around the house, but the burden is heavier now in combination with the load of grief he's been carrying. After the man who was driving the truck that killed his father turns up at the end of the driveway, Cam feels pressure to keep his family safe as well. He starts to see the man everywhere: at his work, in stores, at his sister's school. Cam needs to know what the man wants from his family, and he starts following his father's killer in search of answers.
Would-be detectives Trevor, Nick and Robyn are hot on the trail of a sandwich thief when they learn that more than food has been going missing at school. A valuable hockey book has been stolen from the library, and the kids worry that the librarian might lose her job if it isn't found. Who would steal a hockey book? Could it be Robyn's arch-nemesis and hockey enthusiast Cray? Or could it be Ms. Thorson, the Oiler fan teacher? The kids are determined to solve these mysteries even though their sleuthing efforts land them into trouble at every turn.
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.
When Kurt is hurt in a soccer game and ends up in the hospital Tina tries to help him, but nobody will tell her what is wrong, and Kurt's parents don't want her around. Tina learns that Kurt needs a donor with a rare blood type, and she finds a match in Kurt's soccer rival Jason. Jason agrees to donate his blood to Kurt, but when Kurt disappears from the hospital, the situation becomes desperate. Then Kurt's rival is in a tragic accident that may change everything.
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.
Dorf is all about skateboarding and so far that's worked out fine. But now that he's in a new city, the terrain has changed. He's no longer free to skateboard where he wishes, school is more difficult, and his passion for skateboarding garners him the nickname and reputation of a freak. With daring stunts he gains the grudging respect of local troublemakers, but he needs to tap into another kind of courage to effect real change.
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.
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.
The first flash mob Ian puts together himself is a sixty-plus person, four-minute pillow fight in a department store. His friend Oswald is thrilled with the event, but Julia, the one Ian really wants to impress, is still convinced that flash mobs are stupid. While Ian tries to prove Julia wrong by initiating flash mobs with political impact, Julia is busy waging war with the strict new principal at school. When Julia goes too far and gets herself suspended, Ian sees an opportunity for a relevant and persuasive flash mob.
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.