Jason is sure his sister, Becca, was murdered, but he’s the only one who thinks so. After finding a photograph Becca kept hidden, he decides to infiltrate a boxing gym to prove that she didn’t die accidentally. As a transgender kid, Jason’s been fighting for as long as he can remember, and those skills are going to come in handy as he investigates. Quickly invited into the inner circle, Jason must balance newfound friendships with the burning hate that drives him. Jason soon feels torn between two worlds, determined to discover what happened to his sister but struggling with the fact that this is the first time he’s ever felt like he belonged somewhere.
High-school football star Matt Barnes was on the top of the world until a freak snowboarding accident ended his promising sports career and left him with a permanent limp. As he struggles to accept his changed body, Matt becomes depressed and isolated. Instead of college football camp, he faces a summer job at the local golf club. Then by chance Matt lands an internship at the Justice Project, an organization that defends the wrongly convicted. The other intern is his high-school nemesis, Sonya Livingstone, a quick-witted social activist with little time for jock culture. The two slowly develop a friendship as they investigate the case of Ray Richardson, who was convicted of murdering his parents twenty-one years ago. Matt and Sonya are soon convinced that Ray is innocent—but how will they prove it? Unraveling the cold case takes them on a journey filled with twists, turns, deception and danger. It will take dedication, perseverance and courage to unmask the real murderer. Can those same qualities help Matt move on to a life not defined by football?
After the death of her boyfriend, sixteen-year old Valentine stops going to school, quits seeing her friends and, finally, won’t leave her bed. Desperate for her daughter to recover, Valentine’s mother takes her on a trek in Thailand. In the mountains north of Chiang Mai, Valentine finds a world she didn’t know existed, where houses are on stilts and elephants still roam wild. She learns about the Burmese civil war and the relentless violence against the Karen and Rohingya peoples. Then she meets Lin, a mysterious young elephant keeper tormented by his hidden past, and an orphaned elephant calf, pursued by violent poachers. Together, the three flee deep into the jungle, looking for refuge and redemption.
After moving into a dank and drafty basement suite in West Edmonton with her truck- driving father, nasty stepmother and taciturn twin brother, Ash, seventeen-year-old Greta doesn't have high expectations for her last year of high school. When she blacks out at a party and is told the next day that she's had sex, she thinks things can't get any worse. She's wrong. While Greta deals with the confusion and shame of that night, her stepmother and father choose that moment to disappear, abandoning Ash and Greta to the mercy of their peculiar landlord, Elgin, who lives upstairs. Even as Greta struggles to make sense of what happened to her, she finds herself enjoying her new and very eccentric family, who provide the shelter and support that has long been absent from her life. Much to Greta's surprise, she realizes there is still kindness in the world—and hope.
Seventeen-year-old Mark "Shark" Hewitt is good at playing pool. Really good. When he, his mom and sister move to a new town, Mark immediately seeks out the local pool hall. He loves to play, but even more than that, he just loves hanging out with the regulars. It reminds him of good times with his dad, who is no longer in the picture. When one of the patrons notices Mark's natural gift for the game, he forces Mark to use his talent for profit. Now Mark has to find a way to get out from under this sleazeball's thumb and protect his family.
Jackson knows how to get what he wants. Whether it's sweet-talking his friends into buying lunch or convincing teachers to give him extensions, he feels entitled to take whatever he wants - even a day off school or a new pair of shoes. Now he's set his sights on Abby, a troubled girl fresh out of juvie who only has eyes for Bryce, the go-to dealer of a dangerous new drug called kryptonite.
When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. This ancient proverb of the Kikuyu people, a tribal group in Kenya, Africa, is as true today as when the words were first spoken, perhaps thousands of years ago. Its essence is simplicity—when the large fight, it is the small who suffer most. And when it comes to war, the smallest, the most vulnerable, are the children. When Elephants Fight presents the stories of five children—Annu, Jimmy, Nadja, Farooq and Toma—from five very different and distinct conflicts—Sri Lanka, Uganda, Sarajevo, Afghanistan and the Sudan. Along with these very personal accounts, the book also offers brief analyses of the history and geopolitical issues that are the canvas on which these conflicts are cast. When Elephants Fight is about increasing awareness. For the future to be better than the past, better than the present, we must help equip our children with an awareness and understanding of the world around them and their ability to bring about change. Gandhi stated, "If you are going to change the world, start with the children."
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.