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      Village of Scoundrels

      by Margi Preus

      Jun 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Based on the true story of the French villagers in WWII who saved thousands of Jews, this novel tells how a group of young teenagers stood up for what is right. Among them is a young Jewish boy who learns to forge documents to save his mother and later goes on to save hundreds of lives with his forgery skills. There is also a girl who overcomes her fear to carry messages for the Resistance. And a boy who smuggles people into Switzerland. But there is always the threat that they will be caught: A policeman is sent to keep an eye on them, German soldiers reside in a local hotel, and eventually the Gestapo arrives, armed with guns and a list of names. As the knot tightens, the young people must race against time to bring their friends to safety.

      Taylor Before and After

      by Jennie Englund

      May 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      In this heartfelt middle-grade novel, an eighth-grade girl faces the aftermath of a tragic family accident—and struggles to move on.

      Taylor Before and After tells the story of middle schooler Taylor Harper through journal entries alternating between two timelines: before and after a drunk driving accident, in which Taylor Harper was a passenger—and her brother was the driver.

      Before, Taylor was finally becoming popular, navigating the pressures of friends, frenemies, and a cut-throat initiation challenge by the coolest girl in school. After, she finds herself ostracized, bullied, and facing the glaring silence of things unsaid at school (and at home).

      Debut author Jennie Englund writes with compassion and empathy, moving fluidly from effervescence to quiet reflection in this tale of grief, depression, loss, and what comes next. Taylor Before and After is an emotional story of one girl’s journey to self-acceptance.

      Chirp

      by Kate Messner

      Apr 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she’s recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. Packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she’d rather forget. Mia’s change in scenery brings day camps, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is out to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram’s thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save the farm? And will solving one mystery empower Mia to confront the secret she’s been hiding?

      In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

      The Best at It

      by Maulik Pancholy

      Mar 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at. And become the BEST at it.

      Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Miller will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge… But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?

      The Tyrant's Tomb: The Trials of Apollo, Book Four

      by Rick Riordan

      Feb 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      It's not easy being Apollo, especially when you've been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies. Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo's aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler…someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced.

      Glossary.

      Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus

      by Dusti Bowling

      Jan 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school…with 3,000 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

      The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster

      by Cary Fagan

      Dec 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Hartley Staples, near-graduate of middle school, is grappling with the fact that his older brother has run away from home, when he finds a handmade postcard that fascinates him. And soon he spots another. Despite his losing interest in pretty much everything since Jackson ran away, Hartley finds himself searching for cards in his small town at every opportunity, ignoring other responsibilities, namely choosing a topic for his final project. Who is G.O. and why are they scattering cards about the town?

      Full-color collage art.

      My Jasper June

      by Laurel Snyder

      Nov 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      The school year is over, and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels…lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.

      Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers, is also lost. Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships. Somewhere only they can find.

      But as the days of this magical June draw to a close and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.

      Let Me Fix That for You

      by Janice Erlbaum

      Oct 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Twelve-year-old Gladys Rand may not have many friends, but at least she has her empire. From her table at the back of the cafeteria, Glad arranges favors for her classmates in exchange for their friendship. She solves every problem, handles every situation, and saves every butt. But the jobs keep getting harder, and when Glad decides the problem that most needs fixing is her parents' relationship, she finds herself in way over her head. She'll have to call in all her favors and use all her skills to help the person who most needs it—herself—in this quirky, touching, and laughout-loud novel from Janice Erlbaum.

      Math and science notes.

      The Other Half of Happy

      by Rebecca Balcárcel

      Oct 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Quijana is a girl in pieces. One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana's Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn't know more about her family's heritage. One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she's found true friends. But she can't help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what's going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.

      Character quotes. Quotes from Don Quixote. Poem. List of quoted poems. Game instructions. Science notes.

      Fing's War

      by Benny Lindelauf

      Sep 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      The Boon family and their indefatigable gallows humor are back in Benny Lindelauf’s follow-up to Nine Open Arms.

      Poised to win a scholarship to the nearby teachers college, Fing has high hopes. It’s 1938 and her poor family of nine—one father, four brothers, three sisters, and a grandmother—has finally managed to eke out a living in the tiny cigar factory abutting their dilapidated home. But smelling success, her dreamer of a father is determined to expand and Fing’s dreams fall apart when she instead has to go to work for the Cigar Emperor, taking care of his new, German wife’s eccentric niece. The novel’s gripping language, enriched by Yiddish, German, and Dutch dialect, plunges the reader into the world of a large, colorful, motherless family as they navigate the changes World War II visits upon their little town on the border of the Netherlands and Germany. This stand-alone follow-up to Nine Open Arms, a 2015 Batchelder Honor book translated from Dutch, is a fantasy, a historical novel, and literary fiction all wrapped into one.

      Glossary of slang words. Character list. Map.

      For Black Girls Like Me

      by Mariama J. Lockington

      Sep 2019

      Advanced Readers Plus

      Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda's family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena—the only other adopted black girl she knows—for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one true friend.

      Through it all, Makeda can’t help wondering: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me?

      Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.
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