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      Fighting Words

      by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

      Dec 2020

      Realistic Fiction Middle Plus

      Ten-year-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom’s boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run fast, Della had Suki. Suki is Della’s own wolf—her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della’s world turns so far upside down, it feels like it’s shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she’s been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it’s time to be loud.

      In this powerful novel that explodes the stigma around child sexual abuse and leavens an intense tale with compassion and humor, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley tells a story about two sisters, linked by love and trauma, who must find their own voices before they can find their way back to each other.

      Yara's Spring

      by Sharon E. McKay

      Dec 2020

      Advanced Readers

      Growing up in East Aleppo, Yara’s childhood has long been shadowed by the coming revolution. But when the Arab Spring finally arrives at Yara’s doorstep, it is worse than even her Nana imagined: sudden, violent, and deadly. When rescuers dig Yara out from under the rubble that was once her family’s home, she emerges to a changed world. Her parents and Nana are gone, and her brother, Saad, can’t speak—struck silent by everything he’s seen. Now, with her friend Shireen and Shireen’s charismatic brother, Ali, Yara must try to find a way to safety. With danger around every corner, Yara is pushed to her limits as she discovers how far she’ll go for her loved ones—and for a chance for freedom.

      Crafted through the focused lens of Jamal Saeed’s own experiences in Syria and brought to life with acclaimed author Sharon E. McKay, Yara’s Spring is a story of coming of age against all odds and the many kinds of love that bloom even in the face of war.

      No Vacancy

      by Tziporah Cohen

      Dec 2020

      Religious Books Elementary

      Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool.

      But when it becomes clear that only a miracle is going to save the Jewel from bankruptcy, Jewish Miriam and Catholic Kate decide to create their own. Otherwise, the No Vacancy sign will come down for good, and Miriam will lose the life she’s worked so hard to build.

      Dating Makes Perfect

      by Pintip Dunn

      Dec 2020

      Paperbacks High

      The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.

      Until now.

      In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of dating practice.

      In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must date in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course — and on dates they organize based on their favorite rom-coms. The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, dreamy, and infuriating.

      Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. Her parents love him, so naturally he’s the perfect person for her to pretend date.

      If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

      Furia

      by Yamile Saied Mendez

      Dec 2020

      Sports High

      In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

      At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

      On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

      But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

      Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America

      by Nora Shalaway Carpenter

      Dec 2020

      Young Adults Plus

      Think you know what rural America is like? Discover a plurality of perspectives in this enlightening anthology of stories that turns preconceptions on their head.

      Gracie sees a chance of fitting in at her South Carolina private school, until a “white trash”–themed Halloween party has her steering clear of the rich kids. Samuel’s Tejano family has both stood up to oppression and been a source of it, but now he’s ready to own his true sexual identity. A Puerto Rican teen in Utah discovers that being a rodeo queen means embracing her heritage, not shedding it…

      For most of America’s history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors’ real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors—diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status—explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you’ll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed—and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own.

      Shine

      by Jessica Jung

      Dec 2020

      Current Trends High Plus

      What would you give for a chance to live your dreams?

      For seventeen-year-old Korean American Rachel Kim, the answer is almost everything. Six years ago, she was recruited by DB Entertainment—one of Seoul’s largest K-pop labels, known for churning out some of the world’s most popular stars. The rules are simple: Train 24/7. Be perfect. Don’t date. Easy right?

      Not so much. As the dark scandals of an industry bent on controlling and commodifying beautiful girls begin to bubble up, Rachel wonders if she’s strong enough to be a winner, or if she’ll end up crushed… Especially when she begins to develop feelings for K-pop star and DB golden boy Jason Lee. It’s not just that he’s charming, sexy, and ridiculously talented. He’s also the first person who really understands how badly she wants her star to rise.

      I Survived the California Wildfires, 2018

      by Lauren Tarshis

      Dec 2020

      Hi-Lo PG Middle/High

      The people of Northern California were used to living with the threat of wildfires. But nothing could have prepared them for the devastating 2018 fire season, the deadliest in 100 years and the most destructive in history.

      In the 20th "I Survived" book, readers join eleven-year-old Josh as he leaves his New Jersey home for the rural northern California town where his cousins live. Still reeling from the life-changing challenges that propelled him and his mother across the country, Josh struggles to adapt to a more rustic, down-to-earth lifestyle that couldn't be more different from the one he is used to.

      Josh and his cousin bond over tacos and reptiles and jokes, but on a trip into the nearby forest, they suddenly find themselves in the path of a fast-moving firestorm, a super-heated monster that will soon lay waste to millions of acres of wilderness and—possibly—their town. Josh needs to confront the family issues burning him up inside, but first he'll have to survive the flames blazing all around him.

      Fly on the Wall

      by Remy Lai

      Dec 2020

      Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

      Henry Khoo's family treats him like a baby. He’s forbidden from going anywhere without his sister/bodyguard. His (former) best friend knows to expect his mom's mafia-style interrogation when Henry’s allowed to hang out at her house. And he definitely CAN’T take an international flight by himself!

      But that’s exactly Henry's plan. After the Khoos’ trip to visit his dad in Singapore is canceled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up with his family and BFF turned NRFF (Not Really Friend Forever). Plus, he’s hiding a HUGE secret: He’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he's on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure everrr…hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever.

      Pine Island Home

      by Polly Horvath

      Dec 2020

      PG Middle Plus

      When the McCready sisters’ parents are washed away in a tsunami, their Great Aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls - a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.

      Fiona approaches their grouchy and indifferent neighbor Al and asks if he will pretend to be their live-in legal guardian should papers need to be signed or if anyone comes snooping around. He reluctantly agrees, under the condition that they bring him dinner every night.

      As weeks pass, Fiona takes on more and more adult responsibilities, while each of the younger girls finds their own special role in their atypical family - But even if things seem to be falling into place, Fiona is sure it’s only a matter of time before they are caught.

      Red Fox Road

      by Frances Greenslade

      Dec 2020

      High Interest Middle Plus

      Francie and her parents are on a spring road trip: driving from British Columbia, Canada, to hike in the Grand Canyon. Her mom and dad are fighting because her dad is relying on GPS, while her mom wants to follow a (paper) map. When the GPS leads them down an old logging road, disaster strikes. Their truck hits a rock and wipes out the oilpan. They are stuck in the middle of nowhere. Francie can’t help feeling a little excited, as she’d often imagined how she’d survive if she got stranded in the bush, and now here they are. Her dad sets off to walk for help. Francie and her mom are left on their own, with little food, but that’s okay: her dad will be back in a few hours, with help—and hot chocolate, he promised. But hours go by. And then a day. And then another. Francie relies on her outdoor living lessons and her keen interest in nature for distraction, gathering dandelion leaves and fir needles for tea. Then one morning, Francie wakes up all alone.

      This Is My America

      by Kim Johnson

      Dec 2020

      Young Adults

      The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.

      Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?
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