General Fiction

 

 

Grade Level Interest
M
: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Junior Spirit is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. (S)

 

Thwonk! by Joan Bauer

A Cupid named Jonathan has offered help in the romance department to Allison Jean McCreary, with hilarious results when Allison can’t resist having local hunk Peter Tarris fall for her. (M)

 

 

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

So what if he’s legally blind? Even with his bottle-thick, bug-eyed glasses, Paul Fisher can see better than most people. He can see the lies his parents and brother live out, day after day. No one ever listens to Paul, though – until the family moves to Tangerine. In Tangerine, even a blind, geeky, alien freak can become cool. Who knows? Paul might even become a hero! (M)

 

Tyrell by Coe Booth

Tyrell is a young African-American teen who can’t get a break. He’s living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father’s in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn’t feel good enough for her — and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There’s another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels he needs to score some money to make things better. Will he end up following in his father’s footsteps? (S)

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Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets. Now Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life. (S)

 

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time – quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has the nerve to even ask a girl out on a date. But catching a girl in the buff starts to look easy compared to Matt’s other summertime aspiration: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) as a way to impress Kelly West, the sizzling new star of the swim team (S)

 

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

Jade, who suffers from panic attacks, finds relief from her condition by taking care of elephants at a local zoo. When she meets Sebastian, a boy with a 15-month-old son, she falls in love with him and becomes immersed in his world. (S)

 

 

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

Feeling alienated from everyone around her, Los Angeles high school senior and cinephile Victoria Denton hides behind the identity of a favorite movie character until an interesting new boy arrives at school and helps her realize that there is more to life than just the movies. (M, S)

 

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she’s going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He’s out there somewhere, and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy’s stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she’s managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they’re suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes. (S)

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Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Just before his senior year, Ben Wolf is diagnosed with a rare, incurable leukemia. At 18, he has the legal right to keep the news to himself until he’s ready to reveal it. With only his doctor and therapist in on his secret, Ben sets out to live an entire lifetime in a year: There are insects that pack it all into a day, he reasons. His goals are to join his brother on the football team; learn everything he can; and ask out gorgeous Dallas Suzuki. (S)

 

Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Pena

Biracial Danny Lopez doesn’t think he fits anywhere. He feels like an outsider with his Mexican father’s family, with whom he is staying for the summer, and at his mostly white school, and he wonders if his confusion drove his father away. He also struggles with his obsession for baseball; a gifted player with a blazing fastball, he lacks control of his game. With the support of a new friend and his caring cousins, Danny begins to learn how to deal with the problems in his life (S)

 

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She’s nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister–the always perfect Ashley–is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley’s reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future. (M, S)

 

Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper

The night that changes everything in Andy’s life begins as a great time. His basketball team wins a big game, and he and his best friend have some cold brews stashed in the car, just waiting for the rolling party to begin. Nothing anyone can say or do afterwards will convince Andy that what happens next isn’t his fault. (S)

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Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he’s about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. (S)

 

The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake

Thirteen-year-old Maleeka, uncomfortable because her skin is extremely dark, meets a new teacher with a birthmark on her face and makes some discoveries about how to love who she is and what she looks like. (M)

 

 

Keesha’s House by Helen Frost

Stephie is pregnant. Dontay hates his foster home. Carmen was arrested on a DUI charge. Harris was kicked out of his house for being gay. Katie’s stepfather abuses her, and her mother doesn’t believe her. All of them find friendship and refuge at Keesha’s House, an unofficial hideaway for troubled teens. (S)

 

The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez by Judy Goldschmidt

The only way Raisin Rodriguez can survive the painful transition from her life in California to unknown Philadelphia is by recording every detail in a secret blog she keeps for her best friends from home. But humiliation doesn’t begin to cover what Raisin experiences when someone at her new school discovers her blog and prints it out for the world to see. (M)

 

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan used to be best friends—as well as the self-proclaimed biggest fans of the band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Now, four years later, they’ve just graduated from high school. When Level3 announces a one-time reunion show in Texas, Alice impulsively buys tickets and invites her two former friends along for the trip. Reluctant at first, both girls agree to go, each with her own ulterior motive. But old resentments and other roadblocks—from unintended detours to lost concert tickets—keep getting in the girls’ way. Will their friendship get an encore, or is the show really over? (S)

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Paper Towns by John Green

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons to Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q…until day breaks and she’s vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q. (S)

 

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Roy Eberhardt has just moved with his family to Coconut Cove. He immediately becomes the target of a bully who tries to strangle him on the school bus. Meanwhile, plans to build a pancake house on a vacant lot are derailed when someone vandalizes the construction site. The two story lines come together when Roy discovers that a runaway boy, nicknamed Mullet Fingers, is disrupting the construction to save a group of burrowing owls. (M)

 

Alice, I Think by Susan Juby

After years of homeschool, oddball Alice is forced into attending public high school. Actually, this fits right in with Alice’s career aspirations to become a cultural critic, and her eighties style statement would be working out pretty much all right (especially after she gets a great haircut somewhat by accident) if it weren’t for her old nemesis Linda, now grown seriously homicidal, and her two headbanger henchmen. (M, S)

 

Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertge

Ben has cerebral palsy and lives with his overly protective grandmother – a bad combination for a teenage boy. He describes his rather lonely life in a matter-of-fact, humorous way that doesn’t allow for pity. His life is turned upside down when he meets Colleen, who is bold, brash, and loud – and a drug addict. (S)

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No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman

For expressing his true views of assigned reading Old Shep, My Pal, football hero Wallace earns a detention that takes him off the team and plunks him down in the auditorium, where his English teacher is directing a theatrical version of—you guessed it. (M)

 

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall. But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next? (S)

 

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

Scott Hudson chronicles the ups and downs of his eventful freshman year in high school, as he joins the newspaper, works as a stage manager for the spring play, learns a lot from his outstanding English teacher, tries to help a student who attempts suicide, is beaten up because of a girl, and goes to the spring dance. Along the way, he discovers that his mother is pregnant, and he writes a series of insightful letters to his soon-to-be sibling. (M, S)

 

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. (S)

 

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

Three female students from Ashbury High write to three male students from rival Brookfield High as part of a pen pal program, leading to romance, humiliation, revenge plots, and war between the schools. (M, S)

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Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

After spending the summer training a rival high school’s quarterback, D.J. Schwenk, tired of living in the shadow of her football star older brothers, decides to try out for the football team herself. (M, S)

 

 

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been. So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life – and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done. (S)

 

King Dork by Frank Portman

Tom Henderson is a typical high school loser until he discovers the book, The Catcher in the Rye, that will change the world as he knows it. When Tom discovers his deceased father’s copy of the Salinger classic, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it’s just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father’s death and – oddly – reveal the secret to attracting semi-hot girls. (S)

 

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher

Adrienne Haus is a survivor of a mother-daughter book club. Her mother signed her up because she was stuck at home all summer with her knee in a brace. CeeCee’s parents forced her to join after cancelling her Paris trip because she bashed up their car. The members of “The Unbearable Book Club,” CeeCee, Jill, Wallis, and Adrienne, are all going into eleventh grade A.P. English. But they aren’t friends. They’re literary prisoners, sweating, reading classics, and hanging out at the pool. (M, S)

 

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and the perfect boyfriend. So why is she so unhappy? It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She’s been holding back. She’s been denying herself a bunch of things because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the “right” thing to do. But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can’t see herself in – and as Lauren’s craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce – Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice…before one is made for her. (S)

 

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman

They say his clothes blend into the background, no matter where he stands. They say a lot of things about the Schwa, but one thing’s for sure: no one ever noticed him. Except me. My name is Antsy Bonano—and I was the one who realized the Schwa was “functionally invisible” and used him to make some big bucks. But I was also the one who caused him more grief than a friend should. So if you all just shut up and listen, I’ll tell you everything there is to know about the Schwa, from how he got his name, to what really happened with his mom. (M)

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Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron

Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t self-destruct first. Winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands would justify all the band’s compromises and reassure Sammy that his life’s dream could become a reality. But practices are hard to schedule when Sammy’s grandfather is sick and getting worse, his mother is too busy to help either of them, and his best friend may want to be his girlfriend. When everything in Sammy’s life seems to be headed for major catastrophe, will his music be enough to keep him together? (M, S)

 

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, Stargirl captures Leo Borlock’s heart. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. (M, S)

 

Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

Shawn McDaniel has cerebral palsy. With no control of physical functions, he appears to the outside world, including his family, as a “vegetable.” Inside, Shawn is a genius with a photographic memory and a rich inner life. But now, he suspects that his father, in order to end his perceived pain and suffering, is considering killing him. Can he make his father aware of his true self in time? (M, S)

 

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Zoe Elias dreams of playing at Carnegie Hall. But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn’t the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn’t the only part of Zoe’s life that’s off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day. Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises – and that perfection may be even better when it’s just a little off center. (M)

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Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski in second grade, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. But now in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down. And just as he’s thinking there’s more to her than meets the eye, she’s thinking that he’s not quite all he seemed. (M)

 

Rock On by Denise Vega

Ori Taylor is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the Band To Be Named Later, a garage band he started with his friends. After years of being known only as the kid brother of sports star Del, Ori is looking forward to stepping out of his older brother’s shadow, learning to perform in public, and rocking the Battle of the Bands contest. Oh, and maybe finally working up the nerve to talk to a girl in person instead of just over e-mail. But when Del suddenly returns from college, he expects Ori to step back into his role of little brother, just when Ori is starting to come into his own. (M, S)

 

The List by Siobhan Vivian

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up. This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two. (M, S)

 

So B. It by Sarah Weeks

Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbor, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother’s vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi’s thirst for the truth leads her on a cross–country journey in search of the secrets of her past. (M)

 

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

For Matt and his sisters, life with their cruel, vicious mother is a day-to-day struggle for survival. But then Matt witnesses Murdoch coming to a child’s rescue in a convenience store, and for the first time, he feels a glimmer of hope. When, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt’s mother, life is suddenly almost good. But the relief lasts only a short time. When Murdoch inevitably breaks up with their mother, Matt knows he needs to take action. But can he call upon his hero? Or will he have to take measures into his own hands? (S)

 

The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker

Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would preferred to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer’s daughter roots and become part of the popular crowd at her small town high school. She trades her Bible for Seventeen magazine, buys new “sophisticated” clothes and somehow manages to secure a tenuous spot at the cool kids table. She’s on top of the world, even though her best friend and the boy next door Luke says he misses “plain old Ricki Jo.” Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn’t care what people think and who wouldn’t let a good-looking guy walk all over her. (M, S)

 

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things. As a pastor’s kid, it’s hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reason to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam’s personal one, and the already-worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel. (M, S)

 

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

After high-school junior Naomi conks her head, she can’t remember anything that happened since sixth grade. She is by turns mystified and startled by evidence of her present life, from the birth-control pills in her bedside table to her parents’ astonishing, rancorous split. Eventually, the memories return, leaving Naomi questioning the basis of a new, intense romance, and wondering which of her two lives, present or former, represents her most authentic self. (S)

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