When You Leave
Running Press Kids
For Cass, the girl who survived her father’s desertion and best friend’s battle with cancer, love doesn’t come with the possibility of loss but the certainty of it. When the hot boy at her new school seems interested in her, Cass keeps their relationship a secret. At first it’s just flirtation and fun, but Cooper isn’t satisfied with the cool exterior Cass shows everyone else. He wants the real her.
And just when she’s ready to let him into her heart, he’s gone. Dead. Murdered. Worse still, her friend Gavin gets blamed for it. All Cass can do now is try to piece together who Cooper really was and why the real killer wanted him dead. Her search unearths truths she is barely able to face and forces her … Continue reading
Kathleen Cook Waldron
When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, Ari and his remaining family gather at the cabin deep in the woods. At the reading of the will, another surprise greets Ari, his dad and his aunt: Grandpa left the cabin and all his land to Ari. Uninterested in the remote property that conjures painful memories, Ari’s dad and aunt make plans to sell everything. Ari is determined to change their minds.
Author Kathleen Cook Waldron brings to the story her own experience living in the bush. The details of the cabin and surrounding land and community are told in vivid detail so that even the most urban readers can perfectly picture the serene woods, playful stream and peaceful lake.
Through Waldron’s clean storytelling, we follow … Continue reading
On the Jellicoe Road
Taylor Markham has been at the school on the Jellicoe Road since she was six years old. It’s her turn to lead the students in the annual territory wars with the Townies and Cadets from a school in Sydney. But lost memories of her childhood, her mother and a man she hopes is her father distract her from the game. When her caregiver, Hannah, disappears, Taylor studies the stories Hannah left behind, looking for clues to her whereabouts. She forms unlikely alliances with territory rivals, and together they work to solve the mysteries behind many things that happened on the Jellicoe Road.
When I started reading this novel, I felt a bit lost. It seems like two stories are happening simultaneously, and … Continue reading
Where the Stars Still Shine
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published September 24, 2013
Callie spent most of her childhood believing her father is after her. She’s never been to school, never had any real friends. Anytime there’s a whiff of suspicion, her mother whisks them away to a new town, new trashy job, new sleazy boyfriend.
Then the truth comes in the form of an arrest warrant for her mom. In a blink, Callie finds herself living with her estranged dad, his new wife and their two small children, right smack in the middle of a large, loud, loving Greek family. For the first time, someone cares whether … Continue reading
Published February 3, 2015
When an EF5 tornado rips through sixteen year-old Cori’s neighborhood, more than her house is reduced to rubble. Shocking truths about her family emerge in the aftermath. Her nemesis suffers amnesia and Cori can’t seem to get rid of her. Her best friend Slim becomes angry and reclusive. Everything is out of order, and for not-precisely-OCD Cori, this is a huge problem.
As a character, Cori is absolutely the believable high school princess. Davidson does a great job crafting this selfish yet somehow endearing heroine. Cori’s friends are great foils for her, too, often much more noble than she herself can be.
… Continue reading
Where Things Come Back
John Corey Whaley
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Published May 3, 2011
The summer before his senior year, Cullen Witter’s sleepy Arkansas hometown implodes with changes. His cousin dies of a drug overdose. An extinct woodpecker is spotted by a smarmy nature enthusiast. And Cullen’s sensitive, insightful younger brother goes missing.
Woven through this summer tale of loss and love is another seemingly unrelated story about a missionary just returned from Ethiopia, his jaded college roommate and a girl who returns to Cullen’s town following a failed marriage. … Continue reading
Since You’ve Been Gone
Mary Jennifer Payne
Published February 17, 2015
Edie has to be ready to run at any time. Even though it’s been years, he still chases them. She and her mom move again and again, trying to stay ahead of him, but somehow he always finds them. The most recent move takes them to London, where her mom grew up. It’s a foreign place to Edie, who struggles to grasp the slang and hide within the shelter of a clique of girls.
When her mother disappears, Edie has two choices: … Continue reading
Both of Me
Published December 23, 2014
On the run from a past she can’t bear to face, Clara retraces her the journey outlined in her father’s journal. Then a captivating, broken boy derails her. He sketches things he shouldn’t know. Images from memories she wants to forget. And she can’t let him out of her sight until she understands how he knows these things.
But following Elias means a trip into fantasy. The boy has two parts – the gentle Elias who soothes Clara’s fears and the rough, unpredictable one who lives in an imaginary world called Salem and a great evil to the east. As … Continue reading
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published August 13, 2013
Eighteen year-old Leonard Peacock has had enough. A loner by choice, he’s lived out each school day under the dark cloud of a secret. On his birthday (a day which no one remembers) he sets out to reward the people he loves with gifts and the ones he hates with a bullet: first bully Asher Beal and then himself.
As Leonard delivers the presents, it’s clear there are people who care for him and who suspect that Leonard has chartered a short, one-way … Continue reading
R J Palacio
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published February 14, 2012
Fifth grade student August Pullman faces his first day at school. After being homeschooled for his entire previous education, his parents have decided it’s time for him to be around other kids his age. He’s prepared academically. He’s even met a couple of students already who’ve been very kind. But no one has prepared the rest of the school for August and his unusual appearance. When some students turn cruel, Auggie and his few friends band together, determined to outlast the hazing.
The story is first narrated first by … Continue reading