Jump to Middle Grade Reads (most of these books would be rated G or PG if they were movies)
Jump to Teen Reads (rated PG)
Jump to Reads for Older Teens (rated PG-13 or R)
Jump to Short Stories for Teens
Jump to Reads for Adults
Middle Grade Reads
Home of the Brave - Katherine Applegate 2008
Kek, a Sudanese refugee, has moved to Minnesota to live with his aunt and cousin. Laugh and cry with Kek as he learns English and new ways of doing things. (For readers ages 9-12)
Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters – Jeannine Atkins, 2012
HISTORICAL - The stories of three extraordinary women and their daughters.
Hugging the Rock - Susan Taylor Brown 2004
Rachel watches her family fall apart under the pressures caused by her mother's mental illness. When her father regains his footing, he takes an active role in helping Rachel put the pieces back together again. (For readers in grades 5 to 8.)
Pieces of Georgia - Jen Bryant 2005
Thirteen year-old Georgia writes in her journal to deal with the death of her mother and her love of art. (For readers in grades 6 to 9.)
Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial - Jen Bryant 2008
In 1925, in Dayton Tennessee, J.T. Scopes, a science teacher is arrested for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. (For readers in grades 6 to 9.)
The Trial - Jen Bryant 2004
Twelve-year-old Katie Leigh witnesses the famous 1930's trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the man arrested for kidnapping the Lindbergh's baby.
All The Broken Pieces - Ann Burg, 2009
Although a caring family in America has adopted 12-year old Matt Pin, he can't forget the terrible thing he lived through during the war in Vietnam. (Readers ages 9-12)
Eva of the Farm - Dia Calhoun and illustrated by Kate Slater, 2012
Twelve-year-old Eva DeHart knows her family’s farm is the most magical place in the whole world, but when blight stikes the orchard and the bank forcloses on the farm, Eva must save it.
Sweetgrass Basket - Marlene Carvell 2005
HISTORICAL - Two Mohawk sisters, Mattie and Sarah, are sent away to the Carlisle Indian School near the turn of the 20th century.
Where the Steps Were - written and illustrated by Andrea Cheng 2008
The third-graders in Mrs. D's class record their year at Pleasant Hill school—their last because the school will be torn down.
Frenchtown Summer - Robert Cornier 2001, Illustrated by David Krovitan
Set in 1944 in a French-Canadian town, 13-year-old Eugene hides a terrible secret about his uncle and a girl's murder. (Ages 11 and up.)
Farm Kid- Sherryl Clark 2005
AUSTRALIAN - Life on the family farm is the only life Zack knows—blue skies, cows, hay and the creek. But the drought could change everything. Won the 2005 New South Wales Premier's Literary Award - Patricia Wrightson Prize.
Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!) - Sherryl Clark
AUSTRALIAN - All the grade 6 girls want to be super stylish--except Dawn. Problem is, Dawn doesn't what she wants, except for things to stay the same.
Motormouth- Sherryl Clark 2010
Chris has lost his best friend Dave. The new kid, Josh, is the envy of the class because of his racecar driving father. But Chris soon discovers that Josh is all talk.
Heartbeat - Sharon Creech 2004
Annie, 12, takes great pleasure in running. Max runs to escape his personal problems. Annie's learns that her mother is pregnant and her beloved Grandpa is slipping into dementia. (For readers in grades 4 to 7.)
Love That Dog - Sharon Creech 2004
Jack discovers poetry, a pastime for girls, and grieves his beloved dog. (For readers ages 8 to 12.)
Hate That Cat- Sharon Creech 2008
More poems by Jack. (For readers ages 8 to 12.)
The Weight of Water - Sarah Crossan 2012
HISTORICAL - Twelve-year-old Kasienka immigrates from Poland to London.
Under the Mambo Moon - Julia Durango 2011
HISTORICAL - Sway, salsa, and samba with Marisol as she helps at her papi's music store. (Grades 4 and up.)
The Wild Book - Margarita Engle 2012
Fefa struggles with reading, but when her mother gives her a book with no words in it, Fefa grows her own garden of words. (Fifth grade and up.)
The Surrender Tree - Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom - Margarita Engle 2008
Following Rosa's life from 1850 to 1899, this award-winning book tells of the struggles for Cuban independence. (For readers ages 9 and up.)
Tropical Secrets - Holocaust Refugees in Cuba - Margarita Engle 2009
A complex tale narrated by a 13-year old Jewish Refugee, Daniel, and 12-year old Paloma, a Cuban girl whose father is the worst kind of criminal. (For readers ages 9 to 12.)
Moon Over Tennessee: A Boy's Civil War Journey- Craig Crist-Evans 1999
HISTORICAL - A boy's journey into war. (Grades 4 and up.)
North of Everything - Craig Crist-Evans 2004
The unnamed boy moves from Florida to Vermont, where he gains a baby sister and loses his father to cancer. (For ages 9-12.)
Scout- Christine Ford 2007
Cecelia and Redbud, both 11, are best friends who enjoy exploring the nature preserve because it takes their minds off an abusive father and a mother's recent death. (For grades 5-7.)
Salt - Hellen Frost 2013
Anikwa and James, twelve years old in 1812, spend their days fishing, trapping, and exploring Indiana Territory on the brink of war.
The Braid - Hellen Frost 2006
Evicted from the Western Isles of Scotland in 1850, sisters are torn apart. Jeannie moves to Canada with her parents while Sarah hides so she can stay behind with Grandma. Before they separate, the sisters braid their hair together and cut it off -- each keeping half. (Grades 7 and up.)
Spinning Through the Universe - Hellen Frost 2004
Poems from a 5th grade classroom. There is also a section on poetic forms in the back. (For readers also in 5th grade.)
Diamond Willow - Hellen Frost 2008
Growing up in modern-day Alaska, 12-year old Willow loves her sled dogs. On her way to her Althabascan grandparent's home, she stumbles on adventure and old family secrets. Poems are written in diamond shapes and messages are found within the bold words. (For ages 9 to 12.)
Hidden – Helen Frost, 2011
Darra's father steals a minivan, not knowing that eight-year-old Wren is hiding in the back. The days that follow change the lives of both girls. Years later, the girls meet at camp.
Libertad - Alma Fullerton 2008
When Libertad's mother is killed in an accident at the Guatemalan city dump where the family picks trash, Libertad and his little brother make the trip to the United States to find their father. (For ages 9 to 12.)
What is Goodbye? - Nikki Grimes 2004
Jerilyn and Jesse grieve the death of their older brother. (For ages 8-12.)
Hold Me Tight - Lorie Ann Grover 2005
Essie is only 12 but she has a lot to deal with: a pregnant mom, a leaving father, and a kidnapped classmate. (For grades 5 and up.)
Loose Threads - Lorie Ann Grover 2002
Seventh-grader, Kay, is by her grandmother's side as she battles breast cancer. (For ages 9-12.)
On Pointe - Lorie Ann Grover 2004
Claire has a love for ballet and dreams of becoming part of the City Ballet Company when she is confronted with a family crisis. (For ages 9 to 12.)
Grow - Juanita Havill 2008
Berneetha and Kate plant a community garden, but the lot is slated to become a parking garage. (For readers up to age 12.)
Juan Felipe Herrera 2005
HISTORICAL - Juanito follows his migrant-worker parents from town to town in 1950's California, often getting into trouble with his cousins and friends along the way. Great mix of English and Spanish--I know I would have loved using the Spanish I learned in class if I had read this book in middle school. (For grades 5 to 8.)
Steven Herrick, illustrated by Caroline Magerl 2003
Looking for a funny novel in verse? Ron always says or does the wrong thing, but his heart is in the right place. Set in Australia. (For readers under 12.)
Naked Bunyip Dancing - Steven Herrick, illustrated by Beth Norling 2008
Another funny book from Herrick. The students in Mr. Carey's class learn what they are good at--Jason at kissing, Anna at yoga, and Peter at making his bottom talk. (For readers ages 9-12.)
Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend - Steven Herrick 2012
The students in 6A keep Constable Dawe on his toes while learning the value of friendship.
Aleutian Sparrow - Karen Hesse 2005, illustrated by Evon Zerbetz
In 1942, Japanese forces attacked the Aleutian Islands. Within days, the natives were moved to relocation centers in Alaska where they endured illness and death. Vera survives to return home in April of 1945. (Grades 6 and up.)
Out of the Dust - Karen Hesse 1997
Set in 1934 in Oklahoma, you are transported into 14-year-old Billie Jo's tragic life amid the dust storms. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998, Scott O'Dell Award, an ALA Notable Children's Book, an ALA "Best book for young adults", a School Library Journal "best book of the year", a Booklist "Editors' Choice" award, and more. (For 5th grade and up.)
Witness - Karen Hesse 1997
When the Ku Klux Klan moves into a quiet town in 1924 Vermont, everyone has something to say about it. (For readers 9 to 12.)
Brains for Lunch, A Zombie Novel in Haiku - K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson, 201o
Loeb, a zombie in middle school, has a crush on Sibohan, a human. Things get interesting when the librarian encourages Loeb to read his poetry on open mike night.
Addie on the Inside - James Howe, 2011
This novel is a companion to The Misfits and Totally Joe (so read them first) then read Addie’s poems from seventh grade as she struggles to find out who she really is and who she is going to become.
Soul Moon Soup - Lindsay Lee Johnson 1998
When 11-year-old Phoebe Rose's father leaves, she and her mother are homeless. (For readers 9 to 12.)
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup - Ron Koertge 2006
Baseball star, fourteen-year-old Kevin is forced to stay home sick with mono. He finds challenges in his father's book of poetry. Great examples of traditional poetic forms. (For readers grades 6-9.)
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs - Ron Koertge 2010
More of Kevin's story. (For readers grades 6-9.)
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai 2011
Ten-year-old Ha and her family are refugees from Vietnam during the war when they move to Alabama. (For readers ages 9-12.)
The Year of Goodbyes: A True Story of Friendship, Family and Farewells - Debbie Levy 2011
HISTORICAL - Jutta is only twelve in 1938 when her loved ones scatter in the wind on the brink of the second World War.
Laurie Tells - Linda Lowry, 1994
An illustrated story about sexual abuse told with emotional punch. (For mature readers grades 5-8.)
The Voyage of the Arctic Tern - Hugh Montgomery 2002, illustrated by Nick Poulis
HISTORICAL - A spine-tingling tale of pirates, ghost ships and mystery. (Ages 9-12)
Odette’s Secrets – Maryann MacDonald, 2013
HISTORICAL - Inspired by the real story of Odette Myers, a young Jewish girl living in Paris during the Nazis occupation. Her father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, and Odette is sent to the countryside.
Star Jumps - Lorraine Marwood, 2009
AUSTRALIAN - Ruby lives on a dairy farm, doing chores, and witnessing birth, death and sacrifice. The family are devastated when they have to sell off some of their herd, but Ruby helps the family.
Pearl Versus The World - Sally Murphy, illustrated by Heather Potter, 2011
AUSTRALIAN - Pearl doesn't feel particularly rhymeywhen her grandmother passes away.
Toppling - Sally Murphy, illustrated by Rhian Nest James, 2012
AUSTRALIAN - John loves the sound of dominoes toppling over, but when his friend, Dom, gets sick and ends up in the hospital, it feels like more than just dominoes are falling over.
Carver, A Life in Poems - Marilyn Nelson 2001, with photographs
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - The life of George Washington Carver (1864-1943) educator and botanist. A Coretta Scott King Book Award winner.
Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem - Marylin Nelson, 2004
NONFICTION – Poetry and historical documents about a slave named Fortune and his skeleton that was kept by his Master
The Crazy Man - Pamela Porter 2005
Emaline, 12, is maimed in a freak farm accident. Her father shoots the dog and storms off and doesn't return. Her mother, in need of help around the farm, takes in Angus, a gentle giant from the mental hospital.
May B., Caroline Rose, 2012
HISTORICAL - Twelve-year-old May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead, fifteen miles from home. May gets trapped all alone by a blizzard without any way to let her family know and no neighbors to turn to.
Running with Trains - Michael J. Rosen 2012
HISTORICAL - It's 1969 and Perry is frequent passenger on the train that crosses Steve's family farm. The two meet in an incident that will change both of them forever.
Looking for Me - Betsy R. Rosenthal, 2012
HISTORICAL - One of twelve children, Edith struggles to find her identity.
Serendipity and Me – Judith Roth, 2013
Middle schooler, Sara, adopts a kitten to help her family heal from a devastating loss.
Yellow Star - Jennifer Roy 2006
HISTORICAL NON-FICITON - Twelve children survived the Lodz Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland. Sylvia was one of them. This is her true story as she told it to her niece. (For readers 11 and older.)
God Went to Beauty School - Cynthia Rylant
Rylant's collection of poems isn't really a novel, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. (Grades 4 to 8.)
Eddie's War - Carol Fisher Saller, 2011
World War II suddenly feels much closer to Ellisville, Illinois when Eddie's big brother enlists.
Judy Scuppernog - Brenda Seabrook 1990
Three friends meet in 1950's Georgia. (Grades 5 -9.)
Under the Pear Tree - Brenda Seabrook 1997
HISTORICAL - The continued story of Stacy, Deanna and Lala in 1950's Georgia. (Grades 5 -9.)
The Way the Door Closes - Hope Anita Smith 2003, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Thirteen-year-old C.J. witnesses his father losing his job and walking out the door. A story of extended family and hard times. (Ages 9 to 12)
Keeping the Night Watch - Hope Anita Smith 2008, illustrated by E. B. Lewis
C.J.'s story continues. (Ages 9 to 12)
Fearless Fernie: Hanging Out with Fernie and Me - Garry Soto 2002
A story of friendship that begins at birth and continues through the trials of sixth grade. (For grades 4 to 6.)
World's Apart: Fernie and Me - Garry Soto 2005
Travel the world with Fernie and his friend. (For grades 4 to 6.)
Dancing Pancake, Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, 2011
Eleven-year old Bindy and her family--along with a cast of cousins and classmates--struggle through the recession with the support of the community that surrounds their new restaurant.
Summerhouse Time - Eileen Spinelli 2008
I loved this book! Great summer reading for readers 8-12. Laugh and cry as Sophie, her extended family, and her cat, Orange, rent a summerhouse on the beach for the month of August.
Where I Live - Eileen Spinelli 2007
Another one I just love! Diana loves where she lives, especially her best friend, Rose. But moving changes everything. (For readers 8-12.)
Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie - Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell 2012
Eleanor's favorite babysitter moves away and she has to face the summer without her.
Like Bug Juice on a Burger - Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell 2013
Eleanor is off to Camp Wallumwahpuck this summer.
Almost Forever - Maria Testa 2007
In 1967, a girl says goodbye to her father as he goes off to fight the Vietnam War. (For readers in grades 4 and up.)
Becoming Joe DiMaggio - Maria Testa 2005, Illustrated by Scott Hunt
HISTORICAL - Growing up listening to the triumphs of Joe DiMaggio on the radio (1940's and 1950's), Joseph Paul learns to dream. (Grades 4 to 7.)
Something About America - Maria Testa 2005
The 13-year old narrator comes to America to escape war in Kosovo where she was burned. (Grades 6 to 8.)
Girl Coming in for a Landing - April Halprin Wayland 2004, Elaine Clayton (Illustrator)
One of my favorites! Between fall and spring, the main character goes from an imaginary boyfriend to a real one to the loss of that boyfriend. (For readers about 12 years old.)
Won Ton, a Cat Tale Told in Haiku- Lee Wardlaw, 2012 and Eugene Yelchin (Illustrator)
For cat lovers of all ages, this illustrated picture book is told with lots of voice (and haiku).
Locomotion - Jacqueline Woodson 2004
Lonnie Collins Motion is a New York City fifth grader who lost his parents in a house fire. Coretta Scott King Honor book. (For readers 10 and up.)
Running Back to Ludie - Jacqueline Woodson 2001
The unnamed narrator meets her mother for the first time. A short, sparse read. (For readers 9-12.)
Zorgamazoo - Robert Paul Weston 2008
Part Roald Dahl, part Dr. Seuss, this rhyming novel tells the story of Katrina, Morty, and the missing Zorgles. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff - Robert Paul Weston 2013
Another part Roald Dahl, part Dr. Seuss, rhyming novel from Weston. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
Minn and Jake - Janet S. Wong 2008, Illustrated by Genvieve Cote
Tall Minn and small Jake are fifth-graders that form a friendship despite the fact that they reject each other at first sight. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
Minn and Jake's Almost Terrible Summer - Janet S. Wong 2008, Illustrated by Genvieve Cote
Now ten, Minn and Jake must spend the summer apart--until Minn visits Jake in L.A. and makes thing worse. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
Little Green, Growing up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution - Chun Yu, 2005, with photos
MEMOIR/HISTORICAL - Xiao Qing is ten when Chairman Mao dies and her family experiences the upheaval of the revolution first hand. (For readers ages 10 and up.)
42 Miles - Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, 2008
JoEllen is turning 13 and it's time to take a stand. She's tired of the 42 miles that divide her life into that of both the city mouse and country mouse. (For readers ages 9 to 12.)
Reaching for the Sun - Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, 2007
Another favorite! Bulldozers are carving up Josie's farm as she tries to concentrate on the complexities of 7th grade. Josie has cerebral palsy, a loving grandmother, a neighbor boy, and problems with her mom. (For readers ages 9 to 12.)
Jimi and Me - Jamie Adoff, 2005
Eighth-grader, Keith, has to deal with his father’s death—and understand his father’s life as secrets from his dad’s past come to light.
Kissing Tennessee: and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance - Kathi Appelt, 2004
A collection on interrelated short stories where Tawny, hopes that borrowed shoes will turn her into Cinderella; Mary Sarah dares to wear lipstick; Rachel's religious father is abusive; Russ wonders if he'll ever get over his first love; Peggy Lee is enchanted by kisses; Becca is the victim of date rape; Cub questions his sexuality.
A Dangerous Girl - Catherine Bateson 2000
AUSTALIAN - Merri, John, Leigh, and Nick emerse themselves in Dungeon's and Dragons, a game that blurs fantasy and reality.
His Name in Fire - Catherine Bateson 2006
AUSTALIAN - Emma, Matthew, Mozza and Shazza all need a little glitter in their lives, them Mollie arrives with more than a suitcase in tow.
Shark Girl - Kelly Bingham 2007
Fifteen-year-old Jane finds the world a different place after a shark attack that leaves her without an arm. Free verse, news clippings and letters tell the story. (Grades 6 and up.)
Wolf Pack of the Winisk River - Paul Brown, illustrated by Robert Kakegamic, 2009
Told through the eyes of a wolf after a harsh Northern Ontario winter, food is scarce and wolves must pursue the caribou north along the Winisk River.
Cinnamon Rain (also called Out of This Place), Emma Cameron 2012
AUSTRALIAN - Luke spends his days hanging out at the beach. His mate Bongo gets wasted to block out memories. And Casey, the girl they both love, dreams of getting away.
Who Will Tell My Brother? - Marlene Carvell
Evan Hill, a part-Mohawk high-school senior, embarks on his brother's crusade to change the school's Indian mascot. Based on the experiences of the author's sons. (Grades 7 and up.)
Because I am Furniture -Thalia Chaltas 2009
Anke's father abuses her brother and molests her sister but ignores her. She finds her voice when she joins the school volleyball team and saves a friend from her father's grasp.
Displacement -Thalia Chaltas 2011
Home doesn't feel like home to Vera because her mother isn't around and her sister is dead. So she runs away.
Brushing Mom's Hair -Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Nicole Wong, 2009
Ann is fourteen when her mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. She dances and writes poetry and finds her way.
Call Me Maria - Judith Ortiz Cofer 2006
Maria is caught between two worlds, Puerto Rico where she was born, and New York City where she lives. Letters, prose and poems bring out the poet in Maria.
Forget Me Not - Carolee Dean, 2012
Ally is devastated when a scandalous photo of her is made public. While attempting to hide, she meets Elijah, a boy who has had a brush with death and can see ghosts.
Trash - Sharon Darrow, 2006
A companion book to The Painters of Lexieville. Abandoned in poverty-stricken Arkansas, 16-year-old Sissy and her brother, Boy, have to collect trash for her crazy foster parents' business until they run away to St. Louis where the unthinkable happens. (For readers grades 8 and up.)
The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano - Margarita Engle 2006, Illustrated by Sean Qualls
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - Sold to slavery in 1797, Manzano's story is heartbreaking. (Grades 7 and up.)
The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba - Margarita Engle, 2010
HISTORICAL - Fredrika remembers that back home in Sweden, she was kept hungry so that she would grow up to be thin and graceful. Cecilia is a teenage slave who remembers being captured in the Congo. Elena, a privileged girl from a slave-owning family, lives a sheltered life that allows her little freedom.
Hurricane Dancers: The First Carribbean Pirate Shipwreck - Margarita Engle, 2011
HISTORICAL - Retelling of the events of a shipwreck in the early days of European exploration of the American continent.
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist - Margarita Engle, 2013
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - Book-loving feminist and abolitionist Tula bravely resists an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and fights against injustice.
The Good Braider - Terry Farrish, 2012
Viola has made the journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and to Portland, Maine where she dreams of South Sudan while she tries to find her way in America.
After the Death of Anna Gonzales - Terri Fields 2004
Poems from classmates after Anna's suicide.
Nothing - Robin Friedman 2008
Alternating chapters of short prose and poems written by a brother and sister. High school hunk, Parker, battles bulimia while trying to balance the demands of college applications, extracurricular activities, and a social life.
Crossing Stones - Helen Frost 2009
HISTORICAL - Set during WWI, eighteen-year-old Muriel must find a way to care for her family while being true to herself.
In the Garage - Alma Fullerton, 2006
A grief-stricken BJ deals with the aftermath of her friend Alex’s death as we read Alex’s journal.
Burn - Alma Fullerton 2010
Usually, when Casey's famous mom went on tour, Casey got to go. But since settling down with a new husband and baby, things have changed. Casey begins building fires to send smoke signals to her mother, hoping her mother will see her message.
Foreign Exchange - Mel Glenn 1999
A murder mystery. Mel Glenn's early work isn't as engaging as his more recent novels. (Grades 6 to 10)
Jump Ball - A Basketball Season in Poems Mel Glenn 1997
Hoop dreams shatter when a high-school team bus goes out of control on an icy road. (Grades 6 and up.)
Split Image - Mel Glenn 2000
My favorite Mel Glenn!
Laura Li appears to be a good student and a perfect Asian daughter--but she escapes by dancing at clubs late at night. The story is told by many characters who are affected by Laura Li's drastic actions. (Grades 8 and up.)
The Taking of Room 114: A Hostage Drama in Poems - Mel Glenn 1997
The subtitle sums it up. (Grades 8 and up.)
Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? A Mystery in Poems - Mel Glenn 1997
A high school murder mystery. (Grades 8 and up.)
A Girl Named Mister - Nikki Grimes 2010
Fourteen-year-old Mary, nicknamed Mister, is a religious girl who wears a promise ring. But her boyfriend weakens her resolve and she gets pregnant. Scared, she turns to a book about the Virgin Mary.
Dark Sons - Nikki Grimes 2005
A biblical tale side by side with a one modern one, teenagers Ishmael and Sam tell of parallel problems with their fathers. 2006 Coretta Scott King Book Award winner. (For readers in grades 6 and up.)
Bronx Masquerade - Nikki Grimes 2005
Open Mike Fridays are a favorite for Mr. Ward's English class, from poets to rappers everyone takes the mike. (For readers 12 and up.)
Volcano Boy - Libby Hathorn 2001
AUSTRALIAN - Read Alexander's diary as he moves in with his uncle in Pappa New Guinea. (Grades 8 and up.)
Sisters of Glass - Stephanie Hemphill 2012
HISTORICAL - Maria is the younger daughter of a glassblowing family in Italy in whose father insisted that she be married into the nobility—except she has feelings for the new glassblower who is working for the family.
Things Left Unsaid - Stephanie Hemphill 2005
Sarah befriends Robin, a girl who wears nothing but black, in order to be different, but when Robin attempts suicide, Sarah has a lot to think about. (Grades 8 and up.)
Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath - Stephanie Hemphill 2007
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - A collage of poems that reconstruct the life, work and suicide of this American icon. (Grades 8 and up.)
CrashBoomLove - Juan Felipe Herrera 2000
Sixteen-year-old Cesar is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Spanish slang terms are footnoted. (Grades 8 and up.)
SkateFate - Juan Felipe Herrera 2011
Lucky Z isn't lucky. He's in foster care. And in a wheelchair. His friend died in the accident. But he finds strength in writing in his journal.
The Simple Gift - Steven Herrick 2004
AUSTRALIAN - Sixteen-year-old Billy runs away from an unhappy home life. (Grades 8 and up.)
By the River - Steven Herrick 2006
AUSTRALIAN - Harry longs to escape the small town by the river. A coming-of-age story set in 1962. (Grades 8 and up.)
The Wolf - Steven Herrick 2007
AUSTRALIAN - Jake's father is sure that he's seen a wolf, an animal not found in Australia, and now something is killing his sheep. Lucy thinks it is the descendant of a wild dog. The two teens hike into the mountains to find it, find out the truth, and to get away.
Sister Slam and the Poetic Motormouth Road Trip - Linda Oatman High 2006
A humorous road trip story with rhyme and beat. (Grades 8 and up.)
The Voyage of the Artic Tern - Montgomery Hugh 2002
A classic tale of treason, treachery and treasure, sweeping across many centuries and different lands.
Stardust otel - Paul B. Janeczko 1993
Leary, 15, describes his friends, neighbors and residents at his family's hotel. Illustrated. (For grades 7-9.)
Worlds Afire - Paul B. Janeczko 2004
Based on the 1944 circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut, Janeczko's novel describes the events in the voices of eyewitnesses of all ages. (For readers in grades 6 and up.)
Requiem; Poems of the Terezin Ghetto - Paul B. Janeczko 2011
The Czech concentration camp, Terezin, was a way station to the gas chambers populated by Jewish artists and musicians—all with dignity, resilience, and commitment to art and music in the face of the horrors of the second World War. (For ages 14 and up.)
The Secret of Me - Meg Kearney 2007
Fourteen-year old Lizzie grapples with her feelings about her adoption and worries about what her parents might think. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
The Girl in the Mirror - Meg Kearney 2012
Follow Lizzie's story into high school.
The Brimstone Journals - Ron Koertge 2004
Fifteen narrators tell the story of Branston High School's class of 2001. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses - Ron Koertge, 2012 Illustrated by Andrea Dezso
23 modernized fairy tales in free verse.
T4 - Ann Clare LeZotte, 2008
Raised in Nazi Germany, thirteen-year-old Paula is Deaf. She narrowly escapes Hitler's T4 program, which was designed to eradicate disabled individuals. Vivid poems by a Deaf author bring this short novel to life.
The Apprentice's Masterpiece: A Story of Medieval Spain - Melanie Little 2009
Ramon, 15, is a Jew forced to convert to Christianity. His family takes in Amir, born Muslim, also forced to give up his faith, during the Spanish Inquisition.
Nix Minus One – Jill McClean, 2012
When Nix's older sister, Roxy, starts breaking the rules things spiral out of control.
Ann and Seamus - Kevin Major 2004, illustrated by Kevin Blackwood
In 1828, Ann and her father rescue 163 Irish immigrants from a shipwreck off the coast of Newfoundland. Inspired by historical events. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
Heaven Looks a Lot Like a Mall - Wendy Mass 2007
Loved it! Mall rats will relate to 16-year-old Tessa as a life-changing dodge ball zooms toward her head. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
What I Believe - Norma Fox Mazer 2005
Vicki tells her riches to rags story in a series of poetic forms and short pasages of prose.
Under the Mesquite - Guadalupe Garcia Mccall, 2011
Lupita's mother is diagnosed with cancer and goes for treatment in another town, leaving Lupita to care for her seven younger siblings.
After the Kiss - Tera Elan McVoy 2010
A favorite! Becca loves Alec. Who wouldn't? He's hot and writes haikus. Camille guards her heart. You would too if you moved as often as she has. But a local guy catches her eye. Too bad it's Alec.
Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your... Brains - Ryan Mecum 2008
Illustrated entertainment for Zombie fans.
Vampire Haiku - Ryan Mecum 2008
Relive history by reading a vampire's journal in haiku.
Dawn of Zombie Haiku – Ryan Mecum, 2011
A zombie apocalypse story told through the eyes of Dawn, a ten-year-old girl with a Zombie Escape Plan. Only the plan doesn't go quite as expected.
Werewolf Haiku – Ryan Mecum, 2010
The journal of a mailman who gets bitten by what he thought was a dog, but was actually a werewolf.
Street Love - Walter Dean Myers 2007
A love story, obviously. Damien and Junice overcome differences in this unpredictable urban tale. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
I’ll Be Watching - Pamela Porter 2011
Set in Canada during the Great Depression, orphans, sixteen-year-old Ran, fourteen-year-old Nora, twelve-year-old Jim and little Addie find a way to make ends meet under the watchful eye of their dead parents.
Three Rivers Rising, a novel of the Johnstown flood - Jamie Richards, 2010
HISTORICAL - Part romance and part suspense, Celestia, daughter of a wealthy business owner, falls in love with Peter, the hired hand son of a miner, in the days before the Johnstown Flood of 1889.
Ludie's Life - Cynthia Rylant 2006
Born in 1910, Ludie is now 90. The poems read like stories that grandparents tell. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
The Weight of the Sky - Lisa Ann Sandell, 2006
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Green, band geek, is one of two Jewish students at her high school. She jumps at the chance to spend the summer in Israel and live and work on a kibbutz. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
Song of the Sparrow - Lisa Ann Sandell, 2007
Sixteen-year-old Elaine of Ascolat is in love with Lancelot, Gwynivere's famous lover.
Against the Tide - Irini Savvides 2008
AUSTRALIAN - Set on Australia's beaches against the backdrop of ocean swim meets, native Australian Katie, her cousin, Matt, and Effi, an immigrant from Greece, are confronted with discrimination.
Far From You - Lisa Schroeder 2009
Alice has lost her mother to cancer and has to deal with a new step-mom and a baby. When trapped in a snowstorm, she finds herself facing all of the things she's been trying to avoid. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
I Heart You You Haunt Me - Lisa Schroeder 2008
More love story than ghost story, Ava can't see or touch Jackson, her dead boyfriend, but she knows he's there. A tearjerker. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
Chasing Brooklyn - Lisa Schroeder 2010
Luca, Brooklyn's boyfriend died in a car crash. His best friend kills himself, leaving Brooklyn realing. Nico is urged by Luca's to intervene in Brooklyn's downward spiral. Ava, from I Heart You You Haunt Me makes an appearance. (For readers in grades 7 and up.)
The Day Before - Lisa Schroeder 2011
Amber's life is crazy, so she escapes to the beach with her iPod, where she meets Cade. They spend one perfect day together with no regrets.
(For readers in grades 7 and up.)
The Geography of Girlhood - Kirsten Smith 2007
One of my favorites! Penny charts the landscape of her high-school years and small-town life. (For readers in grades 8 and up.)
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies - Sonya Sones 2001
A read again book! Fifteen-year-old Ruby's mom just passed away from cancer, leaving Ruby to navigate the oddities of Los Angeles. (Readers 12 and up.)
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy Sonya Sones 2001
The title says it all. Based on the author's own experiences, a 13-year-old girl sorts through her feelings about her older sister's mental illness. (For readers 10 and older.)
What My Mother Doesn't Know - Sonya Sones 2001
I've read this one again and again! The laugh and cry story of too-tall 14-year-old Sophie, her crushes and her best friends. Follow this one up with What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know. (Readers 12 and up.)
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know - Sonya Sones 2007
This is the sequel to What My Mother Doesn't Know. Read these two books in order, that way you'll appreciate Robin's side of the story. (Readers 12 and up.)
To Be Perfectly Honest - Sonya Sones 2013
A novel based on an untrue story.
At the End of Words: A Daughter's Memoir - Miriam Stone 2003, illustrated by Lisa Franke
A young woman's tribute to her mother who died of breast cancer.
The Angel of Barbican High Michelle A. Taylor
Jez feels guilty after her boyfriend's death. A friendship with the class nerd saves her life as she spirals into depression.
Orchards - Holly Thompson, 2011
Eighth-grader, Kanako Goldberg's classmate hangs herself, and her parents send her to spend the summer on her grandparents’ fruit farm in Japan. As Kana gets to know her relatives and her heritage, she processes the guilt she feels about the tragedy back home.
The Language Inside - Holly Thompson, 2013
Emma was raised in Japan, the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, Emma's family moves to Massachusetts.
The Language Inside- Holly Thompson, coming 2013
Raised in Japan, Emma isn't ready to deal with her mother's cancer. Or move to Massachusetts. She volunteers at a long-term care center to help patients where she meets Samnang.
Love and Leftovers - Sarah Tregay, 2012
A must-read ;-) Stuck on summer vacation, Marcie Foster has to start her sophomore year at a new school in New Hampshire while her friends, the Leftovers, are back in Idaho. Things look up when she meets, JD, a soccer jock with a Prince Harry grin, but then she gets shipped back home.
Hard Hit - Ann Turner 2000
Sixteen-year-old Mike has it all--baseball, a cute girlfriend, a best friend--until his father is diagnosed with cancer and dies. (Grades 8 and up.)
Learning to Swim - Ann Turner 2003
In poems, Turner recounts the summer she was six years old when she was sexually abused. An easy read on a difficult subject. (For readers 13 and older.)
Unlocked - Ryan G. Van Cleave 2011
Andy, the janitor's son, unlocks another boy's locker when rumors about a gun circulate. The two share secrets, but one worries Andy more than the others.
Ordeal - T.K. Varenko 2010
A self-published title featuring vampires in a paranormal romance, in case you haven't gotten your fill.
Becoming Billie Holiday - Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Flyod Cooper, 2008
HISTORICAL - Elanora's journey from poverty to the stage (and stage name, Billie Holiday).
Yellow Mini - Lori Weber 2011
Mark has inherited a yellow mini from his deceased father. Stacey, his girlfriend, Mary and Annabelle alternate voices as they find their niches, be it concert pianist or activist.
Jinx - Margaret Wild 2002
Two of Jen's boyfriends have died, earning her the nickname Jinx.
One Night - Margaret Wild 2003
Helen's world is shattered when she finds that she is pregnant after a one night stand while Gabe, the baby's father, and friends perfect their party-throwing talents.
Escaping Tornado Season - Julie Williams 2004
Set in the 1960's, 13-year-old Allie moves to a small town after her father's death.
Glimpse - Carol Lynch Williams 2010
Lizzie and Hope are sisters. They take their vow to protect each other seriously, but when secrets of sexual abuse and their mother divide them, Hope must save them both.
New Found Land, Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery - Allan Wolf 2004
HISTORICAL - The adventures of Lewis and Clark as told through the eyes of all of the members of the crew.
Make Lemonade - Virgina Euwer Wolff 2001
LaVaughn takes a job babysitting for Jolly, a teenage mother of two. Follow up with True Believer and This Full House.
True Believer - Virgina Euwer Wolff 2002
LaVaughn's story continued. Part of a trilogy.
This Full House - Virgina Euwer Wolff 2009
The last of LaVaughn's story.
Seeing Emily- Joyce Lee Wong, 2007
Sixteen-year-old Emily Wu writes about her daily life as the daughter of Chinese immigrants as she discovers she can be both Chinese and American. (For readers in grades 6 to 9.)
Rubber Houses - Ellen Yeomans 2007
Sixteen-year-old Kit's life changes when her younger brother, a baseball-crazy 8-year old named Buddy, is diagnosed with and dies from leukemia. (Readers in 6th grade and up.)
Reads for Older Teens
Psyche in a Dress - Francesca Lia Block, 2006
A collection of contemporary retellings of Greek myths packed with complex metaphors. Although the writing is stunning, it is hard to grasp if you are not familiar with the myths.
How to (Un)cage a Girl - Francesca Lia Block, 2008
A collection of poems that map a journey from girlhood to womanhood and the things encountered along the way. Laced with So-Cal flavor and characters from myths, fairy tales, and fine art.
The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros 1991
Esperanza is growing up in the Hispanic quarter in Chicago, inventing for herself who she will become.
The Fattening Hut - Pat Lowery Collins 2005
Fourteen-year-old Helen is to marry an older man, but first she must face the fattening hut (no one on the island would want a skinny bride) and mutilation by female circumcision. She flees.
You Remind Me of You - Eireann Corrigan 2001
NON-FICTION/MEMOIR Corrigan is struggling with eating disorders when her boyfriend attempts suicide.
Splintering - Eireann Corrigan 2005
What happens after a stranger violently attacks a family in their own home.
Tough Boy Sonatas – Curtis Crisler 2007, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
The voices of the young men tell of growing up in Gary, Indiana.
Keesha's House - Helen Frost 2001
Told in sonnets and sestina's, stories of teens in need of a safe place to stay intersect at Keesha's house.
Walking on Glass - Alma Fullerton 2007
A young man's mother has attempted suicide and is left in a coma.
Cold Skin - Steven Herrick 2009
Set in an Australian coal-mining town after World War II, Eddie wants to finish school and work in the mines. When his brother's classmate is murdered, suspicion falls on many men in town. A mystery.
Love, Ghosts and Facial Hair - Steven Herrick 2004
AUSTRALIAN - Jack, his father and his sister tell Jack's story of the times after his mother's death and when he falls in love with Annabel. This book reads quickly, so have A Place Like This ready to read. (For high school readers.) No, Love, Ghosts and Facial Hair isn't Melvin Burgess's Doing It, although they share the same cover photograph.
A Place Like This - Steven Herrick 2004
AUSTRALIAN - Read Love Ghosts and Facial Hair first. Jack, now 18, and Annabel have put off going to university and set out on their own. Life leads them to a job at an apple orchard, where they get emotionally attached to their employer's pregnant daughter.
Kissing Annabel - Steven Herrick 2009 (1996 and 1998)
AUSTRALIAN - Originally released in Australia as Love Ghosts and Facial Hair and A Place Like This. This isn't a third Jack and Annabel story, but rather two books for one price.
Planet Pregnancy - Linda Oatman High 2008
Nine months of Sahara's life are filled with problems.
Crank - Ellen Hopkins 2006
Kristina/Bree's haunting tale of her relationship with the "monster," the highly addictive drug crystal meth. Based on the experiences of Hopkins's daughter. Follow the story by reading Glass.
Glass - Ellen Hopkins 2007
Glass picks up where Crank left off.
Fallout - Ellen Hopkins 2010
Jump ahead to when Hunter, Summer, and Autumn (Kristina's older children) are teens. They battle some of thier mother's addictions while trying to find their way in the world and end up coming together.
Impulse - Ellen Hopkins 2007
Follow three characters as they are admitted to a psychiatric hospital after failed suicide attempts.
Perfect - Ellen Hopkins, 2011
Four high-school seniors battle unrealistic expectations and strive for perfection. A companion to Impulse.
Burned - Ellen Hopkins 2007
Angry with her abusive father, Pattyn begins to question Mormonism. Her parents send her to spend the summer with her aunt on a Nevada ranch. There she finds the love and acceptance she craves until her father's grasp reaches into her new life.
Identical - Ellen Hopkins 2008
Identical twins, Kaeleigh and Raeanne, tell the gritty and disturbing story of living in a dysfunctional and abusive family. A book you'll want to read a second time once you know the ending.
Tilt - Ellen Hopkins 2012
Mikala, Shane, Alex, and Harley all fall in love with boys who tilt their world off its axis.
Beating Heart - A. M. Jenkins 2006
Evan moves into a haunted house where a ghost speaks to him in poems.
Audition - Stasia Ward Kehoe 2011
High school junior, Sara, wins a scholarship to study ballet, and sacrifices everything for her new career and falls for a handsome, older choreographer.
The Taste of Apples – James Laidler, 2010
AUSTRALIAN - Pedro is down and out, negotiating class, culture and family secrets. Accompanied by an audio CD.
Realm of Possibility - David Levithan 2008
Twenty characters you want to know more about give glimpses into their lives in the form of interconnected poems and song lyrics.
The Book of My Life by Angel - Martine Leavitt 2012
Sixteen-year-old Angel is coerced into drugs and prostitution by a man she meets in a mall.
Karma, Cathy Ostlere, 2011
After her mother’s suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her father travel from Canada to India for a traditional burial. The year is 1984, and on the night of their arrival in New Delhi, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated. The city erupts in chaos and Maya is separated from her father.
Family, Micol Ostow, 2011
HISTORICAL - It's 1969 and seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco. A handsome stranger, Henry, offers her love and a new family. If she truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go. Loosely based on the Manson Family murders.
Exposed - Kimberly Marcus, 2011
Liz and Kate are best friends, until Liz's older brother does something unthinkable.
Sold - Patricia McCormick, 2006
13-year-old Lakshmi is sold into prostitution in India.
Amiri & Odette, A Love Story - Walter Dean Meyers 2009, illustrated by Jakava Steptoe
A love story inspired the underlying violence in Swan Lake.
Talking in the Dark - Billy Merrell 2003
Set aside some time to follow Merrell's journey from childhood through the discovery of his own sexuality, made more harrowing when a lover dies of AIDS.
Defy the Stars - Stephanie Parent 2012
A self-published contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
Fishtailing - Wendy Phillips, 2010
Natalie moves to a new school and entagles others in her forbidden world of partying and rebellion.
I Don't Want to Be Crazy - Samantha Schutz, 2006
A young woman's memoir of her college years plagued with anxiety.
You Are Not Here- Samantha Schutz, 2010
Sixteen-year-old Annaleah greives the loss of the boy she loved.
Purple Daze, Sherry Shahan 2011
HISTORICAL - Six Los Angeles high school students share their experiences and feelings about love and war, feminism and racism, riots and rock 'n' roll in the 1960's.
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl - Tanya Lee Stone 2007
Impossible to put down, this book is about three girls who experience heartbreak after a nameless jock uses and dumps each of them.
The Watch that Ends the Night, Voices of the Titanic - Alan Wolf, 2011
The ship sinks.
Zane's Trace - Allan Wolf 2007
Zane has lots of dead relatives, including Mom and Dad. He plans to drive to Zanesville, Ohio to commit suicide and meets a cast of characters along the way.
Short Stories in Verse for Teens
How They Met and Other Stories - David Levithan 2008
A collection of short stories about relationships. One, "What a Song Can Do," is written in verse. Find the same story in What a Song Can Do: 12 Riffs on the Power of Music, editied by Jennifer Armstrong, 2004.
This is PUSH, New Stories from the Edge - Editied by David Levithan 2007
One short story in this collection is in verse: Picking by Samantha Schutz.
Sixteen: Stories About that Sweet and Bitter Birthday - Megan McCafferty 2004
Includes "Cat Got Your Tongue" by Sonya Sones.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do - Linda Sandoval, Niki Burnham, Ellen Hopkins, and Teri Clark 2009
A collection of four short stories (one written in verse) about the inevitable.
Reads for Adults
The Marlow Papers - Ros Barber 2013
On May 30, 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl.
Sharp Teeth - Toby Barlow, 2008
A horror-thriller-werewolves-in-LA epic poem.
Autobiography of Red - Ann Carson 1999
An updated retelling of the myth of Geryon--a monster--and Herakles.
Watercolor Women, Opaque Men - Ana Castillo 2005
An independent woman raises her son on her own, while remembering her migrant-worker parents and the free-spirited aunt who brought her to Chicago.
The Sugar Mile - Gyln Maxwell, 2006
HISTORICAL - Former Londoner, Joey, unfolds a tale of 1942 air raids while sitting in a New York City bar in September 2001.
The Monkey's Mask - Dorothy Porter 1997
AUSTRALIAN - On the trail of the murderer, Jill falls hopelessly in love with a crucial piece of the puzzle and uncovers the hypocrisy of the poetry scene in Sydney.
All the Way Home - Kristen Henry 2012
AUSTRALIAN - Set in the 1960's, Jessie, an American, and Flannery, with strong ties to Ireland, find themselves in Australia.
Triangles - Ellen Hopkins 2011
Three women, Holly, Andrea, and Marissa, wander off course, straying from their families—sometimes into the arms of another.
Collateral - Ellen Hopkins 2012
Ashley, a young woman studying for her MFA, falls in love with Cole, a soldier who asks her to marry him.
Suzy Zeus Gets Organized - Maggie Robbins 2005
The story of a manic-depressive bombshell.
Nine Hours North - Tim Sinclair, 2006
AUSTRALIAN - A tale of culture, identity and love… and letting it all go.
The Hunchback of Nieman Marcus, A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem - Sonya Sones, 2011
The opposite of a YA novel, Holly's daughter is leaving for college while her mother is hospitalized. Amid hot flashes and doubts, she must finish her novel and manage to stay married.
Embers - TerryWolverton, 2003
HISTORICAL - A family history through the ages.