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A Million Miles Away

million milesA Million Miles Away

By Lara Avery

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject:Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Loss, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grades: 10-12


Twin sisters Kelsey and Michelle Maxfield look identical — but they couldn’t be more different. Kelsey is the captain of the dance team and loves her cute college boyfriend, Davis. Michelle is a free-spirited artist and flits from one guy to the next, the latest a soldier recently deployed to Afghanistan. Despite their differences, Kelsey and Michelle can’t live without each other — until, in an instant, everything changes.


When Michelle dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. As the only one who knows about her sister’s boyfriend, Peter, Kelsey takes it upon herself to find him and tell him what happened to Michelle. But when she finally connects with Peter online, he thinks that Kelsey is Michelle and says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey can’t bear to break his heart with the truth, so she lets Peter believe that she is Michelle.


Kelsey keeps up the act, pretending to be her sister, and soon she can’t deny that she’s falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn’t want.


Lara Avery delivers a breathtaking story of love and loss that is guaranteed to sweep you off your feet.



“It’s remarkably easy to suspend disbelief while reading this compelling romance, despite a plot with so many moments that defy logic. But love and grief aren’t logical, and Avery captures Kelsey’s dilemma with compassion and verisimilitude, pulling readers into both Kelsey’s complex emotional web as well as the rural Kansas landscape. This is definitely several steps above the standard romance; Avery is a voice to watch in this genre.” — Booklist


“This is not a simple story… the issues of sibling rivalry, family cohesion, grieving, and maturity provide great discussion topics in teen or cross-generation discussion groups.”— Voices of Youth Advocates

Not If I See You First

not if i see you first

Not If I See You First

By Eric Lindstrom

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Love & Romance; Social Issues: Death & Dying; Social Issues: Friendship; Social Issues: Diability

Grades: 9 & up


Educator Guide


The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.


Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.


Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.


Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.


When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.


Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.



★ “Lindstrom’s immersive portrayal of the dimension Parker’s blindness adds to both atypical and everyday angst imbues his protagonist with mature complexity. Like the Army vest covered in slogans or the colorful blindfolds she wears like a “Rorschach test,” Parker’s snarky bravado is not only for armor, but for input—a way to gauge other people’s capacity for honesty, critical for navigating her world. Parker herself does not escape analysis (or sympathy), ultimately confronting her problems through what others reveal. An unflinching exploration of trust, friendship, and grief.” —Kirkus Reviews


“Possesses crackling wit, intense teen drama, and a lively pace that pulls readers in, as do the everyday details of Parker’s world: spoken-word texts, clever methods of finding her way, and a guide runner who helps Parker when she considers joining the school track team. This unique coming-of-age tale is off and running from the start.” —Booklist


“In creating a heroine whose drive for independence brings both risks and rewards, Lindstrom adds a note of complexity to his gripping depiction of how Parker learns to trust and forgive.” —Publishers Weekly



Torn Away

Torn Away
By Jennifer Brown

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family, Personal Development: Loss, Teen Life: Family

Grade: 7-17


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Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives — but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.

In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she’s never considered before — one in which her mother wasn’t perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that’s something no tornado can touch.



* “Vivid and emotional…Torn Away is a superb read.” –VOYA, starred review

“This is a gut-wrenching and poignant look at the aftermath of natural disaster and the secrets that families keep, written with raw honesty and deep emotion.” –Booklist

“Brown gives readers a true sense of the horror wrought by the storm and the agony of its aftermath; her ability to create rich, complex characters is once again in evidence.” –Publishers Weekly

“Brown depicts Jersey’s reaction to a frightening, life-altering situation expertly, and the protagonist’s voice is authentic…Overall, this is a wrenching story of the will to survive at any cost.” –SLJ

“This is a satisfying book that explores an intriguing situation: what happens to a girl who loses everything that meant anything, and who learns that there may be more love left in the world.” –Library Media Connection

“Will have appeal far beyond the tornado-prone Midwest.” –The Bulletin



By Fiona Wood

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Peer Groups/Popularity/Cliques/Personal Development/Relationships/Sexuality

Grade: 10-17


Educator Guide Listen to author interview


During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.


Fans of Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart will adore this endearing and poignant story of first love, true friendship, and going a little bit wild.



A 2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adult Book


★ “Wood builds a believable story of misguided friendship, betrayal, and empowering growth…  Refreshingly, Wood depicts only positive, validating sexual experiences for both Sib and Lou, in which they each have full agency over their bodies and their choices with their partners. With exceptional candor, honesty, and nuance, Wood tells a heartening and compelling story of the importance of agency, self-confidence, and true friendship.” — Booklist, starred review


★ “Wood eloquently traces the emotional growth of two girls during their high school’s required nine-week term of outdoor education…  Sib’s and Lou’s alternating narratives intimately express their respective losses of innocence and their tenuous attempts to chart new territories in rugged, unfamiliar surroundings. Their voices reverberate with honesty, vulnerability, and deep emotions and will leave a lasting impression on readers.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


★ “Lou and Sib relate losing their virginity with such refreshing candor that Wildlife validates the sexuality and sexual needs of girls everywhere. This is Sib’s takeaway, too: although gorgeous guys like Ben may be hard to resist, they are not in charge.” — School Library Journal, starred review


★ “[B]eautifully executed…  Wood’s understanding of teenage voice shines in this dual account of unlikely friendship. Fresh, funny, and heartbreaking, the story manages to capture the complexities of two separate coming-of-age stories and wrap them into a cohesive tale of self-reliance and honesty. Sib’s hopefulness and Lou’s crushing grief act as a narrative balance, as do their differing (yet frank and relevant) accounts of sex and intimacy.” — Voices of Youth Advocates, starred review


“A beautifully crafted novel with achingly real characters that I couldn’t get out of my head.” — Melina Marchetta, author of the Printz Award-winning Jellicoe Road

Right Behind You

Right Behind You

By Gail Giles

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Gangs/Substance Abuse, Personal Development: Loss/Responsibility

Grade: 10-17


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When he was nine, Kip set another child on fire. Now, after years in a juvenile ward, he is ready for a fresh start. But the ghosts of his past soon demand justice, and he must reveal his painful secret. How can Kip tell anyone that he really is–or was–a murderer?


Praise & Accolades

“This story explores, with sympathy and compassion, the nature of guilt, atonement and forgiveness.” –Publishers Weekly

“A sad and chilling journey…Suspenseful and thought-provoking.” -Nancy Garden

“Giles catapults readers into this story of rage and redemption.” -Patrick Jones

“Giles succeeds at revealing the humanity of someone who has committed an inhuman act.” -Susan Beth Pfeffer

“Fans will come away with a greater understanding of redemption and forgiveness.” –Booklist

Return to Me

Return to Me

By Justina Chen

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Family/Relationships/Sexuality, Personal Development: Careers, Family Life: Divorce/Stepfamilies

Grade: 7-17


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Rebecca Muir is weeks away from starting college-at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad’s last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her! Then there’s the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast.


If that isn’t enough to deal with, Reb’s dad drops shocking, life-changing news. Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants?


Praise & Accolades

“The author sensitively writes of the heartbreak involved in a betrayal of family without skipping any of the more gritty parts. Readers will feel the characters’ pain as they are carried along with the engaging plot line.” -School Library Journal


“Chen delivers an uplifting story of a teen whose sixth sense proves to be a blessing, not the curse she thinks…Celebrating the healing power of positive environments (exemplified by Reb’s passion for tree houses and other special spaces that can foster healing), Chen’s novel has a soothing  aura that grows stronger as family members reunite and their hopes are realized.” -Publishers Weekly


“I loved it! It’s the best book you’ve written so far. Definitely my favorite one yet.” -Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust and Book Crush

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

By Annabel Pitcher

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 7-17


My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.

Well, some of her does.
A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.

To ten-year-old Jamie, his family has fallen apart because of the loss of someone he barely remembers: his sister Rose, who died five years ago in a terrorist bombing. To his father, life is impossible to make sense of when he lives in a world that could so cruelly take away a ten-year-old girl. To Rose’s surviving fifteen year old twin, Jas, everyday she lives in Rose’s ever present shadow, forever feeling the loss like a limb, but unable to be seen for herself alone.

Told with warmth and humor, this powerful novel is a sophisticated take on one family’s struggle to make sense of the loss that’s torn them apart… and their discovery of what it means to stay together.


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-An ALA 2013 Notable Books for Children Pick

-A Kirkus Best Children’s Book List Selection

-“Most Deftly Handled” Atlantic Wire 2012 YA/Middle-Grade Award


* “[A] striking debut. Realistic, gritty, and uplifting.” –Kirkus (starred review)

* “Straddles that fine line between funny and tragic… As a study of grief’s collateral damage, it deals with the topic realistically without losing sight of hope.” –Booklist (starred review)

* “In this powerfully honest, quirkily humorous debut novel…Pitcher tackles grief, prejudice, religion, bullying, and familial instability.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

* “Compelling and believable…by turns heartbreaking and hysterically funny… This is an important book that could be used in classes and book-discussion groups. Don’t let it fall through the cracks.” –School Library Journal (starred review)

“It lives off the page. It has a warmth you can bask in; an honesty you can cut with a knife.” –The Guardian UK


Yours Truly

Yours Truly

By Annabel Pitcher

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Personal Development, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 7-12


Educator Guide Book Club Discussion Guide

Zoe has an unconventional pen pal—Mr. Stuart Harris, a Texas Death Row inmate and convicted murderer. But then again, Zoe has an unconventional story to tell. A story about how she fell for two boys, betrayed one of them, and killed the other.Hidden away in her backyard shed in the middle of the night with a jam sandwich in one hand and a pen in the other, Zoe gives a voice to her heart and her fears after months of silence. Mr. Harris may never respond to Zoe’s letters, but at least somebody will know her story–somebody who knows what it’s like to kill a person you love. Only through her unusual confession can Zoe hope to atone for her mistakes that have torn lives apart, and work to put her own life back together again.


Rising literary star Annabel Pitcher pens a captivating second novel, rich with her distinctive balance between humor and heart. Annabel explores the themes of first love, guilt, and grief, introducing a character with a witty voice and true emotional resonance.



★ “It’s not just suspense that drives this epistolary page-turner, but Zoe’s authentic emotional responses and unyielding wit…[Ketchup Clouds] shows just how easy it is to make mistakes and how hard love can be.” —Kirkus Reviews


★ “By turns heartbreaking and hilarious… Zoe’s voice is witty and introspective as she explores issues relating to family, grief, and love.” —Booklist


★ “Zoe’s introspective and surprisingly humorous voice will strike a chord with readers as they dwell on the space between guilt and innocence.” —Publishers Weekly


“Zoe’s original mind, turns of phrase, and sprightly narrative style give her story quick, light momentum and moments of lyricism…Sharp, articulate perceptions and a measure of suspense-as well as a lively thread of wit and humor-make this a very engaging read.”—The Horn Book



By Jerry Spinelli

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Loss, Personal Development: Friendship

Grades: 3 – 7

Eggs is a quirky and moving novel about two very complicated, damaged children. David has recently lost his mother to a freak accident, his salesman father is constantly on the road, and he is letting his anger out on his grandmother. Primrose lives with her unstable, childlike, fortuneteller mother, and the only evidence of the father she never knew is a framed picture. Despite their age difference (David is 9, Primrose is 13), they forge a tight yet tumultuous friendship, eventually helping each other deal with what is missing in their lives.


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A Scholastic Instructor Best New Summer Book

2007 National Parenting Publications Awards Honor

“Spinelli deftly handles themes of friendship, family, loss, and resilience in a story that will long linger in the hearts of readers. Elegant and memorable.”–Kirkus (starred review)

“The Newbery Award-winning Spinelli has crafted his tale in simple, vivid prose. Once again, it’s his original, compelling characters that set him so far above most authors writing for this age group…’A’ –Entertainment Weekly

“A touching tale.”–KLIATT

”A lyrical study of grief and hope.” –The Bulletin

“Readers will find some of the scenes between David and Primrose vivid and memorable.” –Booklist

Wise Young Fool

Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin

Wise Young Fool

By: Sean Beaudoin

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction (with a twist of snark)

Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality, Personal Development: Loss, Family Life: Divorce/Stepfamilies

Grade: 10 & Up

AR: 10.0

Teen rocker Ritchie Sudden is pretty sure his life has just jumped the shark. Except he hates being called a teen, his band doesn’t play rock, and “jumping the shark” is yet another dumb cliché. Part of Ritchie wants to drop everything and walk away. Especially the part that’s serving ninety days in a juvenile detention center.


Telling the story of the year leading up to his arrest, Ritchie grabs readers by the throat before (politely) inviting them along for the (max-speed) ride. A battle of the bands looms. Dad split about five minutes before Mom’s girlfriend moved in. There’s the matter of trying to score with the dangerously hot Ravenna Woods while avoiding the dangerously huge Spence Proffer–not to mention just trying to forget what his sister, Beth, said the week before she died.


Praise for Wise Young Fool


 “Beaudoin is the Fred Astaire of comic writing, translating each sentence into a manic dance routine of half-invented jargon (“chewing the profunda-cud”) on his way to blessedly non-cloying coming-of-age glory.” –Booklist

“The author does a brilliant job getting into the head of a troubled teen and does not shy away from racy topics.” –School Library Journal

“Larger-than-life characters….Behind the music quest, sarcasm and pursuit of girls, however, lies a more complicated and often compelling story about family, grief and flawed coping mechanisms.” –Kirkus

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