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Read: Gift for Reading 2017

Selected by the children's room staff at the Newton Free Library, here are the year's best new books for middle school readers. Click to download a printable list of the titles.

Adventure and Mystery

Finding Mighty

Along the train lines north of New York City, twelve-year-old neighbors Myla and Peter search for the link between Myla's necklace and the disappearance of Peter's brother, Randall. Thrown into a world of parkour, graffiti, and diamond-smuggling, Myla and Peter encounter a band of thugs who are after the same thing as Randall. Can Myla and Peter find Randall before it's too late, and their shared family secrets threaten to destroy them all? Drawing on urban art forms and local history, Finding Mighty is a mystery that explores the nature of art and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Trell

On a hot summer night in the late 1980s, in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, a twelve-year-old African-American girl was sitting on a mailbox talking with her friends when she became the innocent victim of gang-related gunfire. Amid public outcry, an immediate manhunt was on to catch the murderer, and a young African-American man was quickly apprehended, charged, and -- wrongly -- convicted of the crime. Now, the daughter of the imprisoned man persuades a reporter and a lawyer to help her prove her father's innocence. What pieces of evidence might have been overlooked? Can they manage to get to the truth before a dangerous character from the neighborhood gets to them?

Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape

Ryan Quinn hopes his traveling days are over. The son of a United Nations worker, he's grown up in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa--everywhere but home. He's finally settled at a great school in New York and is making friends when, suddenly, his world is turned upside down. Ryan is blindsided when his father disappears and his mother is abducted. Left with nothing but questions, he soon discovers his parents have been leading a double life. They actually work with the Emergency Rescue Committee, an underground organization that has performed dangerous rescue missions since World War II, and they've been secretly training Ryan to follow in their footsteps. With his parents' lives in the balance and more at stake than he knows, Ryan dives into a mission of international intrigue that sends him around the globe. 

Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls

 After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail's mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have--at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious--and sometimes painful--results. But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought--and the answers to her mother's whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks...

The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid

It is an ordinary Tuesday morning in April when bored, lonely Charlie Fisher witnesses something incredible. Right before his eyes, in a busy square in Marseille, a group of pickpockets pulls off an amazing robbery. As the young bandits appear to melt into the crowd, Charlie realizes with a start that he himself was one of their marks. Yet Charlie is less alarmed than intrigued. So instead of reporting the thieves, Charlie defends one of their cannons, Amir, to the police, under one condition: he teach Charlie the tricks of the trade. What starts off as a lesson on pinches, kicks, and chumps soon turns into an invitation for Charlie to join the secret world of the whiz mob, an international band of child thieves. But what at first seemed like a (relatively) harmless new pastime draws him into a dangerous adventure with global stakes greater than he could have ever imagined.

 

The Murderer's Ape

Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja's turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder.   For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets.

Graphic Novels

Yvain

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur's court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are -- at first glance -- transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain's oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette. Renowned author M. T. Anderson embraces a new form with a sophisticated graphic novel that challenges Yvain's role as hero, delves into the honesty and anguish of love, and asks just how fundamentally the true self can really change.

Soupy Leaves Home

Pearl 'Soupy' Plankette ran away from her abusive father, but has nowhere to go until she stumbles upon a disguise that gives her the key to a new identity. Reborn as a boy named Soupy, she hitches her star to Remy 'Ramshackle' Smith, a hobo who takes her under his wing. Ramshackle's kindness and protection go a long way to help Soupy heal from her difficult past. But Ramshackle has his own demons to wrestle with, and he'll need Soupy just as much as she needs him.

Pashmina

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri's mom avoids these questions--the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother's homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she's ever dared and find the family she never knew. 

All's Faire in Middle School

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she's eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she'll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind--she'll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it's not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don't) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family's unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.  

Fish Girl

A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl's longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. 

The Adventures of John Blake

Trapped in the mists of time by a terrible research experiment gone wrong, John Blake and his mysterious ship are doomed to sail between the centuries, searching for a way home. In the ocean of the modern day, John and the crew rescue a shipwrecked young girl his own age, Serena, and promise to help. But returning Serena to her own time means traveling to the one place where the ship is in most danger of destruction. The all-powerful Dahlberg Corporation has an ambitious leader with plans far greater and more terrible than anyone has realized, and he is hot on their trail. For only John, Serena, and the crew know Dahlberg's true intentions, and only they have the power to stop him from bending the world to his will . . .

Horror and Supernatural

The Wrong Train

Imagine you've just managed to catch your train and you realize it's the wrong one. You'd be annoyed of course, but not scared . . . Yet. Imagine you get off the wrong train at the next station hoping to catch one back the way you came. But the station is empty. Again, you'd be annoyed, but not scared . . . Yet. Imagine someone comes to the station, a stranger who starts to tell you stories to help pass the time. But these aren't any old stories-they're nightmares that come with a price to pay. And you want them to stop. Scared yet? You will be.

The Other Side of Summer

Ever since her brother Floyd died, Summer's world has been falling apart. Her mom is a ghost of her former self, her older sister is angry all the time, and her dad wants to move the family to Australia. It seems like the only thing unchanged in their lives is Floyd's guitar, which was returned to the family perfectly unharmed by the bombing that killed him. Once Summer arrives in Australia, she feels even further away from Floyd than before. Until she works up the courage to play his guitar. When she plays, something amazing--perhaps even magical--happens. Summer starts to feel less alone. But even with a little magic on her side, only Summer will be able to find her way through her grief to whatever the other side may bring. 

 

 

 

Poe: Stories and Poems

It is true that I am nervous. But why will you say that I am mad? In "The Cask of Amontillado," a man exacts revenge on a disloyal friend at carnival, luring him into catacombs below the city. In "The Masque of the Red Death," a prince shielding himself from plague hosts a doomed party inside his abbey stronghold. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, faced with a swinging blade and swarming rats, can't see his tormentors in "The Pit and the Pendulum," and in "The Tell-Tale Heart," a milky eye and a deafening heartbeat reveal the effects of conscience and creeping madness. Alongside these tales are visual interpretations of three poems -- "The Raven," "The Bells," and Poe's poignant elegy to lost love, "Annabel Lee." 

 

 

The Mesmerist

Thirteen-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists--until they discover that Jess is a mesmerist and that she really can talk to the dead. Soon she is plunged into the dark world of Victorian London's supernatural underbelly and learns that the city is under attack by ghouls, monsters, and spirit summoners. Can Jess fight these powerful forces? And will the group of strange children with mysterious powers she befriends be able to help? As shy, proper Jess transforms into a brave warrior, she uncovers terrifying truths about the hidden battle between good and evil, about her family, and about herself. 

Thornhill

Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as a girl unravels the mystery of the abandoned Thornhill Institute next door. 1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it's shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she's left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself. 2017: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl and solidify the link between them, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill's shadowy past. Told in alternating, interwoven plotlines--Mary's through intimate diary entries and Ella's in bold, striking art.

Biographies and Non-Fiction

The Playbook

You gotta know the rules to play the game.Ball is life. Take it to the hoop. Soar. What can we imagine for our lives? What if we were the star players, moving and grooving through the game of life? What if we had our own rules of the game to help us get what we want, what we aspire to, what will enrich our lives?  Illustrated with photographs by Thai Neave,The Playbookis intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry and Michelle Obama. Kwame Alexander also provides his own poetic and uplifting words, as he shares stories of overcoming obstacles and winning games in this motivational and inspirational book just right for graduates of any age and anyone needing a little encouragement.

Writing Radar

With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their "writing radar" to unearth story ideas from their everyday lives. Incorporating his own misadventures as a developing writer, Gantos inspires readers to build confidence and establish good writing habits as they create, revise, and perfect their stories. Pop-out text boxes highlight key tips, alongside Gantos's own illustrations, sample stories, and snippets from his childhood journals. More than just a how-to guide,Writing Radar is a celebration of the power of storytelling and an ode to the characters who--many unwittingly--inspired Gantos's own writing career.

Women in Sports

Illustrated profiles of fifty pioneering female athletes, from the author of the New York Times bestseller Women in Science.  Women for the win! A richly illustrated and inspiring book, Women in Sports highlights the achievements and stories of fifty notable women athletes from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than forty sports. The athletes featured include well-known figures like tennis player Billie Jean King and gymnast Simone Biles, as well as lesser-known champions like Toni Stone, the first woman to play baseball in a professional men's league, and skateboarding pioneer Patti McGee. The book also contains infographics on topics that sporty women want to know about such as muscle anatomy, a timeline ofwomen's participation in sports, pay and media statistics for female athletes, and influential women's teams. Women in Sports celebrates the success of the tough, bold, and fearless women who paved the way for today's athletes.

The Whydah: a Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found

The exciting true story of the captaincy, wreck, and discovery of the Whydah -- the only pirate ship ever found -- and the incredible mysteries it revealed. The 1650s to the 1730s marked the golden age of piracy, when fearsome pirates like Blackbeard ruled the waves, seeking not only treasure but also large and fast ships to carry it. The Whydah was just such a ship, built to ply the Triangular Trade route, which it did until one of the greediest pirates of all, Black Sam Bellamy, commandeered it. Filling the ship to capacity with treasure, Bellamy hoped to retire with his bounty -- but in 1717 the ship sank in a storm off Cape Cod. For more than two hundred years, the wreck of the Whydah (and the riches that went down with it) eluded treasure seekers, until the ship was finally found in 1984 by marine archaeologists. The artifacts brought up from the ocean floor are priceless, both in value and in the picture they reveal of life in that much-mythologized era, changing much of what we know about pirates.

Girls Who Code

Part how-to, part girl-empowerment, and all fun, from the leader of the movement championed by Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai, and John Legend.   Since 2012, the organization Girls Who Code has taught computing skills to and inspired over 40,000 girls across America. Now its founder, Reshma Saujani, wants to inspire you to be a girl who codes! Bursting with dynamic artwork, down-to-earth explanations of coding principles, and real-life stories of girls and women working at places like Pixar and NASA, this graphically animated book shows what a huge role computer science plays in our lives and how much fun it can be. No matter your interest--sports, the arts, baking, student government, social justice--coding can help you do what you love and make your dreams come true. Whether you're a girl who's never coded before, a girl who codes, or a parent raising one, this entertaining book, printed in bold two-color and featuring art on every page, will have you itching to create your own apps, games, and robots to make the world a better place.

Voyager's Greatest Hits

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the Voyager mission as the twin space probes that traveled to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, now journey beyond our solar system into interstellar space, where no probe has ventured before. Learn the fascinating story of the scientists, how the Voyager probes work, where the probes have been and what they've seen, and what they carry on board--including the Golden Record, a recording of sounds and images about life on Earth. Critically acclaimed science writer Alexandra Siy chronicles the ongoing saga of the Voyagers in a lively story full of nail-biting moments, inspiring scientists, and incredible NASA images.

Realistic and Historical Fiction

Refugee

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . . ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . . MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . . All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers -- from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end. This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.

One Half from the East

Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia, Thanhha Lai, and Rebecca Stead, internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimi's first novel for young readers is a coming-of-age journey set in modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posh--a preteen girl dressed as a boy. Obayda's family is in need of some good fortune, and her aunt has an idea to bring the family luck--dress Obayda, the youngest of four sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh. Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. Their transformation won't last forever, though--unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure. Nadia Hashimi's first novel for adults, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, was a bestseller that shares a bacha posh character with One Half from the East.

Slider

David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he'll have to do better: he's going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world's greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom's credit card and accidentally spent $2,000 on it. So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren't enough, he's also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal (who, if the family believed in labels, would be labeled autistic, but they don't, so they just label him Mal). And don't even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan. 

Restart

Chase Ambrose forgets everything after falling off a roof and losing consciousness. He forgets his name. He forgets his parents. He forgets what he was doing up there on that roof. And he forgets that he's the biggest bully at Hiawassee Middle School, along with his two best buddies Aaron and Bear. Chase is shocked to learn how he bullied and tormented kids at school. He ruined lives. One kid left town because of him. And worst of all, even his little half-sister is terrified of him. Was he really such a monster? Determined to reinvent himself, Chase joins video club and befriends some of the kids who used to consider him a number-one enemy. But some people aren't so quick to forgive and forget. Can Chase really change who he is? Or will the old him merely come back over time?

The Ethan I Was Before

Ethan had been many things. He was always ready for adventure and always willing to accept a dare, especially from his best friend, Kacey. But that was before. Before the accident that took Kacey from him. Before his family moved from Boston to the small town of Palm Knot, Georgia. Palm Knot may be tiny, but it's the home of possibility and second chances. It's also home to Coralee, a girl with a big personality and even bigger stories. Coralee may be just the friend Ethan needs, except Ethan isn't the only one with secrets. Coralee's are catching up with her, and what she's hiding might be putting both their lives at risk. 

Fantasy

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna's thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge--with dangerous consequences. 

The Wonderling

Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name -- a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck -- it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home's loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name -- Arthur, like the good king in the old stories -- and a best friend. Using Trinket's ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur's true destiny. 

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded

Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott's School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel's behavior becomes the least of her problems. Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her--but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?

Impyrium

For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family's magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it's treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faeregines are ripe to fall. Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel's talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the remote provinces, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines--and to spy on them. One wants to protect the dynasty. The other wants to destroy it. But when Hazel and Hob form an improbable friendship, their bond may save the realm as they know it...or end it for good.

A Face Like Glass

In the underground city of Caverna, the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare--wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear--at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell's expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . . 

Miles Morales

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man. But lately, Miles's spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can't shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher's lectures on the historical "benefits" of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk. It's time for Miles to suit up.

Science Fiction

A Single Stone

In an isolated society, one girl makes a discovery that will change everything -- and learns that a single stone, once set in motion, can bring down a mountain. Jena -- strong, respected, reliable -- is the leader of the line, a job every girl in the village dreams of. Watched over by the Mothers as one of the chosen seven, Jena's years spent denying herself food and wrapping her limbs have paid off. She is small enough to squeeze through the tunnels of the mountain and gather the harvest, risking her life with each mission. No work is more important. This has always been the way of things, even if it isn't easy. But as her suspicions mount and Jena begins to question the life she's always known, the cracks in her world become impossible to ignore.

Tentacle and Wing

Twelve-year-old Ada is a Chimera, born with human and animal DNA thanks to a genetic experiment gone wrong. Because being a "kime" is believed to be contagious, she has kept her condition--complete with infrared vision--hidden. But a surprise test outs her, and Ada is shipped off to a quarantined school for kimes. There Ada meets kids of many different shapes, stripes, and appendages, such as a girl with dragonfly wings and a seal-boy. As she adjusts to her new life, Ada senses that the facility is keeping a secret that could upend everything the world knows about Chimeras. But will someone put a stop to her efforts to uncover the truth?  

York: The Shadow Cipher

It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher--a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction. Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment--until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

The Countdown Conspiracy

Ambassador, you are go for launch in T- minus 5...4...3...2.... Get ready to blast off with this high-action, high-stakes middle grade adventure that's perfect for fans of Chris Grabenstein and Peter Lerangis! Miranda Regent can't believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages...and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission--and everyone's lives--are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them. 

Boy X

Kidnapped and drugged, Ash wakes up on a remote tropical island. His mum - a genetic scientist - has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus. Where is he, and what's he doing there? He sets out to cross the jungle to find out and rescue his mother. Soon he realises he's quicker and sharper than before. But there's something else ... why are the animals watching him, and how can he use the jungle to his advantage?

Horizon

When a plane crash-lands in the arctic, eight young survivors step from the wreckage expecting to see nothing but ice and snow. Instead they find themselves lost in a strange jungle with no way to get home and little hope of rescue. Food is running out. Water is scarce. And the jungle is full of threats unlike anything the survivors have ever seen before-from razor beaked shredder birds to carnivorous vines and much, much worse. With danger at every turn, these eight kids must learn to work together to survive. But cliques and rivalries threaten to tear them apart. And not everyone will make it out of the jungle alive. BONUS! In the Horizon multiplatform experience, you're not just reading about the castaways, you're one of them.

Poetry

Out of Wonder

A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder. Out of gratitude for the poet's art form, Newbery Award-winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors' hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.

When My Sister Started Kissing

Claire and Abi have always loved their summers at the lake house, but this year, everything's different. Dad and Pam, their stepmom, are expecting a new baby, and they've cleared out all of Mom's belongings to make room. And last summer, Abi was looking at boys, but this summer, boys are looking back at her. While Abi sneaks around, Claire is left behind to make excuses and cover up for her. Claire doesn't want her family to change, but there doesn't seem to be a way of stopping it. By the end of their time at the house, the two sisters have learned that growing up doesn't have to mean their family growing apart. 

One Last Word

Using "The Golden Shovel" poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking. This special book also includes original artwork in full-color from some of today's most exciting African American illustrators, who have created pieces of art based on Nikki's original poems. Featuring art by: Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Nikki Grimes, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon. A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author's note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish, but a wonderful resource and reference as well. 

This Impossible Light

Fifteen-year-old Ivy's world is in flux. Her dad has moved out, her mother is withdrawn, her brother is off at college, and her best friend, Anna, has grown distant. Worst of all, Ivy's body won't stop expanding. She's getting taller and curvier, with no end in sight. Even her beloved math class offers no clear solution to the unbalanced equation that has become Ivy's life.   Everything feels off-kilter until a skipped meal leads to a boost in confidence and reminds Ivy that her life is her own. If Ivy can just limit what she eats--the way her mother seems to--she can stop herself from growing, focus on the upcoming math competition, and reclaim control of her life. But when her disordered eating leads to missed opportunities and a devastating health scare, Ivy realizes that she must weigh her mother's issues against her own, and discover what it means to be a part of--and apart from--her family.   This Impossible Light explores the powerful reality that identity and self-worth must be taught before they are learned.

Forget Me Not

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn't mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn't long before the kids at her new school realize she's different. Only Calliope's neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is--an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public? As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother's new relationship and the fact that they might be moving--again--just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences. Ellie Terry's affecting debut will speak to a wide audience about being true to oneself.

Challenging Reads