Potato Chip Puzzles• The whiz kid from The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (Putnam, 2007) returns to reason through his second mystery. Winston and his two friends, Mal and Jake, are sent to represent Walter Fredericks Junior High in a daylong puzzle competition sponsored by the eccentric owner of Simons Snack Foods. Their teacher, Mr. Garvey, is determined to win the $50,000 prize for their school and constantly chides the boys to take the day seriously. As Winstons group scrambles around town tracking clues and solving riddles, they are waylaid by a saboteur they suspect is connected to one of the competing schools.
Heart of a Shepherd•• 11-year-old Brother (his given name is Ignatius: "Guess they ran out of all the good saints by the time they got to me") helps manage his familys Oregon ranch. With his father in Iraq, his four older brothers at school or in the military, and his mother painting abroad, caring for familys livestock falls to Brother, his grandparents and some hired help. Though he is eager to prove to his siblings, grandparents and most importantly, his father, that he can handle it, Brother nonetheless struggles with the rigors of the job, his fathers and brothers absence and the stress of war
Secret of Zoom• Christina lives in a big, old stone mansion on the edge of a dark forest surrounded by barbed wire. Deep within the forest is the laboratory where her father works—and where her mother was blown to bits years ago. Christina’s father knows just how dangerous the world can be, so he keeps her safe at home, forbidding her from talking to the very interesting orphans down the road. But when an orphan boy named Taft talks to her, she’s thrilled to help him search for a secret tunnel. But soon she discovers there’s more to the orphanage, the lab, and the mystery of her mother’s accident than she ever suspected. Sinister things are in the works—and the secret of zoom is the most dangerous secret of all!
Runaway Twin• Sunny Skyland has missed her twin sister ever since they were separated at age three after their mother and grandmother were killed in an automobile accident. Sunny has kept her memories of Starr alive over the past decade and in seven foster homes. Then, the discovery of a canvas bag containing $800, with no claimant, spurs Sunny to travel from Nebraska to her old neighborhood in Enumclaw, WA. Sunny is an experienced runaway who plans carefully and tells no one. She boards a bus for the first leg of her journey but then complicates her life by adopting a stray dog. Her trip is thwarted by a group of teenage boys, and she survives a tornado. She does reach her destination, but not with the expected ending.
Love Aubrey• How does a child recover from unspeakable loss? For Aubrey, 11, it takes time, love, stability, and the emotional release that comes from writing letters. After her father and younger sister die in a car accident, Aubreys mother becomes psychologically unstable and abandons her. Uprooted from her home in Virginia, Aubrey goes to live with her grandmother in Vermont. Along with Grams love, she finds solace in spending time with the family next door and acquires a best friend in the process. When her mother materializes and begins her emotional recovery, Aubrey must decide whether to return home or to remain with her grandmother. The childs progress is reflected in her letters, which are at first directed to her sisters imaginary friend, then to her dead father and sister, and finally to the mother who hurt her so deeply
Million Dollar Throw Thirteen-year-old Nate Brodies life would seem to be the stuff ofadolescent boys dreams: he is the star quarterback of his schoolfootball team and has a great relationship with his best friend andsoulmate, Abby McCall. However, all is not smooth sailing. The Brodiesare in danger of losing their home in the economic downturn, andAbbys eyesight is failing due to a rare congenital disease. Nate thinkshe may have the opportunity to solve all of his problems when he winsthe chance to make a million dollars by throwing a football through asmall target during halftime at a pro football game. Unfortunately, hisquarterbacking skills suddenly and mysteriously desert him just as he ispreparing for his big moment.
11 Birthdays• Its Amandas 11th birthday and she is super excited--- after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom shes shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they havent shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating iself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. . .
Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.• Gianna Z. has less than one week to collect twenty-five leaves for a science project, or else she might lose her spot at cross-country sectionals. Finishing her project will be enough of a hurdle, but with a grandmother who keeps losing her teeth, a father who drives her to school in the family hearse, and an arch-nemesis intent on stealing her spot on the team, Gianna will need a stroke of brilliance to make everything fall into place.• She is not so crazy about research projects or anything involving time-management skills, and has somehow gotten to within a week of the due date of a huge science assignment with no work to show. But how hard can it be
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June• The living situations of the seventh graders are at two extremes and yet both girls have the humanity and distinctness that allow them to escape the confines of representing their classes. Make no mistake, this is Ivy Junes story, and her hardships and family challenges are front and center in a way that Catherines own family woes are not. The exchange program set up by the schools is a perfect showcase for looking at the role of wealth and poverty in our assumptions about one another. Ivy Junes discomfort at having the wrong shoes is comparable to Catherines squirming at being unable to wash her hair daily
Captain Nobody• Ten-year-old Newt Newman is used to fading into the background: his parents are workaholics; his brother, Chris, is a high school football star; and he and his best buddies, JJ and Cecil, are ignored at school. Determined to get noticed this Halloween, the three friends vow to come up with original costumes. But then Chris takes a hit and is knocked into a coma during the Big Game. Worried about his brother, and with his parent camped out at the hospital, Newt has no interest in creating a costume. When JJ and Cecil arrive at his house for trick-or-treating, they help him transform an assortment of Chriss outgrown clothes into a get-up for a new superhero: Captain Nobody! Enjoying the newfound confidence he experiences behind his mask, Newt continues to wear the costume, and opportunities start cropping up for him to save the day—whether helping a confused old man find his way home or stopping a jewelry store robbery, Captain Nobody gets the job done. But when it comes to his brothers coma, even Captain Nobody is powerless…or is he?
Storm Chaser• Jessica Warner, 13, plans to spend the summer helping out on her familys Nevada ranch, riding her faithful old horse, Rusty, and spending time with her friend Marybeth. When a fierce storm hits, the old barn catches fire. Rusty survives, but he can no longer be ridden. Jessica disobeys her father and begins working with a wild paint filly she has dubbed Storm Chaser. After the fire, the Warners decide to transform the working ranch into a vacation spot. When the first group of "dudes" arrives for a week of riding, weenie roasts, and swims at the lake, culminating with a cattle drive, things become complicated for Jess. One of the vacationers has her eye on Storm Chaser and makes a big show of wanting to buy her
Mudville•• It centers on 12-year-old Roy McGuire, whose dreams of being a major leaguer are literally dampened by the fact that it has been raining in his hometown for 22 years. The rain began during a contest with neighboring Sinister Bend, and it ends right after Roy returns from baseball camp to find a new foster brother, Sturgis, living at his house. Their relationship is rocky, but no one can deny Sturgis’ throwing power, and soon both boys are ramping up for an epic rematch between the two towns.•