Sold by Patricia McCormick Lakshmi, a thirteen year old girl who lives with her family in a small hut in a remote village in Nepal finds her life full of simple pleasures, despite her poverty. When a severe monsoon ruins the little remaining crops her family has, her gambling addicted step-father say she must leave home to take a job as a maid to support the family which she is proud and eager to do. After a long journey across the border into India and on to Calcutta, Laksmi arrives at “Happiness House” where she learns that she has been deceived and sold into prostitution. She is treated with cruelty: tortured, starved and deceived into believing that she can work off her family’s debt and return home. Told in first-person, this stark prose is a reflection of the emptiness in Lakshmi’s life. When an American comes to the brothel to rescue girls, Lakshmi finally feels a sense of hope. Thousands of girls, like Lakshmi, are sold into prostitution each year and this book, while fictional, is based on interviews with current and former sex slaves in Nepal and India.Such a Pretty Girl – Laura Wiess With her father imprisoned, 15-year-old Meredith thinks she could live out her high-school days safely, but when he is released early for good behavior, her security is shattered. A popular youth baseball coach, her father has abused Mer as well as other boys and girls. With strict orders that he not be left alone with his daughter, he is returned to the condo complex where she and her mother live. In contrast to Mers terror, her mother is giddy with delight at his return, and together the reunited couple
plans to conceive another child. Yet in the shadows and stillness, Mers nightmare begins anew. This is a gritty, terrifying novel about a fathers abuse of power and trust, and the way two different teens, Meredith and her paraplegic friend, Andy, deal with that reality.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian bySherman Alexie This semiautobiographical novel is about Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. This boy, born with physical disabilities, loves to draw and is the target of bullies. Trying to break free from the poverty that is so pervasive on the “rez”, he transfers to a wealthy, white school only to find that he now finds it difficult to blend in back at home. Junior deals with questions about being part of a community and issues with personal identity. The cartoons that are interspersed throughout the book help further the story and reflect Junior’s artistic abilities. Junior’s determination to improve himself and overcome poverty, despite handicaps at birth, difficult circumstances and race delivers a positive message in a low-key manner.Wish You Were Dead – Todd Strasser The day after anonymous blogger wishes the popular girl would die, she vanishes. The students of Soundview High are scared and worried. Especially frightened and wracked with guilt is Madison Archer, Lucy’s friend and the last person to see her the night she disappeared. As days pass with no sign of the missing girl, even the attention of Tyler, an attractive new student, is not enough to distract Madison from her growing sense of
foreboding. When two more popular students disappear after their names are mentioned on the blog, the residents of Soundview panic. Meanwhile, Madison receives anonymous notes warning that she could be next. Desperate to solve the mystery before anyone else disappears, Madison turns to Tyler, but can she trust him when it becomes clear that he knows more than he’s sharing?Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s – John ElderRobison Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account— sometimes alien yet always deeply human.
Before I Die Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the YearA Booklist Editors’ ChoiceA Book Sense Children’s PickA Kirkus Reviews Editors’ ChoiceA Publishers Weekly Flying Start AuthorAn ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young AdultsCatch by Will Leitch Everything comes easy for Tim Temples. He’s got a sweet summer job, lots of love from the ladies, and parties with his high school buddies. Why does he need to go to college? Then Tim falls hard for Helena—a worldly and mysterious twenty-two year-old. Their relationship opens his eyes to life outside the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Now Tim has to choose: Will he settle for being a small town hero, or will he leave it all behind to follow his dreams?