By Ali Benjamin (J Benj, CD J Benj)
Suzy and Franny had drifted apart this past year. But after Franny dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the real cause was a rare jellyfish sting. She retreats into silence, obsessing over her theory—and dealing with life’s hurdles as she concocts a plan to prove it.
By Tony Abbott (J Abbo)
Sean tells his best friend, Owen, about being abused by a babysitter—but swears Owen to secrecy. Told from Owen’s perspective, he must decide what to do about this very serious situation.
By Meg Medina (J Medi, CD J Medi, PLAY J Medi)
Sixth grade is proving rough for Merci: she’s the target of another girl’s jealousy at her private school (where she already feels “different” due to her scholarship status), and there’s confusion at home regarding her Grandfather’s health (but no one will fill tell her the truth). This award-winning book tackles sadness and worry with humor and wisdom.
By Kate DiCamillo (J DiCa, CD J DiCa, PLAY J DiCa)
Two days ago, Raymie’s father left her family with a dental hygienist. Feeling like the world rests on her shoulders, she sets out to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition to garner his attention. The competition is fierce, but in the face of loss, Raymie makes some unlikely friends.
By Ann M. Martin (J Mart, CD J Mart, PLAY J Mart)
11 year old Rose is autistic. Her dog (named Rain), homonyms, and her Uncle bring her Joy despite having a tumultuous relationship with her single father. During a terrible storm with flooding, Rain gets loose. Rose will stop at nothing to find her, even if it means breaking routines and stepping beyond safety.
By Elly D. Swartz (J Swar)
Molly Nathans likes “perfect” things: the number four, newly sharpened pencils, for her figurines to be aligned just so. When Molly’s mother leaves for a new job with the promise of returning in a year, Molly must face living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Will she get help before her world spins out of control?
By John David Anderson (J Ande, CD J Ande)
Rion Kwirk comes from a…quirky family. His grandfather, Papa Kwirk—is especially odd (and mysterious and cool). When the family learns of Papa Kwirk’s death, Rion realizes there’s more to his story than he could have ever known before.
By Sharon M. Draper (J Drap, CD J Drap)
Stella lives in the segregated south in 1932. Late one night, Stella and her brother witness a Klu Klux Klan activity, starting an unwelcome chain of events in her otherwise sleepy town. With a courageous voice, Stella tells the story of how she and her community ban together against racism and injustice.
By Jewell Parker Rhodes (J Rhod)
Deja’s family is struggling due to the after effects of the 9/11 attack-- they lose their home and move into a group home in Brooklyn. At her new school her teacher introduces 9/11 as a history lesson. Deja, born after the attacks, enters into a journey of discovery toward understanding her life and the survivors of 9/11.
By Lisa Graff (J Graf, CD J Graf, PLAY J Graf)
Trent, 12, is carrying a heavy burden: the accidental death of a friend during an ice hockey game. He is angry, hurt, and believes everyone hates him—and it’s getting harder to contain.
By Tamara Ellis Smith (J Smit)
Told in alternating narration, this is a story of two boys each facing tragedy (Hurricane Katrina, home loss, and the death of a friend)—meeting in the middle in Louisiana.