GSTBA Voting -- Fiction -- Grades 6-8

Title Author(s) Annotation Vote Leave Comments
The Future of Us Asher, Jay & Carolyn Mackler
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It’s 1996. Emma’s dad feels guilty about moving away with his new wife, so he gives Emma a computer. Josh lives next door and used to be Emma’s best friend, but something happened in November and now they barely speak. Things get really strange when Josh’s mom sends him over to Emma’s with a free AOL CD-ROM to install for internet access. They are immediately logged onto Facebook, but Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. This is a wonderful page turner with suspense, romance with a touch of science fiction.
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Can I See Your ID?: True Stories of False Identities Barton, Chris
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Take a look at some fascinating true life stories of spies, thieves, and others who have lied about their identities.
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I Am J Beam, Cris
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J always felt different. He hoped that everyone would just understand his true identity: a boy trapped in a girl’s body. But as he grew and his body started changing, he covered it up to make himself invisible to everyone, including those he loved. When he has a falling out with his best friend, something changes in him to make him come out of hiding and be who he really is.
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F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers Benson, Richard
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If you are looking for a good study guide, look elsewhere . . . but for a LAUGH, check out this book. Anyone who has ever been stumped by a test question is sure to enjoy reading this collection of very wrong answers.
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Chime Billingsley, Franny
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Briony is a murderer. She knows that she is an evil influence and has caused all of her family’s tragedies because of her cursed powers. But a charming man comes to town and she starts to see things differently. Can her curses really be gifts?
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Anna Dressed in Blood Blake, Kendare
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Cas has recently inherited his father's mysterious athame and his career as a ghost hunter. After traveling the world with his mother to finish off ghosts dangerous to society, Cas receives a job in Thunder Bay to finish off the ghost "Anna." Expecting "Anna" to be a quick job, Cas finds a girl who was brutally murdered in 1958 and cursed to kill anyone who enters her home.
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Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition Blumenthal, Karen
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The 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawed the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol in 1919 with the best of intentions. When it was repealed nearly fourteen years later, much of the country had fallen into a state where it was not unheard of for even the most upstanding citizen to break the law. Learn about those fourteen wild years in between, where not everyone paid heed to the government's edict.
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Wrapped Bradbury, Jennifer
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A mash-up mystery featuring Egyptian mythology, lavish 1852 London, secret agents, and one spunky heroine worthy of a Jane Austen novel.
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How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous Bragg, Georgia & Kevin O'Malley
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Warning! If you have a weak stomach, this book is not for you. In gruesome detail, find out how nineteen very famous people bit the dust. From King Tut to George Washington and Marie Antoinette to Ludwig Van Beethoven, get up close and personal with the nitty-gritty details of their demise. Bonus -- you'll pick up some great trivia to stump your friends, like the year the last execution by guillotine took place. (Hint: Your parents were probably alive when it happened!)
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Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor Brimner, Larry Dane
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In the 1950’s through the early 60’s, Birmingham, Alabama became known as “Bombingham.” At the center of this battle, on opposite ends of the spectrum, were Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth who preached the gospel of racial equality from his pulpit and Eugene Bull Connor who fought for conditions to remain the same.
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Anya's Ghost Brosgol, Vera
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After falling down a well and making friends with a ghost, Anya thinks she has finally found a way to fit in at school. After all, a ghost can go places she cannot and find out important information about her crush. But, it isn’t long before Anya starts to realize that her new friend might not be exactly who she says she is, and that’s when this graphic novel gets scary.
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How to Survive Anything: Shark Attack, Lightning, Embarrassing Parents, Pop Quizzes, and Other Perilous Situations... Buchholz, Rachel
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Mixing humor with sage advice, this ultimate survival guide covers the disasters that teenagers face in their day-to-day lives, as well as not-so-typical dangers found in the wild. Gossip, shark attacks, cyberbullying, tornadoes, breakups, avalanches -- this guide includes it all!
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The Girl of Fire and Thorns Carson, Rae
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Elisa, the younger of two princesses, is the chosen one. She doesn't know why; she hasn't done anything remotely interesting. But that all changes on her sixteenth birthday when she becomes the secret wife of a king. Now, she is being hunted by dark magicians and a daring revolutionary who thinks she can save his people.
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Ready Player One Cline, Ernest
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In the future, the world is a wasteland and everyone lives most of their lives plugged into the virtual world of the OASIS. When the creator of the OASIS dies, it is discovered that his fortune will go to whoever finds three keys and doors hidden within the OASIS. After several years one teenager, Wade Watts, discovers the first key, which starts a chain of events that lead him on a crazy adventure. Filled with lots of 1980’s pop culture references, this novel is fun and action packed up until the very end.
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Leverage Cohen, Joshua C.
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Steroids, bullying, high school sports, escalating tensions, violence, and the ultimate sacrifice are at the core of this gritty, tragic, can’t-put-it-down novel. Leverage pits the aggressive, strong, and fully-funded high school football team against the smaller, less popular, gymnastics team. When pranks start to escalate to a dangerous and deadly level, something has to give.
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Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart Fleming, Candace
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This exhaustively researched and visually appealing book covers Earhart's life up to her final flight and includes chapters on the search for her after her disappearance. Numerous sidebars throughout enhance the narrative. Readers who think they know all about Earhart will be surprised by all the personal things they learn about her and her family, based on her own handwritten notes included in the book.
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Threads and Flames Friesner, Esther
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Raisa travels alone by ship from Poland to join her older sister in New York City. She arrives, not knowing if she’ll ever find her sister, and struggles to first find her own place alone in a vast strange city, filled with people, words, and streets that she cannot understand. Raisa eventually comes upon work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, and when a terrible fire engulfs the warehouse, her American dreams all but shatter.
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Beyond Bullets: A Photo Journal of Afghanistan Gerszak, Rafal & Dawn Hunter
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Many could not understand why Rafal Gerszak would actually want to volunteer to tag along with the American military in war-torn Afghanistan, let alone insist on returning to the country to live among its citizens, unprotected by any official organization. But the author's photographs and text help readers to clearly understand both the horrors of war, as well as the beauty of the land, culture, and people of Afghanistan.
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Planet Middle School Grimes, Nikki
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Middle school girlhood in brief, telling verse: girls mature, guys drool, menstruation, bras, and crushes. Basketball whiz Joylin is a great kid, but it takes helping her brother be himself and nearly losing her best friend to realize she need not change to impress a boy.
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Page by Paige Gulledge, Laura Lee
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Paige is 16 and has just moved to New York City. Feeling secluded in a big city, she buys a sketchbook to illustrate her feelings and desire to become an artist. Through her thoughts and feelings, Paige slowly becomes alive as she begins to follow her grandmother's rules of how to be an artist. At only 192 pages, Gulledge's graphic novel is a fast read with beautiful work that captures the mind of a girl trying to find her spot in the world.
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Stupid Fast Herbach, Geoff
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Over the course of the summer Felton has gone from a small, bullied boy to a strong, fast young man who is being recruited by the football team. The physical changes are only part of his transformation. Felton gains insight into himself, his family, and his classmates in this heartfelt and often hilarious novel.
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Everybody Sees the Ants King, A. S.
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For fifteen-year-old Lucky, life has become increasingly surreal as he copes with attacks by a nasty local bully and hears a chorus of talking ants, all while dreaming nightly of visiting his MIA-POW grandfather in his Vietnamese prison.
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World Without Fish Kurlansky, Mark
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Part narrative, part graphic novel, and written by a master storyteller, this book describes how the fish we eat the most could disappear within the next fifty years and the problems that could cause for the rest of us.
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Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur, a Graphic Novel Lee, Tony & Sam Hart
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This is the familiar story of Arthur Pendragon, who, after drawing a sword embedded in a stone, begins the life that he was meant to live. The dynamic illustrations in the graphic novel version of this story will delight old fans, while also attracting new fans.
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Phobiapedia Levy, Joel
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Quick: what are you most afraid of? Spiders? Heights? The Color Yellow?! Phobiapedia is jam-packed with information about the fears that make us shiver and scream.
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Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not For Sale Lloyd, Rachel
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Lloyd exposes the sex industry as an exploitative form of child labor. She interweaves her own difficult life experiences with those of the young women she mentors at the NYC safe house she founded in her twenties. A harsh read, but some girls need to know they are not alone, and others can learn compassion.
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Legend Lu, Marie
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In this dystopia, the U.S. is now broken into factions. From very different worlds, fifteen-year-olds June and Day have no reason to meet, until the day of a hospital raid, when June’s brother is murdered and Day, the country’s most wanted criminal, becomes the prime suspect.
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Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel MacColl, Michaela
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Liza has been raised as a lady, to enter into London society, to meet and marry a gentleman, and to live a life of relative comfort. But when her parents die in an accident during her seventeenth year, she finds herself working as a maid and a spy at Kensington Palace, serving sixteen-year-old Princess Victoria. This charming story is complete with colorful characters, espionage and trickery, kidnapping and murder, true friendship, and true love.
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Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) Macy, Sue
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Sue Macy manages to tie in the evolution of bicycles into the social and political history of the American woman, and does so seamlessly and with a flair for the interesting. As a period in history during which many women were tied to their duties, bicycles presented a very direct avenue toward freedom and independence. In many ways, this book exists as a nod to the bicycle for changing the way women behaved and were treated throughout American history, but it also begs for the inclusion of bikes in everyday life in countries like Africa, as encouragement to young girls to keep moving forward.
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The Piper's Son Marchetta, Melina
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Thomas Mackee has retreated from his former life. He quit university, left behind his love of music, moved out of his family's home, and the people he once considered his closest friends aren't speaking to him. Everything comes crashing down on him one night, and it's time for him to take a long hard look at his life. Will he be able to piece together what's left of it?
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Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy Marrin, Albert
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An in-depth look at the causes and effects of one of the worst disasters in New York history: the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
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a + e 4ever: A Graphic Novel Merey, Ilike
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A + E stand for Asher and Eulalie. Asher is a bisexual teenage boy, bullied by both sexes, and cursed with an androgynous face. His only escape from his empty life is art. Eulalie is a lonely, tough-talking lesbian who becomes Asher’s best friend. She’s the only one who sees all of his sides for what they are, but she is beginning to wonder if there’s something more to what they have.
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Ashfall Mullin, Mike
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What would happen if the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park erupted? This is the action-packed story of fifteen-year-old Alex who must make his way from Iowa to Illinois to locate his family after the world falls apart. Alex has to use his wits and knowledge of martial arts to survive, as he faces constant danger. Grim, violent, and frightening in the real life possibilities, this is a still a great read.
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Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters Napoli, Donna Jo
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This collection contains lyrical retellings of several Greek myths, accompanied by stunning illustrations. In addition to these stories, there are sidebars for each major character, a family tree, a cast of characters, and more.
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Ghetto Cowboy Neri, Greg
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Cowboys, horses and stables -- in Philadelphia? After Cole pushes his mom too far one time too many, she drives straight through from Detroit to Philadelphia so he can live with his father, a man he’s never met. Cole’s father is a neighborhood cowboy who takes care of the horses, his fellow cowboys, and the wayward teens in the neighborhood.
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A Monster Calls Ness, Patrick, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
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A powerful tale of a boy whose mother is dying from cancer. He is visited by The Green Man in the guise of a yew tree, who has come to help him face his deepest fears of loss, betrayal, and guilt. Short, inspirational, and unforgettable.
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Axe Cop, Vol. 1 Nicolle, Malachi & Ethan Nicolle
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Forget about the Avengers! Move over, Justice League! There’s a new superhero in town, a cop with a big 80s mustache and shades who chops bad guys with his axe and can beat up Chuck Norris. For Axe Cop, “There is no day shift, there is no night shift, there is only shift.” Written by a five-year-old boy with a vivid imagination and his grownup comics artist brother, this is the most hilarious superhero comic ever!
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Delirium Oliver, Lauren
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Lena lives in a society where the government considers love a horrible disease. Just when she's about to receive the cure, Lena meets Alex.
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Across the Universe Revis, Beth
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One hundred people are selected to be cryogenically frozen and sent into space to colonize a planet hundreds of years away, and seventeen-year-old Amy is the only one who is unfrozen to a bizarre society fifty years too early. The other passengers, who have lived on and operated the ship for generations, have established a shocking and nightmarish code of existence. Warning: opens with one of the most cringe-inducing descriptions of claustrophobia you will ever read, and takes off from there.
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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Riggs, Ransom
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Jacob has been listening to his grandfather's tales of an orphanage populated by children with peculiar abilities for his entire life. Of course, he believed his grandfather was just telling tales, until a tragedy occurs and Jacob must venture to the orphanage himself. An intriguing mix of antique photographs and riveting prose.
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Divergent Roth, Veronica
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In a future Chicago, society is now divided up into factions based on belief systems. On her sixteenth birthday, Beatrice Prior must decide which group she wants to belong to for the rest of her life. She then discovers that she is different in a way that could change everything. Once she makes her choice, she encounters dangers and perils that lead her to think that society may not be what it appears to be.
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Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O'Keeffe Rubin, Susan Goldman
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A beautifully designed biography of 20th century artist Georgia O'Keeffe that includes an overview of her life, including her triumphs as a woman in a male dominated field. In addition, there are lavishly illustrated examples of O'Keeffe's artwork and photographic portraits of her by husband Alfred Stieglitz.
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Bluefish Schmatz, Pat
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What would you do if you were in middle school and couldn't read? What if bad luck had also taken away your family? This book is the quiet, devastating, but still sometimes funny story of Travis and Velveeta, eighth graders reaching out to each other to survive. Read it very slowly so you don't miss a single word.
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Between Shades of Gray Sepetys, Ruta
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Fifteen-year-old Lina, her little brother and mother are wrenched from their homes in Lithuania in 1941 and forced by Stalin’s secret police into Siberian work camps, where Lina copes with the brutal conditions by secretly writing and drawing pictures of her experiences.
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The Berlin Boxing Club Sharenow, Robert
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Karl Stern lives in Berlin during the reign of Hitler and the Nazis, but having been raised in a family that does not practice religion, he does not label himself Jewish. He’s something of a loner and finds comic books and boxing to be a refuge. But as Nazi violence escalates and antisemitism becomes intolerable, Karl must figure out how to survive when it becomes harder and harder to believe that the injustice against Jews won't last forever.
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Jasper Jones Silvey, Craig
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In small-town Australia, teens Jasper and Charlie form an unlikely friendship when one asks the other to help him cover up a murder until they can prove who is responsible. Unexpectedly hilarious dialogue is interwoven with a spine-tingling plot, making this a gripping read.
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The Scorpio Races Stiefvater, Maggie
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Every November on Thisby, riders race their water horses in the sand by the sea and cliffs. It’s a dangerous race because cappail uisce (cap-le ish-ka) are no ordinary horses - they come from the sea, and they are vicious, unpredictable and have a taste for flesh. This year, three-time champion Sean Kendrick will compete against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the Scorpio Races, who desperately needs the prize money to save her family. (Great on audio, with two excellent narrators as Sean and Puck and Celtic music composed and performed by the author.)
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Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature Sullivan, George
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Take a peek into the life of Charles Stratton, better known by his stage name General Tom Thumb, who stopped growing when he was six months old. Charles became part of PT Barnum's traveling show, where the two-foot-tall man amassed great fame and fortune.
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Daughter of Smoke and Bone Taylor, Laini
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Karou is a strange young lady; she has tattoos and blue hair, attends school in Prague, and has traveled all over. She is beautiful, mysterious, and intriguing. Karou's whole life has been a mystery, but she's about to learn the truth about who she is, and the knowledge may cost her everything.
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Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust Thomson, Ruth
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Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany turned the small town of Terezi¬n, Czechoslovakia into a transit camp for thousands of Jewish people. It was a "show" camp, where inmates were forced to use their artistic talents to hide the truth of gas chambers and horrific living conditions for imprisoned Jews.
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Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration Tougas, Shelley
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When nine African American students were set to enter the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, the governor called in the National Guard to stop them. To ensure their safety, the students planned to meet before the school day and enter the school together, but Elizabeth Eckford didn’t know about this plan and arrived at the school alone. The angry, all-white mob captured in the now-famous photograph taken by Will Counts portrays the hatred and intolerance typical of this time and place.
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Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey Tran, GB
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GB Tran was born and raised in South Carolina after his parents fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. Although his parents struggled in America, they decided to focus on their children’s future rather than discuss their past. It’s only when Tran is in his late 20’s, after his two remaining grandparents die within months of each other, that he visits Vietnam for the first time and begins to learn his family’s tragic history.
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Breadcrumbs Ursu, Anne
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Hazel and Jack are friends, but Jack is being pressured by his guy friends to hang with them and dump Hazel. When a sliver of a magic mirror gets stuck in Jack’s eye, he is whisked away by an icy queen on a sleigh to a cold and lonely frozen fantasy landscape. Based on the story of "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen, Hazel risks her life and faces many fantastical obstacles to save her friend from a lonely, frozen existence.
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The Running Dream Van Draanen, Wendelin
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Sixteen-year-old star athlete Jessica lives for running, but when a terrible accident leaves her with an amputated leg, she thinks her life is over. However, when she returns to school after a slow recovery, the track team finds a wonderful opportunity to help rekindle her dream of running again.
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Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers VanHecke, Susan
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A brief history of some very famous instrument makers, like Zildjian cymbals and Steinway pianos.
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Variant Wells, Robison
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Benson, a foster child looking to improve his life, is thrilled to receive a scholarship to Maxfield Academy. However, once the gates to the boarding school close behind him, he realizes that his every move is being closely monitored by video surveillance . . . leaving will not be an option. Determined to escape, Benson discovers the school is hiding an even bigger secret, which might make fleeing even harder than he thought.
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Where Things Come Back Whaley, John Corey
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The summer that Cullen Witter’s brother Gabriel goes missing from their rural Arkansas town, a long-extinct woodpecker returns to life. Influenced by A Catcher in the Rye, John Green, and featuring alternating points of view, this Printz Award-winning book is mysterious, funny and moving.
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Miles from Ordinary Williams, Carol Lynch
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Lacey, 14, is the sole caretaker for her mother, who refuses help for her advancing mental illness. Lacey’s high hopes for a better summer vanish when Momma’s delusions turn deadly.
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Level Up Yang, Gene Luen & Pham Thien
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Dennis wants be a gamer, but his father sacrificed everything for him to become a doctor . . . if only there was a way to combine the two and make everyone happy.
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All These Things I've Done Zevin, Gabrielle
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In 2083 New York City, chocolate and coffee are illegal. Anya Balanchine, 16, is trying to live a normal life, which is not exactly easy for the daughter of a dead crime boss. She is trying to find her place in the family and stay out of trouble, but when her ex-boyfriend turns up poisoned, living a normal life becomes much more complicated.
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