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Jay's 2019 Summer Reading List for Upper School Students

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake - Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James navigates heart surgery, reconnecting with her lost mother, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl in this stunning, heartfelt novel--perfect for fans of Ali Benjamin and Erin Entrada Kelly. When Sunny St. James receives a new heart, she decides to set off on a "New Life Plan": 1) do awesome amazing things she could never do before; 2) find a new best friend; and 3) kiss a boy for the first time. Her "New Life Plan" seems to be racing forward, but when she meets her new best friend Quinn, Sunny questions whether she really wants to kiss a boy at all. With the reemergence of her mother, Sunny begins a journey to becoming the new Sunny St. James. This sweet, tender novel dares readers to find the might in their own hearts. (CB, 10 and up)

A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Perry - This gripping novel about survival and family is based on the real story of one wolf’s incredible journey to find a safe place to call home. Illustrated throughout, this irresistible tale by award-winning author Rosanne Parry is for fans of Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan. Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter. Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable one thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest. The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home. Inspired by the extraordinary true story of a wolf named OR-7 (or Journey), this irresistible tale of survival invites readers to experience and imagine what it would be like to be one of the most misunderstood animals on earth. This gripping and appealing novel about family, courage, loyalty, and the natural world is for fans of Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller and Katherine Applegate’s Endling. Includes black-and-white illustrations throughout and a map as well as information about the real wolf that inspired the novel. (CB, 10 and up)

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson - Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The longtime best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them. They also include what to do if you make a mistake, and some tips-and-tricks for those who identify outside of the binary to keep themselves safe in this binary-centric world. A quick and easy resource for people who use they/them pronouns, and people who want to learn more! (Nonfiction, 10 and up)

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (A Sal and Gabi book #1) by Carlos Hernandez - How did a raw chicken get inside Yasmany's locker? When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn't under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal's office for the third time in three days, and it's still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany's locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he's capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken--including his dead mother--and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There's only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter. (CB, 7-10)

We’re Not from Here by Geoff Rodkey - Imagine being forced to move to a new planet where YOU are the alien! From the creator of the Tapper Twins, New York Times bestselling author Geoff Rodkey delivers a topical, sci-fi middle-grade novel that proves friendship and laughter can transcend even a galaxy of differences. The first time I heard about Planet Choom, we'd been on Mars for almost a year. But life on the Mars station was grim, and since Earth was no longer an option (we may have blown it up), it was time to find a new home. That's how we ended up on Choom with the Zhuri. They're very smart. They also look like giant mosquitos. But that's not why it's so hard to live here. There's a lot that the Zhuri don't like: singing (just ask my sister, Ila), comedy (one joke got me sent to the principal's office), or any kind of emotion. The biggest problem, though? The Zhuri don't like us. And if humankind is going to survive, it's up to my family to change their minds. No pressure. (CB, 10 and up)

Thanos: Titan Consumed by Barry Lyga - Time Reality. Space. Mind. Soul. Power. Born on a doomed world and made an outcast for his physical deviancy and intimidating intellect, Thanos believes he sees something everyone else chooses to ignore: a way to save his home and the people of Titan for generations to come. But what he perceives as genius, they see as madness. Now exiled from his homeworld, Thanos is determined to find the means to return to Titan and implement his plan. His journey through the galaxy is a desperate race to save everything. Thanos will be successful-no matter how many billions have to die to bring balance to the universe. Learn the origins of the most formidable foe the Avengers, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther have ever faced-a foe whom even a group of remarkable people, pulled together to fight the battles nobody else could, failed to stop. (CB, 10 and up)

Disaster Strikes: The Most Dangerous Space Missions of All Time by Jeffrey Kluger - Twelve thrilling and terrifying space-mission failures, told by the bestselling author of Apollo 13! There are so many amazing, daring, and exciting missions to outer space that have succeeded. But for every success, there are mistakes, surprises, and flat-out failures that happen along the way. In this collection, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jeffrey Kluger recounts twelve such disasters, telling the stories of the astronauts and the cosmonauts, the trials and the errors, the missions and the misses. With stories of missions run by both Americans and Russians during the height of the space race, complete with photos of the people and machines behind them, this book delves into the mishaps and the tragedies, small and large, that led humankind to the moon and beyond. (Non-fiction, 10 and up)

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews – This realistic graphic novel is an astonishing, magical-realist adventure story for middle-grade readers. It's the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, when the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. Legend has it that after drifting out of sight, they'll soar off to the Milky Way and turn into brilliant stars, but could that actually be true? This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and to ensure success in their mission, they've made a pact with two simple rules: No one turns for home. No one looks back. The plan is to follow the river on their bikes for as long as it takes to learn the truth, but it isn't long before the pact is broken by all except for Ben and (much to Ben's disappointment) Nathaniel, the one kid who just doesn't seem to fit in. Together, Nathaniel and Ben will travel farther than anyone has ever gone, down a winding road full of magic, wonder, and unexpected friendship. (GN, 10 and up)

The Revenge of Magic by James Riley - When long-dead magical creatures are discovered all around the world, each buried with a book of magic, only children can unlock the dangerous power of the books in this start to a thrilling new series from the author of the New York Times bestselling Story Thieves! Thirteen years ago, books of magic were discovered in various sites around the world alongside the bones of dragons. Only those born after “Discovery Day” have the power to use the magic. Now, on a vacation to Washington, DC, Fort Fitzgerald’s father is lost when a giant creature bursts through the earth, attacking the city. Fort is devastated, until an opportunity for justice arrives six months later, when a man named Dr. Opps invites Fort to a government run school, the Oppenheimer School, to learn magic from those same books. But life’s no easier at the school, where secrets abound. What does Jia, Fort’s tutor, know about the attacks? Why does Rachel, master of destructive magic, think Fort is out to destroy the school? And why is Fort seeing memories of an expelled girl every time he goes to sleep? If Fort doesn’t find out what’s hiding within the Oppenheimer School, more attacks will come, and this time, nothing will stop them! (CB, 10 and up)

Sincerely, Harriet by Sarah Winifred Searle - Harriet Flores is lonely. Her camp friends won't return her postcards, her parents work all day, and she's stuck all summer inside her family's new apartment with the TV on and school books she'd rather ignore. Harriet's parents send her to help their elderly downstairs neighbor Pearl, who sets Harriet to working on a scrapbook for Pearl's grandson. Through conversations with Pearl, a new diary, and revelations about her building's mysterious third floor and by being honest with herself and with her parents, Harriet learns to wield her creative powers against loneliness and unease. Bored and fussy, she entertains unfounded suspicions that the mailman and Pearl are harboring secret criminal intentions. Unfortunately, while she is reprimanded for making up these stories, that both targets of Harriet's suspicions have dark skin goes unaddressed. Readers who stick by Harriet discover the source of much of her anxieties: a recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. An author's note and suggested further reading further highlight invisible disabilities, a topic infrequently depicted in literature. Little details make the book more inclusive from a gender and sexuality standpoint: Harriet nurses fleeting crushes on other girls, and a scrapbook photo depicts her father rocking pink hair and a crop top. The wide-eyed, expressive characters and reassuring art are well suited to this introspective narrative. (GN, 10 and up)

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles - Harriet Flores is lonely. Her camp friends won't return her postcards, her parents work all day, and she's stuck all summer inside her family's new apartment with the TV on and school books she'd rather ignore. Harriet's parents send her to help their elderly downstairs neighbor Pearl, who sets Harriet to working on a scrapbook for Pearl's grandson. Through conversations with Pearl, a new diary, and revelations about her building's mysterious third floor and by being honest with herself and with her parents, Harriet learns to wield her creative powers against loneliness and unease. Bored and fussy, she entertains unfounded suspicions that the mailman and Pearl are harboring secret criminal intentions. Unfortunately, while she is reprimanded for making up these stories, that both targets of Harriet's suspicions have dark skin goes unaddressed. Readers who stick by Harriet discover the source of much of her anxieties: a recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. An author's note and suggested further reading further highlight invisible disabilities, a topic infrequently depicted in literature. Little details make the book more inclusive from a gender and sexuality standpoint: Harriet nurses fleeting crushes on other girls, and a scrapbook photo depicts her father rocking pink hair and a crop top. The wide-eyed, expressive characters and reassuring art are well suited to this introspective narrative. (Poetry, 10 and up)

A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata - World War II has ended, but while America has won the war, twelve-year-old Hanako feels lost. To her, the world, and her world, seems irrevocably broken. America, the only home she's ever known, imprisoned then rejected her and her family--and thousands of other innocent Americans--because of their Japanese heritage, because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan, the country they've been forced to move to, the country they hope will be the family's saving grace, where they were supposed to start new and better lives, is in shambles because America dropped bombs of their own--one on Hiroshima unlike any other in history. And Hanako's grandparents live in a small village just outside the ravaged city. The country is starving, the black markets run rampant, and countless orphans beg for food on the streets, but how can Hanako help them when there is not even enough food for her own brother? Hanako feels she could crack under the pressure, but just because something is broken doesn't mean it can't be fixed. Cracks can make room for gold, her grandfather explains when he tells her about the tradition of kintsukuroi--fixing broken objects with gold lacquer, making them stronger and more beautiful than ever. As she struggles to adjust to find her place in a new world, Hanako will find that the gold can come in many forms, and family may be hers. (CB, 10 and up)

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd - Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim board the London Eye, but after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off—except Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery. This is an unput-downable spine-tingling thriller—a race against time. (CB, 10 and up)

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga - Other Words for Home is such an important book and should be required reading for every student at a middle-grade reading level. The character of Jude teaches us empathy as we read what it’s like to be a young teenager from Syria trying to fit in in America. She tries to learn the English language while tackling discrimination and classmates unwilling to understand and accept her, including her cousin of the same age. Jasmine Warga has created a story that is both powerful and gentle, big but full of small moments, a happy but sad story that will live in your heart. (CB, 10 and up)

Maximillian Fly by Angie Sage - Maximillian Fly wants no trouble. Yet because he stands at six feet two, with beautiful indigo wings, long antennae, and more arms than you or me, many are frightened of him. He is a gentle creature who looks like a giant cockroach. This extraordinary human wants to prove his goodness, so he opens his door to two SilverSeed children in search of a place to hide. Instantly, Maximillian’s quiet, solitary life changes. There are dangerous powers after them and they have eyes everywhere. But in this gray city of Hope trapped under the Orb, is escape even possible? Maximillian Fly is a masterful story brimming with suspense, plot twists, and phenomenal world building. This compelling novel delves into family dynamics and themes of prejudice, making the case for tolerance, empathy, and understanding. (CB, 10 and up)

We Are Displaced: My Story and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzi - In her powerful new book, Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Malala Yousafzai introduces some of the people behind the statistics and news stories about the millions of people displaced worldwide. Malala's experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement -- first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, which is part memoir, part communal storytelling, Malala not only explores her own story, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys -- girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they've ever known. In a time of immigration crises, war, and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is an important reminder from one of the world's most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person -- often a young person -- with hopes and dreams. (Nonfiction, 10 and up)

Click Here to Start by Denis Markell - What if playing video games was prepping you to solve an incredible real-world puzzle and locate a priceless treasure? Twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great-uncle dies and bequeaths him the all so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually has set the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game! Using his specially honed skills, Ted sets off to win the greatest game he’s ever played, with help from his friends Caleb and Isabel. Together they discover that Uncle Ted’s “treasure” might be exactly that—real gold and jewels found by a Japanese American unit that served in World War II. With each puzzle Ted and his friends solve, they get closer to unraveling the mystery—but someone dangerous is hot on their heels, and he’s not about to let them get away with the fortune. (CB, 10 and up)

New Kid by Jerry Craft - New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft. Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself? (GN, 10 and up)

Game of Stars (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #2 by Sayantani DasGupta – This is the exciting sequel to The Serpent’s Secret. When the Demon Queen shows up in her bedroom, smelling of acid and surrounded by evil-looking bees, twelve-year-old Kiranmala is uninterested. After all, it's been weeks since she last heard from her friends in the Kingdom Beyond, the alternate dimension where she was born as an Indian princess. But after a call to action over an interdimensional television station and a visit with some all-seeing birds, Kiran decides that she has to once again return to her homeland, where society is fraying, a terrible game show reigns supreme, and friends and foes alike are in danger. Everyone is running scared or imprisoned following the enactment of sudden and unfair rules of law. However, things are a lot less clear than the last time she was in the Kingdom Beyond. Kiran must once again solve riddles and battle her evil Serpent King father -- all while figuring out who her true friends are, and what it really means to be a hero. (CB, 10 and up)

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons - In the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in 1944, 12-year-old Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna. But life is not always so sunny for Ella, who gets bullied for her light skin tone, and whose mother is away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston. So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family's most unlikely history. And after a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls. Bittersweet and eye-opening, How High the Moon is a timeless novel about a girl finding herself in a world all but determined to hold her down. (CB, 10 and up)

Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker - The critically acclaimed author of Felix Yz crafts a bold, heartfelt story about a trans girl solving a cyber mystery and coming into her own. Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she's in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she's coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she's able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was. When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school's website, Zenobia knows she's the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time. Timely and touching, Zenobia July is, at its heart, a story about finding home. (CB, 10 and up)

Endling #2: The First by Katherine Applegate - This the second book in an epic middle grade animal fantasy series by the Newbery Medal-winning author of The One and Only Ivan, Wishtree, and Crenshaw. To learn if she truly is the last dairne in the world—the endling—Byx and her friends must travel into the snow-covered mountains of the country of Dreyland, where they hope to uncover the truth behind the legend of a hidden dairne colony. But the threat of war across the lands continues to grow with each passing day. As the group confronts untold dangers at every turn, they will ultimately uncover a treacherous plot that involves the other powerful governing species. With both her dreams and all the creatures of Nedarra on the brink of extinction, Byx and her friends are determined to never give up hope. Soon they find themselves the unlikely leaders in a simmering rebellion that risks everything they hold dear. Byx may be the last of her kind, but will she also be the first to lead the revolution? (CB, 10 and up)

Summerland by Michael Chabon - A magical novel for readers of all ages that blends fantasy and folklore with that most American coming-of-age ritual: baseball—now in a new edition, with an original introduction by the author. For over a century, the people of Clam Island, Washington, have enjoyed barbecues and baseball games at Summerland, on the western tip of the island, where it never rains. The small beings—known as ferishers—who ensure this perfect weather, however, are threatened by an ancient enemy and need a hero—a baseball star, in fact—to vanquish their foe. Summerland is the story of Ethan Feld, the worst ballplayer in the history of the game, recruited by a hundred-year-old scout called Ringfinger Brown, himself a Negro Leagues legend. Accompanied by his determined friend Jennifer T. Rideout and guided by a friendly werefox, Ethan struggles to defeat giants, bat-winged goblins, and one of the toughest ballclubs in the realms of magic to save all the Summerlands—and ultimately the world. (CB, 10 and up)

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History (Young Readers Edition) by Keith O’Brien - In the years between World War I and World War II, airplane racing was one of the most popular sports in America. Thousands of fans flocked to multiday events, and the pilots who competed in these races were hailed as heroes. Well, the male pilots were hailed. Women who flew planes were often ridiculed by the press, and initially they weren’t invited to race. Yet a group of women were determined to take to the sky—no matter what. With guts and grit, they overcame incredible odds both on the ground and in the air to pursue their dreams of flying and racing planes. Fly Girls follows the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high-school dropout from North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama housewife; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, a daughter of Wall Street wealth who longed to live a life of her own; and Louise Thaden, who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to race against the men—and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all. Complete with photographs and a glossary, Fly Girls celebrates a little-known slice of history wherein tenacious, trail-blazing women braved all obstacles to achieve greatness. (Nonfiction, 12 and up)

The Absence of Sparrows by Kurt Kirchmeier - Stranger Things meets Alfred Hitchcock in this haunting coming-of-age novel about a plague that brings the world to a halt, and one boy's belief that his town's missing sparrows can save his family. In the small town of Griever's Mill, eleven-year-old Ben Cameron is expecting to finish off his summer of relaxing and bird-watching without a hitch. But everything goes wrong when dark clouds roll in. Old Man Crandall is the first to change--human one minute and a glass statue the next. Soon it's happening across the world. Dark clouds fill the sky and, at random, people are turned into frozen versions of themselves. There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one knows how to stop it. With his mom on the verge of a breakdown, and his brother intent on following the dubious plans put forth by a nameless voice on the radio, Ben must hold out hope that his town's missing sparrows will return with everyone's souls before the glass plague takes them away forever. (CB, 12 and up)

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams - There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence. What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show. But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again? (CB, 12 and up)

Boy Oh Boy: From boys to men, be inspired by 30 coming-of-age stories of sportsmen, artists, politicians, educators and scientists by Cliff Leek - Meet 30 positive male role models from throughout history. From activists like Mahatma Gandhi and Frederick Douglass to creative innovators like Prince and David Hockney, these men have fought conventional stereotypes to prove that modern-day masculinity can be defined freely. Instead of a single model of how a boy can grow into a man, this book offers 30 stories of people whose lives demonstrate that there are endless possibilities—that boys and men can do and be so much more than what we think of when we say things like “boys will be boys.” Discover a world of inspirational change-makers, teachers, peacemakers, artists, scientists, and more who have defied the expectations, care deeply about others, stand up for what is right, and express themselves in creative and exciting ways. Inspiring a new generation of boys: David Hockney; Muhammad Ali; Nelson Mandela; Prince; Richard Loving; César Chávez; Thurgood Marshall; John Muir; Lebron James; Frederick Douglass; Patricio Manuel; Hayao Miyazaki; Oscar Wilde; Ta-Nehisi Coates; Ezra Jack Keats; Freddie Mercury; Grandmaster Flash; Luther Christman; Mahatma Gandhi; Bruce Lee; Carl Sagan; George Washington Carver; Jaime Escalante; Carlos Acosta; Bayard Rustin; Edward Enninful; John Dewey; Alfred Nobel; Kit Yan; W.E.B. Du Bois (Nonfiction, 10 and up)

Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt De La Peña - When the dawn breaks, a hero rises. Clark Kent has always been faster, stronger--better--than everyone around him. But it's not like he's earned his powers . . . yet. Lately it's difficult to hold back and keep his heroics in the shadows. When Clark follows the sound of a girl crying, he comes across Gloria Alvarez and learns that people are disappearing from the Mexican-American and undocumented worker community in Smallville. Teaming up with his best friend, Lana Lang, Clark discovers that before he can save the world, he must save Smallville. (CB, 12 and up)

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee - Yoon Ha Lee's space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you'd never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min's mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She's counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min's quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams. This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination. (CB, 10 and up)

Up For Air by Laurie Morrison - Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth. (GN, 12 and up)

Legend by Marie Lu - What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills. (CB, 12 and up)

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman - Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Padma Venkatraman's stirring middle-grade debut. Life is harsh in Chennai's teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter--and friendship--on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city's trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom. (CB, 10 and up)

Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan - Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Renée Watson teams up with poet Ellen Hagan in this YA feminist anthem about raising your voice. Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission--they're sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post their work online--poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial microaggressions she experiences--and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices--and those of other young women--to be heard. 
These two dynamic, creative young women stand up and speak out in a novel that features their compelling art and poetry along with powerful personal journeys that will inspire readers and budding poets, feminists, and activists. (CB, 12 and up)