North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Terra’s dream is to leave her small town for college and start anew, where the port wine stain on her face will not draw so much attention. Her verbally abusive father constantly tells her she can’t make it on her own in hopes of controlling her future. When Terra meets Jacob, a Goth Chinese teenager who doesn’t care to fit in, he begins to show her that she can take control of her life. What follows is an utterly compelling journey that’s both geographic and emotional. Best for grades 7 and up.
3Willows 3 Willows by Ann Brashares
Jo, Ama and Polly were inseparable in third grade, but that’s changed as they’ve grown up. During the summer before high school, each girl is tested – Jo discovers her parents are separating, Ama goes on a trip she didn’t choose and Polly learns some hard truths about her mother. By the end of the summer, they realize that old friendships sometimes really are the best; it’s an engaging tale by the author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
TheHungerGames Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
North America has been destroyed and reborn as the nation of Panem, a glittering Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Every year, each district must send two young people to the Hunger Games, where they compete to the death until only one survives. The story is a cross between reality television and Lord of the Flies, and is told by Katniss, who’s long been able to survive on her hunting skills and keen instincts. You’ll be rooting for her from the start and won’t be able to close this book until it’s breathless ending. And you won’t be able to wait for the next book in the series! This will be an immediate hit with grades seven and up.
TheOtherSideOfTHeIsland The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman
We meet Honor when she and her parents move from the North Country into the Enclosure. Honor’s a rebel – her name doesn’t sound right and she’s rather play with boys or splash in the water rather than engage in “girl play.” Her parents don’t follow the rules either, refusing to pray to Earth Mother and daring to have a second child. When her parents disappear and Honor and her brother become Boarders, she learns of the sinister world she lives in. In spite of all this, however, Honor always has hope, which shines through this marvelous book. You must read it! Best for grades 7 and up.
Graceling Graceling by Kristin Cashore
In a land of seven kingdoms, a very few people are born with a Grace. Some may have a Grace for cooking, others a Grace for music. Katsa’s grace is for killing; she’s been able to kill men with her bare hands since the age of eight. Desperate to use her Grace for good, she has secretly formed a council of citizens who are willing to risk their lives in the name of fairness and honesty. When a Council mission goes a bit wrong, Katsa finds Po, another who possesses the killing Grace, and he changes her life. This incredible debut novel is a must-read for grade 9 all the way to adult!