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Need more recommendations? Ask a librarian! We’re happy to help! [List updated 2/2011.] Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic. Historical. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal. Mystery. The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. In October, 1942, seventeen-year-old Helmuth Hübener, imprisoned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets, recalls his past life and how he came to dedicate himself to bring the truth about Hitler and the war to the German people. Historical. Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer [Chronicles of Vladimir Todd series]. For thirteen years, Vlad, aided by his aunt and best friend, has kept secret that he is half-vampire, but when his missing teacher is replaced by a sinister substitute, he learns that there is more to being a vampire, and to his parents' deaths, than he could have guessed. Fantasy. Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements. When fifteen-year-old Bobby wakes up and finds himself invisible, he and his parents and his new blind friend Alicia try to find out what caused his condition and how to reverse it. Science Fiction. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer [series]. When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll. Fantasy. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney. A photograph of a missing girl on a milk carton leads Janie on a search for her real identity. Mystery. The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan [Rangers’ Apprentice series]. When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger. Fantasy. Dear Pen Pal by Heather Vogel Frederick.
Great Books for ‘Tweens
Four very different friends in Concord, Massachusetts, and their mothers continue their book club, reading Jean Webster's "Daddy Long-Legs," while getting to know their own pen pals from Wyoming. Realistic. The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. In 1961 after Castro has come to power in Cuba, fourteen-year-old Lucia and her seven-year-old brother are sent to the United States when her parents, who are not in favor of the new regime, fear that the children will be taken away from them as others have been. Historical. Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix. In 1927, at the urging of twenty-one-year-old Harriet, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly recalls her experiences at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including miserable working conditions that led to a strike, then the fire that took the lives of her two best friends, when Harriet, the boss's daughter, was only five years old. Historical. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. On her way to marry a prince she's never met, Princess Anidori is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers. Fantasy. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland. Fantasy. Shug by Jenny Han. A twelve-year-old girl learns about friendship, first loves, and self-worth in a small town in the South. Realistic. The Clique by Lisi Harrison [series]. Wealthy Massie is determined to exclude middle class Claire, the daughter of her father's old friend, from her seventh-grade clique at a very exclusive private school in Westchester, New York, but after Massie steals her only friend, Claire strikes back. Realistic. Alabama Moon by Watt Key. After the death of his father, ten-year-old Moon leaves their forest shelter home and is sent to an Alabama institution, becoming entangled in the outside world he has never known and making good friends, a relentless enemy, and finally a new life. Adventure. No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. Eighth-grade football hero Wallace Wallace is sentenced to detention attending rehearsals of the school play where, in spite of himself, he becomes wrapped up in the production and begins to suggest changes that improve not only the play but his life as well. Realistic.
The Giver by Lois Lowry. Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. Science Fiction. Heat by Mike Lupica. Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof. Realistic. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Harry, bored with her sheltered life in the remote orange-growing colony of Daria, discovers magic in herself when she is kidnapped by a native king with mysterious powers. Fantasy. Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski. After accidentally dropping her cell phone into a fountain at the mall, fourteen-year-old Devi Banks starts to get phone calls--and an earful of advice on how to live her life to avoid making disastrous choices--from her seventeen-year-old self. Realistic (kinda). Fablehaven by Brandon Mull [series]. When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents' estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming. Fantasy. Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. A girl is transformed, through instruction in life at court, determination, and magic, from sullen, pudgy, graceless Ben into Crown Princess Benevolence, a fit ruler of the kindgom of Montagne as it faces war with neighboring Drachensbett. Fantasy. The Cruisers by Walter Dean Myers. Friends Zander, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi, caught in the middle of a mock Civil War at DaVinci Academy, learn the true cost of freedom of speech when they use their alternative newspaper, The Cruiser, to try to make peace. Realistic. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel [series]. Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface. Fantasy. East by Edith Pattou. A young woman journeys to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear who is the victim of a cruel enchantment. Fantasy. Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver [series].
6,000 years in the past, twelve-year-old Torak and his guide, a wolf cub, set out on a dangerous journey to fulfill an oath the boy made to his dying father--to travel to the Mountain of the World Spirit seeking a way to destroy a demon-possessed bear that threatens all the clans. Fantasy. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Adventure. A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz. At the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans, eleven-year-old Maud is adopted by three spinster sisters moonlighting as mediums who take her home and reveal to her the role she will play in their seances. Historical. The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. New York high school student Elizabeth gets an after-school job as a page at the "New-York Circulating Material Repository," and when she gains coveted access to its Grimm Collection of magical objects, she and the other pages are drawn into a series of frightening adventures involving mythical creatures and stolen goods. Fantasy. Zach’s Lie by Roland Smith. When Jack Osborne is befriended by his school's custodian and a Basque girl, he begins to adjust to his family’s sudden move to Elko, Nevada, after entering the Witness Security Program, but the drug cartel against which his father will testify is determined to track them down. Adventure. Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. When his younger brother is diagnosed with leukemia, thirteen-year-old Steven tries to deal with his complicated emotions, his school life, and his desire to support his family. Realistic. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever. Realistic. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner [series]. Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone. Fantasy.
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years. Realistic.
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen [series]. Thirteen-year-old Sammy’s penchant for speaking her mind gets her in trouble when she involves herself in the investigation of a robbery at the "seedy" hotel across the street from the seniors' building where she is living with her grandmother. Mystery. Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly. As the last one to see thirteen-year-old Abby, Emma is determined to discover the truth about her mysterious disappearance, spurred in part by her feelings of guilt over ending their friendship in order to ensure popularity at her new school. Mystery. So B. It by Sarah Weeks. After spending her life with her mentally retarded mother and agoraphobic neighbor, twelve-year-old Heidi sets out from Reno, Nevada, to New York to find out who she is. Realistic. Adam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip. While serving as co-editors of their school newspaper, middle-schoolers Adam and Jennifer uncover fraud and corruption in their school and in the city's government. Mystery.