New Books for 7th & 8th Graders

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark
by
Glenda Millard

Reading Level: Grades 7+

When you’re a homeless eleven year-old named Skip, there isn’t anywhere for you to go, because all the shelters are either for women with children, or for men, which you aren’t.  When you’re homeless, a runaway, you never sleep in the same place twice, otherwise someone might be able to figure out where you are and take you back to where you ran away from.

Skip is asleep in a Dumpster when the bombs begin to fall. He wakes up violently, ears ringing, dust and garbage in his mouth, chunks of concrete raining down on top of his exhausted body, Dumpster rolling from the concussion of the blast.  Skip doesn’t know which way is up, but he crawls out of the Dumpster and runs.  Skip runs and runs, looking for someone or something familiar, and then he sees the grizzled face of his friend Billy.

In the days after the war begins, Billy and Skip rattle around the broken city, searching for food, for shelter.  One day, they find a six year-old boy named Max who has lost his mother.  Another day, they follow the train tracks out of the city to Dreamland, an abandoned amusement park that becomes their home.  As soldiers begin to move in, Skip, Billy and Max find it harder to hide themselves, especially with the addition of the dancing teenage mother Tia and her infant daughter Sixpence to their ragtag gang.

It is Billy’s knowledge, Max’s unfettered optimism and hope, Skip’s determination, Tia’s beauty, and Sixpence’s innocence that brings them together.  In A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, Glenda Millard has created a fragile world with delicate characters; a world that, as you read into it more, unconsciously pulls your blanket tighter around you and curls your legs up close to your body.  This book is not one to read lightly, nor is it one to miss.

Check availability of this book

More books by Glenda Millard

A few read-alikes:
Smack by Melvin Burgess
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

Four Seasons (A Novel In Four Movements)
by
Jane Breskin Zalben

Reading Level: Grades 6-8

Allegra Katz is going to be a concert pianist. Her family of musicians has know that since she was four. Ally has been attending the Julliard School's Saturday Pre-College Division music program for years. Now Ally is almost thirteen and she longs for a life with more choices. Allegra doesn't know what she wants or even how to tell her parents she is having doubts about her future. If you are born with a tremendous gift MUST you choose it as your life's path?

Check availability of this book

More books by Jane Breskin Zalben

Other stories of young musicians include:

Shattered by Kathi Baron The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff and Guitar Boy by Mary Jane Auch

I Am Number Four
by
Pittacus Lore

Reading Level: Grades 6 and up

When the water started boiling around his leg, Daniel knew the pain was coming. He threw himself off the pontoon boat into the ocean. When he arrived home the third scar had appeared around his ankle. A ring for each of the young Loriens found and killed by the Mogadarians. Nine Lorien children and their guardians escaped the slaughter of their home world. As they escaped, they were given a protection. They could only be killed in order. Daniel now has three ringed scars around his ankle. Numbers One, Two and Three are dead. Daniel is number four...he is next.

Check availability of this book

More books by Pittacus Lore

If you enjoyed this tale of alien danger try:

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

The White Mountains by John Christopher and

The True of Smekday by Adam Rex

Pages