New Books About School, Friends, Family & Growing Up

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 9

A devastating world war has left the Earth ruined, nations destroyed, and survivors scattered in small colonies trying to restore the world. The United Commonwealth (formerly the U.S.A.) chooses the best and brightest to be tested for the University where they will be trained as scientists, educators and leaders. Cia lives in tiny Five Lakes Colony where nobody has been chosen for testing for years, until her graduation day when she and three other students are chosen. Although it is a great honor, being chosen means that Cia will never see her home again. If she passes all the tests she will go to the University and be assigned to a new colony upon graduation, and if she fails she will be removed from the testing and sent to a new colony to live. Or so the students are told...
Fans of the Hunger Games will not want to miss this new dystopian series.

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Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Reading Level:  Grades 6 -9

Told in free verse, this is the story of Kasienka, who has just left her native Poland for a tenament in England.  Her mother was determined to follow her father who left the family two years before and hasn't been heard from since.  Kasienka is miserable in her new life.  At her middle school the popular girls bully her and at home her mother is determined to continue the exhausting, fruitless search for her father.  Only when she's swimming does Kasienka feel good and empowered.

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The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolotionist by Margarita Engle

Reading Level:  Ages 12 and up

This inspiring free verse novel is the fictionalized story of the early teen years of  Cuban poet/abollitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873.)  At thirteen, Tula uses her poetry and plays to express her views about freedom, both for the slaves of Cuba and for the young girls who are sold into arranged marriages to the highest bidder.  In defiance of her family's wishes  Tula is determined to live a free life.  Other poems give added dimension as the reader hear from her supportive brother, the nuns who nuture Tula, her disgusted mother, and the freed slave who has not  had the courage to leave. Tula's is a beautiful and powerful story.

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