Binny in Secret by Hilary McKay
Binny’s blissful summer is over and school is beginning. And it’s horrible. From the awful secondhand uniforms to the stuck-up kids, who call her a grockle; Binny hates everything about school and the kids who torment her.
When a storm damages the roof of their home, Binny and her family must move to a rental home out in the country. Binny, her sensible older sister Clem, and her rambunctious brother James (and his chickens) begin adjusting to a new household. Then one of James’s beloved chickens vanishes. What kind of creature is lurking in the undergrowth? And does it need Binny’s protection?
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting – with wits and words and secret alliances. In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.
Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough
A gifted painter, Sadie comes from California to Connecticut determined to fit in at her new school. Yet her first attempt at making friends in the new town backfires when she reaches out to the loner everyone calls Fryin’ Ryan, the very last person who can help her achieve her dream. And to further complicate matters, her twin brother, Ollie, keeps appearing to her, seeming to want something. Her twin brother, who died when they were twelve.
First & Then by Emma Mills
Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class, and then into every other aspect of her life.
The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell
It began with the chiming of the tiny copper bell on the mantel, warning them someone was passing the ward stone her mother had placed on the path to their house… One terrible day, Makenna, a young hedgewitch, witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of their own neighbors. Striken with grief and rage, Makenna flees the village that has been her home. In the wilds of the forest, she forms an unexpected alliance. Leading an army of clever goblins, Makenna skillfully attacks the humans, now their shared enemy.
What she doesn’t realize is that the ruling Hierarchy is determined to rid the land of all magical creatures, and they believe Makenna is their ultimate threat – so they have sent a young knight named Tobin into the Goblin Wood to entrap her.
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor’s the reluctant leader of her school’s underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can’t avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.
Life Without Friends by Ellen Emerson White
After the drug-overdose death of a fellow student, Beverly breaks away from the fast crowd but finds herself friendless and full of guilt until she meets Derek, who helps her come to terms with the past and look with some hope to the future.
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.
Mine for Keeps by Jean Little
Away at school, Sally Copeland has always dreamed of going home, but now that she’s there, she feels frightened and unsure of herself. Will her brother and sister accept her? Will she be able to do things for herself? And what will it be like to go to a regular school and be the only one with cerebral palsy?
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family. Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbor Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty’s new dog-walking business. Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart.
A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
After a tumultuous year in New York City, the Austins are spending the summer on the small island where their grandfather lives. He’s very sick, and watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate matters, she finds herself as the center of attention for three very different boys.
Zachary Grey, the troubled and reckless boy Vicky met last summer, wants her all to himself as he grieves the loss of his mother. Leo Rodney has been just a friend for years, but the tragic loss of his father causes him to turn to Vicky for comfort—and romance. And then there’s Adam Eddington. Adam is only asking Vicky to help with his research on dolphins. But Adam—and the dolphins—may just be what Vicky needs to get through this heartbreaking summer.
Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
A great deal is happening in London and the country this season. For starters, there’s the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There’s also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he’s not doing a very good job of it – so just what are his intentions?) And then there’s Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn’t bothered to tell anyone where he is.
Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives… if only they weren’t having so much fun!
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can’t trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can’t even make a sound. And since he can’t trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him.
Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena’s affection — he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys.
But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister.
The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet
Up in the magical, wrinkled hills, Linny breaks an ancient law. No matter how musical a girl may be, she must not so much as touch a string of a lourka before she turns twelve, or she’ll be spirited off to Away. When the curse meant for her strikes her best friend instead, Linny must leave her home behind to try to set things right. If you walk down out of the wrinkled hills, you will never find your way home–everyone knows that other law. But Linny has the gift of not getting lost, and she will risk everything to rescue her friend. With her father’s young apprentice, Elias, she travels down into the Plain, where science may have found a cure for magic. Linny and Elias soon find themselves caught up in the age-old battle between the wrinkled places and the Plain.