Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere[1]When she wakes up, Liz Hall is dead. She doesn’t know it at the time. Just like she doesn’t know how she ended up in a room on a cruise ship with some stranger, a girl about her age sleeping in the next bed over. She doesn’t know where the ship is headed or why the captain is a seven-year-old boy.

It turns out she the ship is headed to a place called Elsewhere. This is the place you go when you die. It looks a like Earth. There are roads, houses, businesses, people, and pets. But there are some big differences too. Just like with our idea of Heaven, you will be reunited with people you know who died before you. Liz ends up seeing her grandmother. But you don’t stay in Elsewhere forever. Instead, you age backwards from the time you die until you are just seven days old when you are sent back to earth to be reborn as a totally different person.

Liz was only 15 when she died. That means that she will never graduate high school or college, become an adult, get married and have kids. She has to figure out how she will spend the next 15 years of her life.

Which is not to say that some of those things are not possible. There is a love story here but that is all I will say. To find out the rest, you will have to read the book.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneidder

thebeginningofeverythingBy Junior year, Ezra Faulkner had it all. He was the captain of the tennis team, he hung out with the most popular kids in school, including his girlfriend, who was one of the hottest girls in school.

And then, the summer before his senior year, he catches his girlfriend making out with one of his best friends at a party.  He storms out into the street and a passing car hits him and then takes off. A hit and run. Ezra’s knee is shattered. He can’t play tennis anymore. He needs to use a cane. He loses his spot on the tennis team, his girlfriend leaves him and his former friends ignore him.

When senior year starts, the only people who seem to want to talk to him are Toby Ellicott, his former best friend who he lost when they went their separate ways socially and Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is  the very cute, smart, funny and mysterious new girl in his English class.

Ezra starts to rebuild his life. He is no longer a jock or the same popular kid he was before. Toby talks him into joining the debate team. He starts making friends with Toby’s friends. His old friends have started to acknowledge him again. He and Cassidy have become a couple and it seems a new Ezra Faulkner has emerged from the accident intact, happy and in love.

But then Cassidy, always a mystery, starts to get moody and pushes Ezra away. And suddenly, things start to change again and Ezra may be in for an  even worse crash than before.



An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

anabundanceofkatherinesColin Singleton

Former Child Prodigy

Loves Math, anagrams (can anagram anything), languages (knows 11), and odd facts

Trouble making friends (kind of a loner)

Has only dated (and been dumped by) girls named Katherine. 19 of them.

On the morning after Colin graduated from high school and was dumped by Katherine number 19. Depressed about the latest breakup and convinced he never will reach his true potential, he just wants his parents to leave him alone.

And then, Hassan came to visit:

Best Friend Hassan (“a rather fat, hirsute, guy of Lebanese descent,” loves Judge Judy and Hardee’s Monster Thick Burgers, is a slacker and swears a little bit less than a sailor)

Hassan had an answer to all of Colin’s problems:

Road Trip

It didn’t matter where. They would take a trip in Colin’s car (aka Satan’s Hearse) and go anywhere besides here (here being Chicago). Along the way they will see the sites and Colin may finally get a chance to work out his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.

This is a mathematical formula that will predict the course of all relationships  and explain why he always tends to be the dumpee instead of the one doing the dumping.

After passing up a chance to see the World’s Largest Crucifix (in Bardstown, KY), they come to a stopping point in Gunshot Tennessee, the (alleged) grave site of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Also home to Lindsey Lee Wells and her mother Hollis. Hollis is the owner of a textile plant that provides jobs for many people in town. Although, instead of making textiles, these days they make the strings that go in tampons.

It is the unlikeliest of places for Colin and Hassan to spend the summer. He might even finally prove the Katherine theorem and finally get over the abundance of Katherines. Maybe…



Recommended Reading: We Shouldn’t Feel This Way, Should We?

Tales of forbidden romance, love triangles, friendship enders and other bad ideas.

F Cohn,R

Cohn, Rachel and David Levithan. Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List.

Naomi and Ely are best friends who have been inseparable since childhood.. They decide to create a No Kiss List of people neither is allowed to kiss to make sure nothing will come between them. There are only two problems. Naomi is in love with Ely and Ely has just kissed Naomi’s boyfriend, Bruce. Will their friendship survive?

F Elkeles,S

Elkeles, Simone. Perfect Chemistry.

Brittany Ellis is popular and wealthy with a seemingly perfect life. Alex Fuentes is a gang member from the other side of town. When they are forced to be lab partners, their contempt for each other is undeniable. When Alex makes a bet with his friends that he can win her over, both of their worlds are turned upside down.

F Korman,G

Korman, Gordon. Son of the Mob.

Vince Luca has a normal teenage life. He worries about high school, acne and getting a girlfriend. And of course run-ins with the police and FBI! His dad is a mob boss, and even though he tries to keep the family business out of his own, Vince sometimes has to deal with dead bodies in trunks and listening devices in the house. So it figures that when he finally finds a girl he really likes, she turns out to be the daughter of the FBI agent who is after his dad.

F Nelson,J

Nelson, Jandy. The Sky is Everywhere.

Lennie Walker, poet and band geek, has happily spent most of her life in her sister Bailey’s shadow. But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie, her family and Bailey’s boyfriend Toby are left to deal with their grief. Even though they feel guilty, Lennie and Toby find themselves powerfully attracted to each other. When a gorgeous new guitar player in town, Joe, starts to pursue her, she has to decide between a boy who understands her grief and one who understands her passion for music.

F Perkins,S

Perkins, Stephanie. Anna and the French kiss.

Anna is not happy about shipped off to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school. After all, her best friend and the cute guy she has been flirting with at her movie theater job are back in Atlanta. Then she meets Etienne St. Claire, a beautiful French speaking, English accented boy who is absolutely irresistible. They become fast friends, and potentially something more—if only he didn’t have a girlfriend.


Swim the Fly by Don Calame

swimtheflyEvery summer since third grade, Matt, Sean and Coop do two things 1) compete on the  community swim team. They are the proud holders of more 5th place medals than anyone else in the league. And  (2) come up with a goal that the three of them will achieve by the end of the summer. Usually this means something like playing so many games of ping pong or something like that. But this summer is the big one. They decide that for the first time, they are going to see a real…live…naked…girl…

Their crazy schemes get crazier and more dangerous. Sneak into a nude beach, dress as girls and go into the girls locker room, go to a party and hide in a closet in a room where a hot girl is about to have sex. None of their attempts end well.  Powerful laxatives doing their work and getting knocked out by some huge musclebound jerk are just a few examples.

But seeing a naked girl isn’t Matt’s only goal that summer. Though he can barely tread water, Matt volunteers to swim the butterfly race at the league championships. The butterfly, the hardest stroke known to man or God. Why would he do such a thing? For a girl, of course. He wants to impress the smokin’ hot new girl on the swim team, Kelly.

By the way, the boys do get to see a naked woman, a woman they would never choose to see naked in a million years. And poor guys, that image will be burned in their brain forever.



Right Behind You by Gail Giles

rightbehindyouKip McFarland was nine what it happened. He and his dad lived in Alaska at the time. He had lost his mother in April of that year.

That night his dad and Aunt Jemma were fighting about what to do with Kip. Maybe it was because of all the bottled up feelings. The anger. The pain. Here is what happened:

Read pp. 11-13.

After that night, Kip was catatonic because of the shock. When he came out of it, he was moved to “the state mental ward for dangerous juvenile offenders. ” Now, after four years, his doctor says it’s time for Kip (whose name is now Wade) to be released back into the world.

A new name and a new chance. But how do you start over when you’ve done something so horrible?



Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

bloodandchocolateVivian, her family, and several of their friends, moved to Maryland from West Virginia about a year before the book opens after the death of two girls and a fire that killed her father. They were blamed for the death of the girls and her father died because of it.

Vivian is sixteen, beautiful and athletic. You would think she would be one of the most popular girls at school. But she stays pretty much to herself most of the time. That is, until she meets Aiden, a boy who is not only good looking, but also a sensitive poet. He truly understands her, she thinks. Her family and their friends don’t approve of the boy, an outsider to their group. But she doesn’t care.

As they start dating and get more intimate, she begins to trust him. Until one night when she decides to show him her true self. He plans a romantic encounter when no one is home. Candles everywhere. Both of them naked. She could finally tell him her secret.

First came the claws extending at the end of her hands. Then the fur started cover her body and her face started transforming. How could he look so scared? She is a werewolf. Why can’t her understand?!

It was then the trouble began all over again.



Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

170175[1]School? Not important. Going to prom? Lame. Helping her best friend plan prom. Even worse. Ashley would rather just coast until the end of her senior year. After graduation she is going to get an apartment with her boyfriend and get away from her crazy family.

Then suddenly everything changes. When the faculty advisor for the prom committee runs off with all the money for the prom, her friend Natalia is panicked. Everyone, especially Ashley, pitches in to help make plan the prom from scratch—including Nat’s weird grandmother, Ashley’s crazy family and the school principal. And suddenly it’s bye bye easy senior year.



Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

spankingshakespeareShakespeare Shapiro’s life has been one humiliating event after another. How could it not be when your parents name you Shakespeare?

There was the time he was hit in the face by a baseball at a Yankees-Red Sox game. Or the time he got caught with a porno magazine in Math class.

But this year, his senior year, is going to be different. Every senior at his school has to write a memoir. Shakespeare is a great writer (yeah, I know) and he is going to write the top prize winning memoir of the year. It would be a big deal. His school is known for its writing program and some of the memoirs have been published by major publishers.

And then fame and fortune will be his. And he will finally have sex with a girl. Or at least get his first girlfriend. Or at least a prom date…


Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

51738[1]If you just saw Annabel Greene in her modeling photos or the local commercial she starred in for Kopf’s department store; if you met her perfect family; if you saw how many friends she had; if you saw her report card….

…then you would never suspect that her life is falling apart around her. Her junior year has begun. None of her friends are talking to her. Her family is falling apart because her older sister has an eating disorder; her best friend thinks Annabel betrayed her.

She eats lunches alone. She puts on a smile for her family.

Then she meets Owen Armstrong. Owen is a loner. He is scary, tough and is always blocking out the world with iPod headphones. But somehow, they start talking.

Owen is obsessed with telling the truth. Can he help her uncover the truths that she has kept bottled up for the past year?



Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

22237[1]Vince Luca is like any nice guy you might meet here at our school. He is a good student, good looking, able to get a date every once in a while, but nothing that turns into a relationship. Tonight, he is about to fulfill one of his dreams—making out with a beautiful girl on Bryce Beach. She wants a blanket so they can lay down on the beach. He gets out of the car, opens the trunk. And right before he reaches for the blanket, he freezes. The blanket is there alright, but it is wrapped around a dead body. Sounds like the beginning of a mystery novel, doesn’t it? This isn’t a  mystery though. You see, everyone knows that Vince’s dad, Honest Abe Luca, is a powerful mob boss. Vince doesn’t want any part of the family business, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Needless to say, he doesn’t get to make out on Bryce Beach.

But later on, he does meet a girl named Kendra. A real girlfriend with potential. But of course, there is a problem. Kendra’s dad is an FBI agent. And not just any agent. This agent’s job is take down the Luca crime family. How can a guy be so unlucky?


Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

7140292[1]Brian Nelson didn’t turn out to be who she expected.

Brian Nelson, starting quarterback for Hawley, her school’s biggest rival team. A rich, spoiled brat.

Brian Nelson, who she spent the whole summer training so he could be in shape for the season. Her summer was going to be spent doing chores: milking cows, taking care of the farm since her dad was too sick to do it himself. Because her mom was already working too much.

D.J. knew football. Her older brothers were legends on the high school football team. She is an athlete herself, playing basketball for the school team. But she never expected to try out for the high school football team. Or to make it on the team as a linebacker.

She never expected to be standing here taking on Brian Nelson in a football game. And worst of all, she never expected to have fallen in love with him.