Realistic Fiction

Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro

Author: 
Amy Axelrod

Reading Level: Grade 5-7

Abby Shapiro is an eleven-year-old Jewish girl who desperately wants two things, her first bra and the hot new doll of 1959, the Barbie doll, the one with the bosoms! Her mom says no to the bra and that she can earn her own money to buy the doll. Abby comes up with the idea of designing clothes and sellling her fashion designs to Jackie Kennedy, the "possible future first lady of the United States. Thus Abby begins sending letters to "her friend in fashion."

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Slog's Dad

Author: 
David Almond
Illustrator: 
Dave McKean

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8

When Slog's father dies following a grueling illness involving many amputations, the boy becomes convinced that his dad has returned from the dead. Slog's friend, who tells us this story, is sympathetic to Slog but doubtful. This unconventional story, told partly with mixed-media illustrations, is simultaneously dark but hopeful, as it explores the pain of loss.

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Miles from Ordinary

Author: 
Carol Lynch Williams

Reading Level: Grade 6-8

This book is a creepy blend of realistic fiction and horror. Teenager Lacey lives alone with her mentally ill mother. Despite her situation, she struggles to have a normal life, even managing to get a job at the local library. However, the novel's intentional uncertainty creates a foreboding mood. At times the reader even wonders if the voice guiding Lacey's mother really exists or if it is due to her illness. All becomes clear by the novel's end, when Lacey realizes just how alone she really is.

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Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

Author: 
Julie Sternberg
Illustrator: 
Matthew Cordell

Reading Level: Grades 1-3

When Eleanor's babysitter Bibi moves far away, Eleanor is devastated. Life without her favorite person is hard. Everything Eleanor used to like to do is now unpleasant and sad because it reminds her of Bibi. It's awful - way worse than pickle juice on a cookie. Things get even worse when Eleanor's parents hire a NEW babysitter.

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Okay For Now

Author: 
Gary D. Schmidt

Reading Level: Grades 6+

Doug Swieteck and his lousy older brother just moved to a brand-new town that will be probably just as lousy as the old one - and with less baseball. And, just like in his old town, everyone who's anyone (teachers, the police, his dad, Lil Spicer down the street) thinks that Doug's just a skinny good-for-nothing kid who won't ever amount to anything except for trouble.

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Unlocked

Author: 
Ryan G. Van Cleave

Reading Level: Grades 7+

When you're the janitor's kid, you don't have many friends. You don't have any friends. Andy is no different, but when he hears a rumor that the school outcast, Blake, has a gun in his locker, he decides to make friends with Blake. When the boys do become friends, Andy must choose between protecting his only friend and protecting a school full of kids who could care less about him?

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Famous

Author: 
Todd Strasser

Reading Level: Grade 7-12

At 16, Jamie Gordon is the youngest of the paparazzi in New York and thus a celebrity in her own right. She is given a dream job that every celebrity photographer would want. Jamie is hired to photograph a week in the life of super star Willow Twine at the star’s Hollywood mansion. Willow needs to prove to the studio that she is drug free and Jamie needs to prove that she is truly talented and her celebrity is no fluke.

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In a Heartbeat

Author: 
Loretta Ellsworth

Reading Level: Grades 6+

Eagan has been figure-skating practically since she could walk, and she's good. Really good. It's just not feasible that she could ever hurt herself while skating. But she does. Coming down from a triple axel, Eagan lands too close to the boards, smacking her head.

Amelia has lived the past few years of her life quietly, without moving much or making too much of a fuss about anything. Amelia has a heart defect, and needs a transplant. One morning, she gets a phone call. The hospital has a heart for her.

Eagan's heart.

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