New Books for 7th & 8th Graders

Kathy Ostlere

Reading Level: Grades 7+

The year is 1984. Fifteen year old Maya packs a suitcase for a trip to India with her father. They are going to lay Maya's recently deceased Hindu mother to rest. Not long after they arrive, however, tumultuous religious differences between the Sikhs and Hindus explode into violence when prime minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated.

Maya and her father, a Sikh, are caught in the middle of the clash and separated when their hotel is attacked. Afraid for her safety because of her Hindu-Sikh parents and her sex, Maya quickly hacks off her long ponytail with a pair of scissors and runs, forgetting her mother's ashes in the hotel room.

The next hours are harrowing for Maya as the riots swell around her, Sikhs and Hindus fighting unrelentingly around her. When she finally emerges from the violence, rescued by a kind desert family but traumatized into muteness, it is only the 17-year old son, Sandeep, devoted to helping Maya find her father, that can save her again.

This historical fiction romance in diary-format free verse will have you turning pages back again and again to reread Maya and Sandeep's words and longing for more after the end. Karma is fraught with emotion, culture, violence, religion fear, but most importantly, family.

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More books by Cathy Ostlere


Other novels you might like:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger

Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth

For older readers:

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Death Cloud
Andrew Lane

Reading Level: Grades 6-9

14-year-old Sherlock Holmes is thrust into a deadly adventure when he is sent to live with eccentric relatives during the school holidays

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More books by Andy Lane

Other engrossing Holmesian spin-offs include:

Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock

The Case of the Missing Marquess: A Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer and

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie King


The Things a Brother Knows
Dana Reinhardt

Reading Level: Grade 7-9

Boaz Katznelson was a great athlete, talented student and all round high school golden boy. He was accepted to Cornell, Berkley, Tufts and Columbia Universities. His family was stunned when he announced he wasn’t going to college, he was enlisting in the Marines. Soon Boaz was overseas…after a few months, he stopped writing home. When Boaz finally came home, he walked straight upstairs and shut the door. He hasn’t been out in three weeks. Levi and his parents have waited three long years for Boaz's return. But he is no longer the brother Levi thought he knew. Even if nobody else wants to see it, Levi knows something is seriously wrong.

When Boaz announces he's off to hike the Appalachian Trail, Levi knows he's lying. So Levi follows, hoping to figure out how to save the brother he once adored.

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More books by Dana Reinhardt

Other stories of difficult brothers include:

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar and

Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Marcus Zusak