New Books for 7th & 8th Graders

The Running Dream
by
Wendlin Van Draanen

Reading Level: Grades 7-9

16-year-old Jessica was a gifted runner on course to win a track scholarship to a prestigious university. That was before the truck hit the team bus. One girl is killed and Jessica loses her lower right leg. Jessica sometimes wishes she had been killed in the accident since it seems she has very little left to live for.

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More books by Wendelin Van Draanen

Other tales of young amputees include:

Stranded by Ben Mikaelsen

One-Handed Catch by Mary Jane Auch and

Izzy Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
by
Lish McBride

Reading Level: Grades 8 and up

It all started when Sam broke a taillight during a game of parking lot potato hockey. Sam and Brooke did what most teenagers would do..they ran. When Douglas Montgomery stormed into Plumpy's, his only thoughts were of his broken taillight and retribution. When he noticed Sam his fury raged. How dare a young necromancer infringe on his territory?

Sam doesn't know what the scary dude is talking about. He's just relieved when the guy finally leaves. It isn't over. When Sam is viciously attacked after work by an even bigger scary guy, he knows he's in trouble. Sam begins to realize how much trouble after he receives a warning from Montgomery...a severed head.

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More books by Lish McBride

Other tales of dangerous powers include:

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Gifts by Ursula Le Guin and

Assassin's Apprentice by Susan Vaught

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark
by
Glenda Millard

Reading Level: Grades 7+

When you’re a homeless eleven year-old named Skip, there isn’t anywhere for you to go, because all the shelters are either for women with children, or for men, which you aren’t.  When you’re homeless, a runaway, you never sleep in the same place twice, otherwise someone might be able to figure out where you are and take you back to where you ran away from.

Skip is asleep in a Dumpster when the bombs begin to fall. He wakes up violently, ears ringing, dust and garbage in his mouth, chunks of concrete raining down on top of his exhausted body, Dumpster rolling from the concussion of the blast.  Skip doesn’t know which way is up, but he crawls out of the Dumpster and runs.  Skip runs and runs, looking for someone or something familiar, and then he sees the grizzled face of his friend Billy.

In the days after the war begins, Billy and Skip rattle around the broken city, searching for food, for shelter.  One day, they find a six year-old boy named Max who has lost his mother.  Another day, they follow the train tracks out of the city to Dreamland, an abandoned amusement park that becomes their home.  As soldiers begin to move in, Skip, Billy and Max find it harder to hide themselves, especially with the addition of the dancing teenage mother Tia and her infant daughter Sixpence to their ragtag gang.

It is Billy’s knowledge, Max’s unfettered optimism and hope, Skip’s determination, Tia’s beauty, and Sixpence’s innocence that brings them together.  In A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, Glenda Millard has created a fragile world with delicate characters; a world that, as you read into it more, unconsciously pulls your blanket tighter around you and curls your legs up close to your body.  This book is not one to read lightly, nor is it one to miss.

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More books by Glenda Millard

A few read-alikes:
Smack by Melvin Burgess
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

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