New Books for Girls

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Reading Level: Grades 7+

Amber Appleton is the most optimistic, hopeful, cheerful girl you could meet. She divides her time between Father Chee and the Korean Divas for Christ (a group of Koren women learning to speak English through R&B music and Amber), the elderly at the local retirement home (where Amber engages in a cheerfulness-pessimism battle every Wednesday with Joan of Old),with the Franks Freak Force Federation (her four best friends brought together through group therapy and favorite teacher), with Private Jackson and Ms. Jenny (a Vietnam veteran/haiku poet and his dog), and with her own dog, Bobby Big Boy.  Amber lives a full, vibrant life, enriching the lives of everyone she meets. And yet, Amber Appleton lives on a school bus with her alcoholic mother.

Despite her home and family situation, Amber's hopefulness and willingness to give her all to others never wavers, until the unthinkable happens, sending Amber into a deep, spiraling depression. Her faith, previously so strong and infallible, fractures, and Amber Appleton, previously a town rock star, loses herself.

The first half of this novel flies past quickly, Amber's cheerfully whirlwind lifestyle a welcome respite from some of the depressing (yet good!) YA books I've been reading lately. Amber's depressive state is expertly, sparsely written, her discussions with Father Chee about religion a welcome addition to current young adult literature, and the ultimate banding together of the town a heartwarming conclusion.

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Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Reading Level: Grade 7+

Kate Grable is used to gross boys. As the apprentice trainer to her high school's football team, Kate deals with sweat and much grosser stuff. But when Mike, one of the linebackers, spews black vomit on her car and then tries to chew her lip off, Kate suspects much more is going on.

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If zombies are for you, try:

Rise of the Corpses by Ty Drago

Boyfriend is a Monster, No.1, I Love Him to Pieces: or My Date is Dead Weight or He Loves Me Only For My Brains by Evonne Tsang

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Z by Michael Thomas Ford and

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Reading Level: 3rd-6th

New teacher Mr. Terupt has a handful this year in his fifth grade class - but his abnormal teaching methods are a good fit for helping the students grow and work together. The school year is going great, until the accident. Then everything changes.

A heartwarming book about the profound influence of Mr. Terupt, this is a tale for students of all ages.

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A few similar books:

The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Operation Yes by Sara Holmes

Are You Going to Kiss Me Now? by Sloane Tanen

Reading Level: Grade 7-10

When her father left her mother to live with an airhead, Fran understood. ANYONE would have trouble living with Fran's mother. But when her father told her the airhead was pregnant, Fran had to kill him...at least on paper. She submitted an essay entitled, "Good-bye Father: A Daughter's Loss" to Seventeen Magazine's "My Life" essay contest. She didn't expect to win.

When she got the phone call, Fran was astounded. Since she lied about her father's demise, she knows she can't keep the scholarship. But she just can't stand to lose the other part of the prize, touring Africa with A-list celebrities. So Fran accepts the prize, lies to her parents and boards the plane with her idols. She'll worry about repercussions when she gets home.

When the plane crashes on a remote island somewhere far off the coast of southern Africa, Fran is no longer worried about her parents or even Seventeen Magazine. She just hopes she and her famous fellow cast-a ways can survive.

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