New Books for 7th & 8th Graders

Veronica Roth

Reading Level: Grade 8+

Veronica Roth has created a dystopian setting as gritty as the world of the Hunger Games.

In Chicago, the city on the swamp, people belong to one of five factions, each dedicated to a virtue: Erudite (intelligence), Dauntless (brave), Candor (honesty), Amity (peacefulness) and Abnegation (the selfless). At age 16 all must declare their faction. While most chose the faction they were raised in, a few forsake their families and cross to another faction.

16-year-old Beatrice dreads the Choosing Ceremony. Her family is Abnegation. Beatrice has never been able to suppress all her selfish impulses. But if she is not Abnegation, what is she?

At the Choosing Ceremony Beatrice makes a shocking choice. Now she must turn her back on all she knows and loves to make it through the brutal initiation. Only the top ten initiates will be accepted...all others will be forced to live out their lives as one of the factionless.

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Lili Wilkinson

Reading Level: Grades 7+

What does pink mean to you? Does it mean a little girl’s bedroom, wallpapered with ponies, princesses, ballerinas and unicorns? A color occasionally featured in your wardrobe? A bonafide, lip-glossed, perfect 'Plastic' a la Mean Girls? Or is pink a color you hate with every dark black fiber of your being?

For Ava, pink is a secret. Pink is the color, the person, that she wants to become – a girl who likes color instead of cloaking herself in black, hiding behind the monochrome lipstick and hair matched perfectly with black, black, black and more black clothing. Ava and her longtime girlfriend, Chloe, have been a dark duo for most of high school; Ava has not had a problem with that at all. At least not until now.

Ava wants to explore her pink, preppy side, but she’s afraid of Chloe’s feminist, antiestablishment and anti…pretty much everything, except Ava and her freethinking parents. What’s more, Ava isn’t 100% sure that she’s a lesbian anymore. It isn’t that she doesn’t love Chloe, or that she doesn’t like girls anymore; she just wonders what it’s like playing for the other team. But in order to explore those desires, she would have to leave Chloe, something Ava isn’t ready to do. So rather than confront Chloe about her identity-altering questions, Ava applies to a new school for the next school year – Billy Hughes.

Before her first day at Billy Hughes, Ava spends hours at the hairdresser stripping years of black dye out of her hair. She prepares her first day outfit – a pink cashmere sweater previously hidden away in the very bottom of her closet. Everything is ready for her new life as a pink.

Everything goes perfectly on Ava’s first day – Alexis, obviously one of the most popular girls in school, invites Ava to her lunch table, and within just a few bites, Ava’s future in the school as a popular girl (a Pastel, in this novel) is secured. All she needs to do now is keep up her façade as a sort-of-Goth with Chloe, and gain a part in the school play with Alexis, Ella-Grace, and Vivian.

When she bombs her audition, Ava joins stage crew, in the hopes that she’ll still be able to hang out with Ethan, the hot guy Alexis is trying to set her up with. (I mean really, who better to test one’s sexuality with than a super-hot theater guy named Ethan?) But as you no doubt have already guessed, Ava’s lies begin to snowball – and fast.

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If you liked Pink, try reading these other books about:

Girls who lie about themselves:

Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Boy Proof by Cecil Castelluci

Girls struggling with their own sexuality:

Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

The Unidentified
Rae Mariz

Reading Level: Grade 7-9

15-year-old Kid is a student in the Game, a franchised high school that occupies an old mall. The students at the school spend their days playing "games" that are closely monitored by corporate sponsors. Almost every kid in the Game hopes to stand out enough to get "Branded."

Kit is horrified when someone is pushed over the fifth floor railing into "the Pit" where most of the kids hang out. The person turns out to be a dummy with the sign "Unidentified. Choose your suicide" taped to its sweater.

When Kid begins an investigation to discover the perpetrators of the hoax, she triggers a series of events that will change her life, and possibly her society, forever.

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Other dystopian adventures include:

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Matched by Allyson Braithwaite Condie and

Ship Breaker by Paul Bacigalupi