Media

Roy Morelli Steps up to the Plate by Thatcher Heldring

Eight-grader Roy Morelli can't wait for baseball season to start so he can take his rightful place as shortstop for the Pilchuk All-Star team. Being on the All-Stars is just the warm-up for the big leagues: the varsity baseball team at the high school Roy will go to next year. But when Roy's divorced parents find out he's failing history, they make him quit the All-Stars. It's not his fault the only thing interesting about history class is Valerie Hopkins, and she won't even give Roy the time of day. Now Roy is stuck on a losing team in the wimpy rec league, and instead of playing ball every spare minute, he's spending his afternoons with a tutor--who just happens to be his dad's brainiac girlfriend. If Roy's going to impress the varsity baseball coach, he's sure he should be looking out for number one, not wasting his time studying. After all, baseball is what Roy does best. But when his grades continue to slide and his teammates get tired of his know-it-all attitude, Roy Morelli will need to step up to the plate...

Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas

 When a sinister old woman leaves Griffin Penshine a box of twelve shiny pennies, she sets in motion a desperate quest--because the old woman was a wish stealer, and each penny represents a wish she stole from a wishing fountain decades earlier. Somehow, Griffin has to make things right, or the opposite of her own wishes will come true--and it could literally be a matter of life and death. The Wish Stealers introduces a new voice in middle-grade fantasy, as bright and sparkling as Griffin's pennies.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

 13 teenagers in a small town have each been designated to listen, in secret, to a box of audiotapes recorded by their classmate Hannah and mailed on the very day she commits suicide. "I'm about to tell you the story of my life," she says. "More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why." Clay, the narrator, receives the tapes a few weeks after the suicide (each listener must send the box to the next, and Hannah has built in a plan to make sure her posthumous directions are followed), and his initial shock turns to horror as he hears the dead girl implicate his friends and acquaintances in various acts of callousness, cruelty or crime.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

 Unpopular senior Tyler Miller ("a zit on the butt of the student body") gains stature and notoriety the summer after he pulls off an impressive prank: "spray-painting a couple thousand dollars worth of damage to the school." But readers soon discover that the author has something more complex and original to offer than a fairy-tale rendition of transformation. Humorous, compelling first-person narrative traces how Tyler's newfound happiness as a gutsy tough-guy soon turns to agony; he starts to wish that he could go back to being "invisible." Tyler is floating on Cloud Nine when he wins favor with rich, popular Bethany Milbury, but she drops him after he won't sleep with her, and then he gets the blame when compromising photos of her appear on the Internet. As a result, Tyler has to contend with the police, a verbally abusive father (who works for Bethany's dad), a principal who is still angry about the graffiti incident, and a slew of new enemies at school.

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

 Algonquin "Ali" Rhodes, the high school newspaper's music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He's a weird-looking guy-goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, "Well, I don't really live there, exactly. . . ." When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn't notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper's fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn't just a really sincere goth. He's a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of-at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don't think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .

Powerless by Matthew Cody

 Superheroes soar in this promising debut--and they're kids! Twelve-year-old Daniel, the new kid in town, soon learns the truth about his nice--but odd--new friends: one can fly, another can turn invisible, yet another controls electricity. Incredible. The superkids use their powers to secretly do good in the town, but they're haunted by the fact that the moment they turn thirteen, their abilities will disappear--along with any memory that they ever had them. Is a memory-stealing supervillain sapping their powers? The answers lie in a long-ago meteor strike, a World War II-era comic book ( Fantastic Futures, starring the first superhero, Johnny Noble), the green-flamed Witch Fire, a hidden Shroud cave, and--possibly, unbelievably--"powerless" regular-kid Daniel himself. Superhero kids meet comic book mystery in this action-filled debut about the true meaning of a hero.