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High School

A Matter of Profit by Hilari Bell
������� The Vivitare warriors� have taken over the T'Chin Empire,� consisting of forty planets all of which are colonized by different sentient species. Ahvern, the son of Saiden, who is in charge of the emperor's security force, is trying to find a way to tell his father that he no longer wants to fight. Instead, his father offers him a deal: if Ahvern can find out whether or not there is a plot to do away with the emperor, then Ahvern will be permitted a year to look at other careers. However, Ahvern has another problem. He wants to prevent Sabri's, his foster sister, marriage to the emperor's loathsome son, Dravik. So, out of necessity, Ahvern teams up with� a T'Chin bibliogoth, a giant antlike 'scholar', who helps him learn that not all species see the need to fight, yet are still able to 'win' in the long run.� (Lots of futuristic weapons and bizarre alien species.)

All That Remains� by Bruce Brooks
���� Though death is the unifying theme for the three novellas, the focus of each story is on the positive: how to deal with and to accept� the loss of someone special.� In the first novella, "All that remains", Jonny, his cousin, and his aunt's partner, Sue, seek to bury� Aunt Judith according to her wishes while circumventing the local laws.� Her burial involves pottery, a sarcophagus, a deer and poison arrows. The second selection, "Playing the Creeps", has Hank promising his uncle, who is on his deathbed, that he would look after his cousin, Bobby.� Now Hank thinks Bobby is an untalented 'dweeb' who might be gay.� The reader needs to keep in mind that Hank is a "shredder punk," while Bobby enjoys playing 'jazz.' The two learn that each has "hidden talents."� The third novella, "Teeing Up," presents the reader and the three young golfers with an intriguing mystery.� Why does Isabel carry a backpack around with her as she plays golf? What is in it? Can the three young men help Isabel come to terms with its contents?� Bordering on the irreverent, all three stories offer a satisfying requiem for each death.

The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier
������� Young Alicia Bartlett has been murdered and Jason, her 12-year-old neighbor, was the last person to see her alive--except for her murderer.� Her parents use their influence with a local senator who brings in the best criminal interrogator Vermont has, Trent. His ability to ask and use any� psychological question� has provided him with a perfect record for obtaining confessions from criminals. AND he is not about to let Jason slip away despite the fact that he seems innocent.� As Trent� brings� more and more pressure on Jason during the lengthy� interrogation, even Jason begins to doubt his innocent and sanity.� Could he be a killer? The shocking conclusion will leave the reader questioning his own sense of values.

Of� Sound Mind by Jean Ferris
������ Theo has been signing for his deaf family since he was a child.� Palma, his mother, is the most taxing member of the family. This is because she is a famous sculptor and she demands that the family work around her schedule. Now, as a high school senior, Theo begins to rebel. He wants a 'normal' life:� more freedom to do what he wants and fewer responsibilities.� Fortunately, before going too far, he meets sweet Ivy, who can sign,� has her own deaf parent and knows how to make friends.� It is Ivy who helps Theo deal with and accept the personal losses in his life.

Breathing Underwater� by Alex Flinn
���� The book begins with Nick complaining about having to keep a journal, to attend an anger management class and to stay away from Caitlin, his ex-girlfriend, all because of one "slap"--or he could end up in jail.� The story evolves in flashbacks through Nick's journal entries and� in 'real time'.� The flashbacks trace the development of Nick's relationship with� Caitlin, the perfect girl, the deterioration� of his relationship with his abusive dad, and his yearning for a 'normal' family like Tom's, his ex-best friend. The 'real time' sections reveal how Nick deals with the loss of old friendships and the acceptance of new ones as well as their costs. Both allow Nick time to realize what� causes his destructive behavior and provides him with a chance of becoming a better person.

Bronx Masquerade� by Nikki Grimes
��� After studying the Harlem Renaissance for a month, Wesley turns in a poem instead of the required essay.� His action leads the other students in Mr. Ward's English class to want to share their poetry. As a way to allow his students to share, Mr. Ward sets up 'open-mike' poetry sessions every month and then every Friday.� The rapper, Tyrone, not only participates, but imparts some insight after each student's poem.� Their poetry readings reveal to the reader a snapshot of each student's life, revealing their hang-ups, desires, fears, and goals.� By choosing to share their innermost feelings and aspirations,� these students offer hope, not only to themselves and the reader, but, also to a new student, who is African American and Vietnamese, looking for understanding, if not acceptance.

Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr� by Garth Nix
��� Lirael, fourteen, has begun to fear that she is truly not a daughter of the Clayr, a sect of visionaries sworn to protect the 'Old Kingdom' by combining their psychic abilities to foresee the future. Unlike the other daughters of the Clayr, she is physically different from them AND she cannot see into the future.� As a result, Lirael, who is fatherless, receives an appointment as Third Assistant Librarian.� This job allows Lirael to explore the Clayr's library, discovering its secrets and 'free magic.'� As she increases her knowledge, Lirael casts a spell providing her with a clandestine companion, "Disreputable Dog," who eventually helps her learn who she is and what she must do to protect the "Old Kingdom." (This is a sequel to Sabriel.)

The Gospel According to Larry� by Janet Tashjian
��� Seventeen-year-old Josh Swenson is tired of being good 'old Josh' to his best friend, Beth--the girl whom he has loved since sixth grade.� So he creates an alter-ego on the Internet know as "Larry" and� develops an irreverent web site that denounces materialism and lauds simplicity. To his surprise, not only does Beth express interest in 'Larry,' but so do thousands of others.� Even Bono, lead singer for U-2, seeks to pay homage to Larry's views by organizing a modern day "Woodstock" festival to perpetuate Larry's vision of the future. However, once Josh is exposed as 'Larry,' he suddenly becomes the very thing about which� he has been contemptuous--a celebrity surrounded by consumerism and watched over by a corporate 'big brother.' In order to get away, Josh must fake his own death and hope to surreptitiously tell his side of the story.

The Edge on the Sword� by Rebecca Tingle
��� Set in ninth century Britain, this is a fictional account of the real fifteen-year-old Aethelflaed , daughter of King Alfred of West Saxony, transition from child to woman.�� At the beginning of the novel, she is allowed to roam the forest and explore its fascinations with her beloved brother.� All this freedom stops when she becomes betrothed to Ethelred of Mercia (a man who is her father's age), a political move made by her father to unite Britain against the Danes. Flaed (Aethelflaed), resentful of her new status, continues to challenge Red, who is sent by Ethelred to protect her.� Eventually, Flaed and Red come to respect and love each other.� Despite this new found respect for one another, Flaed discovers that she needs to lead rather than follow and she needs to earn the respect of the men who are sworn to protect her.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe� by Markus Zusak
���� Ruben and Cameron are tired of their family having no money. So when they are offered the opportunity to make some 'fast' money by boxing, they both agree to give it a try, but only if they can keep it a secret from their proud, but impoverished parents. This secret activity provides them with not only an income, but a sense of self-worth. This works until they are pitted against each other in a vicious semi-final match where there can be no winner.

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