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BES 2004-2005 Annotations

High School

Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch
    The Nolans leave Ireland to seek the "American" dream.  However, once they arrive on Ellis Island, Dad is forced to return to Ireland with his young son, Joseph, who has signs of trachoma. Meanwhile his wife and three daughters find shelter with Dad�s brother Patrick and his �new� German wife and two daughters, who are not welcoming. Eventually, Mom decides to return to Ireland; however, Margaret Rose is determined to stay in New York.  She knows that if she returns to Ireland, she will be expected to get married and start having babies. She wants to determine her own fate.  Her younger sister, Maureen, is equally determined to stay

Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard
    In his sophomore year, Sam Pettigrew had been looking forward to making the football team, going to college and making it with his girlfriend.  Only nothing works out. Brittany, his girlfriend, gets pregnant and Sam is forced to reassess what he wants out of life.  He now has to give up dreams of college because he decides not to let Brittany give up the baby.  Sam elects to "hang onto Max."

Born in Sin by Evelyn Coleman
    Fourteen-year-old Keisha has always been the "good girl," the smart one.  Now, she is beginning to doubt that her smartness and goodness will get her out of the life of poverty that surrounds her. She must come to terms with her missing father and her mother�s need to do it all alone.  Can she avoid making the same mistakes that her sister, Rhenda, and her mother made?  Can she �blend� the white world with her black world? And can she survive the code of her neighborhood and still succeed as a possible Olympic swimmer and a potential doctor?

Under a War-Torn Sky by Laura Elliott
    Young Henry, 19, is the youngest co-pilot in his squadron. Yet, it is his youth that helps him most when his plane is shot down behind enemy lines.  Despite a bad ankle and his father�s negative voice in his head, Henry chooses to make the attempt to return home through enemy territory.

Dr. Franklin�s Island by Ann Halam
    Painfully shy, Semirah Garson wonders as the plane heads for Ecuador why she wanted to go to there with Planet Savers. Then the plane crashes leaving Semirah, Miranda and Arnie trapped on what they think is a deserted island, facing the need to survive or die. Enter, Dr. Franklin who is in need of "volunteers" for his genetic research.  Semirah�s nightmare truly begins.

Home of the Braves by David Klass
    High school senior, Joe Brickman, sees himself as incredibly average and knows that instead of going to college (he can�t stand sitting anymore) that he is going in the �car wash business with his dad Suddenly, Joe has begun to realize that he likes his �best friend� Kris more as a girl than as a buddy. He is reluctant to act on his feelings until a soccer phenom shows up at Lawndale High School and begins to dominate not only the field, but Kris as well. Then, Joe learns what is important.

Son of Mob by Gordon Korman
    Kendra and Vince are star-crossed lovers. She is the daughter of the FBI agent who is listening in on the family of Vince, the son of the mob king.  At first, Vince elects not to tell Kendra who he is until they almost run into her father at the mall.  In addition to romantic troubles, Vince has �family� problems at home.  He just doesn�t want to be a part of the "vending machine " business.  However, he is inadvertently drawn in and the results are a real eye-opener for him.

Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
    Matt, though well liked, laughs at the wrong moment and becomes belligerent when he should be cooperative.  Ursula is a burning mass of insecurities and total confidence�a dangerous combination.  So, when Matt is accused of �threatening to blow up the school," it is Ursula, after a great deal of thought, who comes to his rescue by telling them what she had over heard Matt actually say.  Matt tries to thank her, but she brushes him off, uncomfortable with her role as his �savior.�  Eventually, Ursula and Matt do get together only to clash when Matt asks Ursula to tell him the "truth." And she does...

Stetson by S.L. Rottman
    Stetson, 17 and on the verge of being thrown out of school, has two dreams: one to graduate, which no one else in his family has; and two, is to finish fixing up his car, which he keeps padlocked in a shed.  Stet�s only friend is the owner of the salvage yard where he works and has worked since he was 8.  Just when Stet thinks that things might work out, he discovers that he has a younger sister, his dad might lose his job and that Jason is very, very sick.

Jinx by Margaret Wild
    Tired of being the �good girl,� Jen seeks to have fun.  She meets Charlie who seems to also appeal to her friends Serena (the cool and the aloof) and Ruthless, (the truth seeker). Unexpectedly, Charlie kills himself. Later, when Jen�s next boyfriend is accidentally killed, the kids at school start calling Jen "jinx."  Jen then seeks to "live" up to her new nickname while trying to deal with her suppress feelings of depression, rejection and worthlessness. (This is written in verse.)

Desperate Measures by Kate Wilhelm
    Alex is a "freak" at least physically.  Despite this, Dr. Graham accepts Alex as a patient and, eventually, a friend.  They leave New York together and settle in Oregon.  There they live peacefully until Alex is accused of murdering his neighbor, Gus Marchand, who referred to Alex as the devil�s spawn and a freak. It takes Barbara, Alex�s lawyer, Frank, her dad, and loyal Bailey to save Alex and the children of Gus.

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