How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends—everyone who wants to support her. When her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.
Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted—to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?
As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy—or as difficult—as it seems.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
October 11, 1943. A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.
When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she is living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past—how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure, and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
Fans of Karen Cushman's witty, satisfying novels will welcome Meggy Swann, newly come to London with her only friend, a goose named Louise. Meggy's mother was glad to be rid of her; her father, who sent for her, doesn't want her after all. Meggy is appalled by London. It’s dirty and noisy, full of rogues and thieves, and difficult to get around in—not that getting around is ever easy for someone who walks with the help of two sticks. Just as her alchemist father pursues his Great Work of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation. Earthy and colorful, Elizabethan London has its dark side, but it also has gifts in store for Meggy Swann.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously and at great risk documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka
Nanjing, China, in the early 20th century serves as the setting for the story of Ailin, the youngest daughter of a prosperous family. A child of uncommonly strong character and conviction, Ailin dares to refuse the tradition of foot binding, which results in the cancellation of her future mother-in-law cancelling Ailin’s arranged marriage. With the support of her father, she enrolls in a school run by American missionaries where she proves to be an excellent student. When she is 12, her father dies and her dreams of becoming an English teacher are destroyed by her more traditional uncle. Only by becoming a nanny for the children of American missionaries does she gain some degree of independence, as well as her passage to America. Through Ailin, the reader gains insight into cultural change in turn-of-the-century China, as well as gains respect for the young women who dared to question the roles they were traditionally assigned.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is based loosely on the experiences of author Louisa May Alcott. Meg, Beth, Amy, and Jo are four sisters growing up in America during the Civil War. Each girl struggles with a personality trait—Meg is vain; Jo is short-tempered; Beth is shy; and Amy is self-centered. As the girls try to make the best of life while their father is away at war, they are able to enjoy the good moments and endure the hard times through their creativity and love for one another. Join the girls on their heartfelt journey to becoming better sisters and better friends.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Anne starts out as a mistake. The elderly Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert had planned on adopting a boy to help Matthew with the chores on their Prince Edward Island farm. What are they to do with the red-haired, high-spirited girl who arrives instead?
Anne Shirley, with her boundless imagination and heart, slowly brings joy into the narrow lives of those around her and into the lives of readers who have delighted in her adventures since Lucy Maud Montgomery began writing about her in 1905. Anne's courage, enthusiasm, and ability to love have made her one of literature's most beloved characters in Canada and around the world.