Girl Power

The Prettiest

Brigit Young

It’s the last thing Eve Hoffmann expected to be, the only thing Sophie Kane wants to be, and something Nessa Flores-Brady knows she’ll never be . . . until a list appears online, ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade. Eve is disgusted by the way her body is suddenly being objectified by everyone around her. Sophie is sick of the bullying she’s endured after being relegated to number two. And Nessa is tired of everyone else trying to tell her who she is. It’s time for a takedown. As the three girls band together, they begin to stand up not just for themselves, but for one another, too.

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The Serpent’s Secret

Sayantani DasGupta

Up until her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala considered herself an ordinary sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, but then her parents disappear and a drooling rakkhosh demon shows up in her kitchen, and soon she is swept into another dimension, full of magic, winged horses, talking birds (very annoying), and cute princes--and somehow Kiranmala needs to sort it all out, find her parents, and basically save the world.

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Wolf Hollow

Lauren Wolk

Twelve-year-old Annabelle must learn to stand up for what's right in the face of a manipulative and violent new bully who targets people Annabelle cares about, including a homeless World War I veteran.

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The Hero and the Crown

Robin McKinley

With the aid of the wizard Luthe and the Blue Sword, Aerin wins the birthright due to her as the daughter of the Damarian king and a witchwoman of the mysterious, demon-haunted North.

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One for the Murphys

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong--until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She's not really a Murphy, but the gifts they've given her have opened up a new future.

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Lucky Broken Girl

Ruth Behar

In 1960s New York, fifth-grader Ruthie, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant, must rely on books, art, her family, and friends in her multicultural neighborhood when an accident puts her in a body cast.

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A Handful of Stars

Cynthia Lord

When Lily's blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it's Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season. After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather, and Salma's friendship transforms Lily's summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they'll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win?

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Stand on the Sky

Erin Bow

It goes against all tradition for Aisulu to train an eagle, for among the Kazakh nomads, only men can fly them. But everything changes when Aisulu discovers that her brother, Serik, has been concealing a bad limp that risks not just his future as the family's leader, but his life too. When her parents leave to seek a cure for Serik in a distant hospital, Aisulu finds herself living with her intimidating uncle and strange auntie—and secretly caring for an orphaned baby eagle. To save her brother and keep her family from having to leave their nomadic life behind forever, Aisulu must earn her eagle’s trust and fight for her right to soar. Along the way, she discovers that family are people who choose each other, home is a place you build, and hope is a thing with feathers.

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Esperanza Rising

Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

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Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Jacqueline Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

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The Mad Wolf’s Daughter

Diane Magras

In 1210 Scotland, when invading knights capture 12-year-old Drest's father, the Mad Wolf of the North, and her beloved brothers who make up his fearsome war-band, she sets off to rescue them from the castle prison, taking along a wounded knight as her captive to trade for her family's freedom.

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The First Rule of Punk

Celia C. Pérez

Twelve-year-old Maraia Luisa O'Neill-Morales (who really prefers to be called Malau) reluctantly moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago and starts seventh grade with a bang--violating the dress code with her punk rock aesthetic and spurning the middle school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded weirdos.

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The War that Saved My Life

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

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Dealing with Dragons

Patricia C. Wrede

Bored with traditional palace life, Princess Cimorene travels to the Mountains of Morning where she is befriended by a group of powerful dragons and joins in their struggle to protect their kingdom from being taken over by disreputable wizards.

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Dress Coded

Carrie Firestone

Molly Frost is FED UP... Because Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top. Because Liza got dress coded and Molly didn't, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit. Because when Jessica was pulled over by the principal and missed a math quiz, her teacher gave her an F. Because it's impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips. Because girls' bodies are not a distraction. Because middle school is hard enough. And so Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and before long, her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what's right, and they're not backing down.

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Rain Reign

Ann M. Martin

Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She's thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose's rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose's obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose's father shouldn't have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose's point of view.

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Revenge of the Red Club

Kim Harrington

A tween reporter discovers an important and beloved club at school is being shut down—and uses the power of the pen to try and activate some much-needed social change in this period-positive and empowering middle grade novel about the importance of standing up for what you believe in. Riley Dunne loves being a member of the Red Club. It’s more than a group of girls supporting each other through Aunt Flo’s ups and downs; it’s a Hawking Middle School tradition. The club’s secret locker has an emergency stash of supplies, and the girls are always willing to lend an ear, a shoulder, or an old pair of sweatpants. But when the school administration shuts the Red Club down because of complaints, the girls are stunned. Who would do that to them? The girls’ shock quickly turns into anger, and then they decide to get even. But wallpapering the gym with maxi pads and making tampon crafts in art class won’t bring their club back. Only Riley can do that. Using the skills she has cultivated as her school paper’s top investigative reporter (okay, only investigative reporter), she digs for the truth about who shut the club down and why. All the while dealing with friendship drama, a new and ridiculous dress code, and a support group that is now more focused on fighting with each other than fighting back. Can she save the Red Club before this rebellion turns into a full-scale war?

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Maybe He Just Likes You

Barbara Dee

For seventh-grader Mila, it starts with some boys giving her an unwanted hug on the school blacktop. A few days later, at recess, one of the boys (and fellow trumpet player) Callum tells Mila it’s his birthday, and asks her for a “birthday hug.” He’s just being friendly, isn’t he? And how can she say no? But Callum’s hug lasts a few seconds too long, and feels…weird. According to her friend, Zara, Mila is being immature and overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like? But the boys don’t leave Mila alone. On the bus. In the halls. During band practice—the one place Mila could always escape. It doesn’t feel like flirting—so what is it? Thanks to a chance meeting, Mila begins to find solace in a new place: karate class. Slowly, with the help of a fellow classmate, Mila learns how to stand her ground and how to respect others—and herself.

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Amal Unbound

Aisha Saeed

In Pakistan, Amal holds onto her dream of being a teacher even after becoming an indentured servant to pay off her family's debt to the wealthy and corrupt Khan family.

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The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Dan Gemeinhart

Five years. That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation. But when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished, Coyote hatches a crazy plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state to save it... without him realizing it.

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