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A Summer Reading List for the Pickiest of Students

Absorb one last good book before children head back to school.

School starts in one week, but it’s never too late to pick up one last summer reading book. offers selections from classics to science fiction to mysteries that will keep students on the edge of their toes with every flip of the page. Head to any one of Redwood City's to check one out for free.

For some children, reading is as awful as a trip to the dentist. But with this array of hundreds of books, all students will guaranteedly find a delightful adventure to become engrossed in during the last few days of summer.

 

Kennedy Middle School Summer Reading Suggestions

Note: YA = Young Adult title for more mature readers

Classics

Blackmore, Richard D. Lorna Doone (first published anonymously,1869)

The powerful Doone family are feared and hated throughout Exmoor. But when John Ridd, whose father was killed by them, meets Lorna, a kind-hearted girl at odds with her family, he determines to rescue her.

Bradbury, Ray Fahrenheit 451 (published as a shorter novel ―The Fireman,‖ 1951)

A bookburner official in a future fascist state finds out books are a vital part of a culture he never knew. He clandestinely pursues reading, until he is betrayed. (The Illustrated Man or Dandelion Wine are additional suggestions.)

Carroll, Lewis Alice in Wonderland

A little girl falls down a rabbit hole and discovers a world of nonsensical and amusing characters.

Dickens, Charles David Copperfield (1850)

A classic story of growing up. An enchanting story of a gentle orphan discovering life and love in an indifferent adult world.

Lewis, C. S. Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56)

Four English school children enter the magic land of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe and assist Aslan, the golden lion, in defeating the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter. (Begins with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

London, Jack The Call of the Wild (1903)

The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack.

Milne, A.A. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (1925)

The adventures of Christopher Robin and his friends in which Pooh Bear uses a balloon to get honey, Piglet meets a Heffalump, and Eeyore has a birthday.

Orwell, George Animal Farm (YA) (1945)

A satire on communism in which the animals revolt against their master, and the pigs become the leaders.

Rawlings, Marjorie The Yearling (1938)

Young boy living in the Florida backwoods is forced to decide the fate of a fawn he has lovingly raised as a pet.

Sewell, Anna Black Beauty (1877)

A horse in nineteenth century England has both good and bad masters. (Recommend the original unabridged version)

Wells, H.G. War of the Worlds (1898)

Martians armed with death-rays invade the Earth and humans fight back to save their civilization.

Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903)

Talkative, ten-year-old Rebecca goes to live with her spinster aunts, one harsh and demanding, the other soft and sentimental, with whom she spends seven difficult but rewarding years growing up.

 

Contemporary

Alvarez, Julia Return to Sender (2010 Pura Belpre Award)

After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.

Anderson, Laurie Halse Prom (YA)

Eighteen-year-old Ash wants nothing to do with senior prom, but when disaster strikes and her desperate friend, Nat, needs her help to get it back on track, Ash's involvement transforms her life. (Also by the same author: Speak (YA) or Winter Girls (YA)

Bauer, Joan Close to Famous

The residents of Culpepper, despite their grand aspirations, have made little progress toward achieving their goals, but unexpected events and surprises put the ambitions of the residents of Culpepper to the test. (Students may also

choose any of the other upper grade books by Joan Bauer.)

Birdsall, Jeanne The Penderwicks (2005 National Book Award For Young People)

While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.

Clements, Andrew Extra Credit

Three young middle-school-age children, Abby, Amira, and Sadeed, exchange letters back and forth between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan and begin to bridge a gap across cultural and religious divides. Students may choose any of the other upper grade books by Andrew Clements.

Conner, Leslie Waiting for Normal (2011 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

Twelve-year-old Addie tries to cope with her mother's erratic behavior and being separated from her beloved stepfather and half-sisters when she and her mother go to live in a small trailer by the railroad tracks on the outskirts of Schenectady, New York.

Dowell, Frances O’Roark Shooting the Moon

When her brother is sent to fight in Vietnam, twelve-year-old Jamie begins to reconsider the army world that she has grown up in. (Or her popular novel Dovey Coe)

Draper, Sharon Out of My Mind

Narrator Melody is a fifth grader with cerebral palsy. She's brilliant, but few people realize just how brilliant until she receives "Elvira," her Medi-Talker computer. (Several of Sharon Draper’s other novels are (YA).)

Hiaasen, Carl Scat

Nick and his friend Marta decide to investigate when a mysterious fire starts near a Florida wildlife preserve and an unpopular teacher goes missing. (Or the popular novels Hoot or Flush)

Key, Watt Alabama Moon (2009 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

After the death of his father, ten-year-old Moon Blake is removed from the Alabama forest where he was raised and sent to a boy's home, where, for the first time, he has contact with the outside world and learns about friendship, love, and humanity.

Konigsburg, E.L. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place

Upon leaving an oppressive summer camp, twelve-year-old Margaret Rose Kane spearheads a campaign to preserve three unique towers her granduncles have been building in their backyard for over forty years. (Students may choose any of Konigsburg’s upper-grade books.)

Lord, Cynthia Touch Blue

When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island's one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school's population. (Also her award winner Rules)

Mass, Wendy Every Soul a Star (2011 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, to watch a total eclipse of the sun; but soon they begin to learn a great deal about themselves, each other, and the universe. (Students may choose any of Wendy Mass’s novels.)

Matti, Truus Departure Time

A girl suffering from amnesia finds herself in a run down motel filled with strange creatures who seem to know her and may be able to offer clues to her past.

Mulligan, Andy Trash (YA)

Fourteen-year-olds Raphael and Gardo team up with a younger boy, Rat, to figure out the mysteries surrounding a bag Raphael finds during their daily life of sorting through trash in a third-world country's dump.

Potter, Ellen Slob

Picked on, overweight genius Owen tries to invent a television that can see the past to find out what happened the day his parents were killed.

Schmidt, Gary D. The Wednesday Wars (Newbery Honor 2008)

During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.

Stead, Rebecca When You Reach Me (2010 Newbery Award Winner)

As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.

Woodson, Jacqueline Feathers (Newbery Honor 2008)

When a new, white student nicknamed "The Jesus Boy" joins her sixth grade class in the winter of 1971, Frannie's

growing friendship with him makes her start to see some things in a new light.

Yee, Lisa Millicent Min, Girl Genius

In a series of journal entries, eleven-year-old Millicent Min records her struggles to learn to play volleyball, tutor her enemy, deal with her grandmother's departure, and make friends over the course of a tumultuous summer. Sequels are Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time and So Totally Emily Ebers.

Zucker, Naomi Callie’s Rules

Eleven-year-old Callie Jones tries to keep track of all the rules for fitting in that other middle school students seem to know, but when the town decides to replace Halloween with an Autumn Festival, Callie leads her large family in an unusual protest.

 

Fantasy/Science Fiction

Adams, Douglas The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (YA)

In the first volume of the series, the destruction of the Earth turns homebody Arthur Dent into a hitchhiker in the galaxy.

Alexander, Lloyd The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio

Naive and bumbling Carlo, his shady camel-puller Baksheesh, and Shira, a girl determined to return home, follow a treasure map through the deserts and cities of the infamous Golden Road, as mysterious strangers try in vain to point them toward real treasures.

Appelt, Kathi The Underneath (2009 Newbery Honor Book)

An old hound that has been chained up at his hateful owner’s run-down shack, and two kittens born underneath the house, endure separation, danger, and many other tribulations in their quest to be reunited and free.

Beddor, Frank Archenemy

The people of Wonderland lose their creative drive when the power of the Heart Crystal is depleted, and when even Queen Alyss loses her powers, everybody takes comfort in the fact that Redd Heart is similarly disabled. This is the third in the series which includes The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd.

Bray, Libba A Great and Terrible Beauty (YA)

After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England after many years in India to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world. First book in a trilogy.

Card, Orson Scott Ender’s Shadow (YA)

The story of brilliant children who are being trained in the orbiting Battle School to lead humanity’s fleets in the final war against alien invaders known as the Buggers. (This book is a parallel novel to Card’s Ender’s Game)

Cashore, Kristin Graceling (YA)(2011 California Young Readers Medal Nominee)

In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace of killing and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king. Sequel is Fire.

Collins, Suzanne Catching Fire (YA) (2010 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion. This is the sequel to The Hunger Games.

DiCamillo, Kate The Magician’s Elephant

When ten-year-old orphan Peter Augustus Duchene encounters a fortune teller in the marketplace one day who tells him that his sister, who is presumed dead, is in fact alive, he embarks on a remarkable series of adventures in an attempt to find her.

DuPrau, Jeanne The Diamond of Darkhold

When a roamer trades them an ancient book with only a few pages remaining, Lina and Doon return to Ember to seek the machine the book seems to describe in hopes that it will get their new community, Sparks, through the winter. (Students may read any in the City of Ember series.)

Epstein, Adam Jay The Familiars

Three young wizards-in-training are kidnapped by an evil queen and their familiars--Aldwyn the alley cat, Skylar, a know-it-all blue jay, and Gilbert a tree frog who can see the future--set out on a dangerous journey to rescue the boys.

Farmer, Nancy The Islands of the Blessed

Two years after their adventures in the Land of the Silver Apples, the apprentice bard Jack and his Viking

companion Thorgil confront the malevolent spirit of a vengeful mermaid and begin a quest that casts them among the fin folk of Notland. Nancy Farmer is a local award-winning author. Students may also read House of the Scorpion.

Fisher, Catherine Incarceron (YA)

To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape. (Sequel is Sapphique)

Flanagan, John The Ruins of Gorlan

When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battle school, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger. (This is the first book in the ―Ranger’s Apprentice‖ series.)

Gordon, Roderick & Brian Williams Deeper

Boy archaeologist Will Burrows wanders the caverns beneath the Colony with his best friend Chester and brother Cal, falls upon the Styx's plan to get rid of Topsoilers with a deadly plague, and risks his life to foil their plot while wondering if his killer stepsister is still on the loose. Tunnels and Freefall are sequels.

Hale, Shannon Forest Born

In this fourth entry in the Books of Bayern series, Forest-born Rinna feels peace among the trees, but when they shut her out after she kisses a boy, she can't bear it and leaves home. Her brother Razo invites her to the city to be one of Queen Ani's waiting women. She happily accepts, only to discover her own strength comes from places both expected and unexpected. Other books in the Books of Bayern series include Goose Girl, Enna Burning and River Secrets.

Hale, Shannon Princess Academy (2006 Newbery Honor book)

While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland.

Harrison, Mette Ivie The Princess and the Snowbird (YA)

Liva, a girl whose magic allows her to take animal form, falls in love with Jens, who has no magic at all. Together they join forces to defeat the Hunter, an enemy who is out to eliminate all magic everywhere.

Hunter, Erin Into the Wild

Rusty, a bored house kitten, is apprenticed by the ThunderClan and must struggle to fit in when the group of feral cats is threatened by the enemy ShadowClan. (The first of many in the Warriors various series)

Jacques, Brian Redwall

When the peaceful life of ancient Redwall Abbey is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes, Matthias, a young mouse, determines to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy. (This is the first in the award-winning Redwall series) Brian Jacques died this year.

Landy, Derek Skulduggery Pleasants: Scepter of the Ancients (2010 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

When twelve-year-old Stephanie inherits her weird uncle's estate, she must join forces with Skullduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage, to save the world from the Faceless Ones. Sequel is Playing with Fire Law, Ingrid Savvy (2009 Newbery Honor Book)

Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.

Levine, Gail Carson Ever

Fourteen-year-old Kezi and Olus, Akkan god of the winds, fall in love and together try to change her fate--to be sacrificed to a Hyte god because of a rash promise her father made--through a series of quests that might make her immortal.

Nimmo, Jenny Charlie Bone and the Shadow

Count Harken, who returns to get revenge on the Red King's heirs, begins with Charlie Bone's family, and when Charlie goes on a quest to save his ancestor with his best friend's dog, Runner Bean, the dog gets trapped in Badlock with everybody else. (Latest in a series for Charlie Bone)

Patterson, James Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

The time has come for Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel to face their ultimate enemy and, despite many obstacles, try to save the world from a sinister plan to re-engineer a select population into a scientifically superior master race. (Third in the Maximum Ride Series)

Pearson, Mary Adoration of Jenna Fox (YA - 2010 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence.

Pfeffer, Susan Life as We Knew It

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. (The companion novel is The Dead and the Gone. (YA))

Pullman, Philip The Scarecrow and His Servant

A scarecrow and his boy servant, Jack, set out on a dangerous adventure as they try to outwit the crooked Buffaloni family and stake their claim to valuable Spring Valley. (Or the popular His Dark Materials series)

Reeve, Philip Here Lies Arthur

Gwyna is forced to flee her village, but when she is discovered hiding in the woods by Myrddin, a bard, he swears to protect her as long as she agrees to bind herself to his service while he transforms young Arthur into a heroic king.

Riordan, Rick Lost Hero (new series Heroes of Olympus, Book 1)

Jason, Piper, and Leo, three students from a school for "bad kids," find themselves at Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods and begin a quest to free Hera, who has been imprisoned by Mother Earth herself. (Or any in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series or The Red Pyramid)

Ruiz Zafon, Carlos The Prince of Mist (YA)

When Max and his family move to a new village during wartime, they discover the spirit of Jacob, the previous owner’s son who drowned, haunts their house. Max, his sister Alicia, and friend Roland investigate the circumstances of Jacob’s death and uncover a sinister plot from the past and a mysterious being called the Prince of Mist.

Saci, Lloyd The Carbon Diaries 2015 (YA)

In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control. Sequel is The Carbon Diaries 2017 (YA)

Shulman, Polly The Grimm Legacy

New York high school student Elizabeth gets an after-school job as a page at the ―New-York Circulating Material Repository," and when she gains coveted access to its Grimm Collection of magical objects, she and the other pages are drawn into a series of frightening adventures involving mythical creatures and stolen goods.

Shusterman, Neal Unwind (YA -2010 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

Three teens embark upon a cross-country journey in order to escape from a society that salvages body parts from children ages thirteen to eighteen. (Or have fun with any of his other Fantasy/Science Fiction novels.)

Stone, Jeff Dragon

Thirteen-year-old Long, a dragon-style kung fu master and the oldest of the five survivors of the destroyed Cangzhen, must get to the Forbidden City before Tonglong declares himself emperor. Latest book in the Five Ancestors series.

Turner, Megan Whalen A Conspiracy of Kings

Kidnapped and sold into slavery, Sophos, an unwilling prince, tries to save his country from being destroyed by rebellion and exploited by the conniving Mede empire. (The latest in the series The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia)

Walsh, Pat The Crowfield Curse

In 1347, when fourteen-year-old orphan William Paynel, an impoverished servant at Crowfield Abbey, goes into the forest to gather wood and finds a magical creature caught in a trap, he discovers he has the ability to see fays and becomes embroiled in a strange mystery involving Old Magic, a bitter feud, and ancient secrets.

Westerfeld, Scott Uglies (YA)

Tally is faced with a difficult choice when her new friend Shay decides to risk life on the outside rather than submit to the forced operation that turns sixteen year old girls into gorgeous beauties, and realizes that there is a whole new side to the pretty world that she doesn't like. (First in a series including Pretties and Specials)

Historical Fiction

Anderson, Laurie Halse Forge

Separated from his friend Isabel after their daring escape from slavery, fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are thrown together again, as slaves once more. (Sequel to the award-winning Chains)

Auch, Mary Jane Ashes of Roses

Sixteen-year-old Rose Nolan arrives on Ellis Island in 1911 in the hopes of starting a new life, but after most of her

family is sent back to Ireland, she must find her own way in a new country and fend for herself and her younger sister.

Avi Crispin: The End of Time

Crispin and Troth, wandering the French countryside following the death of their beloved mentor, Bear, find refuge at a convent, and when Troth decides to stay, Crispin continues on alone, joining a band of traveling musicians who he soon realizes are murderous thieves. (Sequel to: Crispin: At the Edge of the World. )

Avi Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859

Early Whitcomb, whose family’s farm in Iowa is failing due to drought, is enticed by his uncle Jesse to go west and dig for gold to help prevent foreclosure, but during their adventure, Jesse gets into trouble, and Early makes hard decisions while trying to find his relative and the riches that lay hidden in the mountains.

Barnhouse, Rebecca The Book of the Maidservant

In 1413, a young maidservant accompanies her deeply religious mistress, Dame Margery Kempe, on a pilgrimage to Rome. Includes author’s note on Kempe, writer of The Book of Margery Kempe, considered by some to be the first autobiography in the English language.

Bradford, Chris Young Samurai: The Way of the Sword

In 1611 Japan, English orphan Jack Fletcher continues his difficult training during his first year at samurai school while Dragon Eye, the ninja who killed his father, seeks him out to obtain a navigational logbook, and Jack's only hope of survival rests on his success in an ancient ritual.

Burg, Shana A Thousand Never Evers

As the civil rights movement in the South gains momentum in 1963 and violence against African-Americans intensifies, residents of the small town of Kuckachoo, Mississippi, including seventh-grader Addie Ann Pickett, begin their own courageous struggle for racial justice.

Cadnum, Michael The King’s Arrow

In 1100, eighteen-year-old Simon struggles to find himself a place in divided England. When he is offered the chance to accompany the king on a royal hunt, Simon hopes the journey will unlock doors for an exciting future, but when the hunt takes a fatal turn, Simon is forced to flee for his life.

Carbone, Elisa Blood on the River: James Town 1607 (2009 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

Traveling to the New World in 1606 as the page to Captain John Smith, twelve-year-old orphan Samuel Collier settles in the new colony of James Town, where he must quickly learn to distinguish between friend and foe.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Shines My Shoes

Moose Flanagan, who lives on Alcatraz along with his family and the families of the other prison guards, is frightened when he discovers that noted gangster Al Capone, a prisoner there, wants a favor in return for the help that he secretly gave Moose. This is the sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts.

Chotjewitz, David Daniel Half Human and the Good Nazi (YA)

In 1933, best friends Daniel and Armin admire Hitler, but as anti-Semitism buoys Hitler to power, Daniel learns he is half Jewish, threatening the friendship even as life in their beloved Hamburg, Germany, is becoming nightmarish. Also details Daniel and Armin's reunion in 1945 in interspersed chapters.

Crossley-Holland, Kevin Crossing to Paradise

Gatty is given the chance of a lifetime when she is asked to accompany Lady Gwyneth and her household on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; the journey, though dangerous, quickly changes Gatty's life forever. (Readers of the ―Arthur‖ trilogy will recognize Gatty from these books.)

Curtis, Christopher Elijah of Buxton (2010 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

Eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American South in 1859, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom. (Also recommended: The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963.)

Cushman, Karen Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Meggy Swann, a girl who walks with the aid of two sticks, arrives in Elizabethan London, along with her goose Louise, to stay with her father who really does not want her, and while he pursues his dream of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy undergoes a transformation herself. (Or any of her other historical fiction novels including Rodzina, Catherine Called Birdy, The Midwife’s Apprentice, Matilda Bone, or The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.)

Dogar, Sharon Annexed (YA)

A fictional account of life with Anne Frank hidden in the secret annex from Peter's point-of-view, following as he becomes closer with Anne, begins to question his own religion, and is forced to suppress his own desires to join the fight.

Haddix, Margaret Uprising

In 1927, at the urging of twenty-one-year-old Harriet, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly recalls her experiences at the

Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including miserable working conditions that led to a strike and then the fire that took the lives of her two best friends, when Harriet, the boss's daughter, was only five years old.

Hale, Marian Dark Water Rising

While salvaging and rebuilding in the aftermath of the Galveston flood of 1900, sixteen-year-old Seth proves himself in a way that his previous efforts never could, but he still must face his father man-to-man.

Ibbotson, Eva The Dragonfly Pool (YA)

Tally and her friends at Dalderton Boarding School form a dance troupe and travel to Bergania, where she befriends Karil, the crown prince, and helps him flee the Nazis after his father is assassinated.

Kadohota, Cynthia Cracker: the Best Dog in Vietnam (2010 CA Young Reader Medal Nominee)

A young soldier in Vietnam bonds with his bomb-sniffing dog.

Kelly , Jacqueline The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (2010 Newbery Honor)

In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery.

Kethum, Liza Newsgirl

Twelve-year-old Amelia Forrester arrives in San Francisco with her family in 1851 and dresses like a boy in the mostly-male town, cutting her hair and wearing a cap to work as a newsboy in order to sell Eastern newspapers and participate in the biggest stories of the day.

Kidd, Ronald Monkey Town (YA)

When his father hatches a plan to bring publicity to their small Tennessee town by arresting a local high school teacher for teaching about evolution, the resulting 1925 Scopes trial prompts fifteen-year-old Frances to rethink many of her beliefs about religion and truth, as well as her relationship with her father.

Klages, Ellen The Green Glass Sea (Scott O’Dell Award Historical Fiction, 2006)

While her father works on the Manhattan Project, eleven-year-old gadget lover and outcast Dewey Kerrigan lives in Los Alamos Camp, and becomes friends with Suze, another young girl who is shunned by her peers. Sequel is White Sands, Red Menace.

Magoon, Kekla The Rock and the River (2010 Coretta Scott King Steptoe Award)

In 1968 Chicago, Sam Childs is living in the shadows of two important people – his father, a civil rights activist working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his older brother ―Stick,‖ who has joined the Black Panther Party. These different approaches to achieving racial equality place Sam between the rock and the river.

Mazer, Harry Heroes Don’t Run. A Novel of the Pacific War

To honor his father who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, seventeen-year-old Adam eagerly enlists in the Marines in 1944, survives boot camp, and faces combat on the tiny island of Okinawa.

Meyer, L.A. Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady

In 1803, after being exposed as a girl and forced to leave her ship, Jacky Faber finds herself attending school in Boston, where, instead of learning to be a lady, she battles snobbish classmates, roams the city in for adventures, and learns to ride a horse. (Sequel to Bloody Jack)

Moran, Katy Bloodline (YA)

While traveling through early seventh-century Britain trying to stop an impending war, Essa, who bears the blood of native British tribes and of the invading Anglish, discovers that his mother is alive and he, himself, is a prince of the northern kingdom, but he has loyalties and loved ones in the south to whom he is compelled to return.

Napoli, Donna Jo Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale (YA)

Fifteen-year-old Melkorka, an Irish princess, is kidnapped by Russian slave traders and not only learns how to survive but to challenge some of the brutality of her captors, who are fascinated by her apparent muteness and the possibility that she is enchanted.

Paulsen, Gary Woods Runner

From his 1776 Pennsylvania homestead, thirteen-year-old Samuel, who is a highly-skilled woodsman, sets out toward New York City to rescue his parents from the band of British soldiers and Native Americans who kidnapped them after slaughtering most of their community.

Philbrick, Rodman The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (2010 Newbery Honor)

Homer P. Figg escapes from his wretched foster home in Pine Swamp, Maine, and sets out to find his beloved older brother, Harold, who has been illegally sold into the Union Army.

Preus, Margi Heart of a Samurai (2011 Newbery Honor)

Shipwrecks, whaling, a search for home and a delightful exploration of cultures create a swashbuckling adventure. This historical novel is based on the true story of Manjiro (later John Mung), the young fisherman believed to be the

first Japanese person to visit America, who against all odds, becomes a samurai.

Rinaldi, Ann Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South (YA)

In South Carolina in 1780, fourteen-year-old Caroline sees the Revolutionary War take a terrible toll among her family and friends and comes to understand the true nature of war.

Rosnay, Tatiana de Sarah’s Key (YA)

American journalist Julia Jarmond researches the brutal 1942 Nazi roundup in Paris and stumbles upon a connection between her family and one of the victims, which compels Julia to learn more about the girl's life.

Selznick, Brian The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Caldecott Medal Winner, 2008)

When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret arejeopardized.

Vanderpool, Clare Moon Over Manifest (2011 Newbery Award Winner)

Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay withan old friend in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up, and she hopes to find out some things about his past.

Williams-Garcia, Rita One Crazy Summer (2011 Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Winner)

The voices of sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern sing in three-part harmony in this wonderfully nuanced, humorous novel set in 1968 Oakland, Calif. During one crazy summer, the three girls find adventure when theyare sent to meet their estranged poet-mother Cecile, who prints flyers for the Black Panthers and sends them to summer camp.

Humor

Abbott, Hailey The Bridesmaid (YA)

Having vowed as children never to marry after witnessing many disastrous weddings and obnoxious brides in their parents' wedding planning business, fifteen-year-old Abby is dismayed when her older sister Carol suddenly gets engaged and turns into "Bridezilla."

Breathed, Berke Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster

After being framed by a jealous poodle, a dachshund is left for dead, but comes back with a group of mutts from the National Last Ditch Dog Depository to disrupt the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show and exact revenge on Cassius the poodle.

Codell, Esme Raji Diary of a Fairy Godmother

Hunky Dory is an unconventional witch who would rather grant wishes than cast spells which gets her kicked out of charm school; so Hunky sets out to become the best fairy godmother she can be.

Curtis, Christopher Paul Bucking the Sarge (YA)

Deeply involved in his cold and manipulative mother's shady business dealings in Flint, Michigan, fourteen-year-old Luther keeps a sense of humor while running the Happy Neighbor Group Home For Men, all the while dreaming of going to college and becoming a philosopher.

Dahl, Roald Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Taking up where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory leaves off, Charlie, his family, and Mr. Wonka find themselves launched into space in the great glass elevator.

Horowitz, Anthony The Falcon’s Malteser A Diamond Brothers Mystery

Tim Diamond, a poor-minded detective, is entrusted with a package worth five million dollars, until the owner of the package is murdered, and it is up to Tim and his brother, Nick, to outwit every crook in town who is trying to get the money. Sequels include Public Enemy Number Two and South by Southeast.

Ibbotson, Eva Island of the Aunts

As they get older, several sisters decide that they must kidnap children and bring them to their secluded island home to help with the work of caring for an assortment of unusual sea creatures.

Kinney, Jeff Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Greg Heffley recounts his daily experiences during summer vacation as he tries to live out his ultimate fantasy of spending the days indoors playing video games with no responsibilities and no rules, despite his mother's attempts to pack the summer with outdoor activities and family fun. Students may read any of his first three diaries.

Korman, Gordon Framed

Griffin Bing is in big trouble when a Super Bowl ring disappears from his middle school's display case, replaced by Griffin's retainer, and the more he and his friends investigate, the worse his situation becomes. (His earlier novels in the series are Swindle and Zoobreak.)

Krieg, Jim Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol

Legendary Griff Carver joins the Rampart Middle School Hallway Patrol and with the help of his new friends,

solves the case of counterfeit hall passes.

Lieb, Josh I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President

Twelve-year-old evil genius, Oliver, uses his great brain to become the third richest person in the world, and finds that overthrowing foreign dictators is easier than getting the kids in his middle school to vote him class president.

Lowry, Lois The Willoughbys

A tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes in children's literature, in which the four Willoughby children set out to become "deserving orphans" after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny.

Lubar, David Punished!

Logan and his friend Benedict are playing tag in the library when a mysterious man punishes him by making him speak only in puns. Students may also read Hidden Talents or True Talents.

Maguire, Gregory Seven Spiders Spinning

Seven prehistoric spiders that had been trapped in ice for thousands of years bring excitement to rural Vermont and briefly unite two rival clubs at a local elementary school.

Martin, Ann M. The Meanest Doll in the World

Annabelle and Tiffany, dolls who are best friends living in the Palmer house, have an adventure when they hide in Kate Palmer's backpack, are carried to school, mistakenly go to another house and try to stop Princess Muni, a doll who threatens all dolldom. Students may read any of Ms. Martin’s other books.

Peck, Richard A Season of Gifts

A companion novel to: A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. Relates the surprising gifts bestowed on twelve-year-old Bob Barnhart and his family, who have recently moved to a small Illinois town in 1958, by their larger-than-life neighbor, Mrs. Dowdel.

Shusterman, Neal Antsy Does Time (YA)

Fourteen-year-old Anthony "Antsy" Bonano learns about life, death, and a lot more when he tries to help a friend with a terminal illness feel hopeful about the future. (Sequel to The Schwa Was Here)

Tashjian, Janet My Life as a Book

Dubbed a "reluctant reader" by his teacher, twelve-year-old Derek spends summer vacation learning important lessons even though he does not complete his summer reading list.

Tolan, Stephanie Surviving the Applewhites (2003 Newbery Honor Book)

Jake, a budding juvenile delinquent, is sent for home schooling to the arty and eccentric Applewhite family's Creative Academy, where he discovers talents and interests he never knew he had.

 

Multicultural

Bertrand, Diane Gonzales, Trino’s Choice

Running from thugs, Trino hides in a bookstore, where he discovers for the first time that he has choices in his life. Sequel to Trino’s Time. Students may read any upper grade novel by Bertrand.

Calcines, Eduardo Leaving Glorytown: One Boy’s Struggle Under Castro

The author reflects on his childhood growing up in 1960s Cuba, discussing how his family was treated for applying for an exit visa to the United States, his fears of being drafted into the Army, the conditions of his poor neighborhood, and more.

Cameron, Ann Colibri (YA)

Kidnapped when she was very young by an unscrupulous man who has forced her to lie and beg to get money, a twelve-year-old Mayan girl endures an abusive life, always wishing she could return to the parents she can hardly remember.

de la Peña, Matt, Mexican Whiteboy (YA)

Danny Lopez is always the outsider, no matter where he is—he’s either ―too Mexican‖ or ―too White‖ to fit in.

Engle, Margarita The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom

(2009 Newbery Honor Book, 2009 Pura Belpre Author Winner)

A collection of poems in which Rosa, a healer, describes her experiences trying to help Cuban peasants who have been forced to leave their farms and villages in 1896 and given eight days to find their way to "re-concentration camps" or be killed.

Going, K.L. The Liberation of Gabriel King (2009 Silicon Valley YA Read)

Gabriel, a white boy who is being bullied, and Frita, an African-American girl facing prejudice, decide to overcome their many fears together as they encounter fifth grade in Georgia in 1976.

Grimes, Nikki Jazmin's Notebook (YA) (1999 Coretta Scott King Honor)

Jazmin, an African-American teenager who lives with her older sister in a small Harlem apartment in the 1960s, finds strength in writing poetry and keeping a record of the events in her sometimes difficult life. Students may also read Bronx Masquerade (YA) (2003 Coretta Scott King Honor).

Hesse, Karen Witness

A series of poems express the views of various people in a small Vermont town, including a young black girl and a young Jewish girl during the 1920’s when the Ku Klux Klan is trying to infiltrate the town.

Jaramillo, Ann, La Línea,

Miguel finally gets the note he’s been waiting for: it’s time for him to follow his parents across the border into California. His younger sister decides to join him on this journey, and adds to his problems.

Kadohata, Cynthia Kira-Kira (Newbery winner, 2005)

Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s and the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill.

López, Lorraine, Call me Henri (YA)

Enrique’s life is complicated, between school, caring for his siblings, and dealing with his stepfather. Becoming a hero just makes it harder, but may also make it possible for him to survive.

Mah, Adeline Yen Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter (YA)

After her mother dies giving birth to her, Adeline’s affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck. Adeline tells the story of her painful childhood and her courage and ultimate triumph over despair.

Muñoz Ryan, Pam The Dreamer (2011 Pura Belpré Award Winner)

A fictionalized biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who grew up a painfully shy child, ridiculed by his overbearing father, but who became one of the most widely-read poets in the world. (Students may also read Esperanza Rising or Becoming Naomi Leon.)

Mussi, Sarah The Door of No Return (YA)

Zac Baxter travels to Africa after his grandfather is brutally murdered, hoping to learn the truth about his family's dark past and discover why someone was willing to kill his grandfather to learn the family secret.

Naidoo, Beverley Burn My Heart

While the Mau Mau rebellion threatens the British settlers living in Kenya during the 1950s, Mathew and Mugo maintain their friendship, despite their different races, but during these tense times, a single act of betrayal could alter everything. Students may also read Web of Lies or The Other Side of Truth.

Park, Linda Sue A Long Walk to Water

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after immigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan. (Students ay also read The Kite Fighters,Project Mulberry, A Single Shard or When My Name was Keoko.)

Peet, Mal Keeper

As Paul Faustino interview the World Cup star El Gato, a mystery unfolds.

Resau, Laura Star in the Forest

After eleven-year-old Zitlally's father is deported to Mexico, she takes refuge in her trailer park's forest of rusted car parts, where she befriends a spunky neighbor and finds a stray dog that she nurses back to health and believes she must keep safe so that her father will return.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker Ninth Ward (2011 Coretta Scott King Honor)

In New Orleans' Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them.

Schmidt, Gary D. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (Newbery Honor, 2004)

In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community, founded by former slaves, that the town fathers -- and Turner's -- want to change into a tourist spot.

Yang, Gene American Born Chinese (YA)

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. This is a graphic novel.

Sheth, Kashmira Keeping Corner (YA)

In India in the 1940s, Leela's happy, spoiled childhood ends when her husband, whom she barely knows, dies, leaving her a 13-year-old widow whose only hope of happiness could come from Mahatma Ghandi's social and political reforms.

Sitomer, Alan Lawrence, The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez (YA)

Sonia Rodriguez is focused on becoming the first person in her family to graduate from high school, but faces many roadblocks—including her family. Students may also read Hip-Hop High School, Homeboyz (both YA)

Staples, Suzanne Under the Persimmon Tree (YA)

A young Afghan girl, Najmah, befriends an American woman, Nusrat, in Peshawar, Pakistan. After Najmah flees her native Afghanistan during the 2001 war, Najmah and Nusrat begin a long journey to locate their missing loved ones.

Velásquez, Gloria L., Roosevelt High School Series (7 books beginning with Juanita Fights the School Board) (YA)

Voorhees, Coert, The Brothers Torres,

How far will someone go to gain—and keep—respect?

Williams-Garcia, Rita, Jumped (YA)

Leticia has to decide whether to warn Trina about a threat, or stay out of the situation entirely.

 

Mystery/Suspense/Horror/Adventure

Abrahams, Peter Down the Rabbit Hole

Like her idol Sherlock Holmes, eighth-grader Ingrid Levin-Hill uses her intellect to solve the murder of an eccentric local woman in her hometown of Echo Falls. (First in the Echo Falls Mystery Series)

Carter, Ally Heist Society

Fifteen-year-old Kat schemes her way into the best boarding school, hoping to leave the thieving antics of her family behind her, but Hal, a former co-conspirator, appears on campus to tell Kat that a powerful mobster believes her father stole art from a priceless collection, and in order to save him, Kat will have to recover the paintings. Students may also read any of the Gallagher Academy, a spy school for girls series.

Cooney, Caroline The Face on the Milk Carton

A photograph of a missing girl on a milk carton leads Janie on a search for her real identity. (First in a series of four: What Ever Happened to Janie? The Voice on the Radio, What Janie Found)

Duncan, Lois I Know What You Did Last Summer

Four teenagers who have desperately tried to conceal their responsibility for a hit-and-run accident are pursued by a mystery figure seeking revenge. Students may also read any of Ms. Duncan’s many mysteries. (Students may read any of Duncan’s psychological thrillers.)

Golding, Julia The Diamond of Drury Lane

Orphan Catherine "Cat" Royal, living at the Drury Lane Theater in 1790s London, tries to find the "diamond" supposedly hidden in the theater, which unmasks a treasonous political cartoonist, and involves her in the street gangs of Covent Garden and the world of nobility. (First in the Cat Royal Series)

Grisham, John Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer

Thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone, who knows every judge, police officer, and court clerk in the small town of Strattenburg, finds himself involved in a murder trial because of knowledge he might have about a cold-blooded killer. This is John Grisham’s first cross-over novel for young people.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson Double Identity

Thirteen-year-old Bethany’s parents have always been overprotective, but when they suddenly drop out of sight with no explanation, leaving her with an aunt she never knew existed. Bethany uncovers shocking secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. (Author of the very popular Among the Hidden series)

Higgins, Jack First Strike

British twins Rich and Jade, are once again thrown into danger when they try to help their spy father John Chance save the President of the United States from a radical group holding the White House hostage and attempting to steal the nation’s nuclear arms codes. (The series begins with Sure Fire and Death Run.)

Holm, Jennifer Turtle in Paradise (2011 Newbery Honor)

Sassy eleven-year-old Turtle finds her life turned on end when she is sent to live with her aunt in Depression era Key West. With vivid details, witty dialogue and outrageous escapades, Jennifer Holm successfully explores the meaning of family and home… and lost treasures found.

Horowitz, Anthony South by Southeast

Fourteen-year-old Nick and his bumbling detective brother Tim Diamond investigate a mystery involving international spies and assassins.

(Fifth in the Diamond Brothers series) (or the popular Alex Rider series)

Ibbotson, Eva The Star of Kazan

Annika, a twelve-year-old foundling in late nineteenth-century Vienna, inherits a trunk of costume jewelry, and soon afterwards a woman claiming to be her aristocratic mother arrives and takes her to live in a strangely decrepit mansion in Germany.

Leck, James The Adventures of Jack Lime

High school student Jack Lime, a self-made private investigator who looks into problems for his classmates, finds himself involved with three intertwined cases involving hostage hamsters, stolen bikes and difficult clients.

Meyer, L.A. (Louis A.) Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady

In 1803, after being exposed as a girl and forced to leave her ship, Jacky Faber finds herself attending school in Boston, where, instead of learning to be a lady, she battles her snobbish classmates, roams the city in search of adventure, and learns to ride a horse.

Pratchett, Terry Nation (YA)

After a tsunami destroys everything, Mau, an island boy, Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, and a small group of refugees are responsible for rebuilding their village and their lives.

San Souci, Robert Haunted Houses

A collection of ten scary stories about haunted houses, pirate treasure, and ghosts.

Shan, Darren Cirque du Freak series

The series begins with two boys, best friends, who encounter a vampire and a deadly spider at an illegal freak show and consequently must make life-changing choices.

Skurzynski, Gloria The Hunted

The Landon family travels to Glacier National Park to investigate why Grizzly Bear cubs are disappearing and becomes involved with a ten-year-old Mexican runaway boy. (Fifth in the series Mysteries in our National Parks)

Stewart, Trenton Lee The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance, all graduates of the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and members of the Benedict Society, embark on a scavenger hunt that turns into a desperate search for the missing Mr. Benedict. (Second book in the Benedict Society Series)

Stratton, Allan Borderline (YA)

Despite the strained relationship between them, teenaged Sami Sabiri risks his life to uncover the truth when his father is implicated in a terrorist plot.

Valentine, Jenny Me, the Missing and the Dead (YA)

Sixteen-year-old Londoner Lucas Swain, left in possession of the ashes of Violet Park, becomes convinced that Violet is communicating with him, initiating a voyage of self-discovery that forces him to finally confront the events surrounding his father's sudden disappearance.

Van Draanen, Wendelin Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things

While on her first hiking and camping trip, thirteen-year-old Sammy tries to solve a mystery involving endangered condors while avoiding scorpions, ticks, and embarrassment. (One of many in this series of Sammy)

Whyman, Matt Icecore: A Carl Hobbes Thriller (YA)

Seventeen-year-old Englishman Carl Hobbes meant no harm when he hacked into Fort Knox's security system, but at Camp Twilight in the Arctic Circle, known as the Guantanamo Bay of the north, he is tortured to reveal information about a conspiracy of which he was never a part.

Wooding, Chris Malice

Presents a middle-school thriller about three boys who become trapped in the deadly world of a comic book.

 

Sports

Any book by Matt Christopher, Thomas Dygard, Tim Green, Dan Gutman, or Mike Lupica, or:

Baskin, Nora Raleigh, Basketball (or Something Like it)

Hank, Nathan, Jeremy, and Anabel deal with the realities of middle school basketball, including family pressure, a series of coaches with very different personalities and agendas, and what it means to be a team and a friend.

Berman, Len. The Greatest Moments in Sports

Provides accounts of twenty-five of the greatest moments in sports, each with photographs and statistics, and

includes an audio CD that features some of the actual broadcasts of the games.

Darraj, Susan Muaddi Oscar de la Hoya

Chronicles the life of Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Oscar De La Hoya, discussing his childhood in East Los Angeles, early years in the ring, career achievements, charitable foundation, and other related topics.

Feinstein, John Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery - or any of his books

After winning a basketball reporting contest, eighth graders Stevie and Susan Carol are sent to cover the Final Four tournament, where they discover that a talented player is being blackmailed into throwing the final game.

Nelson, Kadir We Are the Ship. The Story of Negro League Baseball

(2009 Coretta Scott King Award, 2009 Siebert Award)

Explores the history of Negro League baseball teams - discussing owners, players, hardships, wins, losses and includes illustrations.

Pfetzer, Mark and Jack Galvin Within Reach: My Everest Story

The author describes how he spent his teenage years climbing mountains in the United States, South America, Africa, and Asia, with an emphasis on his two expeditions up Mount Everest.

Strother, Scott The Adventurous Book of Outdoor Games

Provides instructions for over one hundred outside games, including capture the flag, wall ball, and soccer golf.

Swan, Bill Corner Kick

Michael Strike learns a lesson on friendship when fellow soccer player Miriah befriends Zahir, an immigrant from the Middle East, who Michael sees as a rival until he finds out that Zahir is an excellent chess player.

Thomas, E. L. Boarder Patrol

Sixteen-year-old Ryan dreams of being a professional snowboarder, but when his cousin gets involved with criminal activity at a ski resort he is forced to choose between his family and a great career opportunity.

Trueman, Terry 7 Days at the Hot Corner (YA)

Varsity baseball player Scott Latimer struggles with his own prejudices and those of others while his best friend reveals he is gay.

Wallace, Rich Dunk Under Pressure

Free throw specialist Cornell "Dunk" Duncan joins the YMCA summer basketball league all-star team, but after losing his confidence in an important game the seventh-grader makes some decisions about becoming an all-around player.

Withers, Pam Peak Survival

Jake, Peter, and Moses, looking forward to heli-skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry near Whistler, spring into crisis mode when bad weather sets in, a helicopter crashes, and they must get everyone to safety.

Any age-appropriate non-fiction, too!

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