Happy New Year!

As the new year begins,
try a story about a new beginning!

Hope was Here. New York : Putnam, 2000.
Hope is not happy when her aunt moves the two of them from New York City to a small town in Wisconsin. But slowly, as her aunt runs the local restaurant and Hope works as a server, they develop a new life that offers the possibility of happiness.  For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Aunts; Cancer; Dating (Social customs); Friendship; Newbery Medal; Waiters and waitresses; Wisconsin; Young adult fiction]




Bondoux, Anne-Laure. The Killer’s Tears. New York : Delacorte Press, 2003.
Young Paolo is cared for by the man who murdered his parents on a remote farm in Chile. Paolo is cared for more kindly than ever before in his short life, raising the question: who are the good people in life? For 11 – 15 year-olds. [Chile; Fear; Fathers and sons; Murder; Orphans; Runaways]





Bredsdorff, Bodil. Crow-girl. New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.
A girl lives by the sea. When her grandmother dies, she sets out alone on a journey, meeting new people and creating a new family. For 10 – 13 year olds. [Courage; Denmark; Family life; Orphans]




Cassidy, Anne. Looking for JJ. New York : Harcourt Inc., 2007.
Seventeen-year-old Alice has just finished serving a six-year prison term for murdering a child. She has a new identity, but will she be able to keep her anonymity from the British  media? Will she be able to make new friends and start a new life? For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Child abuse; Criminals; England; Murder; Young adult fiction]

Clements, Things Not Seen.  New York : Philomel Books, 2002.
Fifteen-year-old Bobby wakes one morning to discover he is invisible. Life becomes more and more complicated as his parents and his new friend, Alicia, try to help him. For 11 – 15 year-olds. [Blindness; Faith; Fear; Friendship; Love; Parent and teenager; Science fiction]

Janey's Girl

Friesen, Gayle. Janey’s Girl. Toronto : Kids Can Press, 1998.
Fourteen-year-old Janey unexpectedly meets her father for the first time when she visits her grandmother’s farm in rural Rosedale, B.C. More family secrets are revealed and Janey learns how to make decisions for herself while still showing love and respect for her mother. For 12 – 16 year-olds. [British Columbia; Dating (Social customs); Divorce; Fathers and daughters; Mothers and daughters; Secrets; Teenagers; Young adult fiction]


Giff, Patricia Reilly. Pictures of Hollis Woods.
Twelve-year-old Hollis goes to live with Josie, a retired art teacher, after years spent in various foster homes. It seems she at last found a home, but all that is threatened when Josie becomes more and more forgetful. For 11 – 14 year-olds. [Artists; Foster children; Orphans; New York (State); Newbery Medal]



Guest, Jacqueline. Rink Rivals. James Lorimer & Co., 2001.
Life changes for twin brothers when they move with their family from a remote Cree community to the city of Calgary, Alberta. For 10 – 13 year olds. [Alberta; Courage; First Nations; Hockey; Juvenile delinquents; Moving, Household]






Heneghan, James. Bank Job. Victoria, BC : Orca Book Publishers, 2009.
Thinking they are being helpful, thirteen-year-old Nell and her friends rob banks in Vancouver, B.C. to help her foster parents pay for needed house renovations. For 11 – 15 year-olds. (Faith; Family life; Foster children; Juvenile delinquents; Theft; Vancouver (B.C.)]





Hill, Kirkpatrick. Winter Camp. New York : Puffin Books, 1995.
Eleven-year-old Toughboy and his younger sister must survive the harsh Alaskan winter at a friend’s winter trapping camp after their parents die. For 9 – 12 year olds. [Alaska; Brothers and sisters; Courage; First Nations; Orphans; Survival; Winter]

Hobbs, Will. The Maze. New York : Morrow Junior Books, 1998.
After spending years in foster homes, fourteen-year-old Rick runs away from a youth detention centre, fearing for his life, and finds himself in a remote part of Utah where he helps a biologist reintroduce condors into the wild. For 11 – 15 year-olds. [Condors; Endangered species; Foster children; Runaways]

Ibbotson, Eva. Journey to the River Sea. New York: Macmillan Children’s Books, 2001.
Sent with her governess to live with the dreadful Carter family in exotic Brazil in 1910, Maia endures many hardships before fulfilling her dream of exploring the Amazon River. — OhioLINK For 11 – 14 year-olds. [Adventure and adventurers; Amazon River; Brazil; Friendship; Historical fiction; Orphans]





Kerz, Anna. The Mealworm Diaries. Victoria, BC : Orca Book Publishers, 2009.
Jeremy has nightmares after he and his mother move from rural Nova Scotia to urban Toronto until he unwillingly starts working on a science project with a classmate. For 9 – 12 year-olds. [Friendship; Grief; Guilt; Moving, Household; Schools]




Rabbit Hill (Puffin Modern Classics)


Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill. New York : Puffin, 1944, 1972.
The animals are full of suspense: Who is this family who is moving into the Big House? How will life change for all of them?  For 8 – 12 year-olds. [Animals; Country life; Friendship; Moving, Household; Newbery Medal]



McClintock, Norah. Back. Victoria, B.C. : Orca Soundings, 2009.
JoJo returns his home neighbourhood after serving time in prison. But will the people who remember what he did let him start a new life?  For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Criminals; Dating violence; Fear; Murder; Revenge; Young adult fiction]




Mikaelsen, Ben. Touching Spirit Bear. HarperCollins, 2001.
Cole avoids a prison sentence by agreeing to spend time on a remote Alaskan Island where he is suprised by an encounter that changes his life. For 11 – 15 year-olds. [Alaska; First Nations; Juvenile delinquents; Survival]


Nolan, Han. A Face in Every Window. New York : Harcourt, Inc., 1999.
Fourteen-year-old JP finds his family falling apart after the death of his grandmother. His mother moves them to a neighbouring town in Pennsylvania and welcomes all sorts of strangers into their home. His mentally challenged father won’t listen to anyone and takes to sitting on the roof.  Everything has changed and everyone makes fun of JP. There is nowhere he belongs. How will he find balance in his chaotic world? For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Family life; Mentally handicapped]


Paterson Katherine.  The Day of the Pelican. Boston : Sandpiper, 2009.
Thirteen-year-old Meli’s life changes after her brother escapes from Serbian captors during the fighting in Kosovo and her Albanian family has to flee, staying in refugee camps until they are able to emigrate to America. For 11 – 15 year-olds. [Courage; Faith; Family life; Historical fiction; Homelessness; Immigrants; Kosovo (Republic); Muslims; Refugees; War]


Perkins, Lynne Rae. Criss Cross. New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 2005.
Teenagers start to look at life and love in new ways in a small American town during the 1960s. For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Dating (Social customs); Friendship; Love; Newbery medal; Self-perception; Summer]


Philbrick, Rodman. The Mostly True Adventures of  Homer P. Figg. New York : Blue Sky Press, 2009.
Twelve-year-old Homer runs away from his cruel uncle to rescue his older brother who has been forced to serve as a soldier in the American Civil War. For 11 – 15 year olds. [Adventure and adventurers; Brothers; Historical fiction; Uncles; Orphans; War]


Reeve, Philip. Fever Crumb. New York : Scholastic Press, 2009.
Fourteen-year-old Fever has been trained as an engineer in a futuristic culture which believes women are not capable of rational thought.  When she leaves her home in London, she makes suprising discoveries and faces unexpected dangers.  For 12 – 16 year-olds. [England; Foundlings; Identity; Science fiction; Technology]


Riess, Kathryn. Blackthorn Winter. Orlando : Harcourt, 2006.
Fifteen-year-old Juliana discovers mystery and romance after she moves from California to a small English village. For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Artists; Dating (Social customs); England; Family life; Moving, Household; Mystery and detective stories; Teenagers; Young adult fiction]


Ritter, Choosing Up Sides. New York : Puffin Books, 2000.
Thirteen-year-old Luke must decide whether to continue to obey his father, who believes being left-handed and playing baseball are of the Devil, or  to forge a new life of his own. For 11 – 15 year-olds. [Baseball; Faith; Fathers and sons; Historical fiction]


Shea, Pegi Deitz. Tangled Threads. New York, NY : Clarion Books, 2003.
Thirteen-year-old Mai Yang spent ten years in a Thai refugee camp before moving to Providence, Rhode Island where her grandmother tries to maintain their Hmong heritage while her cousins show her new American customs. For 11 – 15 year-olds.  [Cousins; Friendship; Grandmothers; Immigrants; Laos; Loyalty; Moving, Household; Refugees; Rhode Island; Thailand; Sewing; War]

Singer, Nicky. Gem X. New York : Holiday House 2006.
Sixteen-year-old Maxo wakes up one morning to find a crack in his face which leads him to the discovery that he lives in a strangely-controlled world full of human experiments. For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Dating (Social customs); Family life; Genetic engineering; Science fiction; Teenagers; Young adult fiction]

Zach's Lie (Zach's Lie, #1)

Smith, Roland. Zach’s Lie. Toronto : Scholastic, 2001.
Jack, along with with his sister and mother, moves to Nevada to start a new life after his his father, arrested for drug trafficking, becomes a witness in a court case against a drug cartel.  For 11 – 14 year-olds. [Basques; Drug traffic; Moving, Household; Nevada; Prisons; Schools; Secrets]





Stead, Rebecca. When You Reach Me. New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2009.
What if you could go back in time and correct the mistakes you have made? Fans of A Wrinkle in Time will enjoy this 2010 Newbery winner. For 11 – 15 year olds. [Accidents; Friendship; Guilt; New York City; Newbery medal; Space and time]


Taylor, Theodore. The Maldonado Miracle.  Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, 2003.
Twelve-year-old Jose illegally crosses the border from Mexico to join his father in California, but life becomes far more difficult than expected. For 11 – 14 year-olds. [California; Child labor; Faith; Historical fiction; Illegal aliens; Immigrants; Mexico; Migrant labor; Runaways]


Tullson, Diane. Riley Park. Victoria, BC : Orca Book Publishers 2009.
Seventeen-year-old Corbin, a hockey player,  survives the death of his best friend in a vicious fight after a party. For 12 – 16 year-olds. [Dating violence; Fear; Friendship; Gangs; Murder; Young adult fiction]


Venkatraman, Padma. Climbing the Stairs. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008.
Fifteen-year-old Vidya, her older brother and her parents move to the home of her paternal grandfather after her father is severely beaten during a non-violent demonstration in 1941 India.  Instead of looking forward to someday attending college, she now has to face a life of servitude. This compelling young adult novel sensitively portrays different intepretations of the Hindu caste system, India’s struggle for independence and the complications of World War II. For 12 – 16 year olds. (India; WW 2; Historical fiction; Sex role; Hinduism; Family life; Brain damage; Prejudice; Love; Marriage; Jews; Courage; Guilt; Young adult fiction)


Whelan, Gloria. Chu Ju’s House. New York : HarperCollins, 2004.
Fourteen-year-old Chu Ju leaves home in order to save her baby sister. She gets a job taking care of silk worms and planting rice seedlings, but will she ever be able to see her family in the countryside again? For 11 – 14 year-olds. [Child labor; China; Courage; Loneliness; Runaways; Sex role]


Whelan, Gloria. Homeless Bird. New York : Harper, 2000.
Thirteen-year-old Kola’s family has decided it is time for her to be married. But what does she want to do? And how can she find a way to determine her own destiny in the face of tradition? For 11 – 14 year-olds.  (Courage; India; Marriage; Sex role)


Wilson, John. Where Soldiers Lie. Key Porter Books, 2006.
After his parents die, sixteen-year-old Jack is sent from Canada to live with relatives in Cawnpore, India. Filled with historical details about the 1857 war. For 12 – 16 year-olds. (Adventure and adventurers; Courage; Historical fiction; India; Romance; Soldiers; War)


Woodson, Jacqueline. Feathers. New York : Puffin Books, 2007.
Sixth-grade Frannie is reading a poem about hope in class. But there’s not much hope in her life. Her friend Samantha is becoming peculiar. The class bully is becoming more trouble. And the new boy, nicknamed ‘Jesus Boy’, says he’s not white but he sure looks white. What’s going to happen next? For 11 – 14 year-olds. [African Americans; Bullying; Deaf; Faith; Family; Friendship; Hope; Moving, Newbery Medal; Household; Racism; Schools; Vietnam Conflict; Winter]


Woodson, Jacqueline. Hush. New York : Putnam’s, 2002.
Toswiah Green’s family is forced to move to another city where they are part of the witness protection programme after her father, a police officer, testifies against another officer in a murder trial. For 11 – 15 year-olds. [Courage; Faith; Family life; Honesty; Moving, Household; Mystery and detective stories; Police; Secrets; young adult fiction]