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What We’re Reading {December 10 2010}: Great Books to Read Over the Holidays for Middle and High School Readers

I recently received an email from Emily, one of our student members and a prolific reader. She shared a list of her recently published favorite books and suggested that they might make excellent reading over the holiday break for other student members. This week, with her permission, I’m sharing Emily’s recommended titles, along with a synopsis of each book, with you. Depending on the reader’s maturity level, these books are appropriate for middle and high school readers. Happy Reading!

Sweet Little Lies: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad — Jane Roberts was the average girl next door until her and her best friend, Scarlett Harp, landed their own hit reality show, L.A. Candy. But life on camera is getting complicated. . . .When racy photos of Jane are leaked to the press, she becomes the center of a tabloid scandal. She turns to costar Madison Parker for help, but does Madison really have Jane’s back? And Scarlett’s got a scandal of her own. She’s fallen for a guy who’s strictly off-limits—which means Scarlett has a big secret to keep. But nothing stays secret for long in Hollywood.

Sugar & Spice: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad — Sugar and Spice . . . not everyone’s nice. Fresh from being betrayed by one of her closest friends, Jane Roberts has learned a few lessons. Most important: know who to trust. And in Hollywood, the list of who you can trust is short. Although the press has been creating a tabloid war between her and ex-friend/current-costar Madison Parker, Jane just wants to take control of her life. She’s started by swearing off guys and the drama that comes with them. But when her high school sweetheart Caleb and her unrequited L.A. crush Braden show up, both acting sweeter than ever, Jane has a hard time remembering her no-boys rule. . . . And then there is her best friend Scarlett, who has only one guy on her mind: her new boyfriend, Liam. The girl who once thought love was a four-letter word is now head over heels. The problem is, being on a hit reality show means hanging out with other guys on-camera, and Liam isn’t too happy with pretending to play a bit part in her love life. Just when everything feels out of control, Jane makes a shocking discovery—one that changes everyone’s definition of “reality” forever.

Torment by Lauren Kate — It took an eternity for Luce and Daniel to find one another, and now that they have finally found each other, he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous. What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?
 
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl — Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes life-ending. Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin — Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory’s magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe—but a dangerous hold, and she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she’ll discover the truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Phoebe’s ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn’t been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?

Belle of the Brawl by Lisi Harrison — Eccentric billionaire Shira Brazille founded the super-exclusive Alpha Academy to nurture the next generation of exceptional dancers, writers, musicians, and inventors. It’s a dream come true for one hundred lucky girls, but those not measuring up will be sent home at any time, for any reason. The one left standing will win worldwide fame. Who will it be?

Skye Hamilton: For Skye, breaking boys’ hearts is easier than one-two-plie. But if she hurts emo-freak Sydney, Shira will send her packing. Skye’s only choice? Make him dump her first! But how can she convince robo-Romeo she’s not his Juliet?

Charlie Deery:  Charlie’s brilliant brain designed almost everything on Alpha Island, but her broken heart could never get over Darwin Brazille. Now she has a chance to get him back. But to say hello to true love, she may have to say buh-bye to her friendship with Allie A…

Allie A. Abbot: After being exposed as an Allie J. imposter, Allie A. is as worthless as a five time markdown on the clearance shoe rack. But the real stain on her suede bootie? She still hasn’t found her talent. And with girls leaving faster than you can say “Beta”, will Allie A. be the next to go?

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter — When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown — Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets. Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden — When Brie’s sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie’s world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but. As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don’t line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night…a secret that puts her own life in danger.

Forget You by Jennifer Echols — There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like her father’s twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

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