Prepping for the critical lens
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Raised in South Carolina and New York, 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.
Press Play by Eric Devine
Greg Dunsmore, a.k.a. Dun the Ton, is focused on one thing: making a documentary that will guarantee his admission into the film school of his choice. Every day, Greg films his intense weight-loss focused workouts as well as the nonstop bullying that comes from his classmates. But when he captures footage of violent, extreme hazing by his high school’s championship-winning lacrosse team in the presence of his principal, Greg’s field of view is in for a readjustment.
Greg knows there is a story to be told, but it is not clear exactly what. And his attempts to find out the truth only create more obstacles, not to mention physical harm upon himself. Yet if Greg wants to make his exposé his ticket out of town rather than a veritable death sentence, he will have to learn to play the game and find a team to help him.
Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
Fat, clumsy Simon Glass is a nerd, a loser who occupies the lowest rung on the high school social ladder. Everyone picks on him -- until Rob Haynes shows up. Rob, a transfer student with charisma to spare, immediately becomes the undisputed leader of the senior class. And he has plans for Simon.
Rob enlists the help of his crew -- wealthy, intellectual Young, ladies' man Bob, and sweet, athletic Coop -- in a mission: Turn sniveling Simon from total freak to would-be prom king. But as Simon rises to the top of the social ranks, he shows a new confidence and a devious side that power-hungry Rob did not anticipate. And when Simon uncovers a dangerous secret, events darken. The result is disquieting, bone-chilling...and brutal.
One Good Punch by Rich Wallace
Ask anybody around East Scranton High School: Michael Kerrigan is almost too good to be true. Dedicated athlete, captain of the track team, editorial assistant (obituary writer) at the Scranton Observer, he's never been in trouble, and he doesn't associate with troublemakers. This is the most important track season of his life - and he's ready.That is, until the police find four joints in his locker. Soon Mike's seemingly perfect world is threatened, and with pressure coming from his parents, his childhood best friend, and his sort-of girlfriend, Mike is faced with a choice - a choice that will determine the kind of athlete, friend, and man he becomes.
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First Shot by Walter Sorrells
Two years ago, David Crandall's mother was murdered and with little evidence, no witnesses, and no motive, the crime was left unsolved. Now a high school senior, David is unable to shake the sense that someone knows more than they're letting on. His suspicion deepens as he uncovers clues to a scandalous family secret involving embezzlement. But when he spies his father burying an old rifle in a deserted lot during a rainstorm, suspicion turns to fear. Is his own father the killer? Critically acclaimed author Walter Sorrells crafts a shocking and fast-paced thriller inspired by a local newspaper headline.
The Killer Book of True Crime by Tom Philbin
You've read all the stories...but can you match the mobster with the way he met his end? Do you know how they caught the Boston Strangler? Can you define chickens, a Shotaro complex or Colombian neckties?
The Killer Book of True Crime is the ultimate collection of in-depth stories, trivia, quizzes, quotes and photos gruesome and interesting enough to make any crime buff shudder in horrified delight. Discover all the odd and intriguing facts and tidbits you've never heard.
Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos
In the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring writer looking for adventure, cash for college tuition, and a way out of a dead-end job. For ten thousand dollars, he recklessly agreed to help sail a sixty-foot yacht loaded with a ton of hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York City, where he and his partners sold the drug until federal agents caught up with them. For his part in the conspiracy, Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook's or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to.
Knockout Games by G. Neri
Knockout Games is set in modern day St. Louis amidst a disturbing rash of seemingly random attacks on bystanders by a group of urban teenagers in a crew called the TKO club. The protagonist, Erica, is one of a few girls who is down with TKO in part due to her natural skill with a video camera and her ability to make art out of the attacks.