Coming of Age

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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everything everything_web.jpgRisk everything . . . for love.

What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken.

Armada: A Novel by Ernest Cline

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armada_web.jpgIt’s just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He’s daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom–if he can make it that long without getting suspended again.;

Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer. At first, Zack thinks he’s going crazy. A minute later, he’s sure of it. Because the UFO he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada–in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

But what Zack’s seeing is all too real. And his skills–as well as those of millions of gamers across the world–are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it. Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can’t help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching, and wonder: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little too…familiar?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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jane eyre_web.jpgWhen Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, it became an instant bestseller, so popular that the publisher commissioned a second printing in just three months. The story of a young girl–plain, poor, and alone–who endures abuse, abandonment, and ridicule only to become a loving, compassionate young woman of great moral character remains Charlotte Bronte’s greatest achievement.

The Hired Girl by Laura Schlitz

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the hired girl_web.jpgFourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself–because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of–a woman with a future.

Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

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my side of the mountain_web.jpgSam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods–all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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maniac magee_web.jpgA Newbery Honor Award Winner 1991. Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run–and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

Bloomability by Sharon Creech

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bloomability_web.jpgKidnapped! The kidnappers are actually her Aunt Sandy and Uncle Max, but that doesn’t matter to Domenica Santolina Doone, better known as Dinnie. She feels as if she’s being taken out of the country against her will. Certainly, no one asked her opinion. Dinnie is used to change-with her family constantly moving from state to state while her father searches for one new “opportunity” after another. But when her aunt and uncle whisk her away to an international school in Lugano, Switzerland, Dinnie feels that this might be one “opportunity” that isn’t right for her.

Suddenly Dinnie’s surrounded by kids from many different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. Home, and her first life, seem so far away. Can she adapt to a new country, a new home, and new friends? Or will it just be easier to close herself off-just survive-and never realize all the “bloomabilities” that are possible?