In the Country of Queens by Cari BestWhat it's about: In the summer of 1961, timid Shirley Burns gets some shocking news and decides to stop waiting around to be brave. For the first time in her life, Shirley stands up to her over-protective mother, skips summer camp for a vacation with her cousins, and finally begins to deal with the loss of her father.
Why you might like it: Whether or not you agree with Shirley's hatred of ballet class or love of Pippi Longstocking, you can still relate to her authentic feelings and problems.
Sisters of Glass by Naomi CyprusStarring: Nalah, a poor glassblower's daughter from New Hadar who has to hide her illegal magic abilities; and Halan, the unfortunately un-magical princess of the Magi Kingdom.
Is it for you? If you like spirited heroines and Arabian Nights-inspired settings, you'll enjoy finding out what happens when a magic mirror brings Nalah's and Halan's worlds crashing together.
Series alert: Sisters of Glass is the 1st in a new fantasy series.
The Crims by Kate DaviesWhat it's about: Imogen Crim is hiding out at Lilyworth Ladies’ College, hoping that no one will guess she's from a family of bumbling criminals. But after the Crims are accused of a high-profile crime and Imogen's identity is exposed, she's forced to rejoin her outlandish relatives and prove their innocence.
For fans of: the witty wordplay and absurd humor in Holly Grant's League of Beastly Dreadfuls series or Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events.
Lily's Mountain by Hannah ModerowWhat it's about: Lily refuses to believe the news that her dad, an experienced mountaineer, has fallen to his death while climbing Mt. Denali. Determined to find him, Lily and her sister Sophie set off on a dangerous 20-mile trek through the harsh Alaskan wilderness.
Why you might like it: Fast pacing and tender family bonds will keep you hooked on this survival story.
The Road to Ever After by Moira YoungWhat it's about: There's nothing left for 13-year-old orphan Davy in his run-down hometown of Brownvale, so when Ms. Flint (who's rumored to be a witch) hires him to drive her to the cottage where she plans to die, Davy and his dog George join the elderly woman on a highly unusual road trip.
Why you might like it: Offbeat characters, an unlikely friendship, and just a touch of fantasy make this a memorable read.
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa GraffStarring: Cady, an 11-year-old orphan with a magical Talent for baking perfect cakes, plus an intriguing variety of other characters whose connections only become clear as they take turns telling this deliciously twisty tale.
For fans of: Ingrid Law's Savvy series, and other stories that blend the magical with the everyday.
Series alert: Don't miss the companion book, A Clatter of Jars.
The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila HowlandWhat it's about: Even without TV or internet, the Los Angeles-dwelling Silver sisters -- 12-year-old Marigold, 11-year-old Zinnie, and five-year-old Lily -- can't resist the charms of a lazy summer with their Aunt Sunny on the beaches of Cape Cod.
Why you might like it: Told by both Marigold and Zinnie, this upbeat, realistic story has a sweetly old-fashioned feel.
Series alert: This is the 1st book in the Silver Sisters series.
Ungifted by Gordon KormanWhat it's about: Expecting to be expelled after his latest prank goes wrong, eighth-grader Donovan Curtis is instead admitted -- by mistake -- to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special school for gifted and talented students.
Is it for you? With a wide range of voices from the school, Donovan's experiences as a stowaway among the brainy kids will appeal to fans of funny, feel-good stories.
Audacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby LarsonWhat it's about: Sharp, adventurous orphan Audacity Jones is quick to volunteer when Commodore Crutchfield arrives at her school in search of an assistant for a secret mission. Soon Audie and her cat, Min, are traveling to Washington D.C., where they must foil a shady scheme against President Teddy Roosevelt.
Why you might like it: Set in 1910 and bursting with quirky characters who take turns narrating, this book kicks off a series of page-turning historical mysteries.
When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace LinWhat it's about: In order to rescue Amah, her beloved storytelling grandmother, from the Tiger Emperor, Pinmei must go on a quest to find the legendary Luminous Stone That Lights the Night.
Series alert: Pimei's and Amah's stories blend with Chinese folktales in this captivating follow-up to When the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky, binding all three books into one sweeping saga.
Try this next: Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
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