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Pieces Of Georgia by Jen Bryant (037-5832599, $15.95) tells of a girl who can't seem to get anywhere in life: she's not popular at school, she can't do schoolwork even when she knows the answers, and her father rejects her artistic abilities. When a school counselor hands her a red leather journal Georgia thinks she'll never use it--but a mysterious gift changes her life and finally she begins to heal from her mother's death. Being Bindy (0385732945, $15.95) by Alyssa Brugman tells of a girl in trouble in a different way. Eighth grade for Bindy is complicated by her best friend's conversion to her worst enemy, her problems with growing up, and her parents' divorce. Add her father's attraction to her new enemy's mother and you have a searching novel of coming of age--despite it all. Allison Whittenberg's Sweet Thang (0385732929, $15.95) tells of teen Charmaine, a girl obsessed with justice and leading a life filled with injustice; from having to share a room with a tap-dancing brother to having her dark skin upstaged by the lighter-skinned Dinah. Her efforts to find justice in the world soon lead to a revision of high expectations of the way life should be in this moving young adult coming of age story. Morris Gleitzman's Toad Away (0375827-668, $14.95) tells of Limpy, who has a vision of a wonderful world where cane toads and humans can play in the mud together. This is Limpy's third adventure book--but he still holds this dream dear, and is still trying to make his dream come true. But first, he has to take a trip to the Amazon--and Toad Away follows his long journey. Martina Wildner's Shooting Stars Everywhere (0385732503, $15.95) tells of a serious of anonymous letters which reach victor on his 13th birthday and beyond, giving him a mystery to solve even as he tries to conquer his fear of diving off the high board at the pool, and handing problems between his divorced parents. A fellow diver and detective helps him on all fronts in this warm story of friendship and overcoming obstacles. Blake Nelson's Gender Blender (038574-6962, $15.95) tells of two friends who are such no longer: it's middle school, and it's war. When Emma and Tom switch bodies under a curse, war turns to confusion and uncertain acceptance in a hilarious story of gender switching. Narinder Dhami's Bhangra Babes (0385733186, $14.95) tells of an interfering auntie who is getting married and moving out, leaving three girls excited about having their house and father back to themselves. The Dhillon sisters find such an event won't solve all their problems and might even create some new ones in this final story adding to Dhami's trilogy. Elizabeth Winthrop's Counting On Grace (038574644X, $15.95) tells of two pre-teens who have to leave school to work in the mill. They both dream of escape--which comes in the form of a reformer with a camera who takes photos of the two working kids and befriends them. Child labor issues come to life in this warm historical novel. Jeff Stone's The Five Ancestors: Snake (037-5830758, $15.95) returns to the Shaolin Temple, where a young monk seeks answers from She, a master of snake-style kung fu. She's world is upside down when the temple is destroyed, and his journey with bandits leads him to a lovely woman whose name means 'cobra'. This is third in the Five Ancestors series--but familiarity with the others is not needed to fully enjoy this addition. Justin Ball and Evan Croker's Space Dogs (0375832564, $15.95) tells of Laika, the first dog in space whose craft is sucked through a wormhole to a planet inhabited by very intelligent, very tiny people. Years later a disturbance emanating through the wormhole from Earth threatens life on the planet, leading to a mission to Earth to destroy the source of the disturbance--in a craft which looks like Laika. The objective is to blend with the locals--but earth cats have another idea in this hilarious story of encounters between very different races. Christine Fiord's Scout (0385732341, $14.95) tells of Cecelia, who is the lookout in the woods behind her Texas home. The new kid in school seems to need her too, but as Cecelia finds out more about his lifestyle and rigid father, she wonders about her ability to act as a scout for anyone. Free verse format keeps the story line intriguing.
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Title Annotation:Pieces of Georgia; Being Bindy; Sweet Thang; Toad Away; Shooting Stars Everywhere; Gender Blender; Bhangra Babes; Counting on Grace; The Five Ancestors: Snake; Space Dogs; Scout
Publication:Children's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Previous Article:Clarion/Houghton Mifflin.
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