Title: Happyface

Author: Stephen Emond

Summary: An illustrated journal about a geeky guy trying to make his way through the world? Sounds familiar, right? Whether or not you are a fan of Greg Heffley, you should get to know Happyface. Starting tenth grade at a different school, he decides to try something new: Instead of being his usual self – quiet, shy and invisible to everyone but bullies, he decides to smile. All the time. Soon he finds himself in the middle of a new group of friends and getting close with an amazingly cool girl.

But when you are hiding behind a mask can you truly be a good friend in return? As Happyface slides through his school year the cracks begin to show: Why did he have to switch schools? Where is his dad? And why isn’t he talking to his former best friend Chloe anymore? Funny, heartbreaking, and triumphant, this isn’t just a book for ‘Wimpy Kids’ grown up, but for the underdog in all of us.

Who will like this book?: Teens who have outgrown the Wimpy Kid books and are looking for something funny but more serious. Girl-crazy guys, and the girls who are “just friends” with them.

If you like this, try this: Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford. Getting the Girl by Susan Juby. For mature teens, Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Some Girls Are


Title: Some Girls Are

Author: Courtney Summers

Summary: Regina Afton relished her place as one of the Fearsome Fivesome, the right hand and best friend of the most popular girl in school, Anna. But when Anna’s boyfriend tries to force himself on her at a party, Regina’s days at the top of the high school food chain come crashing to an end. Her friends freeze her out, her boyfriend dumps her (without bothering to tell her) and since she once was the chief tormentor of the social outcasts, Regina is left completely and totally alone: An easy target. Even Michael, a loner who spends the day writing in his notebook can hardly stand to have her sit at his lunch table. After all, how can you forgive someone who enjoyed making your life a living hell? Regina won’t go down without a fight, but her attempts to stand up for herself only increase her ex-friends resolve (and the viciousness of the tactics they use) to break her down.

This book is impossible to put down and Regina – flawed, impulsive, and arrogant – makes for a realistic, if not always likeable heroine. But she is nothing compared to horrific queen bee Anna  and the followers who will do anything to stay in her good graces. It’s not news that there are mean girls. But the lengths that they will go to prove their dominance will surprise some readers – and sadly – be all too familiar to others. Can Regina survive? Could you?

Who will like this book?: This is an important book for all girls to read. If you’ve ever gossiped, spread a rumor, or been mean to someone because a friend told you to, then you need to read this book.

If you like this, read this: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The Secret Life of It Girls by Dakota Lane. For younger readers, Getting the Girl by Susan Juby and Poison Ivy by Amy Goldman Koss.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Getting the Girl


Title: Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery

Author: Susan Juby

Summary: At Harewood Technical High School, the worst thing that could happen to a girl is to get ‘defiled,’ or ‘D-Listed.’ When your picture goes up in the bathroom with a D written over it, you instantly become a non-entity: No one will associate with you, or even talk to you at all, ever again. When Sherman Mack, a slightly short culinary student and all-around nice guy, begins to fear that the new girl he has a crush on might get D-listed, he decides to find out who exactly is doing the ‘defiling,’ even if it means crossing the social boundaries of his school and asking questions no one really wants to have answered.

This mystery will keep you guessing, and gives both guys and girls a great hero to root for in Sherman. Even though like most young people, he has a lot on his plate (both literally and figuratively), he goes out of his way to help his friends and the Defiled. You’ll finish this book wishing Sherman was your next-door neighbor – a guy who stands up for what he believes in and a terrific cook!

Who will like this book?: People who like funny mysteries that aren’t intense or gory. Readers who like stories with heroic teens who aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right.

If you like this, try this: The Alice books, also by Susan Juby. 13 by Jason Robert Brown. Little Brother by Cory Doctrow. Paper Towns by John Green.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian



Title: Jumped

Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

Summary: When should you speak up? Trina, a pretty girl who is pretty self-absorbed, cuts through Dominique’s space in the hallway before school. An insulted Dominique vows to beat her down at 2:45 when school lets out. Trina doesn’t realize it – but Leticia, who witnesses the scene and overhears Dominique, does. When Leticia calls her friend to gossip about what just happened, she is urged to warn Trina…but why should she? She and Trina aren’t friends.

As the school day goes on and the clock winds down, we follow each girl through classes, lunch, and interactions with teachers, friends and guys. Trina, oblivious to what is in store for her, hangs her artwork. Dominique, angry about being benched for basketball games because of one failing grade hustles to get back on the court. And Leticia ignores her friend’s pleas to do something, and waits to see if Trina will really get jumped.

Who will like this book?: People who like gritty, disturbing, realistic fiction. None of the girls are heroes – you won’t be rooting for any of them and the ending of the story will leave you shaken. A great read for people who like stories that make you think.

If you like this, try this: Snitch by Alison van Diepen.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Whale Talk


Title: Whale Talk

Author: Chris Crutcher

Summary:  Chris Crutcher is one of those unique writers who manages to get his work challenged almost as often as he receives literary awards and lands on best book lists.   Whale Talk  is perhaps one of his most controversial and one of his best.  It’s told from the point of view of T.J. Jones, a black, Japanese, white high school senior born to a hippie, drug-using mom and adopted as a toddler by a loving white couple.  While T.J. may be the narrator, this is not just his story.  It’s also the story of a group of misfit teens who are inspired to achieve something of their own, a little mixed race girl struggling against a brutal home life, a good man who spends every day trying to make up for a 20+ year old horrible accident, and the racism and prejudice that tie their lives together. 

Who will like this book: While the basic plot of this story centers around T.J. assembling and leading a rag-tag swim team populated with the biggest school misfits, this isn’t just a book for sports fiction fans.  This book delves into topics of child abuse, racism, and bullying with a raw honesty that is heartbreaking at times. 

If you like this, try this:Any other books by Chris Crutcher, Speakby Laurie Halse Anderson, Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Recommended by: Jen, Branch Teen Librarian

Zen and the Art of Faking It


Title: Zen and the Art of Faking It

Author: Jordan Sonnenblick

Summary: Because his dad was a con man (now in prison), San has spent his life moving from school to school. Each time he transfers, San finds a way to blend in: In one school he’s a skater, in another a scholar, and so on. But when he moves to Pennsylvania, he adopts his most curious persona yet. Because he has already learned about Buddhism in social studies at his old school, he knows enough to convince his classmates he might be a Zen master himself. Now, instead of blending in, San stands out – and he likes it. With this new identity, he can fight for the little guys, impress his teachers, and maybe even win the heart of the guitar-playing girl of his dreams, Woody.

But it isn’t easy being Zen – not only does San have to study up with supersized library books on the subject, he has to embody principles like selflessness and tolerance all the time – which is next to impossible when you’re in middle school and you’re still really angry at your dad. How would Woody and the rest of the school react if they find out that San is just faking it?

Who will like this book?: Readers who like a big dose of humor in their stories. Anyone who ever ‘faked it’ a little to win hearts or make friends.

If you like this, try this: Stuck in the Middle, a great graphic novel by Ariel Schrag. Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian


Title: ghostgirl

Author: Tonya Hurley

Summary: Charlotte Usher’s made a vow – this is going to be her year.  She’s going to tryout for cheerleading and get the guy of her dreams.  Her plan can’t fail, after all she’s been laboring over it all summer.  Gone with invisible Charlotte– “Hello” to popular Charlotte.  Unfortunately for Charlotte, all her effort is wasted when she chokes on a gummy bear and dies the first day back to school.  However, Charlotte is not a quitter and she’s not about to let a little thing like death keep her from getting her dream guy to fall in love with her and her first kiss.  And, if being dead weren’t bad enough, poor Charlotte still has to finish high school.  Only now her classmates consist of other kids who have died before her and graduation will take a team effort. 

Who will like this book?:  Fans of dark satirical writing, humorous ghost stories, and those who see the humor in high school popularity “contests.”  For those who are attracted to books with amazing covers, I have to say that this is one of the best cover designs I have ever seen.  It’s worth taking a look at this book just for the cover. 

If you like this, try this: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters.  Zombie Blondes by Brian James.

Recommended by: Jen, Woods Teen Librarian