Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Avalon High What if King Arthur, his lady Guinevere, and his best friend Lancelot were reincarnated as teenagers in an affluent suburb of Washington D.C.? And what if all the drama of Camelot was being played out again in the hallways of Avalon High, where new student Elaine arrives just in time to fall for Arthur (known in this life as Will) and stop the forces of darkness from destroying him again? Is Will really the latest version of the mythical ruler? Elaine doesn’t believe it, but almost against her will, she is slowly pulled into the timeless story of love, jealousy, and betrayal and given her role to play. Elaine may think she’s only helping a new friend, but she just may be saving all of mankind! Meg Cabot re-casts the Arthurian legend with quarterbacks and cheerleaders, class presidents and track stars, and the result is one funny, romantic romp that will leave readers believing that heroes really can rise again and you don’t have to be a princess to win the heart of a king!

Prom Anonymous by Blake Nelson

Prom Anonymous Laura Truman, Jace Torres and Chloe Thomas were best friends all through junior high. Then, high school happened, and they grew apart. Now, it’s time for their senior prom, and Laura wants to bring the three”T’s” together again for old times sake. There’s only one problem: the T’s couldn’t be further apart in the high school social strata. Laura’s a popular beauty, Jace is an accomplished athlete, and Chloe is, well, just Chloe. But when Laura decides to mobilize, nothing stands in her way, not even the fact that Chloe doesn’t have the remotest possibility of snagging a date. Somehow, someway, with lots of miscommunications, coy conversations, and phone calls to total strangers, Laura not only gets Chloe a date, but also plans and manages to pull off the perfect prom night for everyone – except herself. Full of hilarious dialogue, romantic tension, and back-stabbing high school politics, this modern comedy of manners will resound with anyone who a) went to prom, b) skipped prom, c) went and wished they didn’t, or d) skipped it and wished they went.

Boy Proof by Cecil Castelucci

Boy Proof Victoria doesn’t believe in boys. They just exist to break your heart. That’s why she’s adopted the completely boy-proof persona of her fav sci-fi movie star, Egg. Egg is bad, bald, and tougher than nails, so when Victoria is wearing her Egg cloak, she feels sufficiently protected from the slings and arrows of that troublemaker Cupid. That is, until just the right boy comes along with the ability to crack Egg’s shell wide open…yes, this is that “girl meets boy, girl hates boy, then girl crushes on boy” book. But with a fun twist—unlike many of the pink-lipsticked gossip gurls in bookstores these days, Victoria is a science fiction geek with a professional movie monster maker for a dad, and a failed scream queen actress for a mom. This makes for all sorts of interesting secondary situations that add to Victoria’s boy hating angst. Boy Proof is just different enough to draw your attention away from those 50 thousand other pastel-jacketed teen chick lit books vying for your allowance dollars.

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Prom High school senior Ashley Hannigan isn’t anybody’s idea of a princess. She’s just a normal girl from a working class family in Philly, with too many brothers and not enough privacy. Her dad and brothers decorate the house according to the sports season, while her mom drives a city bus and thinks that Madonna’s Like A Virgin phase was, and still is, high fashion. Ashley just wants to graduate and get the hell out of her parent’s crowded house. So how does this blue-collar Cinderella end up not only with the requisite pink dress and “fairy” godmother,(her best friend’s Russian immigrant grandma, who doesn’t speak English) but also being in charge of the entire senior prom?! Well, it’s not easy, and it’s not magic, either! Written in response to readers asking for a story about a “regular girl” who isn’t super rich or a wannabe pop princess, Laurie Anderson’s Prom is a well-crafted tale of a girl who is neither victim or wonder. Just like a girl you know—or are.

Deep by Susanna Vance

Deep Birdie is a selfish, self-involved thirteen year old who practically defines the word, “spoiled.” Morgan is a brooding, dark seventeen year old who has lived her life at sea and scarcely knows how to talk to people. How in the world do these two people, as opposite as they can be, not only become friends but end up saving each other’s lives? It has something to do with beans, pirates, moonlit beaches, and a whole lot of drama. Getting to the bottom of Deep is well worth the literary swim. Take deep breath and dive in!

Jinx by Margaret Wild

Jen is pretty depressed. Not just one, but two people very close to her have committed suicide in a short time. The only thing she can do is wear her pain very publicly on her sleeve by forcing people to call her Jinx instead of Jen, because it’s obviously bad luck to know her. Lovingly supported by her mom, friends, and intuitive little sister, Jinx will have learn how to make her way back to being Jen. Told in spare verse format, Jinx is a story that very powerfully illustrates the old adage that the things that don’t kill us make us stronger.

Amandine by Adele Griffin

Amandine Delia is the woeful “new girl” at school, so she’s pretty much fishing around for someone, ANYONE to be friends with. Unfortunately for her, the only person who bites is Amandine, an admittedly strange girl obsessed with stage and screen. Amandine wears a different costume to school everyday, and can mimic any of their classmates to a tee. But usually her impersonations are so cruel that Delia feels uncomfortable laughing at them, and she hates the way Amandine insists on having her own way all the time. So when Delia decides that this friendship is just not meant to be, Amandine uses all her superior acting ability to trap Delia in a lie that could harm Delia’s entire family. A chilling, thrilling story of a friendship gone wrong—REALLY wrong!

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Have you ever felt like you just might EXPLODE from lust? Sophie does—and you can read all about it in her secret verse diary. Each poem reveals Sophie’s feelings about all the men in her life—sexy Dylan (who’s not terribly bright) chat-room Chaz (who may be faking her out) and finally, nerdy Murphy (who just might be her knight in shining armor). Girls, give this one to your guy friends if they want to know how the female mind REALLY works. A tremendously real (and really well-written) read.

Sights by Susanna Vance

SightsBaby Girl lived in her mother’s womb for over 9 months and as a result, has the Sight. She can see everyone’s future but her own, and that’s probably a good thing, since her father keeps trying to kill her. He tries drowning and putting bleach in her water until B.G.’s mom gets wise and spirits them off to a new town. There, B.G. learns her true talent as an accordion player, gets her first kiss, and finally confronts her murderous pappy once and for all. A funny , folky read that will win your heart with its sweetly strange heroine.

Born Blue by Han Nolan

Born Blue Janie is one mixed up kid. She’s been in and out of so many foster homes she doesn’t know which end is up. So it’s no surprise that she’s got some serious misunderstandings when it comes to her background. For example, blond haired, blue eyed Janie is convinced that her real parents must be African American since she identifies so strongly with black soul singers like Aretha and Billie. So she changes her name to Leshaya, and leaves her foster homes behind to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. But it’s hard to follow your dream when you’re trying to make people believe you’re a strong black soul sister instead of an insecure, frightened white girl. Will Leshaya realize her dream before it eats her alive? A gut-wrenching read with a surprising ending.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising A pampered only child, Esperanza is used to getting her way around her father’s affluent Mexican ranch, Rancho de las Rosas. But when her father is killed by bandits and her greedy uncles swoop in and take the land away from her mother, Esperanza must find her core of inner strength and be brave in the face of great adversity. Because now, she and Mama have nothing and must immigrate to the United States to work. But the Great Depression is going on, and the only work to be found is migrant farm work–hard, back breaking labor that ruins smooth hands and lines faces. Esperanza learns that class, honesty and integrity have nothing to do with how many dresses or servants you have, but how you live your life and treat those around you. Esperanza wants to believe that she can conquer this new way of life, but when Mama gets sick, it’s hard to keep going. But her name means hope–and that has to stand for something. Based on the events that took place in her family, Pam Munoz Ryan’s simple story provides a warm, wise, empowering message for girls everywhere.

Battle Dress by Amy Efaw

battle dressAndi Davis’s dismal home life is already so much like a war zone that she can’t imagine her indoctrination into the famous West Point military academy being much worse. But she’s wrong. During the summer before becoming “plebes” or freshman, new recruits have to undergo a six week hard core training session called “The Beast.” It’s awful, humiliating and bone-tiring. But every time Andi thinks about giving up, she remembers her mother’s shrill, angry voice and her father’s torpid silence and resolves that she will escape their fate no matter what. Even though she spends a better part of each day getting screamed at by her superiors, she also makes some great friends in her unit and learns the true meaning of team work. Andi is determined to best the Beast and make her mark as a strong girl in a big boy’s world. Author Amy Efaw knows first hand what it is to be a West Point plebe, and her depiction of Andi’s painful transition from sitting duck to confident solider is written just right. A real winner of a read.

Harley like a Person by Cat Bauer

How would you like it if everyone made a lame motorcycle joke every time your name was mentioned? Welcome to the world of Harley Columba. She just lost the one adult she could trust (grandma), she is desperately in love with bad boy Johnny Bruno, and convinced that the loud-mouthed drinker in her living room is an android stand-in for her real dad. She knows her real father must be an amazing person who will totally understand her artistic soul. So she sets out to find him with nothing more than a mysterious note and a prayer. Harley does end up getting the answers she’s looking for–they just aren’t the answers she wanted. Grittier than sand in your shorts, Harley like a Person is a in-your-face-girl-read, with a realistic ending that doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that Life isn’t always nice–or fair.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Well people, this love note is long overdue. Let’s have three cheers for Speak, the amazing novel from‘ 99 that told the real deal behind the evil hierarchy of name brands and cheerleader gossip that is high school. The bare bones of the story is this: Melinda was raped at an upperclassman party summer before freshman year and has consequently lost her voice. Her parents don’t really notice her, her classmates think she squealed on them by calling the cops to the party (when she was just trying to report her rape) and only friend is a perky new girl who doesn’t know her history. Even though Melinda doesn’t talk, her thoughts are killer-funny. I have nothing but respect and goddess-like admiration for the author who can pen such lines as:“ My parents didn’t raise me to be religious. The closest we come to worship is the Trinity of Visa, Mastercard and American Express,” and“ If I ever form my own clan, we’ll be the Anti-Cheerleaders. We will not sit in the bleachers. We will wander underneath them and commit mild acts of mayhem.” I just have one question for the astute Anderson–how can she KNOW so well what hell high school can be?? Check out her website at www.writerlady.com and ask her yourself after you read only one of the best books EVER.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Mia already has enough to deal with. She the tallest, most flat-chested person in the ninth grade, her hippie-artist mom is dating Mia’s teacher (“Thanks Mom. Thanks a whole lot”) and she has a hopeless crush on the hottest guy at school who, in typical hottie-fashion, has no idea that she exists. Then her dad, who is amicably divorced from her mom, drops the big one: instead of the foreign diplomat she thought him to be, he’s really the prince of a tiny European country and Mia is the crown heir! Mia couldn’t possibly feel less like a royal, but all of a sudden she’s got to do this Princess Diana-like gig with no experience whatsoever. It totally increases her sympathy for other sudden-celebrity teens:“ If I were Chelsea Clinton, I would change my name and move to Iceland.” A not-so-serious-girl-power read that will keep you giggling long after the last page is turned.