Pack of Dorks by Beth Vabrel
Lucy knows that kissing Tom Lemmings behind the ball shed will make her a legend. But she doesn’t count on that quick clap of lips propelling her from coolest to lamest fourth grader overnight. Suddenly Lucy finds herself trapped in Dorkdom, where a diamond ring turns your finger green, where the boy you kiss hates you three days later, where your best friend laughs as you cry, where parents seem to stop liking you, and where baby sisters are born different. Now Lucy has a choice: she can be like her former best friend Becky, who would do anything to claim her seat at the cool table in the cafeteria, or Lucy can pull up a chair among the solo eaters—also known as the dorks. Still unsure, Lucy partners with super quiet Sam Righter on a research project about wolves. Lucy connects her own school hierarchy with what she learns about animal pack life—where some wolves pin down weaker ones just because they can, and others risk everything to fight their given place in the pack. Soon Lucy finds her third option: creating a pack of her own, even if it is simply a pack of dorks. Weaving tough issues, including bullying, loyalty, and disability, with a thread of snarky humor, family bonds, and fresh perspective, Pack of Dorks paints characters coming-of-age and coming-to-terms. Beth Vrabel’s stellar debut contemporary middle grade novel is sure to please fans of Jack Gantos, Elizabeth Atkinson, and Judy Blume.
In the Woods by Tana French
When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened. Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hopes that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.
Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell
Mannheim, 1777. The four Weber sisters, daughters of a musical family, share a crowded, artistic life in a ramshackle house. Their father scrapes by as a music copyist; their mother keeps a book of prospective suitors hidden in the kitchen. The sisters struggle with these marriage prospects as well as their musical futures-until one evening at their home, when 21-year- old Wolfgang Mozart walks into their lives.
No longer a prodigy and struggling to find his own place in the music world, Mozart is enthralled with the Weber sisters: Aloysia’s beauty and talent captivates him; Josefa’s rich voice inspires him; Sophie becomes his confidante; and Constanze comes to play a surprising role in his life. Eighteenth-century Europe comes alive with unforgiving winters and yawning princes; scheming parents and the enduring passions of young talent. Set in Mannheim, Munich, Salzburg and Vienna, Marrying Mozart is the richly textured love story of a remarkable historical figure-and four young women who engaged his passion, his music, and his heart.