Book Club Kits

Expand the options your book club has through CALS Book Club Kits, made possible by Friends of the Central Arkansas Library (FOCAL). Request a kit to be sent to your branch for pickup. Kits contain copies of a title and a discussion guide, and can be checked out for six weeks. Click on the tabs below for available book titles.

What is a CALS Book Club Kit?

A book club kit is a handy canvas tote that holds:

  • 10 paperback copies of one title and;
  • 1 discussion guide to assist book club leaders.

How do I reserve a CALS Book Club kit?

Download and complete the Book Club Registration Form, then deliver or mail it to any branch of the Central Arkansas Library System.

What rules apply to a CALS Book Club Kit?

  • Kits may be reserved up to a year in advance
  • Kits are checked out to one person (must be 18 years or older) who will be responsible for returning it.
  • Each book club kit will be checked out for 6 weeks. (Sorry, no renewals are allowed.)
  • The complete kit must be returned to the Circulation Desk of any branch library during regular library hours. Do not use a book drop to return your kit.
  • The fine for overdue book club kits is $1 per day per kit.
  • If a kit is not returned, the replacement cost is $100. Replacement costs will be prorated for missing or damaged items.

Are there special requirements for the Juvenile/YA book kits?

We only require that an adult (18+) check out each book kit. Adult book clubs as well as book clubs for children and teens are encouraged to consider the award-winning literature offered through our Juvenile/YA book kit program.

As with all books your club selects, we recommend that a member of your group reads the book to see if it is a good fit for your club. To find out more about any selection, click “Check Library Catalog” below to view each CALS online catalog record.

For more information

Contact Jeannie Burrus by phone at 918-3032, or email

Available Titles

The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

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It’s 1947 and American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a fervent belief that her beloved French cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive somewhere. So when Charlie’s family banishes her to Europe to have her “little problem” take care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

In 1915, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance to serve when she’s recruited to work as a spy for the English. Sent into enemy-occupied France during The Great War, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents, right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launching them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate

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Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery’s decision to learn more about the woman’s life will take her on a journey through her family’s long-hidden history.

Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue

Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue

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At the intersection of Americanah and The Help comes a novel about two marriages, one immigrant and working class, the other from the top 1%, both chasing their version of the American Dream. In the fall of 2007, Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Their situation only improves when Jende’s wife Neni is hired as household help. But in the course of their work, Jende and Neni begin to witness infidelities, skirmishes, and family secrets. Then, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, a tragedy changes all four lives forever, and the Jongas must decide whether to continue fighting to stay in a recession-ravaged America or give up and return home to Cameroon.

Breakfast with Buddha, by Roland Merullo

Breakfast with Buddha
by Roland Merullo

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When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he’d planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger – and amuse himself –he decides to show the monk some “American fun” along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world – and more important, his life – through someone else’s eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing.

In Roland Merullo’s masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he’s missing in the most unexpected place.

Bringing Maggie Home, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Bringing Maggie Home
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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Ten-year-old Hazel takes her three-year-old sister to pick berries in a blackberry thicket in 1943, and only one of them comes home again. Young Hazel’s world crumbles, the weight of the guilt from that colors every relationship in her life for the next seventy years. But now Hazel’s granddaughter Meghan is a cold case agent and has an opportunity to investigate this very personal family mystery. What she uncovers could provide healing for three generations of women.

The Circle, by Dave Eggers

The Circle
by Dave Eggers

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When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world, even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Five Days at Memorial, by Sheri Fink

Five Days at Memorial
by Sheri Fink

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Reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina destroyed its generators to reveal how caregivers were forced to make life-and-death decisions without essential resources.

The Glass Universe, by Dava Sobel

The Glass Universe
by Dava Sobel

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The little-known true story of the unexpected and remarkable contributions to astronomy made by a group of women working in the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as “human computers” to interpret the observations their male counterparts made via telescope each night. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned from computation to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The support of Mrs. Anna Palmer Draper, the widow of a pioneer in stellar photography, enabled the women to discern what stars were made of, divide the stars into meaningful categories for further research, and find a way to measure distances across space by starlight. Sobel tells the hidden history of the women whose contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.

H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald

H is for Hawk
by Helen MacDonald

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As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane terminology and read all the classic books, including T.H. White’s tortured masterpiece, The Goshawk, which describes White’s struggle to train a hawk as a spiritual contest. When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She buys Mabel on a Scottish quayside and takes her home to Cambridge. Then she fills the freezer with hawk food and unplugs the phone, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals.

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures
by Margot Lee Shetterly

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Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon
by David Grann

Check Library Catalog Note: available May 2018

Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West – where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed – many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Life After, by Katie Ganshert

Life After
by Katie Ganshert

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It could have been me. Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost. A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief, by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest. Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens

The Life We Bury
by Allen Eskens

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College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran and a convicted murderer, medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. Unable to reconcile Carl’s valor in Vietnam with the despicable acts of the convict, Joe throws himself into uncovering the truth.

Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly

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New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939 and then sets its sights on France. An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences. For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power. The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents, from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland, as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten. In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton

Little Black Lies
by Sharon Bolton

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In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely… When another child goes missing, and then a third, it’s no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation. And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise. But three islanders, Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum, are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.

Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders
by Anthony Horowitz

Check Library Catalog Note: available April 2018

After working with bestselling crime writer Alan Conway for years, editor Susan Ryeland is intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries in sleepy English villages. His traditional formula has proved hugely successful, so successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job. Conway’s latest tale involves a murder at Pye Hall, with dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects. But the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

Murder in Matera, by Helene Stapinski

Murder in Matera
by Helene Stapinski

Check Library Catalog Note: available April 2018

Since childhood, Helene Stapinski heard lurid tales about her great-great-grandmother, Vita. In Southern Italy, she was a loose woman who had murdered someone. Immigrating to America with three children, she lost one along the way. Helene’s youthful obsession with Vita deepened as she grew up, eventually propelling the journalist to Italy, where, with her own children in tow, she pursued the story, determined to set the record straight.

News of the World, by Paulette Jiles

News of the World
by Paulette Jiles

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In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence. In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio.

Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land. Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember, strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become, in the eyes of the law, a kidnapper himself.

The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell

The Other Typist
by Suzanne Rindell

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Working as a typist for the NYC Police Department in 1923, Rose Baker documents confessions of harrowing crimes and struggles with changing gender roles while clinging to her Victorian ideals and searching for nurturing companionship before becoming obsessed with a glamorous newcomer and her world of bobbed hair, smoking and speakeasies.

Rise: How A House Built A Family, by Cara Brookins

Rise: How A House Built A Family
by Cara Brookins

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After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible. Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan and a mile-wide stubborn streak, Cara built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children. It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two story, five bedroom house. She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family.

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things
by Jodi Picoult

Check Library Catalog Note: Available August 2018

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family, especially her teenage son, as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others, and themselves, might be wrong.

Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron

Sophie’s Choice
by William Styron

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First published in 1979, this complex and ambitious novel opens with Stingo, a young southerner, journeying north in 1947 to become a writer. It leads us into his intellectual and emotional entanglement with his neighbors in a Brooklyn rooming house: Nathan, a tortured, brilliant Jew, and his lover, Sophie, a beautiful Polish woman whose wrist bears the grim tattoo of a concentration camp…and whose past is strewn with death that she alone survived.

The Stars are Fire, by Anita Shreve

The Stars are Fire
by Anita Shreve

Check Library Catalog Note: Available April 2018

In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie’s two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort. The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands’ fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms, joys and triumphs she could never have expected.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

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A.J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession, a rare edition of Poe poems, has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Until a most unexpected occurrence gives him the chance to make his life over and see things anew.

What We Lose, by Zinzi Clemmons

What We Lose
by Zinzi Clemmons

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Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor, someone, or something, to love.

The Windfall, by Diksha Basu

The Windfall
by Diksha Basu

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For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all. The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters.

Please note: All book club kits must be checked out to an adult (18+) with a current, valid CALS library card.

Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl
by Eoin Colfer

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When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll. Book One of the Artemis Fowl series.

Ages 9-13

The Body of Christopher Creed, by Carol Plum-Ucci

The Body of Christopher Creed
by Carol Plum-Ucci

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Torey Adams, a high school junior with a seemingly perfect life, struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast.

Ages 13-18

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins

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By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion. Book Two of the Hunger Games series.

Ages 13-18

The City of Ember, by Jeanne Duprau

The City of Ember
by Jeanne Duprau

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In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions. Book One of the Books of Ember series.

Ages 9-13

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal, by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal
by Jeff Kinney

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Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship. Book One of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Ages 9-13

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules, by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules
by Jeff Kinney

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Greg Heffley tells about his summer vacation and his attempts to steer clear of trouble when he returns to middle school and tries to keep his older brother Rodrick from telling everyone about Greg’s most humiliating experience of the summer. Book Two of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Ages 9-13

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
by Jeff Kinney

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Middle-schooler Greg Heffley nimbly sidesteps his father’s attempts to change Greg’s wimpy ways until his father threatens to send him to military school. Book Three of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Ages 9-13

Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

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Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.

Ages 13-18

Gideon the Cutpurse, by Linda Buckley-Archer

Gideon the Cutpurse
by Linda Buckley-Archer

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Ignored by his father and sent to Derbyshire for the weekend, twelve-year-old Peter and his new friend, Kate, are accidentally transported back in time to 1763 England where they are befriended by a reformed cutpurse. Book One of the series.

Ages 9-13

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

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An orphaned boy is raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

Ages 13-18

Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins

Gregor the Overlander
by Suzanne Collins

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When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy. Book One of the Underland Chronicles.

Ages 9-13

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

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In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place. Book One of the Hunger Games series.

Ages 13-18

I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai

I am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

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Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school. Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. No one expected her to survive. Now Malala is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke

by Cornelia Funke

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Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Ages 9-13

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, by Wendy Mass

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
by Wendy Mass

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Just before his thirteenth birthday, Jeremy Fink receives a keyless locked box – set aside by his father before his death five years earlier – that purportedly contains the meaning of life.

Ages 9-13

The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo

The Magician’s Elephant
by Kate DiCamillo

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When ten-year-old orphan Peter Augustus Duchene encounters a fortune teller in the marketplace one day and she tells him that his sister, who is presumed dead, is in fact alive, he embarks on a remarkable series of adventures as he desperately tries to find her.

Ages 9-13

Magyk, by Angie Sage

by Angie Sage

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After learning that she is the Princess, Jenna is whisked from her home and carried toward safety by the Extraordinary Wizard, those she always believed were her father and brother, and a young guard known only as Boy 412 – pursued by agents of those who killed her mother ten years earlier. Book One of the Septimus Heap series.

Ages 9-13

The Merchant of Death, by D. MacHale

The Merchant of Death
by D. MacHale

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Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal and somewhat reluctant 14- year-old boy who is swept into an amazing five-year quest. Book One of the Pendragon series.

Ages 9-13

Olive's Ocean, by Kevin Henkes

Olive’s Ocean
by Kevin Henkes

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On a summer visit to her grandmother’s cottage by the ocean, twelve-year-old Martha gains perspective on the death of a classmate, on her relationship with her grandmother, on her feelings for an older boy, and on her plans to be a writer.

Ages 9-13

Paper Towns, by John Green

Paper Towns
by John Green

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Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life – summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge – he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues – and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew.

Peace, Locomotion, by Jacqueline Woodson

Peace, Locomotion
by Jacqueline Woodson

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Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as “Locomotion,” keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.

Ages 9-13

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street , by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
by Jeanne Birdsall

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The four Penderwick sisters are faced with the unimaginable prospect of their widowed father dating, and they hatch a plot to stop him.

Ages 9-13

Saffy's Angel, by Hilary McKay

Saffy’s Angel
by Hilary McKay

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After learning that she was adopted, thirteen-year-old Saffron’s relationship with her eccentric, artistic family changes, until they help her go back to Italy where she was born to find a special memento of her past.

Ages 9-13

Salem Brownstone, by John Harris Dunning

Salem Brownstone
by John Harris Dunning

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Upon his father’s death, Salem Brownstone inherits a mansion as well as an unfinished battle with creatures from another world, which requires him to seek the help of his guardian familiar and the colorful performers of Dr. Kinoshita’s Circus of Unearthly Delights.

Ages 13-18

A Season of Gifts, by Richard Peck

A Season of Gifts
by Richard Peck

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Relates the surprising gifts bestowed on twelveyear-old Bob Barnhart and his family, who have recently moved to a small Illinois town in 1958, by their largerthan-life neighbor, Mrs. Dowdel. A companion novel to A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder.

Ages 9-13

Skeleton Man, by Joseph Bruchac

Skeleton Man
by Joseph Bruchac

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After her parents disappear and she is turned over to the care of a strange “great-uncle,” Molly must rely on her dreams about an old Mohawk story for her safety and maybe even for her life.

Ages 9-13

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson

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While going through the possessions of a deceased guest who owed them money, the mistress of the inn and her son find a treasure map that leads them to a pirate’s fortune.

Ages 13-18

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

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A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead

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As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1970s television game show, “The $20,000 Pyramid,” a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.

Ages 9-13

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

by R.J. Palacio

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Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

Ages 9-13

Zoobreak, by Gordon Korman

by Gordon Korman

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After a class trip to a floating zoo where animals are mistreated and Savannah’s missing pet monkey is found in a cage, Long Island sixth-grader Griffin Bing and his band of misfits plan a rescue.

Ages 9-13