Girl Only Book Club: Grade 4-6
Sixteen-year-old drummer Stella, guitarist Jacob and bassist Miles need a wild singer for their old-school rock band. When they discover nerdy Tamara Donnelly, who nails the national anthem at a baseball game, Stella is not convinced Tamara’s sound is right for the band. Stella wants to turn Tamara into a rock goddess, but Tamara proves to be a confident performer who has her own ideas about music and what it means to be epic cool.
When their band, the Frail Days, starts to build a local following, Stella and Tamara clash over the direction the band should take, forcing them to consider what true musical collaboration means.
Safira doesn’t believe in ghosts, but the girl in her cabin at camp was not a living person, so what was she? Her friend Trinity is convinced Safira’s seen a ghost and sets out to discover who the ghost girl is. Safira is too busy dealing with her family to help solve the mystery. Safira has never gotten along with her sister, Mya, and now that Mya’s pending marriage dominates the family there seems to be no hope for friendship between them. But when Trinity discovers the death of a girl named Myra, Safira starts to wonder if the ghost-girl has an important message about her own sister.
Chloe thinks of herself as a normal teenage girl—if there’s any such thing—until a formless alien being inhabits her body. The being is named Welkin and claims to be a Universal. Welkin has entered Chloe’s body as part of a school project. Chloe agrees to let this weirdo observe her life for three days as long as Welkin doesn’t interfere. Welkin tries to respect the non-interference portion of the agreement. But Welkin’s stream of alien commentary as Chloe deals with boys, her coach and math homework has a comic, and sometimes enlightening, impact on Chloe’s life.
Callie’s mother has chained herself to the neighbor’s tree and is living inside the treehouse. She refuses to come down until the neighbor, Mr. Wilson, agrees to leave the tree standing. Soon reporters arrive to interview Callie about her mother’s protest. Callie doesn’t want to talk to anyone. More chaos ensues when Callie’s grandmother invites the “singing grannies” to help save the tree, the neighbor’s biker friends come to her aid, and Callie’s friends show up to try to get themselves on TV. Callie needs to figure out how to get her mother to come down from the tree so that her life can return to normal.
Lily is discovered by a big-name director when she’s auditioning for a role in a toothpaste commercial. He wants her for his new movie, which is great except for the fact that it’s shooting in Los Angeles and Lily lives in Vancouver. With the help of her Chinese grandmother, she convinces her parents to let her go to LA with her agent as a chaperone. But when she gets there, she finds out that if she wants to be more than the flavor of the week, she’s going to have to pay a price that may be way too high.
When Cassie comes to Vancouver from Australia for an intensive summer program at a prestigious ballet school, she finds it hard to fit in. A clique of girls who have been at the school a long time don’t want the newcomers to get any attention. At first Cassie tries to go along to get along, but when she realizes that some of the visiting summer students are being bullied and threatened, and that she herself is being sabotaged, she finally speaks out—and finds out how far some girls will go to succeed.
Alice doesn’t like noise, smells or strangers. She does like rules. Lots of rules. Nobody at her new school knows she has Asperger’s, so it doesn’t take long for her odd behavior to get her into trouble. When she meets Megan in detention, she doesn’t know what to make of her. Megan doesn’t smell, she’s not terribly noisy, and she’s not exactly a stranger, but is she a friend? Megan seems fearless to Alice—but also angry or maybe sad. Alice isn’t sure which. When Megan decides to run away, Alice resolves to help her friend, no matter how many rules she has to break or how bad it makes her feel.
On her seventh birthday, Pauline rode across the lawns on her street followed by her best friend Henry, he on the blue wooden horse, she on the red. On the seventh lawn at the top of the street, she collapsed, becoming a sudden victim of the polio outbreak of the summer of 1954.
Five years later, when In the Clear begins, she has survived, but paid a heavy price. A brace on her left leg allows her to walk, but she confines herself to her house, humiliated at the notion of being seen. Terrified by what Pauline has already suffered, her mother watches over her, forbidding her to play hockey on the ice rink her father has created in the backyard.
Nell has been in foster homes all her life—most of them have been horrible. She finally gets moved to a home she likes, and the ministry threatens to close it down unless an expensive renovation is made to the house. Nell and the two boys in the home, Billy and Tom, decide to raise the funds themselves. How do kids get large amounts of money quickly? By robbing banks, of course. Their first few heists are successful, but when they almost get caught on their sixth robbery, the friends start to fight about whether they should continue. The bank jobs that were meant to keep their family together just might tear it apart.
Abandoned by her father during the Depression, eleven-year-old Elsie lives in the garage behind her old house with her mother, grandmother Nan and out-of-work uncle. Elsie’s friend Scoop accompanies her as she searches for her father in the city, encountering unfriendly hobos, food lines and shantytowns.
After both her uncle and her mother disappear on mysterious errands, Elsie and Scoop eventually discover them competing in a dance marathon. Persuading them to abandon the contest, Elsie and Scoop lead the exhausted dancers home, where Nan has news of Elsie’s father and his impending return to the family.
Twelve-year-old Astrid has come to Ghana with her family in 1979 so that her father can help oversee Ghana’s first democratic election. Astrid and her brother, Gordo, were told it would be a great family adventure, but they soon find out that everything about Ghana is difficult—the heat, the food, the threat of disease, the soldiers on the roads, the schools. Gordo fits in more easily than Astrid, who is often left to look after her baby sister, Piper, as their mother begins to fall apart under the strain of living in Ghana. When the government is overthrown, Gordo comes down with malaria and a soldier threatens her family, Astrid is surprised to discover how protective she has become of her new home.
Grime cop and teen fairy Pepper Powder lives for one thing: protecting the human species from magical zealots who seek to eradicate them with viruses. When a terrorist leader releases a necrophage bomb, it not only decimates Grime headquarters, it turns Pepper into the magical world’s first fairy amputee—but she’s not going to let a little thing like a missing leg stop her. To catch her criminal, and prevent him from unleashing a virus in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall, she goes undercover as a human. But once Pepper’s theories of humanity collide with the reality of bullies, cliques, and environmental destruction, will she still believe humanity’s worth saving?
Fourteen-year-old Simone is having trouble making friends at her new school when her leadership studies class is paired with kindergarten students to mentor throughout the school year. To her surprise, Simone enjoys the Kinderbuddy Project, and she develops a special friendship with her Kinderbuddy, Lily. But as the bond between Simone and her Kinderbuddy grows, she realizes that a crisis is looming in Lily’s family. Simone calls upon Aaron, the reluctant heartthrob of the class, for help, and they become key witnesses to events neither of them could have predicted.