The Danger Box

by Blue Balliett                                                      www.blueballiettoooks.com

Raised by his grandparents, Zoomy has never known his father, and has never missed him, until he shows up one day with a mysterious box, which he leaves behind for safekeeping.  Knowing his father, the box is probably stolen, and Zoomy opens it to find out what it contains.  It contains something that has been missing for years and is priceless.  Legally blind, and on the autism spectrum, Zoomy enlists the help of a new girl in town to track down the legal owner of this precious item.

Rules of the Road
by Joan Bauer                                                         www.joanbauer.com

Meet Jenna Boller, star employee at Gladstone Shoe Store in Chicago.  Standing a gawky 5'11' at 16 years old, Jenna is the kind of girl most likely to stand out in the crowd for all the wrong reasons.  But that doesn’t stop Madeline Gladstone, the president of Gladstone’s Shoes 176 outlets in 37 states, from hiring Jenna to drive her cross country in a last ditch effort to stop Elden Gladstone from taking over his mother’s company and turning a quality business into a shop-and-schlock empire.  Now Jenna Boller, shoe salesperson, is about to become a shoe-store spy as she joins her crusty old employer for an eye-opening adventure that will teach them both the rules of the road, and the rules of life. 

Dark Life

by Kat Falls                                                             wwwkatfalls.com

The oceans rose, swallowing the lowlands. Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor: the Dark Life.  Ty has spent his whole life living deep undersea. When outlaws attack his homestead, he finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from Topside, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and discovers some dark secrets to Dark Life. Secrets that threaten to destroy everything.

Cold Fury
by T. M. Goeglein                                                  wwwtmgoeglein.com

Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).   Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family.  It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight.  Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power."  It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.

Children of the Fire

by Harriette Gillem Robinet                                      www.hgrobinet.com

Eleven-year-old Hallelujah is fascinated by the fires burning all over the city of Chicago. Little does she realize that her life will be changed forever by the flames that burn with such bright fascination for her.  The year is 1871 and this event will later be called the Great Chicago Fire. Hallelujah and her newfound friend Elizabeth are as different as night and day; but their shared solace will bind them as friends forever, as a major American city starts to rebuild itself.

The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History
by Adam Selzer                                                      www.adamselzer.com

With the help of this book, you’ll  learn a nifty mnemonic device that will let you memorize all the forgettable presidents between Lincoln and Van Buren, in order (spoiler alert: it involves pickles!) . With the help of this book, you’ll learn to concisely explain what World War I was all about! (Okay, just kidding about that one.  No one can do that).  Not only will the Smart Aleck’s Guide To American History increase your sorry historical knowledge, it will crack you up and give you material you can use to throw your teachers off balance for entire class periods.  Identify their lies! Point out their half-truths!  And possibly, just possibly, get some extra credit.  Each chapter concludes with a “Some Stuff We Missed” section, essay questions, vocabulary words; and multiple choice questions that will have you laughing out loud.