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Library Media
Reading List by Genre - Realistic

Fiction: Realistic

 Recommended titles

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Reviewed titles


Wonder by R. J. Polacio

August Pullman's deformed face and the medical treatments he has received have prevented him from attending regular school. Once he begins fifth grade at Beecher Prep, however, his impact is reflected from many points of view. Very popular read.

Dreamsleeves by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Aislinn O"Neill wears her dreams on her sleeves and her biggest one is to have her strict father stop drinking. This is a heartwarming story with a strong female character who instills in others the courage to express their dreams and seek help where needed.

Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick

Forced by court order to work in a nursing home, Alex is assigned to a feisty old man with emphysema.  The two develop a love/hate relationship touched with humor and care.  

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

Ally, Bree, and Jack are thrown together at a campground to experience a total solar eclipse.  As a result, the unlikely trio are forced to change much of what they see in themselves. An engaging story whose characters will not be easily forgotten.

The Bridesmaid by Hailey Abbott

Abigail hates weddings.  Unfortunately, she works at her parent's wedding banquet hall and witnesses Bridezillas everyday.  When her sister announces she will wed, her parents lose all perspective and the result is mayhem. A good read for Sarah Dessen fans.

As Simple as It Seems by Sarah Weeks

Verbena Colter discovers that her real father is in jail and her learning difficulties are a result of fetal alcohol syndrome.  The discovery causes her to feel that she is a bad seed and takes her frustrations out on the parents who raised her.  Then a boy named Pooch moves next door and maybe someone else's problems are worse than hers.

Viola in Reel Time by Adriana Trigiani

Viola is sent from Brooklyn to a South Bend, Indiana boarding school while her parents are on a filmmaking assignment in Afghanistan. A budding videographer herself, she uses her skills to help get accustomed to a new place, three roommates, a budding romance, and a potential ghost.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Eleven-year-old Melody is one of the smartest students in her school but she has never spoken a word.  Born with cystic fibrosis, Melody struggles to communicate that she understands much more than she appears to by the looks of her disabilities.  Often she is stuck in a room watching hours of video reruns.  Eventually, Melody begins to receive the attention she needs and begins to take classes with the regular students.  But she soon learns that regular school isn't always rewarding either.

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

Penny's mom decides suddenly to move back to her little hometown of Hog's Hollow from New York City and opens a cupcake store. Worse, her father is not coming with them.  Penny ends up alienating the most powerful girl in school before the first day even arrives. Once school begins, she finds disgusting things jammed into her locker on a regular basis. Will she ever find a way to fit in? Read this if you enjoy Sarah Dessen's novels as it compares well to Along for the Ride.

Bystander by James Preller

Eric is new to this Long Island school and is just trying to fit in. Griffin is the school bully and tests Eric from the start. Should Eric get involved when Griffin hurts another student or should he ignore it and avoid being the next target? A thoughtful read.

Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes

Spencer and his family haven't visited Bird Lake since his older brother, Matty, drowned there at the age of four. Many years later, the family has returned for a summer visit. But Spencer soon senses that the house may be haunted by the dead Matty. And that is just what the next door neighbor boy, Mitch, hopes will happen. He wants the house for his own purposes. Secrets hover around the boys as the two struggle to trust one another.

Trading Faces by Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy

Studious Emma and socially active Payton are identical twins who decide to switch identities in a series of entertaining mishaps. A fun read.

Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff

Sam discovers an old newspaper clipping in his grandfather's attic showing him as a little boy with a headline about a missing child. But Sam struggles with reading and needs to find someone he can trust to help him solve the mystery. That someone is a new girl in school whose family moves around frequently. Are the people Sam loves keeping secrets from him?

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko 

Walker Jones has a scholarship to a private school where he is a minority. Walk is determined to study hard and prove his worth. But diva, Brianna, is equally determined to shake up the school. Kirsten McKenna is one of her prey as she has gotten Kirsten's best friend under her spell. A stunning secret bursts forward with fallout for everyone.

Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay

Saffy discovers she was adopted by the Casson family when she was three from Siena, Italy. Her real mother was a sister to Eve Casson. When her grandfather tries to bring back her beloved angel from Siena, problems begin that lead to an international adventure. A heartwarming tale.

No Talking by Andrew Clements

The fifth graders at Laketon Elementary have a reputation. They are lively, noisy, and very talkative. They are also competitive, so when the boys challenge the girls to two days of no talking outside of saying three words at any given time, the challenge is on. But how will those at school and home react to the changes? A fun read and a lesson on communication.

Games: A Tale of Two Bullies by Carol Gorman

Boot Quinn and Mick Sullivan spar with words and fists on a regular basis. Things change when the new principal forces them to play board games in a makeshift room next to his office. The stakes begin to rise as bets abound throughout the school. Just how far will they go?

The Cupid Chronicles by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

The public library is closing down and Willa Havisham is determined to save it. Only she'll need lots of money to do it while trying to land the boy of her dreams. Guilderland residents will have fun discovering local names embedded in the story line by the author.

Shug by Jenny Han

Annemarie Wilcox whose nickname is Shug, is entering junior high. She knows her childhood friendships are about to change and that scares her. Her friends are maturing faster than she is and many are losing patience when she tries to hang on to the old ways. A thoughtful look at early adolescence.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  

Steven excels as a drummer in the All Star Jazz Band. It serves as release too, as his five-year-old brother has leukemia. Steven juggles failings in school, read alouds with his sick brother, female crushes, and parents who are too frazzled to notice him. Excellent read.

Avalon High by Meg Cabot  

Being the new girl in school is often difficult. But when newly arrived Ellie meets Will, the connection is instant. Why do they feel they've met before? And when Will's life is in danger, Ellie displays unique abilities to help. Another fun Meg Cabot novel !

How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot

Stephanie Landry has been the butt of jokes since she spilled a red Super Big Gulp on a popular girl years earlier. When she discovers an old book on How to Be Popular, she follows it faithfully. Will it make a difference? Meg Cabot shines again in this fun story.

Larger Than Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall 

Lara Phelps, who is severely obese, enters Laney Grafton's elementary school. Now Laney, poor and motherless, is no longer the focus for the classroom bullies. But can Lara's beaming personality win them over?

Hard Hit by Ann Turner

In this free verse novel, Mark Warren and his dad communicate by Mark burning pitches into his father's glove. Mark is an ace pitcher, but when his dad is diagnosed with cancer, he must learn to perform, and deal with the unfathomable. 

Criss Cross by Lynne Ray Perkins  

A group of childhood friends meet in Lenny's dad's pickup truck every Saturday night to listen to a radio show called Criss Cross. Their lives also criss cross as they try to connect with each other and the people of their town. Newbery winner.

The Report Card by Andrew Clements

If Nora Rose Rowley is a genius, why is she trying to get all Ds on her report card?

My Brother's Keeper by Patricia McCormick  

After Toby Malone's father leaves, his older brother, Jake, turns to drugs, his younger brother reverts to sucking his thumb, and his mother cries often. Toby thinks he's helping by intercepting bills his mother can't pay and covering for Jake as his drug use increases. But could his cover up lead to danger for the whole family?

Snap by Alison McGhee

Edwina, or Eddie, makes lists for everything in her life. She also wears colored rubber bands on her wrists to remind her of things she should or shouldn't do (quit tipping back her chair, covering her mouth when she laughs). However, life isn't always so orderly. When Willie, her best friend's grandmother who also raises her, is dying, Eddie questions life, friendship and her future.

So B. It by Sarah Weeks

Twelve-year-old Heidi leads an unconventional lifestyle because her mom has a "bum brain." Bernadette, their agoraphobic neighbor, takes care of both of them. Since Heidi's mother only knows 23 words, Heidi has little knowledge of her background. That is, until she finds some old photos shoved in the back of a drawer and realizes they offer clues to her past. This leads her to a long cross-country bus trip that she hopes will fill in the missing pieces.

Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters

Antonia Dillon is shocked to discover she is peer counseling Jazz Luther, whose purple hair, pierced eyebrow, and black lips do not make her exactly normal in Antonia's conservative eyes. The girls struggle with how they can help each other when they seem so different.

Flood by James Heneghan

Andy Flynn's mom and step-dad die in a Vancouver mudslide but Andy survives. Soon he moves to Halifax where he runs away from his aunt and seeks out his derelict father. His father tries to care for him in a roach-infested flat with thugs and the police hovering about. Andy attempts to build a relationship with his father but soon discovers, as his mother did years before, that change is difficult, probably impossible. An engrossing, heartwarming tale.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Steve Harmon. a 16-year old inner city kid is accused of being an accomplice in a fatal armed robbery. Steve, an aspiring filmmaker, creates a movie dialogue in his mind as a way to cope amidst the swirl of emotions surrounding his arrest and trial. His daily journal entry reveals his thoughts as the reader becomes both witness and jury.

Blister by Susan Shreve

Alyssa Reed was supposed to have a new sister. The baby is stillborn and Mom is depressed. Dad moves the family and then moves out. Alyssa starts at her new school calling herself only Blister (“everything is rubbing against her and hurting”). As Blister attempts to fit in at her new school, she also tries to find a way to matter to someone in her family.


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