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2020 Books for Missouri Students

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2020 Senior, 9-12
Dig
Dig Image

The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account–wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. “Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says. What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first-class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a double-wide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings’ precious suburban respectability begins to spread, the far-flung grandchildren gradually find their ways back to one another, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.

King of Scars
King of Scars Image

Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war–and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Anthem
Anthem Image

The final installment for Wiles Sixties Trilogy is one you don’t want to miss. Filled with images, quotes, and news stories from the time period make these great for book club and class reads.

Molly and Norman travel cross-country in an old school bus to let Molly’s brother, Barry know he has been drafted. Along the way, they encounter protests, see parades, and see way more of America than they imagined.

The Fountains of Silence
The Fountains of Silence Image

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography introduces him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War, as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Girls With Sharp Sticks
Girls With Sharp Sticks Image

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved, it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardian, they receive a well-rounded education that promises to make them better. Obedient girls, free from arrogance or defiance. Free from troublesome opinions or individual interests.

But the girls’ carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. As Mena and her friends uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there, and who they really are, the girls of Innovations Academy will learn to fight back.

Shatter City
Shatter City Image

When the world sees Frey, they think they see her twin sister Rafi. Frey was raised to be Rafi’s double, and now she’s taken on the role . . . without anyone else knowing. Her goal? To destroy the forces that created her. But with the world watching and a rebellion rising, Frey is forced into a detour. Suddenly she is stranded on her own in Paz, a city where many of the citizens attempt to regulate their emotions through an interface on their arms. Paz is an easy place to get lost . . . and also an easy place to lose yourself. As the city comes under a catastrophic attack, Frey must leave the shadows and enter the chaos of warfare–because there is no other way for her to find her missing sister and have her revenge against her murderous father.

Tell Me Everything
Tell Me Everything Image

Ivy’s always preferred to lay low, unlike her best friend Harold, who has taken up a hundred activities as sophomore year begins. But Ivy has her own distraction: the new anonymous art-sharing app, VEIL.

Being on the sidelines has made Ivy a skilled observer, and soon she discovers that some of the anonymous posters are actually her classmates. While she’s still too scared to put her own creations on the app, Ivy realizes that she can contribute in an even better way, by making gifts for the artists she’s discovered. The acts of kindness give her such a rush that, when Ivy suspects Harold is keeping a secret, she decides to go all in.

But when her good intentions thrust her into the spotlight, Ivy’s carefully curated world is thrown into chaos. Now she has to find the courage to stand out… or risk losing everything and everyone she loves most.

We are the Ghosts
We are the Ghosts Image

When Ellie’s estranged brother, Luke, dies in a car accident, she’s not sure whether to be devastated that she lost the person who was once her best friend or enraged, still, that he left without a word a year ago. Now, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through are Luke’s best friend and his ex-girlfriend, who she bonds with over their desire to figure out where Luke went when he walked out of their lives.

The Downstairs Girl
The Downstairs Girl Image

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.

Viral
Viral Image

Viral presents the history of the AIDS crisis through the lens of the brave victims and activists who demanded action and literally fought for their lives.

The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History: the story of the monuments men
The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History: the story of the monuments men Image

As the most destructive war in history ravaged Europe, many of the world’s most cherished cultural objects were in harm’s way. The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History recounts the astonishing true story of 11 men and one woman who risked their lives amidst the bloodshed of World War II to preserve churches, libraries, monuments, and works of art that for centuries defined the heritage of Western civilization.

Shout
Shout Image

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before.

Two Can Keep a Secret
Two Can Keep a Secret Image

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

The Lonely Dead
The Lonely Dead Image

For seventeen-year-old Adele Vanderarde, the dead aren’t really dead. She can see them and even talk to them. When Adele realizes her ex-friend Tori is really a murder victim, she takes it upon herself to help Tori find her killer–before the killer finds Adele–or before Adele is charged with the murder.

Frankly in Love
Frankly in Love Image

Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong?

Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.

Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.

As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love or himself at all.

The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the race to light the world
The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the race to light the world Image

The true account of the scientific competition to light the world with electricity.

Beware the Night
Beware the Night Image

On the island of Bellona, they worship the sun. Seventeen-year-old Veda understands that keeping the sun content ensures plentiful crops, peace and harmony, and a thriving economy. But as a member of the Basso class, she never reaps those benefits. Life as a Basso is one fraught with back-breaking work and imposing rules. Her close friendship with Nico is Veda’s one saving grace, but when Veda’s grandfather is chosen as the next sacrificial offering to keep the sun’s favor, Veda is forced to see the injustice of her world. Turning away from the sun means she must join the night and an underground revolution she’s been taught to fear all her life

Polar Explorer
Polar Explorer Image

A memoir of Jade Hameister, the youngest person to complete the Polar Hat Trick, that chronicles her life and the three expeditions: to the North Pole, across the Greenland ice sheet, and to the South Pole.

Dark Sky Rising: reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow
Dark Sky Rising: reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow Image

A journey through America’s past and our nation’s attempts at renewal in this look at the Civil War’s conclusion, Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow segregation.

XL
XL Image

WIll Daughtry is a late bloomer–at least, that’s what everyone tells him. On his sixteenth birthday, Will is just shy of five feet, and he is bitterly resigned to being tiny forever. His only comforts are his best friend and stepbrother, Drew (6’3″), and their pal Monica (5’10”), the girl Will’s been quietly pining for since fifth grade. Everyone else literally overlooks him. But with them, he feels whole. That is, until things take an unexpected turn, and he realizes he’s really and truly on his own.

That’s when he starts to grow. And grow fast. Astonishingly fast. For the first time, Will’s happy with his stature, and the world’s at his feet (for a change). People see him differently; more important, he sees himself differently. But the highest heights come with some low, low lows, and his most precious relationships suffer excruciating growing pains. Will has to figure out what to do with himself–and all of this new “himself” he never expected to have.

2020 Senior, 9-12
Dig Image
Dig
The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account–wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. “Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says. What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first-class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a double-wide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings’ precious suburban respectability begins to spread, the far-flung grandchildren gradually find their ways back to one another, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
King of Scars Image
King of Scars
Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war–and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army. Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
Anthem Image
Anthem
The final installment for Wiles Sixties Trilogy is one you don’t want to miss. Filled with images, quotes, and news stories from the time period make these great for book club and class reads. Molly and Norman travel cross-country in an old school bus to let Molly’s brother, Barry know he has been drafted. Along the way, they encounter protests, see parades, and see way more of America than they imagined.
The Fountains of Silence Image
The Fountains of Silence
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography introduces him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War, as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
Girls With Sharp Sticks Image
Girls With Sharp Sticks
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved, it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardian, they receive a well-rounded education that promises to make them better. Obedient girls, free from arrogance or defiance. Free from troublesome opinions or individual interests. But the girls’ carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. As Mena and her friends uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there, and who they really are, the girls of Innovations Academy will learn to fight back.
Shatter City Image
Shatter City
When the world sees Frey, they think they see her twin sister Rafi. Frey was raised to be Rafi’s double, and now she’s taken on the role . . . without anyone else knowing. Her goal? To destroy the forces that created her. But with the world watching and a rebellion rising, Frey is forced into a detour. Suddenly she is stranded on her own in Paz, a city where many of the citizens attempt to regulate their emotions through an interface on their arms. Paz is an easy place to get lost . . . and also an easy place to lose yourself. As the city comes under a catastrophic attack, Frey must leave the shadows and enter the chaos of warfare–because there is no other way for her to find her missing sister and have her revenge against her murderous father.
Tell Me Everything Image
Tell Me Everything
Ivy’s always preferred to lay low, unlike her best friend Harold, who has taken up a hundred activities as sophomore year begins. But Ivy has her own distraction: the new anonymous art-sharing app, VEIL. Being on the sidelines has made Ivy a skilled observer, and soon she discovers that some of the anonymous posters are actually her classmates. While she’s still too scared to put her own creations on the app, Ivy realizes that she can contribute in an even better way, by making gifts for the artists she’s discovered. The acts of kindness give her such a rush that, when Ivy suspects Harold is keeping a secret, she decides to go all in. But when her good intentions thrust her into the spotlight, Ivy’s carefully curated world is thrown into chaos. Now she has to find the courage to stand out… or risk losing everything and everyone she loves most.
We are the Ghosts Image
We are the Ghosts
When Ellie’s estranged brother, Luke, dies in a car accident, she’s not sure whether to be devastated that she lost the person who was once her best friend or enraged, still, that he left without a word a year ago. Now, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through are Luke’s best friend and his ex-girlfriend, who she bonds with over their desire to figure out where Luke went when he walked out of their lives.
The Downstairs Girl Image
The Downstairs Girl
By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.
Viral Image
Viral
Viral presents the history of the AIDS crisis through the lens of the brave victims and activists who demanded action and literally fought for their lives.
The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History: the story of the monuments men Image
The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History: the story of the monuments men
As the most destructive war in history ravaged Europe, many of the world’s most cherished cultural objects were in harm’s way. The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History recounts the astonishing true story of 11 men and one woman who risked their lives amidst the bloodshed of World War II to preserve churches, libraries, monuments, and works of art that for centuries defined the heritage of Western civilization.
Shout Image
Shout
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before.
Two Can Keep a Secret Image
Two Can Keep a Secret
Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.
The Lonely Dead Image
The Lonely Dead
For seventeen-year-old Adele Vanderarde, the dead aren’t really dead. She can see them and even talk to them. When Adele realizes her ex-friend Tori is really a murder victim, she takes it upon herself to help Tori find her killer–before the killer finds Adele–or before Adele is charged with the murder.
Frankly in Love Image
Frankly in Love
Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong? Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California. Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white. As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love or himself at all.
The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the race to light the world Image
The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the race to light the world
The true account of the scientific competition to light the world with electricity.
Beware the Night Image
Beware the Night
On the island of Bellona, they worship the sun. Seventeen-year-old Veda understands that keeping the sun content ensures plentiful crops, peace and harmony, and a thriving economy. But as a member of the Basso class, she never reaps those benefits. Life as a Basso is one fraught with back-breaking work and imposing rules. Her close friendship with Nico is Veda’s one saving grace, but when Veda’s grandfather is chosen as the next sacrificial offering to keep the sun’s favor, Veda is forced to see the injustice of her world. Turning away from the sun means she must join the night and an underground revolution she’s been taught to fear all her life
Polar Explorer Image
Polar Explorer
A memoir of Jade Hameister, the youngest person to complete the Polar Hat Trick, that chronicles her life and the three expeditions: to the North Pole, across the Greenland ice sheet, and to the South Pole.
Dark Sky Rising: reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow Image
Dark Sky Rising: reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow
A journey through America’s past and our nation’s attempts at renewal in this look at the Civil War’s conclusion, Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow segregation.
XL Image
XL
WIll Daughtry is a late bloomer–at least, that’s what everyone tells him. On his sixteenth birthday, Will is just shy of five feet, and he is bitterly resigned to being tiny forever. His only comforts are his best friend and stepbrother, Drew (6’3″), and their pal Monica (5’10”), the girl Will’s been quietly pining for since fifth grade. Everyone else literally overlooks him. But with them, he feels whole. That is, until things take an unexpected turn, and he realizes he’s really and truly on his own. That’s when he starts to grow. And grow fast. Astonishingly fast. For the first time, Will’s happy with his stature, and the world’s at his feet (for a change). People see him differently; more important, he sees himself differently. But the highest heights come with some low, low lows, and his most precious relationships suffer excruciating growing pains. Will has to figure out what to do with himself–and all of this new “himself” he never expected to have.