Even though he's secretly terrified of deep water, and all the scary things that swim below, Tate wants to shake his boring reputation, and he agrees to travel with his class up the Amazon River to help build a village school. He has his fingers and toes crossed that he won't see any giant snakes or hungry piranhas.
But there are even scarier things than anacondas lurking in the jungles of South America, and Tate soon learns of the legend of El Tunchi, a vengeful spirit that terrorizes those who harm the rainforest. When creepy things start happening and Tate keeps hearing El Tunchi's haunting whistle, he's sure the group must have angered someone. Or something. He and his friends need to figure out a way to make amends and get out of the jungle alive.
Adina has always wanted to be a part of the annual fashion show at her school for the arts. Now that she's finally in the ninth grade, she and her friends can audition. She knows their act could be perfect. They've got great music, gorgeous costumes and wicked dance moves. But Willow is being her usual flaky self, and Sandra's getting touchy. Maybe even a bit mean. Luckily, Seth remains steady and reliable. Their biggest competition is the annoyingly perfect Prima Donnas, who are doing everything they can to undermine Adina and her friends.
Adina is used to working hard at everything she does, including her violin, art, drama and singing classes. But her friends are getting sick of her ordering them around. They just don't get what a huge deal this is. When one of the Prima Donnas gets injured during their audition, minutes after Sandra storms off in a huff, the two groups realize that in order to succeed, they may have to work together.
Ethan is an anxiety-ridden loner who relies on medication to get through his day. During one of his fairly frequent panic attacks, a girl from school named Gabriella comes to his rescue. Gabe, as she prefers to be known, is facing her own inner turmoil. She has always been a tomboy, but the more pressure she faces to act and dress "like a girl," the more she wonders just who she really is.
When he learns that Gabe is being constantly harassed at school, Ethan discovers he is able to overcome his own fears in order to stand up for his new friend. Then Gabe finds a disturbing note in her locker, and the threats begin to escalate. Ethan confronts the person responsible, but things take an unexpected turn, and he suddenly finds himself being questioned by police, accused of assault. With a dose of courage and a surprising ally, the two friends come up with a plan to set things right and end up discovering who they really are along the way.
When David's family moves from northern Ontario to Miami, Florida, it takes him less than a day to discover how out of place he is in his new neighborhood. He joins his school's track team, hoping to make new friends, but soon he is pulled into a school-wide web of secrecy and danger. And the one person who can help him keeps running away.
Sam wants to win, no matter what it takes. Bicycle racing is his sport and he has a gift for it-but his attitude keeps getting in the way. After his teammates give up on him, Sam is offered a fresh opportunity. Viktor, an aging Olympic racer, will coach him and maybe give him what he needs to be a winner.
But there's a catch: Sam has to work as a bike courier at Viktor's company. The work is dangerous and intense, fighting traffic in the inner city to make deliveries at breakneck speeds. Then Sam is assigned by Viktor to the mysterious "dead run," delivering untraceable packages for an unknown client. Soon Sam is racing away from the law-and risks losing everything.
Colin is tired of school bullies and other students' refusal to speak up or "rat" on the real troublemakers. When Colin does speak out against a couple of school thugs, they post an embarrassing photo of him on a social networking website. Colin makes some new enemies in the process but also a few new allies, including the VP, Mr. Miller. One of Colin's new unwanted allies, though, is Jerome, who is selling weapons to kids at school for "self defense." Colin threatens to turn Jerome in but backs off, tired of his growing reputation as the school rat.
When Jerome is shot and killed, Colin regrets not speaking up earlier. Jerome's killer is now known but has not been located by the police. When the police show up, Colin tells them what he knows, and while he realizes that he has some enemies, he also has some real admirers as well.
When Nat, her best friend Jess and singing-star wannabe Harper sing together, their harmonies bring down the house. For Nat, the experience sparks a driving new desire to perform. But when the girls form a trio and enter a contest for a chance to play at the Tall Grass Music Festival, Nat finds that harmony—musical and otherwise—is hard to maintain. Her bandmates almost never agree, her new boyfriend starts behaving more like a non-boyfriend, and the trio's famous-musician mentor doesn't even like the way Nat breathes. Every day, Nat's dream of performing at Tall Grass seems farther away, and she questions whether she has what it takes to get there.
Briar has a vision for the one-act play she's been chosen to direct at her performing arts high school. She's going to create a masterpiece. If only everyone involved in the production shared her vision. Her leading lady is gifted but troubled, her leading man has a crush on the leading lady, her stage manager doesn't have a clue, and her best friend, who wrote the play, is worried that Briar's production is cursed. As Briar struggles to motivate her cast and crew, she learns some important truths about the fine art of directing—and about herself.
Angie lives in an old car with her brother and mother. Homeless after their father left to find work, the family struggles to stay together and live as normally as possible. It is difficult though. Between avoiding the police and finding new places to park each night, it is a constant struggle. When Angie discovers slam poetry, she finds a new way to express herself and find meaning and comfort in a confusing world.
Everything stops making sense for extreme surfer Kevin Taylor after his parents die in a plane crash. When Kevin disappears, leaving only a cryptic note, his best friends Luca and Esme have no choice but to try and find him. Their journey takes them to the coast of Panama, where they must confront unfriendly locals, a surfer who seems bent on destroying them, and monster waves. As their hope dwindles and time runs out, the mystery of what really happened to Kevin's parents deepens, and Luca and Esme begin to wonder if they are in over their heads.
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.
Maddy doesn't find it easy adjusting to grade nine. The friendships and loyalties she took for granted in middle school are being challenged, and there's so much more competition on her track team now.
When Maddy stumbles across a friend being bullied behind the school after a track practice, she suspects something nasty is going on. So when Coach announces one of the team members has been robbed, she realizes the two incidents must be connected. Everyone on the track and field team is under suspicion. How can the team function with so much uneasiness among its members? Maddy realizes the only way to bring the team together again is to make some changes.
Chick is a popular fourteen-year-old who is essentially on this earth to live up to his father's impossible expectations—or, at least, that's how he feels. This pressure is a grinding source of anxiety for him, which he copes with by making lists. He itemizes every aspect of his life, from his daily routine to the things that make him nervous. But as the pressure of school and his budding romance with his debating teammate Audrey builds, his compulsion starts to feel impossible to control—or conceal.
When Darwin's father went to prison for assault, his mom decided it was time to move him from his inner-city school to the elite Norfolk Academy. It was supposed to be a brand-new start for him. But old instincts die hard, and Dar is used to fighting for everything.
Convinced by a new friend to take part in an illegal fight club, Dar starts competing in no-holds-barred matches between students. He quickly rises to become the best in the ring. When one match goes too far and a student is almost killed, Dar faces a choice. Everyone tells him he's a fighter, but he needs to decide for himself-who is he, and what is he fighting for?
Dylan is back, and this time he is making a movie, The Rise of the Zombie Scarecrows, with his best friend, Cory, and his girlfriend, Monica. The film is for school credit, and their plan is to film on Halloween. Everything is falling into place until Dylan and Monica encounter a zombie scarecrow that causes Mr. Dalton, a friend of Dylan's grandmother, to have a heart attack. Dylan and Monica learn that a couple of zombie scarecrows are pranking a local neighborhood. The police shut down Dylan's project until the pranksters are caught. But Dylan is determined to see his film through to completion, no matter what the cost.
The last thing Chaz wants is to spend his summer working on his father's Eye, a Ferris wheel with glass-bottomed gondolas set up to view scenic North Vancouver. For one thing, Chaz would prefer to pursue his own passion: dance in the style of the late, great Gene Kelly. More important, Chaz suffers from vertigo, and even the thought of the Eye makes him want to lose his lunch. But when a crowd of angry protestors and a mysterious vandal threaten his father's dream, and the family's livelihood, Chaz is forced to overcome his own fears to help out.
Sixteen-year-old Cody was born and raised "off the grid" deep in the wilderness by idealistic parents. When his father becomes seriously ill, the family is forced to move into the city so he can get treatment. Attending high school for the first time, Cody is an oddity and has a hard time adjusting. He finds unlikely allies in DeMarco, an inner-city kid, and Ernest, a philosophical homeless man, and he begins a tentative friendship with Alexis.
When he comes to DeMarco's defense in an altercation at school, Cody finds himself in trouble with the police. A second confrontation puts Cody in more trouble with the cops, and he is convinced he must escape to the family homestead or be arrested. But Cody is torn between fleeing the city or staying with his ailing father and facing whatever consequences come his way.
RCMP sergeant Ray Robertson is serving with the United Nations in Haiti, a land of brilliant color and vibrant life, Vodou and vast above-ground cemeteries. Ray's job is to train the local police and assist investigations. One call comes in from the home of a wealthy American businessman. The man came home to find his beautiful, young Haitian wife floating face down in the swimming pool. The American embassy and the Haitian police immediately arrest the gardener, and the case is closed. But Ray isn't so sure, and he keeps digging. Until one night he finds himself in a Vodou-saturated cemetery, surrounded by above-ground tombs and elaborate statuary, confronting a killer with nothing left to lose.
This is the second in a series featuring RCMP sergeant Ray Robertson on his various postings overseas.
Lila has always wanted a career in belly dance, so she is thrilled when she is invited to join Dana Sajala's competitive and prestigious studio. But dancing at the new studio isn't quite what she expected. Dana Sajala is a tough teacher, and Lila finds the constant criticism stressful. On top of that, Lila misses the dancers from her old troupe, and a rift is developing between her and her best friend, Angela, who is not altogether sympathetic to Lila's struggles. Lila has always loved belly dance—the music, the costumes, the choreography—but when she realizes that none of it is as much fun as it used to be, she starts to question whether she has made the right choice.
It's the start of a new season for Harrington High's improv team—and Chloe is determined that this will be the year they make it all the way to the top. Her teammates (who also happen to be her closest friends) are a talented bunch, and she knows they can do it. They have to. Because getting to nationals is Chloe's best chance to prove—to her parents, to the improv scouts and, most of all, to herself—that she has what it takes to succeed. Chloe is doing everything she can to help her teammates perform better. So why are they all mad at her?
Seventeen-year-old Daniel's new girlfriend says she loves him, that she'd do anything for him. She makes Daniel feel like anything is possible. So he ignores her lies. It's not like Cyn is a bad person. Then Daniel finds out that Cyn has been using him to move drugs across the border.
Foolproof is a tough book about the consequences of gang life that asks readers to consider the line between taking risks and taking lives. Daniel crosses that line and learns a hard lesson—that no one ever thinks they are the bad guy.
Lindy has been working hard cleaning and doing odd jobs around the neighborhood to earn money for a trip to the Arctic. When Mrs. Naulty, an elderly client, mistakenly pays her a huge amount of money, Lindy keeps it to pay the early-bird rate for her trip. It's only when a schoolmate learns what she did and starts blackmailing her that Lindy starts to suffer for her actions.
On a dare from his girlfriend's brother, Javvan steals a neighbor's car. Now he's got a criminal record and a bigger problem: get a job or violate his parole. Endless interviews later and no one will hire him because of his criminal record. Whatever happened to a second chance? Finally, he gets a gig with a contractor named Kevin, and Javvan figures his life is on an upswing. Too bad Kevin's a thief and he's given Javvan one choice. Help him steal, or he'll make sure Javvan ends up back in jail.
Jack's a star player on an elite soccer team along with his brother, Alex. The Lancers are on top of the league, even favored to win the National Championship. But the game's about to change. A slick bookie wins Jack's friendship and introduces him to illegal betting. Before long, Jack is hooked on the adrenaline rush, and early wins convince him that gambling could make him rich. Meanwhile, an ever-widening rift is forming between the two brothers. Suddenly, Jack's "system" fails and his luck runs out. How could a few losses pile up to a gut-kicking ten grand? When he can't pay, the bookie gives Jack one way out—throw the National Championship. But can he betray his brother, his team and himself?