- “Al Capone Does my Shirts” by Gennifer Choldenko
A 12-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.
- “Crunch” by Leslie Connor
The oldest Marriss brother, 14-year-old Dewey, attempts to be the “embodiment of responsibility” as he juggles the management of the family’s bicycle repair business while sharing the household and farm duties with his siblings after a sudden energy crisis strands their parents far from home.
- “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper
Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.
- “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine
Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.
- “The Absolute Value of Mike” by Kathryn Erskine
Fourteen-year-old Mike, whose father is a brilliant mathematician but who has no math aptitude himself, spends the summer in rural Pennsylvania with his elderly and eccentric relatives, Moo and Poppy, helping the townspeople raise money to adopt a Romanian orphan.
- “The Clockwork Three” by Matthew J. Kirby
As mysterious circumstances bring Giuseppe, Frederick and Hannah together, their lives soon interlock like the turning gears in a clock and they realize that each one holds a key to solving the others’ mysteries.
- “Call Me Hope” by Gretchen Olson
In Oregon, 11-year-old Hope begins coping with her mother’s verbal abuse by devising survival strategies for herself based on a history unit about the Holocaust, and meanwhile she works toward buying a pair of purple hiking boots by helping at a second-hand shop.
- “The Thief” by Megan Whalen Turner
Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure, which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.
Young Adult Fiction
- “Anything But Typical” by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Jason, a 12-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.
- “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness
Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill—an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.
- “Notes From the Dog” by Gary Paulsen
When Johanna shows up at the beginning of summer to housesit next door to Finn, he has no idea of the profound effect she will have on his life by the time summer vacation comes to an end.
- “Bluefish” by Pat Schmatz
Everything changes for 13-year-old Travis, a new student who is trying to hide his illiteracy, when he meets a sassy classmate with her own secrets and a remarkable teacher.
- “Okay for Now” by Gary D. Schmidt
As a 14 year old who just moved to a new town, with no friends, an abusive father and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him until he finds an ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady.
- “Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie” by Jordan Sonnenblick
When his younger brother is diagnosed with leukemia, 13-year-old Steven tries to deal with his complicated emotions, his school life and his desire to support his family.