Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: New Year, New Opportunities

A Year in Europe: Three Novels - (ISBN: 978-0375840739)

by Rachel Hawthorne

In this romantic set of novels for young adults, each of three teen friends has a unique experience in a different country, and each has a special romance! What other experiences add to their lives during their years abroad? Did you ever go on a vacation and meet some new friends?

Plague Year - (ISBN: 978-1439218716)

by Stephanie Tolan

When a new boy starts attending high school, his strange appearance and demeanor lead to persecution and acts of violence against him. The students find out his father is a mass murderer, and also that he may not be so bad as he appears. However, the torture continues and even extends to bothering his family. Do you think how the students are treating the new boy is fair? Why or why not?

The New Year’s Party - (ISBN: 978-0671894252)

by R.L. Stine

Reenie and her friends find unexpected decorations when they show up at Liz’s party on New Year’s Eve. The black balloons prefigure the stroke of midnight, when their friend Liz predicts they will all die. Try this teen version of a horror book to see if you like it; Stine can offer you many more similar scares! Have you ever been scared by predictions made by friends or those on the news? What were the predictions?

The Year My Sister Got Lucky - (ISBN: 978-0439922296)

by Aimee Friedman

Two sisters have very different reactions when they move from New York City to a small rural area. One adjusts well and the other is horrified at the lack of subways and the appearance of cows! Katie’s concern and jealousy of her sister’s adjustment increases when Katie realizes her sister is keeping secrets from her. For a great read that addresses the problems of urban vs. rural living, moving, sibling rivalry, and leaving the past behind, take a look at this compelling read! Has your family ever moved to a new house or area? What helped you to easily adjust?

Zen and the Art of Faking It - (ISBN: 978-0439837095)

by Jordan Sonnenblick

San has a different reaction to moving to a new community. Instead of trying to blend in, he tries to be as different as possible. Eventually the students accept his assertion that he is a Zen Master living amongst the non-religious! What are some creative ways you can think of to adjust to a new high school?

Junior Year Abroad - (ISBN: B002SMF2HY)

by Rosamund DuJardin

The A List - (ISBN: 978-0316734356)

by Zoey Dean

The First Part Last - (ISBN: 978-1442403437)

by Angela Johnson

Activities for this Theme

Make a time line of your family’s events during the last year. Add some photos to make it come to life.

Group your list of New Year’s resolutions into three sublists: one for things you are sure you can do, one for things you might do, and one for things that are just dreams.

In Chinese mythology, each year is associated with an animal.To find out what animal year you were born in, check out this site.

Plan a party in which you combine elements of several holidays for a different switch like R.L. Stine’s horror filled New Year’s Eve party. What holidays would work well in tandem?