EBB AND FLOW BY HEATHER SMITHEleven- year-old Jett has had a horrible year. His father was the driver in a DUI accident that killed a family of four. His mother decides to relocate for a "fresh start." Jett somehow becomes friends with the school bully, Junior, who is living through some very rough times. Together, Jett and Junior, make some poor decisions, one of which involves Jett's mentally disabled adult uncle. When the book opens, Jett is returning to his grandmother's cottage by the ocean, for a summer of reflection and healing.
ALONE TOGETHER BY SARAH J. DONOVANSadie is 15, the 9th of 11 children, growing up in a barely functional Catholic family. Her father doesn't work, and her mother works two jobs to keep food on the table (barely). Most of Sadie's older siblings have left the home, and those that are left, including Sadie, are basically raising themselves. Sadie is trying to keep her head above water- going to school, working, playing volleyball, and supporting younger siblings, including Teresa, who is 14 and pregnant. This book has a little of a lot of teenage issues- identity, sexuality, romance, friendship. It's one I think lots of reluctant middle and high school readers will enjoy.