realistic fiction 1

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realistic fiction 1

RealisticFiction

All of the Above by Shelley PearsallGrades 7-up. Exhausted by his efforts to teach math to apathetic middle schoolers, Mr. Collins proposes that his class attempt to build the worlds largest tetrahedron structure. The resulting story is told in alternating chapters by Mr. Collins and four of the students. They include artistic tough guy James Harris III, who insists that the individual tetrahedrons color coordinate; Marcel the Magnificent, who works vigorously at his fathers barbecue grill; veteran foster child Sharice; and quietly ambitious Rhondell. Marcel’s dad’s recipes are sprinkled throughout. This novel is based on the true story of a Cleveland middle school tetrahedron built in 2002.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indianby Sherman AlexieGrades 7-up. Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

Emako Blueby Brenda WoodsGrades 7-up. Emako Blue was supposed to be a star. She was beautiful and good-hearted. She was Monterey’s best friend. She was the only girl Jamal cared about, the one who saw through his player act. She was the one who understood the burden of Eddie’s family. She was the best singer anyone had ever heard, with a voice like vanilla incense, smoky and sweet. She was Savannah’s rival, the one who wouldn’t play by the rules. She was destined for greatness, already plucked from South Central Los Angeles by the record producers. She was only fifteen when she died.

Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul CurtisGrade 8 Up–Luther's mother, "the Sarge," runs an empire of Flint, MI, slums and halfway houses, and has a loan-sharking business. At age 15, Luther manages one of her halfway houses, drives the residents around in a van with an illegal license, and readies the homes of evicted tenants for the Sarge's next desperate victims. In exchange, she puts his earnings in a college fund, threatens him into submission, and primes him to take over the business. All Luther wants to do is win the school science fair, think deep thoughts, find some action for the vintage condom in his wallet, and do something honest with his life.

The First Part Last by Angela JohnsonGrades 7-up. Bobby, the teenage artist and single-parent dad, tells his story here. At 16, he's scared to be raising his baby, Feather, but he's totally devoted to caring for her, even as she keeps him up all night, and he knows that his college plans are on hold. In short chapters alternating between "now" and "then," he talks about the baby that now fills his life, and he remembers the pregnancy of his beloved girlfriend, Nia. Yes, the teens' parents were right. The couple should have used birth control; adoption could have meant freedom. But when Nia suffers irreversible postpartum brain damage, Bobby takes their newborn baby home. There's no romanticizing. The exhaustion is real, and Bobby gets in trouble with the police and nearly messes up everything.

Mexican White Boyby Matt de la PenaGrade 9 Up—No matter where he lives, 16-year-old Danny Lopez is an outsider. At his private high school in wealthy northern San Diego County, "nobody paid him any attention…because he was Mexican." It didn't matter that he was half white. But when he visits the Mexican side of his family in National City, just a dozen miles from the border, Danny feels "Albino almost" and ashamed. He doesn't even speak Spanish. Rather than learning to blend in, Danny disengages from both worlds, rarely speaking and running his mind in circles with questions about how he might have kept his absent father from leaving the family. He decides to spend the summer in National City, hoping to get closer to his dad's roots and learn how to be "real" and stop feeling numb. Instead, he finds that, by the end of the summer, he has filled the void through unexpected friendship and love.

Taking Sides by Gary SotoGrades 6-up. This realistic story explores the divided loyalties of a Latino basketball player who has recently moved from a poor neighborhood to a more affluent one. Initially, eighth grader Lincoln feels like a traitor when he plays ball for the predominantly white school he now attends. To make matters worse, his new coach seems to hold a grudge against both Lincoln and his former school, Franklin Junior High. As a game against Franklin approaches, tension mounts and Lincoln experiences clashes with several people, including some teammates.


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