2012 Young Adult Choices

View all Recommendations by Age > Recommendations for Young Adult book lists; This list was last updated on 8/1/2013
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The 2013 Young Adults' Choices list is the 26th that U.S. teenagers (grades 7–12) have helped create. This project began in 1986, funded by a special grant given to the International Reading Association, and was supervised by the Association's Literature for Young Adults Committee. The goals of the project are to encourage young people to read; to make teens, teachers, librarians, and parents aware of new literature for young adults; and to provide middle and secondary school students with an opportunity to voice their 
opinions about books being written for them.

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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1 - 30 of 30 results
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Zitface

Thirteen-year-old Olivia Hughes has always considered herself a lucky girl. She knows what she wants to do with her life—be an actress. And she's already on her way. She just landed a national ad campaign that should get her noticed. But then her luck runs out. A little pimple turns into a full-blown case of acne, with serious side effects for her career, her relationships, and her self-esteem. Now all she wants to do is hide, but she can't. She goes from being the girl at school who everyone wants to be to Zitface, a girl who is teased, dumped, and even fired. What do you do when you've lost control of everything in your life? Olivia has to find out the hard way. And maybe what she finds isn't so bad after all. The book includes an author's note about the psychological and medical issues involved for teens dealing with significant acne. The author is a licensed mental health counselor who has worked in California and Texas schools.

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What Happened to Goodbye
A New York Times bestseller
 
A new day. A new place. A new life.
 
In the past few years, Mclean has pretended to be so many different people that she hardly remembers who she really is anymore.
 
The adorable guy next door might be able to help her figure it out.
 
But is she ready for it?
 
“A cut above” —People
 
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Dreamland
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
release date: May 01, 2011
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The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles)
In this exciting second installment of the three-book series, Carter and Sadie, offspring of the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane, embark on a worldwide search for the Book of Ra, but the House of Life and the gods of chaos are determined to stop them.
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Small as an Elephant
Jack's mom is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened?

Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and "spinning" wildly until it's over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself - starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties - and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.
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Slayers

Dragons exist. They're ferocious. And they're smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these "Slayers" are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator's daughter who didn't sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

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Ripple
Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

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Rage
FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Sixteen-year-old Missy copes with being an outcast at school and stress at home by cutting herself with a razor blade, until Death chooses her as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War, and offers her a new blade.
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Perfect
What would you give up to be perfect? Four teens find out in the New York Times bestselling companion to Impulse.

Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they'd rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.

Cara's parents' unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he'll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

A riveting and startling companion to the bestselling Impulse, Ellen Hopkins's Perfect exposes the harsh truths about what it takes to grow up and grow into our own skins, our own selves.
release date: May 15, 2012
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The Near Witch
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for compan
y.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know— about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.
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Misfit

Jael has always felt like a freak. She has never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad has always been superstrict—but that's probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her 16th birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family's dangerous history and Jael's untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell, while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.

Author Jon Skovron takes on the dark side of human nature with his signature funny, heartfelt prose.

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Michael Vey
The start of an action-packed teen series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans.

To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette's syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special—he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael's friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens—and through them, the world.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans introduces a character whose risk-filled exploration marks the beginning of a riveting new series. With only his powers, his wits, and his friends to protect him, Michael will need all his strength to survive….

Michael Vey is the first title in Glenn Beck's Mercury Ink publishing program.
release date: Oct 09, 2015
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Forever
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater.

then.

When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love transformed from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.

That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be hunted in one final, spectacular kill.

forever.

Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future will all collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.
release date: Jan 01, 2011
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Flip
Flip is captivating from beginning to end, with rich characters and a fascinating mystery. . . . Highly recommended!” --James Dashner, author of the Maze Runner series

What does it mean to have a soul whose will to live knows no limits?

One morning fourteen-year-old Alex wakes up to find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table? Total strangers.

And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back. A boy named Philip, known as Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life, he'll be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else.

Martyn Bedford's debut novel for young adults is fearless and fast-paced, a riveting psychological thriller about a boy coming undone in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

Praise for Flip

A Junior Library Guild Selection
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

"The mysteries are countless: What is a soul? Where does it go when its human host ceases to function? Bedford adeptly sweeps the existential curtain aside and tackles these heavy questions as the tension soars." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred
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Flawless

Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.

On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?

This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.

release date: Feb 23, 2011
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F in Exams
"F" stands for "funny" in this perfect gift for students or anyone who has ever had to struggle through a test and needs a good laugh. Celebrating the creative side of failure in a way we can all relate to, F in Exams gathers the most hilarious and inventive test answers provided by students who, faced with a question they have no hope of getting right, decide to have a little fun instead. Whether in science (Q: What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register? A: Mariah Carey), the humanities (Q: What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common? A: Unusual names), math, or other subjects, these 250 entries prove that while everyone enjoys the spectacle of failure, it's even sweeter to see a FAIL turn into a WIN.
release date: Feb 28, 2012
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Exposed
In the dim light of the darkroom/I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
background of the dance studio blurred,
so the focus is all on her--legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle, my forever-best friend.


Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused, and confident in what she sees through her camera lens, confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever. But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her and people are looking the other way she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship, and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? Told in breathtaking, searingly raw free verse, Kimberly Marcus's unforgettable debut will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson.
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Enclave
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight--guided by Fade's long-ago memories--in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.
 
Ann Aguirre's thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world--facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.
release date: Sep 01, 2012
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The Eleventh Plague
Jeff Hirsch's stunning debut is now in paperback!

In the aftermath of a war, America's landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen's grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler's Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler's Landing--and their lives--forever.
release date: Apr 01, 2011
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Divergent

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

A Q&A with Author Veronica Roth

Q: What advice would you offer to young aspiring writers, who long to live a success story like your own?

Roth: One piece of advice I have is: Want something else more than success. Success is a lovely thing, but your desire to say something, your worth, and your identity shouldn't rely on it, because it's not guaranteed and it's not permanent and it's not sufficient. So work hard, fall in love with the writing—the characters, the story, the words, the themes—and make sure that you are who you are regardless of your life circumstances. That way, when the good things come, they don't warp you, and when the bad things hit you, you don't fall apart.

Q: You're a young author--is it your current adult perspective or not-so-recent teenage perspective that brought about the factions in the development of this story? Do you think that teens or adults are more likely to fit into categories in our current society?

Roth: Other aspects of my identity have more to do with the factions than my age. The faction system reflects my beliefs about human nature—that we can make even something as well-intentioned as virtue into an idol, or an evil thing. And that virtue as an end unto itself is worthless to us. I did spend a large portion of my adolescence trying to be as “good” as possible so that I could prove my worth to the people around me, to myself, to God, to everyone. It's only now that I'm a little older that I realize I am unable to be truly “good” and that it's my reasons for striving after virtue that need adjustment more than my behavior. In a sense, Divergent is me writing through that realization—everyone in Beatrice's society believes that virtue is the end, the answer. I think that's a little twisted.

I think we all secretly love and hate categories—love to get a firm hold on our identities, but hate to be confined—and I never loved and hated them more than when I was a teenager. That said: Though we hear a lot about high school cliques, I believe that adults categorize each other just as often, just in subtler ways. It is a dangerous tendency of ours. And it begins in adolescence.

Q: If you could add one more faction to the world within Divergent, what would it be?

Roth: I tried to construct the factions so that they spanned a wide range of virtues. Abnegation, for example, includes five of the traditional “seven heavenly virtues:” chastity, temperance, charity, patience, and humility. That said, it would be interesting to have a faction centered on industriousness, in which diligence and hard work are valued most, and laziness is not allowed. They would be in constant motion, and would probably be happy to take over for the factionless. And hard-working people can certainly take their work too far, as all the factions do with their respective virtues. I'm not sure what they would wear, though. Overalls, probably.

Q: What do you think are the advantages, if any, to the society you've created in Divergent?

Roth: All the advantages I see only seem like advantages to me because I live in our current society. For example, the members of their society don't focus on certain things: race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc. I mean, a world in which you look different from the majority and no one minds? That sounds good to me. But when I think about it more, I realize that they're doing the exact same thing we do, but with different criteria by which to distinguish ourselves from others. Instead of your skin color, it's the color of your shirt that people assess, or the results of your aptitude test. Same problem, different system.

Q: What book are you currently reading and how has it changed you, if at all?

Roth: I recently finished Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, which I would call “contemporary with a paranormal twist,” or something to that effect. It's about a girl whose sister has a powerful kind of magnetism within the confines of a particular town, and how their love for each other breaks some things apart and puts other things back together. It was refreshing to read a young adult book that is about sisterhood instead of romance. It's one of those books that makes you love a character and then hate a character and then love them again—that shows you that people aren't all good or all bad, but somewhere in between. Imaginary Girls gave me a lot to think about, and the writing was lovely, which I always love to see.

release date: Aug 29, 2013
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Battle Lines
It's always darkest before dawn.

Secret government unit Department 19 is recovering from evil vampire Valeri Rusmanov's deadly attack on their base. The Department's newest member, teenage operator Jamie Carpenter, is tasked with training up a new squad, as his friends and colleagues desperately search for ways to try to stop what is coming.

The timing couldn't be worse for a coordinated, global attack on a number of maximum security prisons and hospitals—with the already-dangerous inmates now on the loose and turned into vampires. One of the escapees has a deep connection to one of the darkest moments in the history of Department 19 and embarks on a quest that threatens to expose the existence of vampires to the public. And with each day that passes, the regenerated Dracula gets stronger, bringing Zero Hour closer.

In this third installment of the epic Department 19 series, Will Hill delivers higher—and sharper—stakes than ever before.
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Death Sentence
Alex's second attempt to break out of Furnace Penetentiary has failed. This time his punishment will be much worse than before. Because in the hidden, bloodstained laboratories beneath the prison, he will be made into a monster. As the warden pumps something evil into his veins--a sinisterly dark nectar--Alex becomes what he most fears . . . a superhuman minion of Furnace. How can he escape when the darkness is inside him? How can he lead the way to freedom if he is lost to himself?
 
 
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The Dead (An Enemy Novel)
THE DEAD begins one year before the action in THE ENEMY, just after the Disaster. A terrible disease has struck everyone sixteen and over, leaving them either dead or a decomposing, flesh-eating creature. The action starts in a boarding school just outside London, where all the teachers have turned into sickos. A few kids survive and travel by bus into the city. The bus driver, an adult named Greg, seems to be unaffected by the disease. Then he begins to show the dreaded signs: outer blisters and inner madness. The kids escape Greg and end up at the Imperial War Museum. A huge fire in South London drives them all to the Thames, and eventually over the river to the Tower of London. It is there they will meet up with the kids in THE ENEMY in Book 3, THE FEAR.
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The Day Before
From the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me, an irresistibly romantic novel in verse.
 

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
     Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he's also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
     The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she's drawn to him. And the more she's troubled by his darkness. Because Cade's not just living in the now—he's living each moment like it's his last.
     Told in verse and brimming with raw emotion and pure romance, this is a gracefully woven tale of life-changing secrets and unexpected friendship.
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Crossed
The highly anticipated second book in the New York Times bestselling Matched trilogy!

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky--taken by Society to his certain death--only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons.  On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life . . . and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game.  On the edge of Society, nothing is as expected, and crosses and double crosses make Cassia's path more twisted than ever.

Look for the epic series finale, REACHED!
release date: Jan 01, 2011
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Between

Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, perfect- wakes up after spending her eighteenth birthday party on her family's yacht to investigate a thumping noise. What she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent.

release date: Feb 16, 2012
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Babe in Boyland
Natalie boldly goes where no girl has gone before in this fresh, funny peek inside the male mind!

Natalie writes the relationship column for her high school newspaper. Then she is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, so she decides to disguise herself as a guy and spend a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boys boarding school in town. And in the process, she learns about guys, though in ways she never expected. But when she starts to fall for her dreamy roommate, things get even more complicated. The fun doesn't stop in this light, lively offering for teen girls.
release date: Apr 17, 2012
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Awaken
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it's to go to school or on a date, people don't venture out of their home. There's really no need. For the most part, Maddie's okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren't meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

release date: Jun 07, 2011
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Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity

Hakata Soy's past life as the leader of a futuristic super team won't stay in the past!

The former space hero is doing his best to keep his head down at Astronaut Academy. Things aren't going so great, though. The most popular girl in school has it in for him. His best friend won't return his calls. And his new roommate is a complete jock who only cares about Fireball.

Hakata just wants to make a fresh start. But how will he find time to study Anti-Gravity Gymnastics and Tactical Randomness when he's got a robot doppelganger on its way to kill him?

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Ashfall
Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

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