SideStreets

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SideStreets are edgy, fast-paced novels, that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short heart-stopping books - sure to engage the most reluctant reader.


At Risk
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Tia is spending the summer working at a special ranch designed to "scare straight" at-risk youth. She tries to bond with Sage, a street kid who has been given one last chance to get her life together. But Sage resists Tia's overtures, and when money goes missing, all fingers point to the troubled teen. At Risk combines a satisfying mystery plot with a sympathetic portrayal of teens grappling with dark pasts and uncertain futures.


Interest age: From 13 To 17
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.6
Lexile Reading Level: 760L

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$9.95

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Cold Grab
Authors:
Steven Barwin
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Sixteen-year-old Angelo has moved to Toronto from the Philippines to join his mother, who has been living and working in Canada for most of Angelo's life. Adjusting to a new country isn't easy for Angelo, with a new language, curfews, new rules, and pressure from a mom who seems like a stranger. Angelo's mother takes him to the Filipino Community Centre where he meets Marcus who has shared the same experience.

At school, Marcus introduces Angelo to Felix and Darius. The boys quickly give Angelo a reality check, pointing out how rich everyone else is, and how no one respects poor Filipino immigrants. They lure Angelo into running petty thefts as a way of proving his friendship. But when Angelo is accused of stealing something valuable from the house his mother cleans and she loses her job, he realizes that everyone sees him as just a punk. He wants to set things right, but how can he go against his friends without getting the law involved?

Reviews
"Cold Grab presents readers with one boy's experience in leaving behind a home he loves to join his mother in a new country. Readers journey with him as he struggles to find his place in this new-to-him world, and they can connect with the lessons Angelo learns and reflect upon the application of these lessons in their own lives."— CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Author Steven Barwin's portrayal of adjusting to life and family in an unfamiliar environment and the perils it engenders is told in the straightforward terms we have come to associate with his sports novels. Barwin presents the clash of values and culture experienced by Angelo and how he works through it without sentiment or preaching, making a complex and nuanced situation accessible without diminishing its urgency."— Resource Links

Educator Information
This book is part of the SideStreets series. SideStreets are edgy, fast-paced novels that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short, heart-stopping books — sure to engage the most reluctant reader.

Themes: Law & Crime, Diversity & Multicultural, Assimilation, Peer Pressure

Interest age: From 13 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 3.3
Lexile Reading Level: HL560L

Additional Information
192 pages | 5.25" x 7.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
$12.95

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Dream Racer
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Zoë's caught the racing bug. Not only is she following in the tire tracks of her older brother as a rally racer, she thinks she might even have the stuff to become a racecar engineer one day. But Zoë's mother has another dream for her daughter, and it's called "Zoë Kendall, M.D." In this fast-action sequel to Racing Fear, Zoë must learn to stand up to her mother's good intentions before her true aspirations come to a screeching halt.


Interest age: From 13 To 17
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.6
Lexile Reading Level: 800L

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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Epic Fail
Authors:
Cristy Watson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

This book tells a tough but realistic story about teen relationships and sexual assault and how social media plays a role in magnifying its impact.

In suburban Vancouver, in a multiracial mixed-income neighbourhood, three 14-year-old friends, a boy and two girls, go to a party organized by the boy's older brother. One of the girls, who comes from a mixed-race Aboriginal/Caucasian family of lower socio-economic standing, is raped, which has very serious consequences on her mental health.

Two years later, photos of the crime and the victim show up on social media and the girl's friend decides to confirm the victim's account of her experience — and confirm that the assailant was his own brother's good buddy. His actions of first remaining silent, then finally speaking up, have unexpected consequences for everyone — including him.

This novel reflects the complexities that teens face dealing with the rape culture many young men participate in and how it is intensified by social media.

Reviews
"I love the Sidestreets series, and this book is no exception. It tackles a very difficult issue that is very relevant in today's society of social media and cell phones. It's a quick read, and very to the point, and it outlines the aftermath of the horrific event, and the healing, rather than the event itself. If you haven't read a Sidestreets book, I highly recommend it. It's a great series for teens, on very real issues, and it's Canadian!" — Bailey Randolph, Librarian, NetGalley

"This book opens the door to talk about rape culture and the way that women are allowed to navigate in the world of sexuality."— Isaiah Roby, NetGalley

"In addition to the diverse protagonists, many secondary characters also bring diversity to the series."— Kirkus Reviews

Educator & Series Information
This book is part of the SideStreets series.  SideStreets are edgy, fast-paced novels that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short, heart-stopping books — sure to engage the most reluctant reader.

Interest age: From 13 To 18

Additional Information
176 pages | 5.25" x 7.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
$12.95

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Girl Gang
Authors:
Nancy Miller
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

After her online mischief threatens her father's job, sixteen-year-old Sasha is eager to leave for Canada with her mother. She thinks she has found a new start in CREW (Confident, Remarkable, Excellent, Welcoming), a girls' volunteerism group at her new school. But she quickly learns that the group is a front for a girl gang — and their true philosophy is to Con, Rip Off, Exploit, and Weaken the people they claim to help. Their leader, Martha, who goes by the nickname Master, is eager to exploit Sasha's computer skills for a more lucrative level of crime: stealing identities and luring and blackmailing men online.

Afraid of being exposed for her role in the crimes, Sasha is forced to stay in CREW and follow Master's orders. But when she starts getting attention from Master's crush, Sasha finds herself in more danger than ever. With only her online wiles at her disposal, Sasha must use Master's hunger for power and fame against her and bring her down for good.

This story plays out against the backdrop of peer pressure and digital media, showing readers that fitting in with a powerful group isn't worth sacrificing your safety and integrity.

Reviews
"The story is captivating, moving, full of suspense and twists and turns."— Anthony Cherrier, NetGalley

"Gang Girl could certainly have a place in a classroom library ... The language is clear and simple for an emerging or struggling reader while the content is suitable for a more mature audience." — Allison Giggey, teacher-librarian, CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"In addition to the diverse protagonists, many secondary characters also bring diversity to the series."— Kirkus Reviews

Educator & Series Information
This book is part of the SideStreets series.  SideStreets are edgy, fast-paced novels that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short, heart-stopping books — sure to engage the most reluctant reader.

Interest age: From 13 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 3.6
Lexile Reading Level: HL600L

Additional Information
176 pages | 5.25" x 7.50"

 

Authentic Canadian Content
$12.95

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Hook Up
Authors:
Kim Firmston
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Cody Manywounds's intentions are good, but it seems that every time he makes one little mistake, he gets caught. He got into some serious trouble with his friends a while ago, but since then, things have been looking up -- his grades are good, his girlfriend is hot, and the escape to university (and more girls) is just around the corner. Then it all comes crashing down with a single text message: "I'm pregnant. Call me. :)" When Cody's girlfriend decides to get an abortion, he finds himself dealing with conflicting emotions -- and discovers how little a say he is given in the matter.

Interest age: From 13 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 3.2
Lexile Reading Level: 610L

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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Lightning Rider
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

When January Fournier arrives at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, her brother Grey is barely clinging to life in intensive care after a horrible motorcycle crash. She''s devastated--but things get worse when the police accuse Grey of a string of bike thefts, claims he''s in no condition to dispute.

Jan decides she''s the only person who can uncover the truth and sets out to find the real thief. Soon, however, she finds her efforts blocked by a police officer who''s determined to see Grey convicted. In pursuit of the truth Jan has to pilot her own bike through the twisting switchbacks of Kananaskis County, with both her fate and that of her brother hanging on the edge of disaster.

Lightning Rider is the story of a young Métis woman''s determination to see her brother vindicated--whatever the cost.

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$9.95

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Love Hurts
Authors:
Beverly Scudamore
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Mel's best friend Dustin is her dream guy, but she lost her chance with him last year and now he's seeing someone else. Enter Colter, the handsome new guy in school who is definitely interested in her. It's just the thing Mel needs to get her mind off Dustin. Before Mel realizes it, she's spending almost every waking moment with Colter, even skipping volleyball practices and nights out with friends.

When Colter gives Mel a ring, alarm bells start ringing, and Mel worries that maybe they're moving too fast. But every time Mel tries to cool things down a bit, Colter latches on even tighter. Mel can't bring herself to leave him. But she is beginning to wonder what lengths Colter will go to if she does.

[Fry reading level - 3.7]

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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One Night
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12;

Luna Begay is as studious and serious about her Aboriginal heritage as her sister, Issy, is outgoing and fun. When Issy convinces Luna to go with her to a party full of rich kids, Luna is surprised to end up talking with Jon, who is charming, sophisticated, and very good-looking. But the night turns bad when Jon drugs and rapes Luna.

Feeling guilty and ashamed that she will be perceived as an "Indian slut," Luna doesn't tell anyone and remains in denial until Issy figures out that Luna is pregnant. Knowing that her decisions will affect her parents and Issy as much as her own future, Luna has to work out how to deal with the consequences of that one night, and she has to do it fast.

Reviews
"A hi-lo title that reads like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. An adequate choice for struggling readers."— Tamara Saarinen, School Library Journal

"Melanie Florence's young adult novel One Night is a powerful read for all readers. Written for reluctant readers it will be read by readers at all levels... The author explores many issues — sexual abuse, bullying, teenage pregnancy, adoption, and rape. Melanie Florence's well-written and compassionate novel does not disappoint." — Keep Calm and Novel On, Educator and NetGalley Reviewer, 

"I adore Luna... She never begins to act out of character but she does grow throughout the novel ... Parents and other adults [are exactly as I would expect them to be. Realistically portrayed, they are at first shocked, then incredibly supportive of Luna. Her principal and teachers are understanding and concerned with her safety. I heaved a sigh of relief at this portrayal. I work at a public high school ... and I absolutely KNOW this is how it goes down there rather than the usual judgmental way portrayed in novels. (Although the students on the other hand can be brutal - also written in the novel.) Luna's parents were so fantastic. Concern for their daughter, getting her immediate medical care, discussing realistic options for after the baby is born, and supporting Luna the whole way are exactly how a parent SHOULD react. Writing adults as they are here could encourage girls to come forward about rape or pregnancy. THANK YOU MELANIE FLORENCE! ... The inclusion of so many contemporary issues (alcoholism, stereotyping, negative branding, rape, drinking, abortion, adoption, being roofied) makes it interesting and thought-provoking the whole way through." — Mandy Peterson, Librarian

"This book deals with some serious topics that are timely and are issues teens are facing. One Night touches on aspects of racism, stereotyping, bullying, drugs, rape, and Aboriginal heritage. It would be well-paired with some recent news articles or other non-fiction pieces on any of these topics."— Chasity Findlay,, CM Magazine

Educator & Series Information
This book is part of the SideStreets series. SideStreets are edgy, fast-paced novels that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short, heart-stopping books — sure to engage the most reluctant reader.

Interest age: From 14 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 2.9
Lexile Reading Level: HL560L

Additional Information
192 pages | 4.25" x 7.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$9.95

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Pure Fake
Authors:
Beverly Scudamore
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Gina is the kind of girl who works hard to keep up her appearance -- not just her hair and makeup, but going so far as breast-enhancement surgery and regular diet pills. When tall, athletic, good-looking Colter wants to be her boyfriend, Gina jumps at the chance. She thinks they'll be the perfect couple and ignores the warning signs that things aren't right with him. That includes rumours that his past girlfriend has a restraining order against him. But when Colter’s actions put Gina in physical danger she is finally forced to wake up to what Colter is really like.

[Fry reading level - 3.0]

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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Push Back
Authors:
Karen Spafford-Fitz
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Sixteen-year-old Zaine Wyatt has a lot to be angry about. His mother walked out of his life when he was 12, and he was kicked out of his Aunt Sarah's place by his uncle. After living on the streets and getting badly beaten up, he is back at Aunt Sarah's, but Zaine is still angry, afraid, and uncertain that he has a permanent place to live. When his mother breaks yet another promise to take him back, he flees to an empty art studio he has taken refuge in before. But now it is just a storage shed, and he vents his rage by trashing the place and injures the new owner as he flees.

Facing charges and a possible criminal record, Zaine agrees to participate in a restorative justice program to keep from being kicked out again by his aunt. Zaine works to fix the damage he has caused and helps the owner's disabled grandson Lucas get to and from school, but his attempts to stay on the right side of the law are challenged by a group of teens who want to recruit him into a gang. Can Zaine complete the restorative justice program and prove himself worthy of a home, whether with his mother or not?

Reviews
"The author deals knowledgeably with restorative justice in this book, as well as the procedural requirements of the criminal justice system. This adds another dimension to the story without complicating the narrative or diminishing any of the characters."— Resource Links

"Push Back is an engaging read that will offer opportunities for discussion of the justice system."— Ruth McMahon, Librarian, CM: Canadian Review of Materials 

Educator & Series Information
This book is part of the SideStreets series. SideStreets are edgy, fast-paced novels that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short, heart-stopping books — sure to engage the most reluctant reader.

Themes: Law & Crime, Homelessness & Poverty, Bullying, Parents

Interest age: From 13 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 4.0
Lexile Reading Level: HL600L

Additional Information
184 pages | 5.25" x 7.50"  

Authentic Canadian Content
$12.95

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Racing Fear
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Trent and Adam were best friends and rally racing buddies until a terrible accident, when Adam was at the wheel, puts Trent in the hospital. After a long separation, the teens try to pick up their friendship where it left off, but Adam's guilty feelings and Trent's odd behaviour make it tough. Why is Trent hanging around Marcus, a guy he says he can't stand? And why isn't his Ritalin working anymore?

When Adam discovers Trent is dealing with the dark side, it's a race to save his friend from himself. Racing Fear is an action-packed ride that takes a hard look at the selling of prescription drugs.

Interest age: From 13 To 17
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 5.2
Lexile Reading Level: 760L

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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Rez Runaway
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Raised on a reserve in northern Ontario, seventeen-year-old Joe Littlechief tries to be like the other guys. But Joe knows he's different -- he's more interested in guys than in any of the girls he knows. One night Joe makes a drunken pass at his best friend Benjy and, by the next morning, everyone on the rez is talking about Joe. His mother, a devout Christian, is horrified, and the kids who are supposed to be his friends make it clear there's no place for him in their circle, or even on the rez. Joe thinks about killing himself, but instead runs away to the city.

Alone and penniless on the streets of Toronto, Joe comes to identify with the Aboriginal idea of having two spirits, or combining both feminine and masculine identities in one person. He also begins to understand more about how his parents have been affected by their own experiences as children in residential schools -- something never discussed on the rez. And he realizes he has to come to terms with his two-spiritedness and find people who accept him for who he is.

This is a novel that reflects the complex realities faced by young LGBTQ and aboriginal youth today.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

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Touch
Authors:
Kim Firmston
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Ethan is trying his hardest to get some attention from his family, but his dad's focus is always directed towards troubled stepsister Haley. When a dark secret threatens to destroy his family life, Ethan turns to his hacking skills to figure out who to believe: his father or Haley. He must also deal with the fact that he has spent his life striving to be just like his dad, someone he may not really know -- or want to be -- at all.

[Fry reading level - 3.1]

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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War Games
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Ryan Taber's father is about to deploy for his first tour of duty with the Canadian army in Afghanistan. Ryan lives his days on an army base in Alberta, and spends his evenings at the CyberKnights cafe, playing his favourite video game,Desert Death. At CyberKnights, Ryan meets the Desert Death ultimate champion and becomes entangled in a world of danger and deceit that begins to resemble the very real circumstances his father is facing overseas.

[Fry Reading Level - 5.5]

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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