Book picks similar to
Semiprecious by D. Anne Love


young-adult
historical-fiction
fiction
middle-grade

The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye


Bonnie Shimko - 2010
    That true friend finally arrives when Fancy Nelson, the first Negro kid Amelia has ever seen in person, walks into her fourth grade classroom. As Fancy’s special sort of magic rubs off on Amelia, she slowly comes to understand her trainwreck family and her place in it—and Fancy discovers a surprising secret about her own past.

Jo's Story


Susan Beth Pfeffer - 1997
    Tomboy Jo March would rather die than spend time with wealthy, proper Aunt March.  She'd much rather race against the boys at school or star in all the swashbuckling plays she writes.  But when Aunt March offers to adopt one of the March sisters to help ease the family money problems, Jo decides to make the ultimate sacrifice.  She'll tear herself away from her sisters and parents--the family she dearly loves--if it means they'll have a better life.  She's determined to become the perfect lady.  Now Jo has to convince her family that she's sincere about her decision by taking on a role that may be too difficult to act.

Autumn Street


Lois Lowry - 1980
    Her family moves in with her grandfather, and a special friend is struck by tragedy.An ALA Notable Children's Book.

Pieces of Why


K.L. Going - 2015
    Tia's dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can't sing anymore. The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions--questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask.Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness, told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.

Watching Jimmy


Nancy Hartry - 2009
    With shocking candor, Carolyn relates what really happened to her best friend, Jimmy, when his uncle chose the perfect time to teach him a lesson he would never forget. The truth is Jimmy didn't fall from a swing like Uncle Ted claims. Carolyn knows - she saw everything.With the dreadful secret locked away, Carolyn walks an emotional tightrope. No matter what else is happening in this post-war era, she must keep an eye on her now poor, braindamaged Jimmy. But when Uncle Ted threatens his beleaguered family with even more abuse and the loss of their home, Carolyn must find the courage to match wits with him and to speak out, using the truth as her only weapon. Set in 1958, Watching Jimmy is a brilliant portrait of the post-war era, a family of strong women, and a resourceful heroine who exudes character, resilience, and most of all, love.

That Girl Lucy Moon


Amy Timberlake - 2006
    She wears a woven cap made of hemp in support of third world workers. Lucy Moon is the kind of girl who spots injustice and isn't afraid to fight it. So when two of her classmates are caught sledding on Wiggins Hill and the local paper refuses to report it—or the role of Ms. Ilene Viola Wiggins, richest woman in town, in the arrest—Lucy begins a campaign to fight against corruption in her hometown—and for sledding rights on Wiggins Hill.

Eggplant Alley


D.M. Cataneo - 2013
    Long-haired hippies, racial tension, and the divisive Viet Nam war leave Nicky longing for the good old days. Nicky's complaints and remembrances revolve around the five things that ruined his childhood: the nosebleed he received from President Kennedy; the Great Northeast Blackout (which he thought he caused); the end of neighborhood stickball games; the departure to Viet Nam of his beloved big brother, Roy; and Roy's hippie girlfriend, Margalo. With Roy overseas for a year, Nicky is left behind with two distracted, worried parents. And for him, enough is enough. He decides to do something about the endless downward spiral of events. He decides to lead a crusade to revive neighborhood stickball, which he is sure will spark a return to all that was innocent and beautiful about the good old days. In the course of his year-long quest, Nicky confronts an ancient fortune-teller from the second floor; Willie Mays; his father's deep, dark secret from World War II; neighborhood bullies; and a huge romantic crush on Margalo. Most important is his encounter with Lester Allnuts, a new kid in the building who gives Nicky a fresh outlook on Eggplant Alley, and eventually on life in general. Lester is a country boy with a deep secret, and that secret makes him as eager as Nicky to revive stickball and rejuvenate Eggplant Alley. Working together toward the same goal - for entirely different reasons --- the boys develop a strong friendship. Before the year without Roy is over, Nicky learns Lester's secret --- and realizes the destructiveness of prejudice and fear, and the value of empathy and forgiveness. And he ultimately learns there is something far richer than the good old days: real hope for a better future. D.M.Cataneo is a native New Yorker and a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University's School of Public Communication who worked for 22 years for the Boston Globe and Boston Herald as a reporter, columnist, and editor. He is the author of six non-fiction books. He is currently teaching at the University of New Hampshire and lives in Durham, NH, with his family.

Bright Island


Mabel Louise Robinson - 1937
    Nothing suits her better than sailing and helping her father with the farm. But when her dreaded sisters-in-law suggest that Thankful get some proper schooling on the mainland, the wind is knocked from her sails.Thankful finds the uncharted waters of school difficult to navigate: there's a rocky reception from her rich roommate, Selina; the breezy behavior of the charming Robert; and stormy Mr. Fletcher, the handsome Latin teacher whose caustic tongue masks a tender heart. And while Thankful works hard to make the best of her new life, Bright Island continues to flash in her thoughts, like the sparkle of the sun on the water.Mabel Robinson's delightful coming-of-age story won a Newbery Honor in 1938 and garnered extraordinary praise from critics and readers alike. The New York Times raved, "One would be hard put to it to find a better contemporary novel than this," and now this evocative tale can be welcomed by a new generation of readers.

The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods


Ann Cameron - 1998
    Eleven-year-old Amanda Woods is discovering that the person other people think she is and the person she really is are not the same.

What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows


Nora Raleigh Baskin - 2001
    If only her father would cooperate, Gabby would have someone to tell her what is and isn' t happening to her body. For awhile her father' s girlfriend, Cleo, forms a bond with Gabby. But when the adults break up, Gabby' s hopes for a stepmother are shattered. Still, sharing feelings with a woman has awakened Gabby' s curiosity about her own mother' s mysterious death. Once and for all, Gabby is determined to discover the truth.

Sand Dollar Summer


Kimberly K. Jones - 2006
    To recuperate, Mom takes Lise and her bright little brother to live in a rattletrap house on the beach in Maine for the summer. Although her mother grew up there, this is Lise's first experience with the ocean. She's terrified by what may be lurking in the cold depths and confused by the ways that Maine is changing her mother. As secrets from the past start spilling out, even the solid earth may not keep Lise safe anymore. Lise will have to learn to go with the flow -- or risk falling apart -- in this tender, funny, and wise novel...the story of one family's unforgettable summer.

Midnight Hour Encores


Bruce Brooks - 1986
    Spooner thinks she's one of the world's more promising cellists. The world thinks so too. Given up by her mother on the day she was born, she believes she has almost raised herself--with just a bit of guidance from her unconventional father, Taxi. When Sib finally asks Taxi to take her to meet her mother for the first time, she knows it might mean breaking away from the man who has raised her. Finding your own path often means leaving those you love, and Sib is willing to take the risk. Yet as she and her dad wind their way across the country to San Francisco, Sib discovers she may not be as "self-made" as she thought. And as she learns more about the man she thought she knew, she finds out it's not simply her music that makes her special, but also the love from the parent she might have to leave behind.1986 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)1987 Fanfare Honor List (The Horn Book)Best Books of 1986 (SLJ)Best of the 80's (BL)Young Adult Choices for 1988 (IRA)1987 Teachers' Choices (IRA)1987 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)Best of the 80's (English Journal)

Check Mates


Stewart Foster - 2019
    But the thing is, I’m not a problem child at all. I’m just a child with a problem. Felix is struggling at school. His ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate and his grades are slipping. Everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but no one seems to understand just how hard he finds it. When Mum suggests Felix spends time with his grandfather, Felix can’t think of anything worse. Granddad hasn’t been the same since Grandma died. Plus he’s always trying to teach Felix boring chess. But sometimes the best lessons come in the most unexpected of places, and Granddad soon shows Felix that there’s everything to play for.

The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer


Gary Paulsen - 2000
    He learns how a poker game, or hitching a ride, can turn deadly. He discovers the secret sadness and generosity to be found on a lonely farm in the middle of nowhere. Then he joins up with a carnival and becomes a grunt, running a ride and shilling for the geek show. He’s living the hard carny life and beginning to see the world through carny eyes. He’s tough. Cynical. By the end of the summer he’s pretty sure he knows it all. Until he meets Ruby.

Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn


April Lurie - 2002
    But in July 1944, Judy’s carefree days and her innocence are shaken by a discovery: The man she’s always called Pa isn’t her real father. Even more shocking, Judy learns that the father she doesn’t remember was an alcoholic who abandoned his family. That’s why Judy’s mother emigrated to America from Norway. Now Judy feels jumbled inside: She’s angry at her mother for keeping the truth from her–and she’s suddenly awkward around Pa. Nothing her parents say soothes the hurt.At first, even the attentions of Jacob Jacobsen don’t make her feel any better. Judy likes Jacob; it’s just that his dad’s drinking binges hit too close to home. Ashamed, Judy doesn’t want anyone to find out her secret. But as misfortune befalls Jacob, Judy’s close friends, and her own family, Judy rallies to their side, and in the process recognizes that growing up encompasses forgiveness–of others and of herself.