Realistic Fiction Books

After the Rain by Norma Fox Mazer
Rachel is less than thrilled when her grandfather, recently diagnosed with cancer and given only a short time to live, moves in to her house and requires much of her time.

Amazing Gracie by A. E. Cannon
Gracie, at fifteen, should not have to be responsible for holding her family together but that's how she feels with a mother who suffers from depression and a new stepfamily that needs tending.

The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson
If you have read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, you will recognize the pesty Hardman kids and will understand Beth Bradley's dismay at having to share a classroom with Imogene all year though the antics of the two will keep you laughing.

Black Stallion by Walter Farley
When the steamer, Drake, that Alec Ramsay and the black stallion were both passengers on wrecks, the two end up on a deserted island and must learn to trust each other in order to survive.

Buddy Love; Now on Video by Ilene Cooper
Buddy Love is one of those kids who is hooked on television. Once he begins to view his own life and the lives of his family and friends through the lens of a video camera he finds that he is in for some surprises!

The Burning Questions of Bingo Brown by Betsy Byars
New at this "love" business, Bingo Brown falls in love during his sixth-grade year at least three times and each romance is funnier and/or more painful than the one before it as he tries to figure out girls.

The Cat Ate my Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
Marcy Lewis thinks that almost nothing is right in her life --- not her classes, not her family, not her weight. Then she becomes friends with her English teacher, Ms. Finney, and she begins to see that life is not always how it seems.

The Contender by Robert Lipsyte
Don't like boxing? You'll be hooked anyway when you read this book about Alfred, a 17-year-old, who takes up boxing by chance to escape his rough life in his Harlem neighborhood.

Danger Zone by David Klass
Jimmy Doyle is thrilled to be invited to play on the national "Teen Dream Team" until he faces his own shortcomings on the basketball court and the Neo-Nazi threats directed at his black skin while touring Europe. He begins to wonder if basketball, his consuming passion, is really all that important.

Dean Duffy by Randy Powell
Dean Duffy is used to being the star of the high school baseball team so is unsure what to do with his life when high school is over. After wandering aimlessly for a while he is given a chance to get back in the game but does he really want to?

A Different Beat by Candy Dawson Boyd
As a student at Oakland Performing Arts Middle School, Jessie Williams is living her dream but her father threatens to send her back to the local middle school if she cannot keep her grades up. One of her teachers enters into a bargain with Jessie but she will have to work with one of the most disliked students in the school to fulfill her part of this deal.

Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Mrs. Dunphrey promises that she will not read her students' journals but it takes Trish a long time to trust her. When Tish begins to realize that this teacher might be her only hope for help from her dysfunctional family she begins writing all of her most tender feelings and problems in her journal.

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Janie is innocently eating lunch in her school cafeteria when suddenly her whole life goes spinning out of control. The face of the missing child on the milk carton belongs to her! How did this happen and what will she do? Read this and the sequels to it: What Ever Happened to Janie?, The Voice on the Radio, What Janie Found.

The Door Near Here by Heather Quarles
Fifteen-year-old Katherine tries desperately to keep her three younger siblings safe from social services which would surely take them away to foster care if they knew what was going on in their house.

Father Figure by Richard Peck
Jim Atwater has basically raised his younger brother since his parents divorced eight years ago. Now, after their mother's death, his father suddenly turns up and wants the three of them to be a happy family. Jim is pretty sure his father won't stick around but will he give him the chance to find out?

Flight Number 116 Is Down by Caroline B. Cooney
Fifteen-year-old Heidi Landseth has never felt very responsible and most other people would agree with her. When a jumbo jet crashes in her own backyard and she is the only one there to help, her life takes a sharp turn around.

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. (Also titled The Mighty.)
Maxwell Kane has always kept to himself since the kids laugh at his mental disabilities and his enormous physical size. It seemed fitting that when Kevin, a boy with birth defects causing his body not to grow, moves in that they would become best friends and share what each had --- Max his size and Kevin his brains -- to become the awesome "Freak the Mighty" duo.

Gentlehands by M. E. Kerr
Buddy's life takes a sharp upturn when surprisingly the most popular, rich girl in town falls in love with him but then just as quickly it plummets to the bottom when he discovers shocking facts about his beloved grandfather.

The Gift of the Girl Who Couldn't Hear by Susan Richards Shreve
Being thirteen is sometimes very confusing as Eliza finds out but then turns herself around by befriending Lucy, the deaf girl in her class.

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Having bounced from one foster home to another, 11-year-old Gilly Hopkins is determined not to get close to anyone, ever, but then she hadn't met her new, unusual foster mom when she made that plan.

Habibi by Naomi Nye
Liyana, a 14-year-old girl from St. Louis, Missouri, is distraught when her family announces that they are moving to Jerusalem, her father's homeland, so that she can get to know his side of the family. When she first arrives she is devastated by what she finds and how strange everything seems to her but eventually she begins to appreciate the differences and to embrace them.

Hannah in Between by Colby Rodowsky
Hannah discovers, quite by accident, that her mother is indeed an alcoholic. The empty vodka bottles explain her mom's rash and hurtful behavior over the past few months but Hannah doesn't quite know what to do with her new knowledge. Is she the only one in the family that knows how much her mother is drinking and what can she do about it? This book takes place on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet has big plans to be a writer when she grows up and so keeps a journal of "observations" on those people around her to use in her later life. Disaster strikes when her classmates discover the journal and read what she has written about them.

Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker
Jimmy Winter's passion is baseball and with his father's harsh and heavy-handed coaching it looks like he will eventually end up on a pro team. Unfortunately the decisions he makes off of the ball field are not always the smartest ones and he ends up losing it all, including his very life.

Heaven by Angela Johnson
Marley, who lives in Heaven, Ohio, thinks that her life is described by the name of her town. Everything is perfect until she unexpectedly learns that she is adopted and that life is not what it seems.

Hero by Susan L. Rottman
After finding himself in trouble with the law, Sean is sent to perform community service at a local ranch under the supervision of old-timer Dave Hassler who is known for his gruffness. When told to muck the stalls, curry the horses, mend the fences, Sean intends to rebel but finds himself being pulled closer and closer to the land, the hard work, and to mean, old Mr. Hassler.

Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats is sure that it is his family's famous bad luck that sends him to Green Lake Camp, a juvenile detention facility where the main object of every day is for every boy to dig a hole in the desert five feet wide and five feet deep. Stanley is positive that there is more to this hole digging than digging for digging's sake and is determined to find out what it is no matter how dangerous that mission is.

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
When Dicey's mother abandons Dicey and her three younger siblings in a mall parking lot, Dicey is determined to keep the four of them together and to somehow, somewhere find an adult who will love them all. This is the first book is Voigt's series about Dicey and her family and friends.

Hoops by Walter Dean Myers
Seventeen-year-old Lonnie Jackson probably has what it takes to be a pro basketball player if he will only hold tight to his values. When he is offered money to throw the most important game of the year he must decide what is truly important to him.

Iron Man by Chris Crutcher
Beau Brewster yearns to win the Yukon Jack Triathlon, consisting of swimming, running, and biking. However, in order to get ready, both mentally and physically, he must work out some of his other problems particularly in his relationships with is father, his coach, and his history teacher.

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt
After a car accident costs Izzy a leg, she can find nothing to like about herself and must work hard, with help from those around her, to change her attitude.

Kinship by Trudy Krisher
The trailer park where Perty Wilson lives with her mother is going to be torn down and all the residents will have to find new homes. Enter Perty's long absent father who claims he can repair all of the trailers so that the town will no longer find them an eye-sore. Just as Perty begins to trust him again he disappears leaving her to face her neighbors, her friends, and her own tender feelings for this man.

Lottery Rose by Irene Hunt
Seven-year-old Georgie wins a small rose bush in the grocery store lottery and lavishes all the love and care on that bush that he is missing from his abusive mother and her boyfriend. When sent to the safety of a boys' boarding school Georgie slowly and painfully opens up to those who will cherish him.

Maizon at Blue Hill by Jacqueline Woodson
After working toward it for so long all of Maizon's dreams come true when she is awarded a scholarship to a fancy boarding school out of state. However, as one of only five African American students there she begins to question whether or not this is truly where she belongs and wonders if she can really go back to her old life if it is not.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Jeffrey Lionel Magee, a homeless orphan, astounds those around him by performing amazing feats and crossing racial barriers in his search for warmth and understanding.

The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.

Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
For six years after her parents die, Summer lives with her aunt and uncle whom she had never met. When her aunt dies, she must learn all over again how to grieve and how to help her uncle find a reason to go on living.

Missing Since Monday by Ann M. Martin
Maggie is finally deemed responsible enough to look after her little half-sister and so is terrified when she disappears while in her care.

The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks
Jerome, a talented African American, and Bix, an unstable Caucasian, strike an unlikely friendship when they share a dreaded home economics course together in the 1960's. On and off of the basketball court their differences are striking but their similarities are enough to cement the friendship.

Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee
Korean Chan and his twin sister, Young, fit easily into the multicultural neighborhood in Los Angeles but find it extremely difficult to know where they belong when their family moves to a small, closed town in Minnesota. Chan tries to make a name for himself on the school's football team but must deal with his uncle's nasty reputation and his own changing cultural values which his parents do not understand.

Old Yeller by Frederick Benjamin Gipson
Taking place in the Texas frontier in the 1860's, this touching story tells of a boy, Travis, and his devotion to his ugly yellow dog, Old Yeller. When Old Yeller is bitten by a rabid wolf, Travis knows what he must do but can he actually do it?

One Last Wish by Lurlene McDaniel
Three letters and three last wishes, one for each of the stories included in this book make it another tear-jerker in true McDaniel style.

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat
Life on the Canadian prairie could get a little boring for a young boy unless he had a houseful of unusual pets which the boy in this story did including two mischievous owls, Wol and Weeps.

Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse
Nyle and her grandmother continue to tend their sheep in New England close to the site of a recent nuclear power plant accident. When a neighbor boy suffers acute radiation sickness, he and his mother move in with Nyle. Nyle tends to him as she examines her own life and its rocky relationships.

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
High schoolers John and Lorraine are so bored with life that they make prank phone calls to unsuspecting people for their entertainment. It is through one of these phone calls that they meet Mr. Pignati, "The Pigman," and learn his secret but come to admire him anyway.

Remembering Mog by Colby Rodowsky
Annie slowly comes to terms with her grief and guilt over her older sister's sudden death.

Ribbons by Laurence Yep
Eleven-year-old Robin totally resents having to give up her cherished ballet lessons so that her parents can use the money to bring her grandmother to the U.S. from China. Determined to blame her grandmother for her lack of dance classes, Robin learns her grandmother's secret which turns their relationship completely around.

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
When feisty, senior citizen, Mrs. Gladstone, who happens to be the owner of Gladstone Shoes where Jenna works as a lowly clerk, appoints Jenna as her driver they set off across country for adventures and misadventures. (Never mind that Jenna doesn't know how to drive when they start off. After hundreds and hundreds of miles, she learns!)

Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers
Twelve-year-old Jamal is appointed head of his brother's gang when his brother is sent to prison. Not wanting anything to do with gangs or street life, Jamal certainly doesn't know what to do with the gun that is thrust into his hands. Although he survives the test he loses much in return.

Shabanu : Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Although extremely proud of her people and used to doing what is expected by her culture, Shabanu, daughter in a family of nomadic camel herders in Pakistan, runs away rather than marry the man her parents have arranged for her. Showing this much spunk is unusual for a girl of her status and she learns there is a price to pay.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Marty cannot bear to return the mistreated puppy to its rightful owner and must face the consequences of this decision.

Shizuko's Daughter by Kyoko Mori
Shizuko is devastated when her mother commits suicide and she must live with her cold father while both try to heal. It is through the love and caring of her grandparents that she begins to understand both her mother and her father, and eventually herself.

The Silent Storm by Sherry Garland
It has been three years since Alyssa saw her parents both die in a hurricane and three years since she has said one word. Now living with her grandfather, another hurricane threatens her very life. What will it do to her this time?

Silver by Norma Fox Mazer
When Sarabeth's mother moves them to a new trailer park so that Sarabeth can go to be better high school, Sarabeth thinks it will be difficult to make friends and she is right. All of the girls are rich and seem so self-confident. However, she quickly learns that looks are deceiving and that money doesn't mean happiness and happiness doesn't need money. Friends are what counts!

Slake's Limbo by Felice Holman
When life seems too tough to handle, Aremis Slake runs away to the subway tunnels of New York City where he makes a "home" for himself and vows he will never emerge. Life however is not easy there either and choices must be made.

Sounder by William H. Armstrong
When a young father is hauled off to jail for stealing a hog to feed his family, his loyal dog, Sounder, is shot in the confusion and slinks off to die. With the father gone how will this family carry on and what part will Sounder play in their survival?

Squashed by Joan Bauer
In this humorous novel, Ellie Morgan is determined to win the blue ribbon prize for the largest pumpkin. However, how do you convince a pumpkin to gain 200 more pounds and at the same time fight off pumpkin disease, pumpkin thieves, and other "wanna-be" pumpkin growers who are bent on doing your pumpkin harm?

Taking Terri Mueller by Norma Fox Mazer
Terri is so thankful that with just one parent, her relationship with her father is so warm and loving. Imagine her astonishment when she accidentally learns that her father kidnapped her and her mother is still alive!

Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Paul Fisher, legally blind, has trouble adjusting to his family's move to Tangerine, Florida until he bonds with other soccer players at his school. Through their friendship and his own growing self-esteem he is finally able to confront his parents and disturbed brother about the "accident" many years earlier which led to his impaired sight.

Taste of Salt : A Story of Modern Haiti by Frances Temple
How do you survive when you are as poor as can be and everything around you is corrupt? The government is corrupt; the schools are corrupt; the neighbors are corrupt. Seventeen-year-old Djo tells his story to a girl he meets in the hospital where he was sent after the boys' home in which he lived was fire-bombed.

The Terrorist by Caroline B. Cooney
In this suspenseful novel, Laura is determined to track the killer who placed a package-bomb in her younger brother's unsuspecting hands. She ends up in danger way over her head as she can't tell her friends from her enemies and makes the wrong choices.

Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub by Jamie Gilson
The students in Mr. Star's class are armed with their worst jokes and pranks designed to make any substitute teacher cry...but then Ms. Ivanovitch is not just any substitute and the students antics might just backfire on them this time!

Tomorrow : When the War Began by John Marsden
A group of high schoolers are off camping in the Australian bush when unidentified military forces take over their country forcing everyone to leave their homes and become their prisoners at the fairgrounds. The teens must not only figure out how to survive themselves but also must try to free their families and to get word out to the rest of the world. This is a suspenseful book!

Toning the Sweep by Angela Johnson
Emily and her mother go to Arizona to pack up her grandmother and bring her to their house where she will live out her few remaining days. While together they share stories of love and hardship as the three African American women become still closer and stronger.

Twice Taken by Susan Beth Pfeffer
When Brooke Eastman sees herself on a "missing children" television show and called the 800 telephone number given, she is totally unprepared for the rapid succession of events that follow.

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer
Kate Bjorkman laughs at the traditional "romance" novel but finds herself writing her own using the The Romance Writer's Phrase Book as a guide and based on her own current romance.

Waiting for the Rain : A Novel of South Africa by Sheila Gordon
The deep friendship of Frikkie, a white upper class boy, and Tengo, a native South African who tends Frikkie's family farm, works when they are children but as they grow up and their dreams mature, the friendship collides with political and cultural interference in South Africa.

What Child Is This? : A Christmas Story by Caroline B. Cooney
In this soft holiday story a foster boy hangs his foster sister's Christmas wish for a family of her own on the Christmas tree. In another part of town a childless couple nearly gives up their dream of having children. Will the two wishes come together?

What Hearts by Bruce Brooks
Included in this book are four short stories about the love, or lack thereof, that Asa finds throughout his life. They include the love of family, friends, between and girl and a boy, and a husband and wife. Some are happy loves; some are sad.

What Jamie Saw by Carolyn Coman
When the domestic violence gets way out of hand, Jamie's mother grabs the two children and takes off to hide from his father. From then on Jamie lives in stark fear -- fear that his father will find them. Can the love between the three of them heal the wounds and make Jamie overcome the brutality that he witnessed?

Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera Cleaver
Fourteen-year-old Mary Call and her brothers and sisters are poorer than ever after their father dies though she bravely does all she can to keep them together and away from social services who would certainly place them in separate foster homes.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Billy Colman's best friends are his coon dogs and they spend many days out in the woods training for the coveted top prize in the annual coon hunt. However, tragedy soon strikes and Billy must face days and nights without his dogs but with a deeper understanding of life.

Year Without Michael by Susan Beth Pfeffer
When 16-year-old Jody Chapman's younger brother disappears on his way home from ball practice the family begins to unravel as they wait week-after-week for his possible return.

Yolands's Genius by Carol Fenner
When Yolanda's mother moves her two children from a nasty neighborhood in Chicago to a quiet town in Michigan she continues to worry about her slow-learning, young son, Andrew. Yolanda sets out to prove to the world that her brother really is a genius according to the dictionary definition and the results are never dull.

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