Alma's life is a constant of halfways: She's half-Chinese, half-Jewish; her parents spend half the time fighting, and the other half silent; and, at thirteen, she's halfway through becoming a woman. Then comes the year when everything changes, and her life is overtaken by constant endings: friends move away, romances bloom and wither, her parents file for divorce, and just like that her childhood seems to be over. Among this world of confusing beginnings, middles, and endings, could there be a roadmap for Alma to truly find herself?
In Cuba's "special period in times of peace" of 1991, Liana and Amado find love after their severe hunger gives both courage to risk government retribution by skipping a summer of labor to seek food. Told in their two voices plus that of the stray dog that brought them together.
In 1970s northern California, fifteen-year-old RJ Armante has never known a life outside his dead-end hometown of Arcangel, CA. The Blackjacks still rule as they have for generations, luring the poorest kids into their monopoly on petty crime. For years, they’ve left RJ alone…until now. When the Blackjacks come knocking, they want RJ to prey upon an old loner. But RJ is at his breaking point. It’s not just about the gang who rules the town. It’s about Charley, his younger brother, who is disabled. It’s about Roxanne, the girl he can’t reach. It’s about the kids in his crew who have nothing to live for. If RJ is to resist, he must fight to free Arcangel of its past.
With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble.
It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down. She's too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots. Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart— It’s broken. Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes. She explodes.
1964. Houston, Texas. Evie Barnes and all her friends are the sort who wear bold makeup, laugh too loud, and run around with boys. Most of all, they protect their own against the world. They're the bad girls. When Evie is saved from a sinister encounter by a good girl from the "right" side of the tracks, every rule she has always lived by is called into question. Now she must redefine what it means to be a bad girl-- and rethink everything she knew about loyalty.
In a country governed by isolation, fear, and a tyrannical dictator, seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer, but he decides to use his position to try to outwit his handler, undermine the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country.
In 1980s Minnesota, when auditions for a concert with Prince are announced, 16-year-old Rosa Dominguez, the daughter of a tyrant ballet master, is desperate to escape her pointe shoes and show everyone what she can do.
Told from different points of view--protesters, students, National Guardsmen, and "townies"--recounts the story of what happened at Kent State in May 1970, when four college students were killed by National Guardsmen, and a student protest was turned into a bloody battlefield.