Coming Up Short
A heartfelt novel about a softball-loving girl coming to terms with her parents’ humanity after a scandal sends shock waves through her town
Bea’s parents think she can accomplish absolutely anything—and she’s determined to prove them right. But at the end of seventh grade, on the same day she makes a gutsy play to send her softball team to the league championships and Xander, the boy she likes, makes it clear that he likes her too, a scandal shakes up her world. Bea’s dad made a big mistake, taking money that belonged to a client. He’s now suspended from practicing law, and another lawyer spread the news online. To make matters worse, that other lawyer is Xander’s dad.
Bea doesn’t want to be angry with her dad, especially since he feels terrible and is trying to make things right. But she can’t face the looks of pity from all her friends, and then she starts missing throws in softball because she’s stuck in her own head. The thing she was best at seems to be slipping out of her fingers along with her formerly happy family. She’s not sure what’s going to be harder—learning to throw again, or forgiving her dad. How can she be the best version of herself when everything she loves is falling apart?
Praise for Coming Up Short:
“A pitch-perfect middle school sports story that captures all the joy, love, and messiness of growing up, Coming Up Short hits an absolute home run.” —Kate Messner, author of Breakout and Chirp
“For every strong, brave kid who has ever felt like they’re coming up short, this is a book about showing up for your team, but showing up for yourself first.” —Lindsey Stoddard, author of Just Like Jackie
“Coming Up Short has the perfect lineup of friendships, first crushes, and family drama for a page-turning book. I loved everything about it!” —Debbi Michiko Florence, author of Keep It Together, Keiko Carter and Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai
“Coming Up Short is a gripping and relatable story with a big heart that will have readers thinking deeply about team, family, and responsibility, especially when it comes to the people we love.” —Alyson Gerber, author of Taking Up Space, Focused, and Braced
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Saint Ivy: Kind at All Costs
A thoughtful middle-grade novel about caring for others and for yourself—and what it truly means to be kind and vulnerable
Thirteen-year-old Ivy Campbell has always been a good kid: She supports her soccer-star brother, bakes with her nana, and puts her friends’ needs before her own. So of course, Ivy is 100 percent supportive when her mom decides to be a gestational surrogate. But when Ivy finds out the surrogacy treatment worked and her mom is pregnant—and has been for weeks—she’s shocked that she’s jealous and worried about what others will think. And most of all, she’s ashamed that she isn’t reacting to this news in the right way. The Ivy way. Ivy is determined to prove to herself that she’s just as unselfish as she’s always believed, and she gets the chance to do that when she receives an anonymous email from someone who needs her help. But the more Ivy dives into helping this anonymous person, the further she gets from the people she loves—and from the person who she wants to be.
Check out the Saint Ivy Discussion and Activity Guide!
Praise for Saint Ivy:
**A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION**
“Feelings, life, and people are allowed to be complicated in beautiful ways in this page-turner.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A keenly observed portrait of a girl who goes way overboard on a good thing.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The lively narrative projects an authentic middle school voice and the Philadelphia setting is vivid, populated by nuanced characters and situations… Relatable realistic fiction for upper elementary and middle school readers navigating friendships, boundaries, and identity, with appeal for fans of similarly themed stories such as Varian Johnson’s Twins, Shannon Hale’s Real Friends, and Celia C. Pérez’s Strange Birds.” —School Library Journal
“I loved this wise, warm and utterly relatable story about kindness—a topic that feels especially timely. Once again, Laurie Morrison has created a complex, authentic character readers will eagerly embrace.” —Barbara Dee, author of Maybe He Just Likes You and My Life in the Fish Tank
“A truly memorable novel that makes the sometimes quiet and unasked questions of growing up and figuring yourself out feel big and bold and heart-shifting and profound. Part page-turning mystery, part emotional character study, I loved every poignant, intimate, and wise page. And I loved Ivy and her deeply relatable journey most of all.” –Corey Ann Haydu, author of Eventown and One Jar of Magic
“In this fast-paced, engaging book, a series of mysterious letters leave Ivy searching for answers and finding them in the most unexpected places. Morrison has crafted a beautifully triumphant story. It is layered, warm, and sweet, just like the perfectly imperfect Ivy herself.” –Carrie Firestone, author of Dress Coded
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Up for Air
Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team for the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.
Check out the Teaching Guide for Up for Air!
Praise for Up for Air:
**A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION**
**A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST SUMMER READ**
“An awesome swimmer with a frustrating learning disability struggles in the roiling waters of adolescence . . . Readers will root for [Annabelle] as she ricochets between ebullience and despair, empathy and hurt, confidence and doubt, pride and self-loathing—we’ve been there, too, or soon will be. Captures the turmoil of adolescence with wisdom and humor in near-pointillist detail.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Morrison, a former teacher, realistically captures the challenges of middle school—complicated family dynamics, volatile friendships, and first love—in this story about a girl struggling to find where she belongs.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“A sweet and entertaining novel with deeper themes to ponder.” —School Library Journal
“Laurie Morrison authentically captures the lovelorn daydreams as well as the awkwardness and anxiety of a middle school girl with one foot in her childhood friendships and the other venturing into the world of young adulthood . . . the feelings and struggles Annabelle experiences are universal and will strike a chord with middle school students.” —School Library Connection
“Readers will relate to Annabelle—if not with the specifics of her life, then with the feelings of an almost teen as she navigates growing up. The well-crafted characters extend to the adults in the story, who are multilayered and have lives beyond their relationship with their daughter. Best of all, Annabelle’s realizations about her life are hard won and wholly believable.” — Booklist
“If I could take one book back to 13-year-old me in a time machine, it’d be this one.”—Kate Messner, author of Chirp and Breakout
“This novel is just like Annabelle herself: powerful and extraordinary.” —Lisa Greenwald, author of My Life in Pink and Green and 11 Before 12
“A heartwarming and oh-so-relatable middle-grade read.” —Melanie Crowder, author of Walden Award finalist An Uninterrupted View of the Sky
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Every Shiny Thing
In this beautifully constructed middle-grade novel, told half in prose and half in verse, Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost until they find a deep bond with each other. But when Lauren recruits Sierra to help with a Robin Hood scheme to raise money for autistic kids who don’t have her family’s resources, Sierra has a lot to lose if the plan goes wrong. Lauren must learn that having good intentions isn’t all that matters when you battle injustice, and Sierra needs to realize that sometimes, the person you need to take care of is yourself.
Check out the Teaching Guide for Every Shiny Thing!
Praise for Every Shiny Thing:
A Finalist for the Georgia and South Carolina Book Awards
“Thoughtful readers will find a lot to like here—sadness, suspense, even humor. They may even pause to consider their own privilege.” –School Library Journal
“Sierra’s narrative, in poetry, captures her spare, cautious, and Lauren’s prose is rich and descriptive, much like her own experiences. Together, the contrasting narratives tell a touching story about friendship, loyalty, and resilience that will have lots of appeal.” –Booklist
“Like a kaleidoscope, Lauren and Sierra’s shifting perspectives will make you look at the world from different angles, transforming in unique and beautiful ways. This story shines.” –Lisa Graff, author of Lost in The Sun
“An inventive and emotional story about family and friendship.” –Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Honor winning author of Hello, Universe
“An emotional story of thievery, the trials of middle school, and above all, home and heart. This should hit the mark for middle grade readers who enjoy life’s complexities paired with the intrigue of secrecy.” –Erin E. Moulton, author of Flutter