Made a mad dash into the public library and picked up a bunch after my Survival Spanish class. Here are two phrases that may be useful to librarians:
El libro es tarde. (The book is late.) La perdista? (Have you lost it?)
The best by far was Box Out by John McCoy, who wrote the fabulous Crackback. Liam makes the varsity basketball team, and is fairly happy about this until the coach insists on saying prayers during games and having the players come to a once a week prayer meeting. Liam's family goes to a Catholic church and prays before dinner, but it's still not the right thing for the coach to do, and when the coach lies to Liam and tells him it's okay for the coach to lead prayers, Liam quits the team and starts to practice with the girls' team to help them out. While the plot is driven by the prayer issue, the meat of the book is about basketball and the motivation for playing. Liam contacts an organization that writes to the school and tells them the coach has to stop praying or they'll take the school to court, but it all works out. I liked the fact that Liam was religious, but wasn't comfortable with the way the coach was handling things.
P.B. Kerr's One Small Step started out promisingly-- 13 year old is flying plane with father when they are hit by a goose and almost crash. I also liked the idea that the boy was approached to fly in a space mission because of his flying skills and his small size, but the book just moved too slowly and I lost interest.
Anne Cassidy's Looking for JJ had a riveting premise-- a girl kills a friend when she is ten, is incarcerated, and then ends up being released. While she is trying to set up a new life under an assumed identity, reporters start looking for her, and she relives the horrors that brought her to the point of murder. This is a book more for high school students. There's abuse and neglect, creepy boyfriends, and a lot of anger in this book that makes it too intense for middle school students' parents!
Hoped that Kevin Brooks' Black Rabbit Summer would fall on the side of Candy and Road of the Dead, but it went the way of Martyn Pig. Bleah. Maybe for high schools with a large number of Brooks fans, but it's liberally sprinkled with f-bombs, and just kind of ooky.