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Dickensian Coming-of-Age Tales

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Bookjacket for  Canada

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Canada Canada / Richard Ford

After his parents are arrested and imprisoned for robbing a bank, fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons is taken in by Arthur Remlinger who, unbeknownst to Dell, is hiding a dark and violent nature that interferes with Dell's quest to find grace and peace on the prairie of Saskatchewan.

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Bookjacket for  Charles Dickens : a life

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Charles Dickens : a life Charles Dickens : a life / Tomalin, Claire

When Charles Dickens died in 1870, The Times of London successfully campaigned for his burial in Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of England's kings and heroes. Thousands flocked to mourn the best recognized and loved man of nineteenth-century England. His books had made them laugh, shown them the squalor and greed of English life, and also the power of personal virtue and the strength of ordinary people. In his last years Dickens drew adoring crowds, had met presidents and princes, and had amassed a fortune. Yet like his heroes, Dickens trod a hard path to greatness. His young life was overturned when his profligate father was sent to debtors' prison and Dickens was forced into harsh factory work--but this led to his remarkable eye for all that was absurd, tragic, and redemptive in London life. This biography gives full measure to Dickens's stature--his virtues both as a writer and as a human being--while observing his failings in both respects with an unblinking eye. (Publishers description)

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Bookjacket for  Dodger

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Dodger Dodger / Pratchett, Terry

In an alternative version of Victorian London, seventeen-year-old Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl from a beating, and her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England. From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd, to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

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Bookjacket for  Ellen Foster

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Ellen Foster Ellen Foster / Kaye Gibbons

Having suffered abuse and misfortune for much of her life, a young child searches for a better life and finally gets a break in the home of a loving woman with several foster children.

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Bookjacket for The flight of Gemma Hardy

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The flight of Gemma Hardy The flight of Gemma Hardy / Livesey, Margot

Overcoming a life of hardship and loneliness, Gemma Hardy, a brilliant and determined young woman, accepts a position as an au pair on the remote Orkney Islands where she faces her biggest challenge yet.

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Bookjacket for The goldfinch

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The goldfinch The goldfinch / Donna Tartt

A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld.

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Bookjacket for  Great expectations

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Great expectations Great expectations / Dickens, Charles

Charles Dickens' last great novel, the story of Pip, an orphan and ward of his sister and her husband, that traces his path from a hardscrabble rural life to the teeming streets of 19th-century London.

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Bookjacket for  Isabel's daughter

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Isabel's daughter Isabel's daughter / Judith Ryan Hendricks

After a childhood spent in an institution and a series of foster homes, Avery James has trained herself not to wonder about the mother who gave her up. But her safe, predictable life changes one night when she stumbles upon the portrait of a woman who is the mirror image of herself. Slowly but inevitably, Avery is compelled to discover all she can about her mother, Isabel.


Bookjacket for The kindness of strangers

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The kindness of strangers The kindness of strangers / Kittle, Katrina

Jordan, a quiet and reclusive elementary-school boy, has survived a terrible tragedy, leaving him without a family. When Sarah Laden, a young widow and mother of two becomes Jordan's foster mother, a relationship develops that will force her to question the things of which she thought she was so sure. Yet Sarah is not the only one changed by this young boy, and as the delicate balance that holds her family together begins to falter, the Ladens will all face truths about themselves and one another -- and discover the power of love to forgive and to heal.


Bookjacket for The language of flowers : a novel

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The language of flowers : a novel The language of flowers : a novel / Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Her gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own past.

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Bookjacket for The miracle life of Edgar Mint : a novel

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The miracle life of Edgar Mint : a novel The miracle life of Edgar Mint : a novel / Brady Udall

Half-Apache orphan Edgar is taken from his home on an Arizona reservation after he is run over by a mailman, which sets in motion a journey from the hospital to a school for delinquents to a Mormon foster family and his eventual, unexpected return home.


Bookjacket for  Peace like a river

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Peace like a river Peace like a river / Enger, Leif

Eleven-year-old asthmatic Reuben Land chronicles the Land family's odyssey in search of Reuben's older brother, Davy, who has escaped from jail before he can stand trial for the killing of two marauders who came to their Minnesota farm to harm the family. A first novel.


Bookjacket for The round house

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The round house The round house / Louise Erdrich

When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, fourteen-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

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Bookjacket for  Salvage the bones : a novel

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Salvage the bones : a novel Salvage the bones : a novel / Ward, Jesmyn

Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.

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Bookjacket for The Sea of Tranquility : a novel

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The Sea of Tranquility : a novel The Sea of Tranquility : a novel / Millay, Katja

Two and a half years after an unspeakable tragedy left her a shadow of the girl she once was, Nastya Kashnikov moves to a new town determined to keep her dark past hidden and hold everyone at a distance. But her plans only last so long before she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the one person as isolated as herself: Josh Bennett. Josh's story is no secret. Every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. Everyone except Nastya who won't go away until she's insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But as the undeniable pull between them intensifies, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she's been hiding, or if he even wants to.


Bookjacket for The silver star : a novel

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The silver star : a novel The silver star : a novel / Jeanette Walls

Two motherless sisters--Bean and Liz--are shuttled to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that's been in their family for generations. When school starts in the fall, Bean easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz becomes increasingly withdrawn. Then something happens to Liz and Bean who are left to challenge the injustice of the adult world.

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Bookjacket for The sweetness at the bottom of the pie

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The sweetness at the bottom of the pie The sweetness at the bottom of the pie / Bradley, C. Alan

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, must exonerate her father of murder. Armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together and examine new suspects, she begins a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself.

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Bookjacket for  Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel

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Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel / Carol Rifka Brunt

It is 1987, and only one person has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus -- her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life -- someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.

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Bookjacket for  Winter's bone: a novel

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Winter's bone: a novel Winter's bone: a novel / Daniel Woodrell

Reaching her sixteenth year in the harsh Ozarks while caring for her poverty-stricken family, Ree Dolly learns that they will lose their house unless her bail-skipping father can be found and made to appear at an upcoming court date.

eBook/DVD

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