Novels

The year I was seventeen, I had five best friends…and I was in love with all of them for different reasons.

Billie McCaffrey is always starting things. Like couches constructed of newspapers and two-by-fours. Like costumes made of aluminum cans and Starburst papers. Like trouble. This year, however, trouble comes looking for her. Her best friends, a group she calls the Hexagon, have always been schemers. They scheme for kicks and giggles. What happens when you microwave a sock? They scheme to change their small town of Otters Holt, Kentucky for the better. Why not campaign to save the annual Harvest Festival we love so much? They scheme because they need to scheme. How can we get the most unlikely candidate elected for the town’s highest honor?But when they start scheming about love, things go sideways.

In Otters Holt, love has always been defined one way—girl and boy fall in love, get married, buy aBuick, and there’s sex in there somewhere. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple. Can the Hexagon, her parents, and the town she calls home handle the real Billie McCaffrey?

Author Courtney Stevens delivers an honest, funny, and endearing account of a girl coming to terms with the gray areas of love, gender, and sexuality, while facing the opposition that follows.

Want to read Dress Codes with your book club, click here for a discussion guide.

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Sadie Kingston is living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him. But Max looks at her scars and doesn’t shy away. And Max knows about the list she writes in the sand at the beach every night, the list of things that Sadie knows she must accomplish before she can move on from the accident. And while he can help her with number six (kiss someone without flinching), she knows she’s on her own with number three (forgive Gina and Gray) and the rest of the seemingly impossible tasks that must be made possible before she can live in the now again.

In the same vein as Jandy Nelson and Gayle Forman comes a novel from the gifted author of Faking Normal, Courtney C. Stevens, about hope and courage and the struggle to overcome the pain of loss.

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Set before the events of Courtney C. Stevens’s debut novel, Faking Normal, this digital short story focuses on Bodee Lennox, otherwise known as the Kool-Aid Kid.

Bodee Lennox has secrets. About where he got the four-inch scar on his leg. About the bruises on his back. About what it’s really like to live in the Lennox household. These are things he doesn’t share with anyone . . . until he meets Gerry, a girl with bright-green hair and a smile the size of Alaska. When Gerry falls out of a bus in Rickman, Tennessee, and lands at Bodee’s feet, she gives Bodee two things he desperately needs: a friend and a chance to leave Rickman behind, even if it’s just for a few hours.

He joins Gerry on her epic bus trip for as far as his money will take him. And by the end of the day, more of Bodee has changed than just the color of his hair.

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Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer by her backyard pool. Instead, she hides in her closet, counts the slats in the air vent, and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does—and deal with the trauma.

When Bodee Lennox—“the Kool-Aid Kid”—moves in with the Littrells after a family tragedy, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in this quiet, awkward boy who has secrets of his own. As their friendship grows, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her summon the courage to find her voice and speak up about the rape that has changed the course of her life.

Awards: Georgia Peach Nominee, Bluegrass Award Nominee, Volunteer State Book Award, Eliot Rosewater Indiana State Book Award Nominee, Winner of the Crystal Kite, chosen for Battle of the Books

Want to read Faking Normal with your book club, click here for a discussion guide.

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