Although seventeen-year-old Amber Appleton is homeless, living in a school bus with her unfit mother, she is a relentless optimist who visits the elderly at a nursing home, teaches English to Korean Catholic women with the use of rhythm and blues music, and befriends a solitary Vietnam veteran and his dog, but eventually she experiences one burden more than she can bear and slips into a deep depression.
Will, a musically gifted teen, is making his mark in a semiprofessional Chicago band. He is saddled with an abusive older brother who torments him and who, despite bottomless remorse, continues to commit stupid acts and crimes that create ongoing chaos and challenges for his family. Writing in a journal of sorts, Will tells his story in colloquial language, describing his futile crush on Amanda and the outrageous behavior of the adult band members who create a cult following as Kiss Forever, which both memorializes and satirizes the infamous band Kiss.
Contains a collection of twelve stories, by different authors, that celebrate the power of music. Includes works by Ron Koertge, Joseph Bruchac, Sarah Ellis, and Jennifer Armstrong.
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan has a secret: She's living with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violinist and composer. To Cassie, he's an erratic, self-centered bully. Dino has always been difficult, but as he prepares for his comeback concert, something in him begins to shift. He seems more high-strung than ever, set of by any little thing. He stops sleeping, starts chain-smoking. And he grows increasingly paranoid, saying things that Cassie is desperate to make sense of, but can't. So she does what she thinks she must: She tries to hide his behavior from the outside world. Before, she was angry. Now, she is afraid. Enter Ian Waters: a brilliant young violinist, and Dino's first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she's doomed. She tries everything to keep away from him, but is drawn to him in a way she's never felt before. It should be easy. It should be beautiful. It is not. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain. But this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.