The Island – Gary Paulsen: 15-year old Wil Neuton’s dad gets a new job, which uproots the family from their established home in Madison Wisconsin, and deposits them 140 miles north in a small town in the northern part of the state. Uprooted is a good way to describe Wil, not just geographically. He really doesn’t have a very good grip on who he is or where he fits in. The cast of characters surrounding him, his kind of clueless folks, Emil the weird handyman, Ray the town bully, are none of them particularly useful in helping him find his path, but the minute Wil lays eyes on The Island, and the boat, he knows. This is where he needs to be and what he needs to learn.
That Salty Air (graphic novel) – Tim Sievert: Hugh and Maryanne are married and live in a small house by the sea. Hugh is a fisherman. He loves the sea. He loves everything about it, until the day that he receives notice that his mother has died – drowned. And suddenly, Hugh is in a crisis. His love – the ocean – has betrayed him. This is the story of his pain, and his love and his sacrifice. The ocean and her creatures play a magical role in his story, as does his wife, however innocently.
Bloody Jack – L.A. Meyer: For four years, after the death of her parents, 12-year-old Mary “Jacky” Farber, has managed to live successfully as a beggar with a small gang of kids in late 18th century London. However, when the gang’s leader is killed, Mary takes his clothes, and hires on as a ship’s boy on the HMS Dolphin.
The Sea of Trolls – Nancy Farmer: Jack, the Bard’s apprentice and his little sister Lucy are kidnapped and taken to sea by a crew of Viking Berserkers, led by Olaf One-Brow. This rowdy crew specializes in bloody battle, rowdy song singing, and fart jokes. They take the children as slaves, but soon realize that Jack has some magical skill. When they arrive home and present the children to their half-troll and mostly crazy Queen, she demands that their adventure continue deep into the troll homeland to break a misfired spell that is causing her shape-shifted beauty to disappear. To make sure Jack does her bidding, she holds Lucy captive until his return.
The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan: Book #2 of the Percy Jackson series finds our hero (13-year old demigod, son of Poseidon) back at school, and playing dodgeball. Never a good plan. Once giant cannibals infiltrate the game, the adventure is on. Annabel (daughter of Athena) comes to the rescue and they take the new kid Tyson, back to camp half blood. Here they discover that Tyson is a Cyclops, and Percy’s friend Grover is being held captive in the Bermuda Triangle. To free Grover and save the camp, they must go on a quest for the Golden Fleece.
Shark Girl – Kelly Bingham: Jane is 15 when she’s attacked by a shark in waist deep water and loses her right hand and the arm to the elbow. To make matters even worse, Jane is an artist. A right-handed artist. This story takes you along on the journey from right before the attack, through the recovery in the hospital, avoiding the news reports and the eye-witness video from the onlooker who only filmed – didn’t offer to help, physical therapy, what to say to her friends, what to think about boys, going home, and figuring out if she will ever be able to draw again.
Finding Nouf – Zoe Ferraris: Why is a murder mystery that is set in the Desert of Saudi Arabia included on a list of books with about water? Because when 16-year old Nouf’s body is found in the desert, the cause of death isn’t dehydration, it’s drowning. Nayir the desert guide is an unlikely detective, and Katya Hijazi, the lab technician is an even more unlikely partner. Set against the backdrop of the very strict Islamic tradition found in Saudi Arabia, these two do their best to discover how a girl from a rich family was killed, despite the fact that her family may not want to know, and despite the fact that if they are discovered working together, they may be arrested by religious police, or worse.
Mermaid Park – Beth Mayall: Amy is 16, fresh off the breakup with her boyfriend – and the blowoff from the great guy she broke up with him for, stuck in the un air-conditioned back seat of the car with her younger sister, her sister’s friend, her pretty mom and her jerky step-dad, headed for summer vacation. Nothing is right – including Amy with herself. The fights with her mom, her sister, and mainly her stepdad, escalate right up to the day they’re supposed to leave and go back home. Amy wants to stay. Stay the summer there in Wildwood with her godmother and work. It looks like that’s never going to happen until the worst fight at the very last minute, tips her mom over the edge, and Amy ends up staying.
Godless – Pete Hautman: Jason Bock is fed up with his parent’s religion. He has expressed in no uncertain terms that he is an Agnostic, bordering on Atheist, to which his father has responded by forcing him to attend the church youth group led by Al the used car salesman. But when Jason decides to start up his own religion – Chutengodism – the worship of the town water tower (Great 10-legged one) things get moving fast. His two best friends, Shin and Dan join, and suddenly Magda the object of his affection wants in, and then the town bully. Everyone starts taking it really seriously – but each in a very different way, and somehow, Jason as the Big Kahuna, is responsible for all of them. And when the worship services move to the top of the water tower, this becomes a really serious problem.