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Edition 1: Neighborhood Watch by Jennifer Solomon

flag USWhen kids start to disappear, local menace Jaden points the finger at his odd neighbors, the Spragues. Will he be able to stop them before there’s another friend on the menu? A classic thriller, but wait for the twist… SY

Jaden Conner-Sterling was an awful little boy. Not to his parents, perhaps, but certainly to most of the world. He was eleven; too old for his actions to be considered cute, and too young for them to be considered dangerous. He was smart in a sly sort of way; too small to be a bully at his school, he instead used his fast wits to become a lackey to the older, stronger kids.

It was Jaden who came up with the nickname “Fetus Face” for the soft, fleshy fourth grader named Douglas, and “Crotch rot” for the pretty, but extremely shy, Marilyn. When his friends found a dead cat by the side of the road, it was Jaden’s idea to put it in a used Chinese takeout bag and stow it in the locker of an Asian student named Takumi. “Enjoy your runch!” the gang shouted as the young boy (Japanese, not Chinese) tried not to cry.

Jaden was clever enough to modify his behavior among adults, though he didn’t fool everyone. His math teacher, Margaret Leonard, for example, watched him like a hawk. Forty years of dealing with unruly children had given her sharp instincts, though she was no longer fast enough on her feet to catch him in the act. Jaden referred to her as Grandma Moses. His neighbors across the street, the Fitzgeralds, had caught him chucking stones at their bird feeder. His parents reprimanded him vaguely, and Jaden was careful to check that the Fitzgeralds were out before resuming his target practice.

His parents, David and Laura saw Jaden in a different light. In their eyes, he was a highly intelligent, inquisitive little boy.

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Edition 1: Toxic Sludge by Tom Ribas and Lee Lackey

flag USWhen waste takes over, it’s left up to the animals to preserve the forest. Will Rat, Frog, and Badger be able to defeat The Sludge and save the world as we know it? A fantastical story of a future where our filthy past finally catches up with us. SY

In a hollow den of glass and steel, blue and black shadows spread across holes and hallways leading down divergent paths; they stood exposed under rows of effulgent fluorescent lights.

Badger motioned to hurry, dark eyes darting. Dim esoterica on the walls stretched to the edges of his abnormally keen vision, panes revealing no signs of the enemy. He held the machine gun tight in his piebald paws; he smelled vividly the acrid stench of pollution.

I’m trying.” Rat’s claws clattered and fumbled against the primitive electric lock on the metal crate. Her eyes were wide and frantic; she knew what would happen if they were to be caught. Sweat formed and ran down her nose, on the palms of her hands, onto her fingers, making them slippery. The other two shifted in place the longer they were forced to wait. Every second that passed made them more and more afraid.

With an audible click and hiss, hydraulic rams moved inside to open the crate and show the stash of ammunition within.

Got it—I got it.”

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