Now that winter's here (hey, we had 16 inches of snow yesterday and it's not officially winter until tomorrow), keep in mind this young adult title that's coming out in about six weeks:
The Life of Glass by Jillian Cantor (HarperCollins, $16.99, due February 2010 for ages 12 and up).
A sweet and beautifully-written story about a 14-year-old girl named Melissa, who loses her father to cancer. Before he dies, he tells her that the piece of glass she found in the dry riverbed behind their house would last for a million years. She keeps it because it's the last thing he ever touched. She also keeps his journals and tries to lose herself in them. As the months go by, her mother and older sister seem to be getting on with their lives (Mom starts dating, Ashley tries out for a beauty pageant and also goes out with a popular football player). But Melissa is stuck. Her grades are slipping. She doesn't care what she looks like. She knows she'll never be beautiful like Ashley. The only person Melissa can talk to is her neighbor and best friend, Ryan. But even Ryan begins to distance himself from her as he falls for the new girl in school.
This is so much more than a contemporary high school story. It's a quiet little gem of a novel about love and family and friendship and beauty -- the inside kind and the outside kind.