Short was one of my favorite reads of the year when I read it. When her younger brother wants to audition for a part in a summer production, Julia’s mom makes her try out, as well. It’s The Wizard of Oz, and they’re cast as munchkins. Because… Julia’s short. In Alan Cole is Not a Coward, Alan’s older brother bullies him into a game of Cole vs. Cole. If Alan looses, Nathan will out him as gay to the whole school. This was a tough one for me. Dysfunctional families make me sad, and Nathan’s pretty much a jerk because their dad’s an even bigger one. But Bell balances all that cruelty with enough warmth and humor that readers who struggle alongside Alan are stronger for the journey. The Sand Warrior kicks off the 5 Worlds graphic novel series. Three kids with very different backgrounds are going to try to save the world (times five). Good stuff.