Boys Only Book Club: Grade 6-9
Seventeen-year-old Webb’s abusive stepfather has made it impossible for him to live at home, so Webb survives on the streets of Toronto by busking with his guitar and working as a dishwasher. When Webb’s grandfather dies, his will stipulates that his grandsons fulfill specific requests. Webb’s task takes him to the Canol Trail in Canada’s Far North, where he finds out that there are much scarier things than the cold and the occasional grizzly bear. With a Native guide, two German tourists and his guitar for company, Webb is forced to confront terrible events in his grandfather’s past and somehow deal with the pain and confu- sion of his own life.
DJ is David McLean’s eldest grandson, so it stands to reason that he be the one to scatter his beloved grandfather’s ashes. At least that’s how DJ sees it. He’s always been the best at everything—sports, school, looking after his fatherless family—so climbing Kilimanjaro is just another thing he’ll accomplish almost effortlessly. Or so he thinks, until he arrives in Tanzania and everything starts to go wrong. He’s detained at immigration, he gets robbed, his climbing group includes an old lady and he gets stuck with the first ever female porter. Forced to go polepole (slowly), DJ finds out the hard way that youth, fitness level and drive have nothing to do with success on the mountain—or in life.
Steve thinks a trip to Europe is out of the question—until he hears his grandfather’s will. Suddenly he’s off to Spain, armed with only a letter from his grandfather that sends him to a specific address in Barcelona. There he meets a girl named Laia and finds a trunk containing some of his grandfather’s possessions, including a journal he kept during the time he fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. Steve decides to trace his grand- father’s footsteps through Spain, and with Laia’s help, he visits the battlefields and ruined towns that shaped his grandfather’s young life, and begins to understand the power of history and the transformative nature of passion for a righteous cause.
Spencer loves movies, but real life is boring, right? When his late grandfather’s will reveals the tasks he wants his grandsons to undertake, Spencer thinks he got screwed. He’s not going to France or Spain or Africa. He’s not even getting a cool tattoo, like his younger brother. No, he’s going to Buffalo to get a kiss from an ancient movie star. Gross. And he’s supposed to film it. Grosser. But Spencer hasn’t bargained on Gloria Lorraine, star of the silver screen back in the day. Gloria has big plans—plans that involve her granddaughter AmberLea, a gun, a baker who might be a gangster, some real gangsters and a road trip to Nowheresville, Ontario. After being shot at, jumping into an icy lake and confronting some angry bikers, Spencer finally realizes that real life can be as exciting (and dangerous) as reel life.
Bunny (real name Bernard) doesn’t understand why his late grandfather wants him to get a tattoo. Actually, Bunny doesn’t understand a lot of things, so it’s good that his older brother, Spencer, is happy to explain things to him. But this is a task Bunny is supposed to do on his own, and nobody is more surprised than Bunny when, after he gets tattooed, he is befriended by a kid named Jaden and adopted into Jaden’s gang. The gang hangs out at a gym, where Bunny learns to fight, but when it finally dawns on him that the gang is involved in some pretty shady—and dangerous—business, Bunny is torn between his loyalty to his new friends and doing what he knows is right.
No one is more surprised than Rennie to hear that his late grandfather, whom he hardly knew, has left a mission for him to fulfill. Rennie is to fly to Iceland and deliver a message from beyond the grave, but when he gets there, nothing is simple or straightforward. For one thing, Brynja, the teenage daughter of the family he’s staying with, is downright hostile. Her father Einar, who is to be Rennie’s guide in Iceland, is preoccupied with looking after his elderly father-in-law, an old friend of Rennie’s grandfather. Bored and a little bit annoyed, Rennie explores the town and becomes aware that the family is dealing with more than their grief over Brynja’s mother’s death the year before. Before he realizes what is happening, his curi- osity puts Rennie in grave danger, with no one to trust and no one to save him except himself.
Adam has a good life in Buffalo: great parents, a cute girlfriend, adequate grades. He’s not the best at anything, but he’s not the worst either. He secretly lusts after Vanessa, the hottest girl in school, and when his dead grandfather’s will stipulates that he go on a mission to France, Adam figures he might just have a chance to impress Vanessa and change his life from good to great. When he gets to France, he discovers he has not one but three near-impossible tasks before him. He also discovers a dark and shameful episode from his grandfather’s past, something Adam is supposed to make amends for. But how can he do that when he barely speaks the language and his tasks become more and more dangerous? Despite the odds, Adam finds a way to fulfill his grandfather’s wishes and, in the process, become worthy of bearing his name.
DJ jets across the Atlantic to England to follow a series of obscure clues and symbols he hopes will reveal the truth about his grandfather. In London, he stays with Doris, the elderly woman he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with. Laid up with a broken ankle, Doris has her grandchild, Charlie, offer assistance. Charlie—short for Charlotte—is a beautiful model who is romantically (and secretly) linked to a member of the British Royal Family. Spies, guns, double agents, the Cambridge Five and a vintage E-Type Jag are a few of the things DJ and Charlie encounter on an adventure that makes climbing Kilimanjaro look like a walk in the park.
Steve thinks he made the right choice turning down a snowy week with his cousins at a cabin in northern Ontario in favor of a relaxing (and perhaps romantic) time under the Spanish sun with his friend, Laia. But when an email from his brother DJ arrives, implicating their grandfather in some shadowy international plots involving nuclear bombs, Steve and Laia immediately put aside all thoughts of a lazy, sun-drenched vacation. In a desperate attempt to find out if Steve’s grandfather was a Cold War-era spy, they crack mysterious codes, confront violent Russian mobsters, dodge spies, unearth a bomb and avoid nudists. But the more they uncover, the more Steve wonders: whose side was Grandpa really on?
When his brother Bunny vanishes from the Toronto City Hall skating rink, Spencer, a budding filmmaker, finds himself plunged into the stuff of movie thrillers: kidnapping, terrorists, intrigue, a missing document, a world-famous pop star, disguises, romance and a rogue alligator. As he races the clock to save his brother, he must sort the real from the make-believe and unravel a murder mystery involving his grandfather. The last time Spencer got tangled up in an adventure from his grandfather’s past, he didn’t believe it was for real. Now he can’t get anyone to believe him when he says that Bunny has been kidnapped and that someone is going to die.
Bunny is in trouble. He’s been kidnapped from the skating rink at City Hall in Toronto, and now he’s locked in a cold basement room, still in his parka and skates. Where is he? And why do his kidnappers keep asking questions about his dead grandpa and some weird national anthem? Bunny
￼may not always know what’s going on, but he has an innocent’s ability to get to the heart of things and find out what it’s all about. When he manages to escape, he skates across hockey rinks and down frozen highways, always a few strides ahead of his kidnappers. He gets help along the way from an assortment of characters—some kindly, some crazy, some scary and at least one that will make your jaw drop.
Rennie is in Uruguay when his cousins discover a secret cache at their dead grandfather’s cottage. Thousands of dollars in foreign currencies. A mystifying notebook. Multiple passports, some obviously fake. A gun. A disguise. And a photo of some Nazis. Rennie’s mission: to find out whether there was more to the old man than anyone knew. Was he a spy? If he was, what did he do? And for whom? Did he help a Nazi war criminal escape justice? Rennie’s quest leads him to Argentina and then to Detroit, where he finds more questions than answers and more than one gun pointed—and fired—in his direction.
Jim Webb’s pursuit of the truth about his grandfather’s role in the Vietnam War puts him squarely in the sights of someone high up in the US military—someone who wants certain events from that war left in the past. Webb goes on the run in the American Deep South with Lee, a Vietnam vet, trying to smoke out the man they call the Bogeyman by using Webb as bait. The Bogeyman may be powerful and smart, but Webb and Lee, with the help of a few of Lee’s old army buddies (and one motorcycle-riding girl), are ready to take him down.
When Adam Murphy learns that his late, revered grandfather, David McLean, hid a huge stash of foreign cash and fake passports in the family’s cottage, he is stunned. Was Grandpa really a traitor, as some of the evidence suggests? And why was a loaded Walther PPK pistol hidden at the cottage? Determined to prove his grandfather’s innocence, Adam takes the famous James Bond gun
and follows the clues to Bermuda, where he encounters danger, evidence of espionage, and an unusual girl named Angel Dahl. Desperate and on the run with Angel, pursued by a deadly operative, Adam races to other exotic locations, unsure if Angel is friend or foe, or if his grandfather was a hero or a villain. Three clues hold the dark secret of David McLean’s past—the letter W, a glass eye with a golden iris, and the haunting words of someone named Mr. Know.