"Four things my geeky-jock-of-a-best-friend must do in Europe" by Jane Harrington
What's black and huge and written all over my--Hand? Instructions from my dear, darling best friend Delia. Instructions to do four things I would never, ever in a million years do. But I have to. Just because dumb, old me promised Delia I'd pull off each one while I'm on this wacked-out Mediterranean cruise with mio madre (i.e. my mother.) At least I'm keeping some sanity by writing letters to Delia all about my thrilling adventures, including the episodes about the other teens on the cruise ship. Delia would SO love these guys from all over the world--maybe even the ones from another planet (well, maybe NOT). And if she WERE here, maybe she could help me find once of those code-red Euro-hotties she SWEARS are easy to spot. (One of those four things on my hand.) Four things. Sounds easy, huh? WHATEVER.
"Ask my no questions" Marina Budhos
Nadira, 14, relates how her family left Bangladesh, came to the U. S. on a tourist visa, and stayed long after the visa expired ("Everyone does it. You buy a fake social security number for a few hundred dollars and then you can work."). Their illegal status is discovered, however, following 9/11, when immigration regulations are tightened. When the family hurriedly seeks asylum in Canada, they are turned back, and Nadira's father, Abba, is detained because his passport is no longer valid. The secrets are dramatic ("Go to school. Never let anyone know. Never."), and so are the family dynamics, especially Nadira's furious envy of her gifted older sister, Aisha. But Aisha breaks down, and Nadira must take over the struggle to get Abba out of detention and prevent the family's deportation.