monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

Learning The Ropes

learning the ropesPublisher: Orca, 2015

Mandy dreams of a career in the circus, working as an aerialist who specializes in rope climbing. When she is accepted into the prestigious Montreal Circus College summer program, she feels that she is finally on her way to fulfilling her dreams.

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Hate Mail

hate mailPublisher: Orca, 2014

Jordie''s cousin Todd has moved back to Montreal and is attending Jordie''s high school. Todd has autism and requires an aide. Todd has not been welcomed in the school. He''s known as a freak, and even other parents seem to resent Todd''s special needs.

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Straight Punch

straight-punch1Publisher: Orca, 2014

Tessa McPhail has a bad habit—tagging—that lands her at New Directions, an alternative school in Montreal’s toughest neighborhood. The school is far from Tessa’s home and full of troubled kids. To make matters worse, half of every school day is devoted to boxing. The other students think boxing is cool. Not Tessa, who cannot handle violence of any kind. But when a neighbor starts a petition to have New Directions closed down, Tessa discovers something worth fighting for, both in and out of the ring.

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So Much It Hurts

somuchithurts-bigPublisher: Orca, 2013

Iris is sorry. Sorry that she no longer hangs out with her BFF. Sorry that she's not closer to her mother. But most of all, she's sorry she makes Mick angry.

If all the world's a stage, then Iris's life has become a violent drama, starring a man whose fists are at odds with the eloquence of his words.

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pyroPublisher: Orca, 2012

Ever since he was small, Franklin has been soothed by fire. Staring into the flames helps Franklin forget his problems. And right now, he''s got a lot to forget. Franklin''s mother has left the family home to be with her hairdresser boyfriend. Franklin''s father, the mayor of Montreal West, is too busy worrying about his public image to do anything about the family. As a rash of local fires competes with upcoming elections for media attention, Franklin''s father has to work hard to keep the public happy. And Franklin has to reconsider his romance with fire.

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miraclevillePublisher: Orca, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Ani lives in the tiny Quebec town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where her family runs Saintly Souvenirs, a tourist shop catering to the many pilgrims who come to the town seeking a miracle. Ani is a good girl: devout, virginal and obedient. Nothing like her younger sister Colette. When Ani's faith is tested, and she is confronted with something shocking in her mother's past, she has to rethink her whole existence and decide what direction she wants her life to take.

"Read Miracleville and stay tuned for the miracles which happen within the pages of this outstanding, dare I say heavenly, young adult novel!" -- CM Magazine

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The Middle of Everywhere

middle-of-everywherePublisher: Orca, 2009

Noah Thorpe is spending the school term in George River, in Quebec's Far North. At first, Noah thinks the Inuit kids he meets there have a strange way of looking at the world, plus they eat raw meat and seal blubber. Most have never left George River. But Noah's views change when he realizes he will have to learn a few lessons from his Inuit buddies if he wants to survive in the North.


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Junkyard Dog

junkyardogPublisher: Orca, 2009

Justin has a way with animals. When he gets an after-school job with a company that rents out guard dogs, Justin is thrilled. But he soon learns the business is not all that it appears.


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What World Is Left

WhatWorldPublisher: Orca, 2008

The unthinkable has happened. Anneke and her family have been taken by train from their comfortable home in Holland to Theresienstadt, a "model" concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. But there is nothing model about bed bugs, starvation, disease, lice, hard labor and constant brutality. Despite the hunger, the anxiety and the pain, Anneke learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes to survive.

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121 Express

121-expressPublisher: Orca, 2008

Lucas Samson is new to Lorne Crest School. He'd do just about anything to fit in with the cool crowd. That means that when they go a little crazy after school on the 121 Express bus, he'll have to go a little crazy, too. But how far will Lucas go in order to fit in?

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scarredPublisher: James Lorimer, 2007

Becky was once a promising skating star, but these days she feels numb, disconnected, and very lonely. The only way she knows how to relieve pressure is to cut herself. Now a gifted girl she coaches seems to be skating down a similar path.

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Finding Elmo

new-findingelmoPublisher: Orca, 2007

Fifteen-year-old Tim loves his job at his dad’s pet store, partly because he gets to spend time with his best friend, a black cockatoo named Elmo. But things at work have been tense since the store moved to a new location.

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All In

allinPublisher: James Lorimer, 2006

Todd Lerner’s not much of a student, but he’s got plenty of street smarts and a mean poker face. Todd’s got his eye on Claire, the most beautiful girl in grade eleven. But Claire likes nice things, and if Todd wants to date her, he’ll need cash and plenty of it.

Read more: All In