Tae has moved twice in his life. First, from South Korea to the United States when he was adopted as a baby, and then to a new town before he started high school. In Tae’s new school, he’s one of the youngest players, and the only person of color, trying out for the varsity soccer team—a team known for its violent hazing practices. Tae wants more than anything to be part of the team, but worries about fitting in. Then, he sees a familiar face. Luke is a soccer star on his way to scoring a role as the team captain and a full ride to college, but no one knows his secret—that he was adopted too. Tae and Luke met in an adoption group years before, and Luke’s first instinct is to help Tae fit in. But tradition is tradition, and Luke might not be able to save Tae from being hurt in the hazing rituals without risking his own reputation.

Winner of the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard award

“A fast-paced sports novel for reluctant readers” – Kirkus Reviews


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Lily Landon knows college is the ticket out of her boring small town and her first step to becoming a lawyer like the ones she watches on television. To help her applications stand out, Lily joins Green for Good, the school environmental club, and meets Fiona, a passionate activist who will do everything it takes to protect the planet. As Lily grows closer to Fiona, she realizes “everything it takes” may mean getting arrested, and a criminal record does not look good on college applications. How can Lily save the Earth without destroying her future?

“An appealing blend of environmental activism and romance that will engage reluctant readers.”
-Kirkus Reviews


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Lucas wants to speak out against the injustices he sees at his school, but he’s paralyzed by social anxiety. He decides to start an anonymous online video channel, disguise his face and voice, and expose the things no one dares to talk about. But when Lucas blames the student council president for harming another student, her powerful parents become involved to unmask the social crusader. Afraid to lose the ground he gained with the videos, but even more afraid to speak out in public, Lucas must find a way to keep his voice from going silent.

Winner of the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard award

“Truthful observations about high school from an outsider will appeal to most students. A good hi-lo buy.” —Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Lib., WA


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Sixteen-year-old Leo dreams of becoming a police officer and is on his way to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He makes sure to always do the right thing and be responsible. With his mom deployed and his dad constantly working, Leo is often left in charge of his two younger siblings. Then Leo’s brother, Jack, gets caught up in a dangerous plot that rocks the community. Can Leo keep his promise to stand by his brother no matter what, or will he stand on the side of justice?

Winner of the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard award
Nominated for the 2019 Cybils Award in YA Poetry
Nominated for the 2021 NYSRA Charlotte Award

“In her heartfelt debut novel that explores the challenges facing military families left at home, Van effectively utilizes verse to impeccably convey the feelings of sadness, anger, displacement, and lack of belonging of young people on the brink of adulthood. Reluctant readers will enjoy exploring Leo’s loyalty to his family and ideals, strong threads woven through the fabric of this emotional story” – Kirkus Reviews

“Teens overwhelmed by a parent called up for active duty will connect with this quick read that depicts young people confronting life without the benefit of a consistent parental presence. This novel in verse is recommended for reluctant readers, especially in areas where there is a large military population.” -Denise Kim, Bronx High School of Science, NY

Know a reluctant reader? Order a signed copy of one of my books, and I’ll ship it to them for free! (US and APO/FPO addresses only.)

Signed copy of Second in Command (Paperback) Currently out of stock – more on the way!

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Signed copy of Everything It Takes (Paperback)

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Signed copy of Caught in the Haze (Paperback)

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