Click on the title to access the full review.
Books are listed alphabetically by author.
~ A ~
Light as a Feather by Zoe Aarsen (Book One in a Series) • In a small Wisconsin town, life is uneventful until Violet arrives. Invited to Olivia’s sixteenth birthday party, she livens things up by suggesting the girls play Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. As Violet tells each girl’s violent death story, the girls chant and “levitate” the subject. What starts out as an innocent game turns into a paranormal string of events in keeping with Violet’s predictions
Cold as Marble by Zoe Aarsen (Book Two in a Series) • Shivers and tingles continue in frozen Wisconsin as McKenna Brady races to save the life of her friend Mischa, whose death should be next according to the lore of the game Light as a Feather. It’s Christmas break, and McKenna and Trey are released for the week from their respective reform schools, following the harrowing, supernatural events and subsequent court trials from autumn.
Listen, Layla by Jassmin Abdel-Magied • In this sequel to You Must Be Layla (2019), smart but headstrong Layla looks forward to working on a prize-winning invention for a major world competition with her school team over summer break. But her family is called suddenly to Khartoum, Sudan after Layla’s habooba (grandmother) is hospitalized. Thinking she can circumvent her situation by emailing her team from Khartoum without revealing where she is, Layla sneaks data access with the help of her cousin. When her father catches her on the phone with the team leader back in Brisbane, he grounds her. Meanwhile, as Layla’s antics cause family friction, a national revolution stirs political unrest around them.
Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera • Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss are back in this sequel to What If It’s Us (2018), picking up two years later when both are in college and comfortable being out. Ben is in an undefined relationship with Mario Colón, a creative-writing classmate who helps Ben embrace his Puerto Rican heritage. Arthur is in a sweet relationship with classmate Mikey McCowan, who is returning to Manhattan to intern off-Broadway with a well-known LGBTQ playwright-director. New York City may be a big place, but it’s a small world in which the two exes cross each other’s paths courtesy of old friends Jesse, Dylan, and Samantha. Every chapter ups the stakes for a happily-ever-after ending, but which couple or couples will be triumphant?
Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen (Book One of Two) • As water grows scarce in faraway Aredann, it is slated to be shut down and all its slaves (a caste called the Closest) left to die, while the more powerful Avowed are relocated to the central kingdom. Jae, a Closest-born and Aredann’s groundskeeper, discovers that she possesses a forgotten magic that can replenish the land’s water.
Freed By Flame and Storm by Becky Allen (Book Two of Two) • After discovering her inherent magic, Jae, a former slave in the Closest caste, broke free of the curse that oppressed and suppressed her people in Bound by Blood and Sand (2016). Now she must forge ahead with a dangerous plan to free her people, secure the kingdom’s magical well, and defeat the nefarious Highest, who rule the world. With the help of members of the Order of the Elements, who work against the Highest, and former-Avowed Elan, Jae mounts a revolution.
The Six by Mark Alpert • You have a terminal illness with the end in sight, and you’re given the opportunity to live (almost) forever. That life, however, will be as an AI (artificial intelligence). Oh, you’ll have your memories and emotions, courtesy of a complicated brain-to-circuit transfer, but you’ll be a part of a military experiment—one that was designed by your father.
The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato • Megan Brown is devastated by the death of her beloved older brother, Tyler. The police claim that he overdosed on heroin and it may be suicide, but that doesn’t sit right with her. Megan, who is a focused and gifted collage artist, discovers she has the uncanny ability to see, feel, and experience the memories that objects contain. When she begins to see snippets of memories among Tyler’s belongings, she desperately focuses her efforts on finding out what really happened to him, even if it puts her in harm’s way.
Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown • Kadence “Kady” Mulligan and Lauren DeSanto were an online singing sensation until Lauren’s vocal chords were affected by a throat infection. Kady was patient with Lauren at first, but when Lauren didn’t heal fast enough, she became a solo act. That, plus a fight at school over Kady’s boyfriend, started disintegrating the bond between the girls. Now, Kady is missing after a show, and the evidence points to Lauren, despite her assertions of innocence.
The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu • With her blonde hair and pale skin, Monserrat Thalia (M.T. for short) is as American as apple pie. Her grades are impressive; she would be the perfect candidate for an Ivy League school, and she dreams of a perfect life and a perfect boyfriend in a perfect world. But that’s all it is—a dream—and not one she feels she can act upon. Like her parents, she is in the country illegally, and no one, not even her best friend, has a clue.
There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos • How does a 17-year-old reorient his life after his twin sister dies in the car he was driving? Sure, it was the other driver’s fault, but nothing in Mark Santos’ world makes sense anymore. His only comfort is revisiting the bridge where the accident occurred and contemplating what might have been.
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold • Noah is a rising senior who loves three other things: David Bowie, making real-world connections, and minutiae. Life is good, except Noah dreads returning to the swim team, making a decision about college, and being alone. After leaving an end-of-summer party drunk, Noah feels hypnotized. As a result, he detects slight changes in his family, friends, and external life. The minutiae turn into obsessions, four of which become his Strange Fascinations…
~ B ~
A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann • Anouk, an angry wunderkind, is one of five teenagers chosen to explore the underground Palais du Papillon (Palace of the Butterfly) outside of Paris, believed to have been built by eighteenth-century aristocrat Frédéric du Bessancourt. It quickly becomes apparent to the team, however, that they were lured there under false pretenses.
Antipodes by Michelle Bacon • Pressured by her parents to excel in everything, Erin is focused on one thing at her overly privileged high school: Ivy League acceptance. Her promising future nearly dies, though, when a video of her mortifyingly drunk on her seventeenth birthday goes viral. Now she finds her life has become the antipodes, or opposite, of what it was. Erin hopes that spending a semester abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand, will heal her reputation and add a unique factor to her already-impressive résumé. However, New Zealand is not what she expected.
How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker • In a world where beauty reigns supreme and überfit bodies are worshipped, plus-sized Emery Jackson—age 16, size 16—wrestles with her desire to be loved and her devotion to food.
The Sky Is Mine by Amy Beashel • Isabel was always Izzy until her stepdad insisted that she and her mother use their full first names, just another example of how he forces them to adhere to his rules and preferences. Soft words, teary pleas, and stolen touches interspersed with insults, criticism, and silence are his modus operandi for keeping Izzy and her mother in line. On top of this abusive homelife, one of Izzy’s classmates violates her while she’s drunk and threatens to expose compromising photos of her. When Izzy’s mum finally absconds with her daughter to the safety of a women’s shelter miles away, Izzy finds the physical and emotional strength to stand up to her abusers.
Never Ending by Martyn Bedford • Fifteen-year-old Shiv and her 12-year-old brother, Declan, accompany their parents to Greece for a two-week vacation. Just before they are scheduled to leave, tragedy strikes and three of them return home to bury the fourth.
I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell • It’s 1994, and Juliet and Lucas couldn’t be more different. She’s an honor student on the fast track to college and a high-profile career. He’s a hockey player whose future begins the day he’s old enough to follow the family tradition and join the marines. Nevertheless, they fall hard for each other. The one thing that keeps this from being a typical high-school romance is that Lucas already remembers their first kiss, their first dance…
Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman • High-school junior Bec Jackson is expelled from her sixth boarding school in three years for hacking into the school’s computer system and changing grades. Against her will, she is sent to Rome to intern for Parker Phillips and her high-fashion magazine, Edge. When Parker has an accident just before the First Lady arrives for a photo session…
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway • Emmy and Oliver, next-door neighbors born on the same day, had been best friends since birth. When they were seven, Oliver’s dad kidnapped him from school, and the world changed immediately. Scarred lives and altered relationships are front and center while everyone tries to maintain a sense of normality. That uneasy status quo suddenly is tested by Oliver’s return 10 years later.
A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan • Mina Rahman loves film and has three goals: win the Golden Ivy student film award, get into the University of Southern California’s film school, and leave New York City. However, her traditional Bangladeshi parents constantly ridicule her dreams and insist that she stay at home for college. A glimmer of hope emerges, however, when Mina discovers Emmitt Ramos (a popular teen film star of British Chinese and Spanish descent) is doing undercover research for a role at her arts high school. Positive that Emmitt is key to winning the competition, Mina asks him to star in her short film. He agrees on one condition …
Revolution by Jenna Black (Part of a Series) • Framed for the recent murder of the Chairman, Nate Hayes and his best friend, Nadia Lake, are on the run and hiding in Debasement, Paxco’s dangerous gang-ruled slums. Only Nate and Nadia know the truth about the Chairman’s death and about Dorothy, the new Chairman hunting them down. But they also know the truth is twisted, confused, and unbelievable, especially in the face of the ensuing revolution brewing around them.
How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake • Grace wants nothing more than to spend her summer at home in Cape Katherine, focusing on her upcoming audition for the Manhattan School of Music and working alongside her best friend at LuMac’s Diner. However, when Grace returns from a piano workshop in Boston, she finds that her unpredictable and needy mother, Maggie, has uprooted their lives again.
Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount • As a freshman, Ashley was raped by one of her brother’s teammates during a traditional, but unconventional, “scavenger hunt.” “Sex with a virgin” was the top point-getter on Victor’s card, so he targeted Derek’s little sister. Now, two years after a trial in which Derek lobbied the court to give Victor a light sentence because it was just a game—and “justice” acquiesced—Ashley continues to experience myriad debilitating triggers. Away at college, Derek struggles with his role in the ordeal and as a participant in a toxic culture he hadn’t realized he was part of.
I Am Here Now by Barbara Bottner • Freshman Maisie Meyers is a budding Bronx artist in the early 1960s whose family includes a globe-trotting father, a physically abusive mother, and a younger brother obsessed with Gershwin. All she wants is a different life and a friend to grow up with. At school, she meets Rachel, and the two become close, especially after Maisie meets Rachel’s mother, Kiki, who is an artist. But life goes from bad to worse after Maisie’s father walks out and her mother spirals downward, and when Maisie falls for Rachel’s boyfriend, Gino.
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman • Half Japanese Kiko Himura is a recent high-school graduate whose art-school rejection leaves her with no means of escaping her toxic homelife. Her parents are divorced, and while her father happily lives with his new family, Kiko and her brothers live with their mother, a golden-haired, self-absorbed woman who belittles Kiko relentlessly. Because of this, Kiko is unable to speak what’s on her mind; rather, she expresses herself through art she never shares.
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman • For Rumi Seto, creating music with her younger sister, Lea, was everything. But when Lea dies in a car accident, Rumi’s life is over, too. Beset by survivor’s guilt, she is plagued by the knowledge that Lea was the outgoing, perfect daughter who was closest to their mamo (mother). When Mamo sends Rumi to live with Aunt Ani in Hawaii, Rumi plunges into bottomless grief, constantly reminding herself that Mamo abandoned her because she loved Lea more. Rumi also mourns the loss of music and feels unable to recapture what she had with Lea, until she meets the two “boys” next door …
Madness by Zac Brewer • Brooke Danvers learns the hard way that the one thing worse than wanting to kill yourself is failing at it. After six weeks as an inpatient, all she wants to do is try again, especially when confronted by overly cautious parents, curious classmates, and an administration that never cared before. At least she has Duckie, her best friend, who is gay and always has her back. Things begin to change when two new men enter her life…
Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration, Edited By Rose Brock • Hope is something many people struggle to understand, much less achieve, and teens are no exception. In this anthology of 21 essays, 1 short story, and 1 conversation, 24 YA authors pour their deepest emotions into a variety of interpretations of hope. Many write about survival in the current political climate. Others address marginalization or speak to being overwhelmed by a variety of internal and external influences.
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown • Amber Vaughn is an extraordinary singer from the mountains of North Carolina. But her situation isn’t idyllic. Her family is poor, her father cheats on his wife, and her brother-in-law is a known drug dealer. The only thing she wants in life is to get out of her small town and sing on a real stage. During her junior year, Amber makes two major decisions: to get into an esteemed arts school in nearby Winston-Salem and to help a new friend regain his ability to play the music he loves.
~ C ~
Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell • Whether they are domestic companions, trained to serve, inspired to heal, or are found in the wild, animals have the ability to enhance our lives and even save us, and this compendium pays homage. Daisy, the title dog, detected breast cancer in her human companion. Molly, the pony with a prosthetic leg, inspired hope in the disabled. A gray seal kept a woman from drowning in the freezing North Sea.
Brother, Brother by Clay Carmichael • 17-year old Billy “Brother” Grace is reared by a poor and loving but secretive grandmother. On the morning that “Mem” dies, his whole world changes. Brother has had a less-than-stellar life in Schuyler, North Carolina. He doesn’t know who his father was, and his unwed mother died when he was 3. To care for Mem while she was ill and supplement her paltry income, he left school at 16 to take a job at a nursing home. Now, with Mem gone, Brother finds himself alone in the world.
Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae • Short of being the most immature book with the most juvenile 18-year old narrator I’ve ever encountered, I dread what this self-centered, rich-bitch Southern Baptist “good Christian” girl will be when she’s older. And, I hope, the “New Adult” tag doesn’t mean that every character in every such book is rich, spoiled, immature, on her way to college, and Christian. If they are, the genre may as well be called “Rich, Spoiled, Immature, on Her Way to College Christian Fiction.”
All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan • Ronney is a mixed-race 15-year-old whose world deteriorates every day. His family depends on him to take care of everything from roof leaks to laundry to his 10-year-old sister, Mina. His mother pops pills to avoid conflict, and his father has been in a deep depression ever since his failed suicide attempt. When the eccentric in their small Indiana town releases his exotic zoo animals before killing himself, angry Ronney must calm Mina and talk his best friend out of stalking the dangerous animals.
Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao • While home from college for Thanksgiving break, Jing-Jing “Chloe” Wang implements a plan for dealing with her status-obsessed family, her hypercritical mother, and an unwelcome marriage proposal from Hongbo Kuo, the rude, repulsive, most-eligible-bachelor son of the wealthiest couple in the Wang’s social circle. She employs Drew Chan, a Rent for Your ‘Rents fake boyfriend trained to wrap traditional Taiwanese immigrant parents like Chloe’s around his finger. What starts out as a lie snowballs as Chloe and Drew fall for each other …
Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian • Ever since her best friend Kelly died, Ava hasn’t been herself. She’s been making bad choices and feels angry at everyone and everything. When gawky, introspective Gideon starts working with her at the Magic Kebab, they begin a friendship based on honesty, enhanced by letter writing because of Gideon’s self-imposed hiatus from electronic and digital communication. As Gideon opens up about his therapy and poetry slams, Ava feels compelled to reciprocate…
Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs • “Geek Camp” for talented and gifted Kentucky teens is a life-changing event for Gloria Bishop and her three classmates. During the four-week period, Glo, Chloe, Calvin, and Mason develop a deep bond as they undergo transitions, realizations, and awakenings together, based on the subtle understanding that they are allowed to be themselves with one another.
Worthy by Donna Cooner • Linden Wilson’s life is looking up. She’s involved with prom, she plans to enter a writing contest for a scholarship, and she just started dating Alex Rivera, the cute catcher for the school’s baseball team. Meanwhile, Worthy, a new polling app that ranks couples based on the worthiness of the girl, becomes a preoccupation. The app is addictive, allowing students to anonymously say the ugly and distressing things about other students that they wouldn’t dare speak face-to-face.
All Our Broken Pieces by L. D. Crichton • For 16-year-old Lennon, everything must be in fives—taps on a doorknob, the number of times she flicks a light switch, etc. Life grows even more challenging when she moves across the country to live with her dad’s family in California. Next door, Kyler, a musician with a dark reputation, hides his face under a hoodie because he was disfigured in a childhood accident. When the two are paired for an English assignment, their lives change as they learn they can comfortably be themselves with each other. Their burgeoning relationship is cut short, however, after a horrible event happens at a school assembly.
Love and Vandalism by Laurie Boyle Crompton • When Rory’s dad forbids her from being an artist, because he believes art destroyed her mother, Rory surreptitiously creates graffiti all over town, leaving angry, aggressive lions in her wake. The thrill of her covert hobby is threatened, however, when hot, out-of-towner Hayes discovers her secret.
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan • Seventeen-year-old Joe Moon lives in New York state with his older sister, since their father died and mother went MIA. He also hasn’t seen his brother, Ed, for 10 years, and now there’s a month to go before Ed will be executed in Texas for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Determined not to let Ed spend that month alone, Joe heads to Wakeling, Texas, where he manages to wrangle a job, rent a tiny apartment, and befriend a local girl who understands his anger and frustration more than he knows.
The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow • Frankie Wootton is a 15-year-old romantic loner with a wild imagination. He lives in Tyne-and-Wear, England, with his single, hard-working mother, whose focus is on providing the best life she can for him and his older brother. When Frankie is diagnosed with leukemia, his world becomes dominated by excruciating treatments and a lengthy hospital stay.
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings • In the Shallows, once known as the Everglades, hard-to-earn Creds are traded like old-fashioned money, kindness is punishable, and the mantra is kill or be killed. Everything is controlled by the omnipotent Initiative, and life matters little since overpopulation was facilitated by the Cure. Meadow, on the verge of 16, murders to secure a job in the rations department, while Zephyr, a 17-year-old ward, spends his mornings cleaning the streets of the dead.
Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew • Frankie is a bright, friendly physics aficionada who is obsessed with astronomy the way her girlfriends are with boys. Her best friend, Harriet (Harry) loves to tease Frankie’s lack of interest in romance by calling her a nun, which their other friends laugh off. When Frankie takes up with Benjamin, engages in her first sexual experience, and discovers her menstrual blood on his fingers, she is embarrassed despite Benjamin taking it in stride. Then memes about Frankie, sex, and her period go viral, making her the victim of slut shaming.
~ D ~
All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachel Lippincott • Kyle and Kimberly have been a couple for years, and with their best friend, Sam, they are graduating from high school. It should be a time of celebration because the three of them will attend UCLA together in the fall. But Kim reveals she’s attending Berkeley instead because she wants to know who she is by herself. Kyle, upset, takes his eyes off the road as they continue their disagreement, and they end up in a massive car wreck that results in Kim’s death. Grieving, Kyle blames himself and withdraws …
Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis • Sixteen-year-old Jerzie Jhames has studied voice, music composition and theory, and acting all her life. She’s also a walking, talking, singing encyclopedia of Broadway knowledge. Now she’s been cast as the understudy for superstar Cinny’s “Jewel,” the lead in a new Broadway hip-hop retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Immediately, she meets Zeppelin, the model/musician cast as “Roman,” and falls hard for him. But when unauthorized videos of rehearsal are anonymously uploaded and go viral …
The Voice in My Head by Dana L. Davis • Indigo Phillips, 18, can’t cope with the prospect of losing her identical twin, Violet, who is terminally ill and has chosen to die with dignity, on her own terms. After a failed attempt to take her own life, Indigo starts hearing a Dave Chappelle–like voice that claims to be God. The Voice persuades Indigo that taking a trip to a far-flung site in Arizona will help her twin live, so the boisterous Phillips family sets off in a rattling bus owned and driven by Pastor Jedidiah, a cheerful, nondenominational preacher. From Seattle to Arizona, the chaotic and close-knit African American family of nine and Jedidiah deal with innumerable glitches, an uncomfortable overnight experience, and an unlawful incident or two.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria • The assignment: write a letter to someone who is dead. Laurel falls into this classroom task deeper than she could have ever imagined, writing to deceased stars like Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart, Judy Garland, River Phoenix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, and others whose lives ended as abruptly as Laurel’s older sister’s did.
Little Universes by Heather Demetrios • Hannah and her adoptive sister, Mae, are opposite but symbiotic. When tragedy takes their parents in their senior year, the girls’ lives are battered by chaos. Before they can grieve fully, they are uprooted from the California coast to Boston, and despite having a devoted family, unresolved issues travel with them. Hannah is addicted to pain pills, a habit acquired after having an abortion. Mae believes she’s the only person responsible for her sister’s welfare, a role that could be to the detriment of her own dreams.
The Year After You by Nina DePass • Grief and guilt weigh heavily on Cara’s heart months after a New Year’s Eve accident in which she was the designated driver and G, her best friend, lost her life. After recuperative and psychiatric help, and to give Cara a new start, her mother enrolls her in a remote private school in Switzerland. Reluctantly, Cara goes, her insecurities and fears revealing themselves the minute she embarks on a car trip. As far as Cara knows, no one is aware of her past—and certainly not the truths she kept to herself…
The Taking by Kimberly Derting • Kyra wakes up behind a Dumpster and doesn’t know how she got there. Upon stumbling home, she discovers that home itself has changed. Her parents have split up, and her mother has a kid with her new husband. Her father, once a neatnik, is now an alcoholic obsessed with extraterrestrial theories concerning her disappearance. Wait, disappearance?
Bleed Like Me by C. Desir • Seventeen-year-old Amelia — better known as Gannon — felt shut out of her family at age 12, when her parents put their energy into three wild boys they adopted off the streets of Guatemala. From that day forward, she retreated and became invisible to most everyone, and the only way she can feel anything is to cut herself. Then she meets Michael Brooks, an obnoxious, paranoid manipulator and dangerous rule-breaker who makes Gannon feel needed, wanted, and visible to her core.
The Undoing of Thistle Tate by Katelyn Detweiler • Thistle Tate is seventeen and a big-name YA author with the final installment of her Lemonade Skies trilogy due very soon. Only Thistle, her dad, and her best and only friend, Liam, know her secret: Thistle’s dad wrote the books based on her ideas. She can’t wait until the final book publishes so she can bury the lie and get on with her life. Then she meets Oliver and her guilt deepens as their new friendship pulls her away from Liam. When incidents occur that threaten to expose her, Thistle takes charge and leans on her new friends. As her deadline approaches, information regarding Thistle’s late mother adds yet another twist.
Look Past by Eric Devine • Life is hard for Avery, a transgender teen boy living in a town where a large fundamentalist congregation resides. When his once best friend and first love, Mary—the preacher’s daughter—is found brutally slain, Avery is driven to find her killer. However, the few chilling clues doled out by the murderer point to Avery as the reason behind this monstrous crime, and his life is endangered.
Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon • Wacky YA Novel Examines Decisiveness and Grief of a Sikh-American Boy • Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon is a wacky debut young adult romp that takes place in and around Fresno during an over-the-top night for the title character. Sunny Gill’s presence is expected at two conflicting events that evening: the barsi for his older brother and the Snollygoster Soiree where his heavy metal band is scheduled to perform for a gathering of other fan fiction fanatics. Instead, Sunny chooses to fill with a series of rash decisions the notebook his brother Goldy left him.
Die for You by Amy Fellner Dominy • Emma Lorde knows she’s a lucky girl because her hunky boyfriend, popular Dillon Hobbs, loves her without question. That’s the only thing right in her life after her parents’ messy divorce and her subsequent move halfway across Arizona with her father. But big problems face Emma as her senior year slides into its second semester and life at home grows more complicated.
Furious Thing by Jenny Downham • Before John, her step-father-to-be, came into her life, 15-year-old Lexi felt loved and in control. Now she has trouble managing her anger, referred to as her “furious thing,” which manifests as screaming and throwing things, usually as a means to stop John’s belittling of her mother. John is a master bully and manipulator who smiles when he calls Lexi an idiot, often tells her she’s an inconvenience, and threatens to take Lexi to a psychiatrist because of her outbursts. He constantly flips the script so that he’s the victim, but Lexi fights to not believe what he tells her and to not be silenced.
~ E ~
Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott • Haylah Swinton’s mother works nights as a nurse, so Haylah doubles as a second mother to her four-year-old fireball of a brother, Noah, while dreaming of being a standup comic. When she’s not making her family and friends laugh or studying comics online, she’s writing jokes in her notebook and developing bits. Her only obstacle is not believing that she can make it on stage as a plus-size working-class girl.
Pretty Rude for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott • (Sequel to Pretty Funny for a Girl) Fifteen-year-old comedy novice Haylah Swinton loves her big self, has faith in her standup, and is ecstatic to have her first boyfriend. She kills it at open-mic night—and that’s when absolutely everything falls apart. Her dad, who unceremoniously left the family, shows up in the audience, leaving Haylah flustered and tongue-tied at the end of her set. Her boyfriend hasn’t kissed her yet, leading her to question his motives. Her mother announces that her boyfriend is moving in, and Haylah’s best friends admit they won’t be joining her at school next term. For Haylah, there’s only one thing to do: express her aggravation to her YouTube fans.
Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich and others • Evan Hansen, a teen crippled by anxiety, starts each day by writing a letter of encouragement to himself. When loner Connor Murphy finds one of the letters at school and dies by suicide days later, his parents deliver the “Dear Evan Hansen” to Evan, who lies about being Connor’s best friend. As the Murphys embrace Evan, his lie goes viral, giving comfort to the grieving family and making him a social media darling. But as the lies build, Evan’s guilt forces him to admit the truth. In this stage-to-page adaptation, characters’ back stories offer depth only hinted at by the Tony Award–winning musical.
Maybe We’re Electric by Val Emmich • Tegan has a limb difference. Born with a hand having only two fingers, she’s been made to feel that she’s inferior and a source of horror. As a result, she harbors anger over many aspects of her life, mollifying her mood through the secrets she keeps. Mac Durant, on the other hand, is the perfect athlete that Tegan’s always hated and fantasized about. When an early evening snowstorm brings the two together at the New Jersey museum where Tegan works (the Thomas Edison Center in Menlo Park), a night of surprises unfolds.
Tell Me Everything by Sarah Enni • Sophomores Ivy and Harold are longtime besties. While Harold’s at Stanford’s “smart camp” for the summer, Ivy becomes addicted to VEIL, a new, artist-centric, anonymous social-media app—though she never posts her own art, for fear of rejection. When school starts, a vile anti-gay post changes the tone of the platform and affects everyone at school. By scrutinizing VEIL posts, Ivy figures out some users’ identities and, in an effort to lighten the atmosphere and support their art, she gives them gifts based on their posts. When Ivy assumes Harold’s on VEIL and determines he’s keeping a secret, she throws him a party that turns out to be unwelcome, despite her good intentions, and jeopardizes their friendship.
~ F ~
Gilded (Book One in the Gilded Series) by Christina Farley • Jae Hwa Lee, a Korean American teen with a black belt and perfect archery skills, reluctantly moves with her widowed father from Los Angeles to Seoul. There she meets her brusque grandfather, who gives every indication that he wants to be rid of her. That’s the least of her problems, for she soon learns that she is the target of Haemosu, a demigod in search of a bride, who for centuries has stolen from her family the oldest unmarried female of each generation.
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson • Lou is working at her Canadian amily’s ice-cream joint to earn money for college. What should be a low-key summer hits the first of several bumps when her uncle also hires her white ex-boyfriend, Wyatt, and her long-absent, former best friend, King, who is Black. Worse yet, after her mother leaves to sell her beadwork on the powwow circuit, Lou learns that her biological father, the white man who raped her Métis mother when she was a teen, is out of prison and wants to talk with Lou. She grapples with personal secrets, humiliation by white boys and men in town, her identity, and confusion over her sexuality (she comes to realize she’s demisexual)—all while trying to piece together information about her family.
Fractured by Sarah Fine (Part of a Series) • High stakes and heart-pounding action continue in this satisfying sequel to Sanctum (2012). Tough, determined Lela Santos, now returned to earth, is charged with the mission of eliminating soul-stealing Mazikin who seeped out of the dark crevices of the afterlife. In a reversal of roles…
The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine (Book One of Three) • Sixteen-year-old Elli is next in line to be the Valtia of Kupari, the queen and perfectly balanced vessel of fire and ice magic. In fact, prophecy indicates she is to be the most powerful Valtia ever. When the current Valtia dies, her magic is supposed to transfer itself to Elli, but that magic never manifests. Perplexed, the Elders ask her to undergo torturous tests to draw out these powers, but upon learning the Elders are plotting against her, Elli escapes.
The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine (Book Two of Three) • “Blood and victory!” is the Krigere people’s battle cry, and tough, eager Ansa knows no other life. In this companion book to The Impostor Queen (2016), three warriors—likable Ansa; Thyra, the late chieftain’s daughter; and Sander, who, like Ansa, was a raid prize as a child—are the only Krigere fighters remaining following a battle with the Kupari, the tribe’s magical enemies.
The True Queen by Sarah Fine (Book Three of Three) • Bravery comes in many forms. Ansa, a warrior with newly discovered magic, knows she is to be the Valtia (queen) of Kupari, a people from whom she was stolen as a child. Raised by the Krigere, she is loyal and knows how to survive and kill but not rule; that is left to her love and chieftain, Thyra. Elli, as queen of Kupari, continues to rule while risking exposure: she has no magic. As Ansa and the Krigere move forward to conquer Kupari, Elli feverishly works to regain calm and stability for the realm. Ansa and Elli are on a collision course of wits and abilities.
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn (Book One) • Gemma Tucker thought her summer would be perfect, but parents have a habit of ruining things. For the first time in five years, she’s back in the Hamptons with her screenwriter father, and she fears running into Hallie, the former BFF she treated horribly when they were 11. Before she even gets off the train, Gemma gets into a mistaken-identity situation that seems to work on one level—before resulting in a summer’s worth of crossed signals and untruths.
Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn (Book Two) • The summer war between Gemma and Hallie escalates to new heights in the second installment of the Broken Hearts & Revenge series. The battles are bigger, sneakier, and nastier, often blindsiding Gemma, who ends up looking guilty.
The Well’s End by Seth Fishman (Book One) • At four years old, Baby Mia Kish fell into a well and was pulled out to grand media fanfare. Since then, tight spaces and darkness give her the creeps. When the staff and students at Westbrook—her überexclusive school—develop a strange and gruesome illness that ages and kills them within hours, darkness becomes the least of her problems.
The Dark Water by Seth Fishman (Book Two) • While bio-destruction continues at home in this sequel to The Well’s End (2014), Mia and her friends surface on dry land after diving into the well in search of the source of its water—water that acts as an antidote to the rapid-aging effects of a new virus. Finding themselves in Capian, the underground civilization where the source is believed to be, they arrive at an inopportune time: Mia’s father has been captured; one of the three leaders of Capian has been killed; and an imminent war between clans seethes everywhere.
Willful Machines by Tim Floreen • Lee Fisher, son of the president of the United States, is an introverted robotics nerd at a private school for future world leaders. Only his best friend knows he is hiding deep in the closet because of his father’s ultra-conservative politics. Meanwhile, scientists have created 2B robots that operate by artificial intelligence bordering on conscious free will. Soon a 2B named Charlotte launches a cyberattack on the American public, but Lee’s more concerned about keeping his Secret Service bodyguards from discovering his crush on Nico, the Shakespeare-loving new boy. When the school is attacked, Lee understands that he is the target, but is Nico in on the plan?
American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott • Despite living in near poverty, Teodoro “T” Avila’s dream is to change his life during his junior year of high school. Fueled by a blossoming romance with Wendy Martinez and abstinence from video games, T’s goals are to better his grades, get into college, be with Wendy, and make something of himself. He partners with his best friend, Caleb, and things start to look up. But when T’s older, near-legendary brother, Manny, comes home from Iraq with extreme PTSD, T’s focus is split between maintaining his studies and monitoring his brother’s safety.
Juan Pablo and the Butterflies by J. J. Flowers • In the otherwise quiet butterfly sanctuary of El Rosario, Mexico, Juan Pablo (JP), a thoughtful teen who loves playing his violin, recognizes the sound of drug traffickers that have taken over his town. His abuela, a doctor and naturalist, lies on her deathbed, from which she directs him to follow the butterflies’ migration to Pacific Grove, California. First, though, JP takes desperate measures to save his dearest friend, Rocio, from his town’s violent drug dealers. His actions yield a more dangerous result than anticipated, and JP must use his talent, wit, and abuela’s sage words to get himself and Rocio to safety.
The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati • Catherine knows her emotional level will zero out again and that she’ll need to kill herself to ease the pain from her depression. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she feels a nagging hopelessness knowing she’ll have to live with the illness all her life, and worries she’ll never have friends again. Things gradually begin to improve when a new doctor revises her treatment plan and sends her to an intensive after-school therapy program.
How We Roll by Natasha Friend • When the McAvoy family moves to Gull’s Head, Massachusetts, it’s for 14-year-old Quinn’s autistic younger brother’s education. Quinn, however, is eager to start anew after an alopecia areata totalis diagnosis left her bald as a cue ball and the butt of her classmates’ cruel jokes. No one in Gull’s Head knows she’s wearing a wig, so once freshman year starts, Quinn is thrilled to be welcomed by the hip girls, but the once-popular and promising football player Nick Strout is a tough sell. Unlike Quinn’s ability to hide her alopecia under a wig, Nick can’t hide the fact that an accident has left him an amputee.
Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen • Believing she caused a family tragedy (aka her Great Undoing), 18-year-old Clara bolted from her London home. She has since been traveling the world using her father’s journal as a guide. On a flight to Minneapolis, she meets Elias, who eerily seems to know everything about her. Discovering that their bags were switched, she locates his home and discovers two Eliases. He suffers from DID—disassociative identity disorder—and swings from sweet Elias to the Other One, who lives in the imaginary world of Salem.
Mayday by Jonathan Friesen • Desperately trying to keep Will from harming her sister, Adele, 18-year-old Crow sacrifices her own life to destroy his. But when Crow is given a second chance to put things right, she is sent back in time for a walkabout in a “loaner body” as Shane, a 13-year-old girl. Failing in her mission to prevent her past mistakes but with time still available, she returns for a third chance as Shane, this time a 19-year-old boy in the same but modified body. During her walkabouts, Crow (as Shane) twice befriends the young lady who she once was.
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss • Fifteen-year-old Pearl learns how quickly life can change when her mother dies giving birth to her half sister, Rose. Pearl’s loss consumes her to the point of avoiding her best friend, arguing with her loving stepdad, and harboring a decided distaste for Rose, whom she secretly calls The Rat. Pearl completes her exams under duress and barely cares about going back to school. But there are things she doesn’t know, and although her mother appears and speaks with her often, some of the pieces don’t fall into place.
~ G ~
Brave Enough by Kati Gardner • Cason Martin’s life is dance. As a talented corps member of the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory, she is no stranger to pain, but when her leg gives out during an audition, the diagnosis reveals an aggressive form of bone cancer. During chemo treatments, she meets Davis Channing, a schoolmate and cancer survivor who is doing community service at the hospital—part of his sentencing for drug possession and commitment to staying clean. When events bring difficult challenges to both teens, they rely on each other for support and strength, finding what they can control in their lives, instead of allowing circumstances to control them.
Finding Balance by Kati Gardner • Like Jase Ellison, Mari Manos is a cancer survivor. Unlike Jase, however, Mari lost one leg to the disease. Both teens are close during summers at Camp Chemo, but when Mari transfers to Jase’s exclusive Atlanta West Prep, he freaks. No one there knows his medical history, so instead of welcoming Mari, he rudely pretends not to know her. Mari’s life at AWP grows more miserable as Jase’s girlfriend spews hurtful comments about Mari’s economic status and disability. As a result, Jase struggles between maintaining his reputation and supporting Mari. Nevertheless, a connection between the two remains due to their shared reality of being misrepresented and misunderstood.
Relative Strangers by Paula Garner • Eighteen-year-old Jules envies her best friends’ close-knit families, since her own mother, a former addict, has never had time for her. When Jules needs a baby picture for her yearbook, she discovers that there are none because she was a foster care child until she was almost two. Shocked, Jules searches for the past that was kept from her. What she finds is a family who had wanted to adopt her and held her in their hearts since she left.
You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow • Everyone in Mill Haven has secrets—even smart, rich Emory Ward, kid sister to the beautiful Maddie and troubled Joey. The night she and Joey were passengers in a car crash that killed Candy MontClair, Emmy thought Joey was just drunk; no one knew the extent of his drug addiction until then. When Joey comes home after months of rehab, their mother instructs Emmy to be with Joey 24/7 to make sure he adheres to the suffocating volume of rules laid out for him. Emmy loves Joey and wants to help him stay strong, but she has her own secret struggles.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo • Sixteen-year-old Clara Shin loves her untethered L.A. life, where she lives with her young Korean Brazilian dad. But when a prom prank turns into a brawl, her punishment is the worst she can imagine: working all summer on her dad’s hot, cramped food truck, KoBra, instead of vacationing in Mexico with her mom. As if that weren’t bad enough, overachiever and perennial enemy Rose Carver must also work on the truck as punishment for her part in the scuffle.
They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman • Jill Newman isn’t just any senior at Gold Coast Prep. She’s one of the Players, as the members of a secret society at her exclusive high school are known. It’s a bittersweet time because her best friend, Shaila, who was killed during freshman year by a Player wannabe, won’t be graduating with her. Then out of the blue, Jill receives a text stating the killer is innocent. As the senior Players test the freshman wannabes—including Jill’s younger brother—she is haunted by Shaila and the possibility that her friend’s killer is still on the loose.
XO Ronette by Jeff Gottesfeld • Ronette Bradley rocks when it comes to test taking, but her overall grades aren’t impressive. That’s why she is cleaning hotel rooms after high-school graduation. Worse yet, she is relegated to attending Chicagoland Community College while her hunky, upper-class boyfriend, Jayson, heads to D.C. and exclusive Houseman University. When she receives a last-minute call offering …
Captive by A. J. Grainger • Three months after witnessing an assassination attempt on her father, England’s prime minister, Robyn Knollys-Green is kidnapped and held captive by an animal rights group that seeks justice. One member’s brother was arrested for that assassination attempt, and another’s brother died because of a new, not-fully-tested drug, the creator of which was close friends with Robyn’s father. Held hostage for days, Robyn tries to keep her wits about her as she suffers the indignities of being captive and pieces together what truths to believe from both sides.
~ H ~
More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn • Luke’s popular-but-retired punk rock dad can help him find fame, but Luke just wants to write music in private. Vada, a classmate, is obsessed with music and plans to attend the music journalism program at UCLA and secure a Rolling Stone internship. She’s well on her way, working at a legendary club courtesy of her mom’s boyfriend and making a name for herself through his popular music blog. Luke and Vada crush on each other from afar, but until they work together at the club, neither has a clue that they’re about to fall in love. Nevertheless, life isn’t unicorns and rainbows.
Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale SHOUT OUT! • Josie Pie, still stinging from being “kind of a big deal” in high school and dropping out to become a big star only to be rejected by Broadway, isn’t where she believes she is supposed to be in her life. Now she’s a nanny to a precocious five-year-old in Missoula, Montana, where she knows no one. Her boyfriend is drifting away, her mother is entertaining strange and ridiculous ideas about her own life, and her best friend is creating a new life for herself at college. Plus, Josie perpetuates the lie with unsuspecting friends back home that she’s still in NYC and well on her way to being a headliner.
The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand • Being adopted as a baby has given Cass a good life with loving parents and the best friend ever. But now that she’s 18, she feels the urge to search for the woman who gave her life. Little by little—while still mindful of her parents’ feelings—Cass chips away at the blank wall dividing her from information she desperately needs in order to complete her sense of self. The narrative is told via two alternating voices that are rich and distinct: Cass’, as she moves through her senior year, and her 16-year-old birth mother’s, relayed in a series of letters written to the baby while she was pregnant.
Escaping Perfect by Emma Harrison (Book One) • Eighteen-year-old Cecilia Montgomery has never known what it’s like to live a normal life. Her mother is a powerful senator in Washington, D.C., and at the age of eight, Cecilia survived a kidnapping attempt. Since then, she has been cloistered in an exclusive boarding school. When the opportunity presents itself, Cecilia makes a snap decision to escape and become someone new, without a bodyguard.
Finding What’s Real by Emma Harrison (Book Two) • Picking up where Escaping Perfect (2016) left off, Cecilia Montgomery is aided in her second escape by friends from Sweetbriar, Tennessee. But her mother, Senator Montgomery, decides to invade Cecilia’s favorite little town and make it her presidential campaign HQ so she can keep an eye on her daughter. Everyone there loves the spotlight except Cecilia, who remains under her mother’s thumb. Between her mother, her mother’s staff, her friends who have new agendas, and the throngs of paparazzi who refuse to leave her alone, Cecilia doesn’t know which way to turn and ends up making reckless choices.
Royals by Rachel Hawkins • Daisy Winters’ sister Eleanor is engaged to Crown Prince Alexander of Scotland, but when tabloids begin taking an interest in 16-year-old Daisy, she escapes Florida for the isolation of the Scottish castle. There Daisy must contend with learning the royal ropes (which is so not her) and the arrival of Prince Sebastian, Alex’s wild younger (and yummier) brother. Daisy’s big mouth unintentionally thrusts her into disfavor with elder royals, but the paparazzi adore her irreverence.
Don’t Call Me Baby By Gwendolyn Heasley • Fifteen-year-old Imogene, better known as Babylicious to the fans of her blogger mother, has never known privacy. MommyliciousMeg.com’s following is legendary, and its content is a full-on embarrassing documentation of her life from birth to first period. Best friend Sage, meanwhile, is the daughter of a vegan blogger who takes her daughter to task for her toxic eating habits.
Promposal by Rhonda Helms • Mortifying. Humiliating. For the most part, “promposals” are exactly that. Camilla is ambushed at school by a guy she hardly knows (with the student body as witness and a TV crew to film it) and asked to go to their senior prom. Not wanting to be a jerk, she accepts despite wishing the dreamy Benjamin would ask her. Meanwhile, her best friend Joshua, who is deeply, madly, silently in love with their other friend Ethan, encounters his own dilemma.
It’s All in How You Fall by Sarah Henning • Fifteen-year-old Caroline “Caro” Kepler is an award-winning gymnast whose promising career abruptly ends after her chronic back pain worsens and she takes a serious fall. Her life’s passion disintegrates into an unfillable void until her brother’s best friend and teammate, Alex Zavala, offers to introduce her to other sports she might enjoy. In return, Caroline successfully plays match-maker between Alex and her friend Sunny Chavez. As Caro finds joy in new sports, she begins to realize she is much more than her past glories. However, she didn’t count on also developing a massive crush on Alex, which makes her feel like a modern-day Emma Woodhouse.
We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler • Fifteen-year-old Mia’s social-emotional plate is full. Her face is severely scarred from a car crash that killed her older sister; and her father, who has become withdrawn, is sending her to New York for the summer to stay with her estranged grandmother. On Mia’s first day working at an NYC diner, she is befriended by the owner’s granddaughter, Fig, a blue-haired girl her age who loves adventures. Fig’s friends welcome her, including the cute, artistic Cooper, whose past contains its own secret battles. Through interactions with her new friends and their street art events, Mia re-embraces photography and learns that she’s not the only one with both visible and deep, personal burdens.
The Corpse Queen by Heather R. Herrman • In 1850s Philadelphia, Molly Green, 17, grapples with the supposed suicide of her best friend at the orphanage. Abruptly, Molly is sent to live with a wealthy aunt she never knew existed. Her aunt, it turns out, is the “Corpse Queen,” the woman who traffics in cadavers for a medical school run by Dr. LaValle. In exchange for her luxurious new living situation, Molly is to accompany her aunt’s assistant each night to retrieve bodies, helping to deliver and prepare them for the doctor.
The Silence That Binds Us by Johanna Ho • Maybelline Chen’s brother, Danny, a fun young man who has just been admitted to Princeton, is the shining star of the family. But when Danny suddenly ends his life, the Chen family is thrown into endless shock and grief. Their pain is compounded when an overly privileged white businessman blames the recent spate of teen suicides on parents who pressure their children academically, specifically calling out Chinese families, which include the Chinese Taiwanese American Chens.
A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell • Sixteen-year-old Derry and her eight siblings—a diverse group that includes white, Black, Mexican, nonbinary, deaf, overweight, and queer individuals—were abandoned to live in a remote lake house at the edge of the forest because of their magical abilities. Derry, whose magic is tied to the earth and growing plants, narrates as she and her family endeavor to stay on the good side of Frank, a strict, middle-aged white man who provides them with food and shelter while recording their magical powers’ growth. When her siblings begin to disappear, Derry decides to search for them in defiance of their curfew.
~ J ~
Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab • Susannah Ramos, a competitive swimmer, was crowned World Champion at 14. Following her success, she lost her speed and title. Still, she continues to compete and train for the Olympic Swim Trials. Buoyed by a loving, supportive family, she has no intention of backing away from her dream despite a verbally abusive coach, a shoulder problem, and a blossoming romance with a fellow swim team member, the charismatic Harry Matthews. When her shoulder fails during a meet, she is sidelined with intensive physical therapy. She also learns why Harry is missing training…
The Way Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen • Sophomores Linc and Holly, her adoptive sister from Ghana, used to declare themselves “virtual twins,” but the two have grown apart. Linc, creative and into photography, just can’t live up to her parents’ exacting standards or Holly’s academic achievements. This constant battle to meet expectations, at odds with Linc’s own capacity to learn and produce, shakes her sense of self and belonging. Struggling in a traditional school environment, Linc searches for alternative educational options; however, when a family secret is revealed, Linc is forced to rethink who she is and what she wants.
Believarexic by J. J. Johnson • Can’t deal with the “monster” inside. Not skinny enough. Not good enough. More weight to lose. Sick of being sick. Bulimarexia. Despite her parents’ skepticism, 15-year-old Jennifer begs to be admitted to a hospital eating disorders unit and undergoes treatment for 10 weeks. Johnson’s novel takes readers on a powerful, semiautobiographical guided tour through the trials of treatment: the pain and tears, the embarrassing searches and accusations by hospital personnel, the unwanted food that must be eaten, the self-realizations, the support craved, and the victories achieved.
~ K ~
What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter • Halle is an online sensation. Using the pseudonym Kels, she has amassed a following with her Twitter charisma and popular One True Pastry blog, where she pairs cupcakes with book reviews. Nash is also a well-known presence online, thanks to his weekly web comic series—and rumor has it that Kels and Nash are an item. Ha! With her parents spending a year in Israel, Halle and her younger brother move in with their grandfather. Unexpectedly, Halle meets Nash IRL, and she is panicked to reveal that she (#reserved #shy) is actually Kels (#confident #outgoing).
That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim • It’s the summer before college, and Shabnam Qureshi is lonely. She and her BFF, the feisty Farah, are on the outs since Farah showed up at school wearing a hijab without consulting Shabnam first—and Shabnam didn’t exactly defend her friend from the judgmental onslaught that followed. Eventually, Shabnam meets the free-spirited Jamie, who is visiting his aunt, and she falls for him hard.
The Other Way Around by Sashi Kaufman • Sixteen-year-old Andrew is overwhelmed. His parents? They’re divorced, and he is in the middle. His school? It’s primarily a girls’ school, and he can’t get a date. What’s worse is that his mom is the principal. His education? He is repeatedly told he is not applying himself. His outlook? Uninspired. At Thanksgiving, Andrew’s jerky cousin visits, declares him gay, and wets his bed. There’s only one way to end the madness: to run away.
The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil • Joshua is a master of card tricks. Sophia is a math prodigy with an eidetic memory and an obsession with Doctor Who. Since seventh grade, Joshua has concealed his crush on her, but as high-school graduation approaches, he finds a way to express his feelings, gently and via magic—slipping playing cards and other things surreptitiously into her locker, backpack, and so on. When Sophia is overwhelmed by anxiety after they kiss, Josh goes with the flow and devises a magic trick that resonates with her. Don’t look for a romance filled with hearts and flowers here, but rather one that is sweet and built on respect and understanding.
More Than We Can Tell By Brigid Kemmerer • Rev Fletcher, adopted by his foster parents at a young age, never takes their love and respect for granted. Ten years after becoming part of their family, he receives a letter from his abusive fire-and-brimstone father, causing memories of the severe physical traumas Rev endured during his childhood to burn deeper than ever. Meanwhile, Emma Blue is on top of the world, having created an online game, OtherLANDS, that has already developed a community. But her parents’ fights and mother’s constant criticism, already wearing her down, take a backseat to one player’s constant harassment and vile threats.
The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally • Rising senior Mari is excited to be in Chicago at her dad’s for the weekend. She’s going to Lollapalooza with her stepsister, and the time away from Tennessee gives her a breather from an abusive mother who can’t get over her divorce. In Mari’s rideshare to the festival, two brothers scramble into the car: TJ, who starts at the University of Chicago in the fall, and his older brother, Tyler. Some quick luck and good vibes result in TJ and Mari quickly falling for each other and deciding to hang out at Lolla, but walls keep them from fully vocalizing how they both feel.
Grandmaster by David Klass • Chess is a mind sport, one that is all-consuming, both mentally and emotionally. Daniel Pratzer is about to find out what that means, but not in a way he expects. A freshman and a newbie to chess—or patzer in chess lingo—Daniel is approached by the senior chess club cocaptains of his exclusive high school. A father-son weekend tournament is coming up, and Daniel and his father are more required than requested to be there.
Lessons in Fusion by Primrose Madayag Knazan • Sixteen-year-old Sarah (SAH-rah) Dayan-Abad of Winnipeg has her own cooking blog where she showcases her own fusion recipes and those her late, paternal grandmother taught her. While Sarah’s in touch with her Ashkenazi Jewish side, she knows very little of her Filipinx heritage from her mother’s side. When she’s tapped to be a contestant on Cyber Chef, an online cooking competition for food bloggers, she’s pushed to concentrate on her Filipinx background.
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn • High-school senior Kimi Nakamura is a whiz at whipping up “Kimi Originals” from thrift store clothing and fabric remnants, but her mother, a Japanese artist, wants Kimi to be a painter. When she drops her Advanced Fine Arts class, it ignites a terrible fight with her parents. Then an invitation arrives for Kimi to visit her grandparents in Kyoto, which she decides is the perfect opportunity to clear her head. Meeting her obaasan and ojiisan for the first time is awkward, but culture shock truly sets in when a cute boy named Akira offers to be her guide. Akira works at his uncle’s mochi shop but dreams of being a doctor, and he’s determined to help Kimi realize her true passion, too.
~ L ~
Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon • Vivacious and lovely, 18-year-old Olivia Brownlow is a highly eligible young woman in London’s 1859 society. Before her long-lost uncle took her in, she grew up disguised as a boy named Oliver, who became a street rat in a gang run by the Artful Dodger. Olivia can’t forget her origins, and while snooping around during a formal dinner, she comes upon another sneak—the eye-catching gentleman named Jack MacCarron, who was also about to lift jewels from their owners.
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee • Following his beloved mother’s suicide, Adrian Montague—a Lord-to-be who suffers from acute anxiety—receives her personal affects. Focusing on the broken spyglass she carried with her every day, he is compelled to learn why she specifically left it behind the day she died. Adrian sets out to learn the truth about the spyglass’ significance, and his search for expert assistance leads him to a merchant who turns out to be “Monty” Montague, the brother he never knew existed. The two set off on perilous adventures from London to Rabat, Porto, Amsterdam, and Iceland, searching for answers to the questions that plague Adrian, reuniting with Felicity along the way. They encounter wrathful pirates, shattered promises, tempests at sea, life-threatening injury, interminable days of darkness, and joyful days of light.
Secret of the Sevens by Lynn Lindquist • Banned decades earlier after murdering the school’s founder and setting a deadly fire, the Society of Seven is the stuff of urban legends. But wait, no one really believes that story, do they? When 18-year-old Talan Michaels is mysteriously summoned to one of the boarding school’s little-used buildings, he finds a letter inviting him to join that very secret society. While working out clues left for him and six other students, Talan’s dyslexia—typically a stumbling block—proves unexpectedly helpful in deciphering the messages.
Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott and Mikki Daughtry and others • Stella Grant has control issues. She also has breathing issues because of cystic fibrosis, and she must remain six feet away from anyone who could give her an infection. She has spent years in and out of the hospital, and now, instead of joining her friends on their senior trip, she’s fighting a simple sore throat that could ruin her chances for a lung transplant. Nevertheless, she hosts YouTube videos about CF and works diligently on her medicine-treatment reminder app. When CF patient and rich kid Will Newman arrives as part of a clinical trial for a drug, Stella knows there will be trouble.
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman • Overweight Lara was bullied and depressed in middle school. Now a sophomore, 30 pounds lighter, her life has turned around. She made the cheer team and has new friends, plus a hot boy from another school is interested in her via Facebook. Her ex-BFF Bree, who ended their friendship two years earlier when Lara’s depression got in the way, is now angry after being bumped from the cheer team. When the FB boy suddenly posts devastatingly hurtful things about Lara, it sends her over the edge and into a world where she believes suicide is the only answer.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo • For 17-year-old Lily Hu, San Francisco’s Chinatown during the 1950s is home to her community and culture. However, despite having friends and loving parents, she struggles with a sense of belonging. Rather than fixating on boys, like her friends, Lily dreams of working at the Jet Propulsion Lab (where her aunt works) and traveling to Mars. Slowly, Lily realizes that more than her life goals are in play here, as she recognizes that she is attracted to women rather than men.
When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord • Millie Price, 16, is a singer obsessed with the dream of making it on Broadway. Until then, she loves to bicker with her archnemesis, Oliver Yang, the student stage manager at their performing-arts high school. Raised by her under-40, introverted dad and gay aunt, Millie never thought much about who her mother is until she accidentally discovers her dad’s old LiveJournal. Inspired by Mama Mia! and guided by her dad’s angst-filled entries about past relationships, Millie sets out to discover which of three women left her on her dad’s doorstep as a baby.
Character, Driven by David Lubar • With high-school graduation drawing near, Cliff stands at the precipice of his future, uncertain which way to jump. Yet he knows he has to do two things before the end of his senior year: lose his virginity and get Jillian, the new girl, to notice him. But that’s not everything crowding his proverbial plate because life isn’t that simple. His unemployed father threatens to kick him out when he turns 18 unless he contributes to the household, so Cliff works two part-time jobs and shelves the idea of college for the time being. His only havens are his closest friends, books, and art.
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics • Sixteen-year-old Amanda lives in fear—fear of consequences promised by religion, fear of telling her parents she’s with child, fear of wishing her baby sister would die, fear of learning why nothing feels right. It is the nineteenth century, and the Verner family is forced to make a better life on the vast and lonely prairie. When they arrive at an abandoned house that Pa chooses to be theirs, they find the interior ravaged and awash with blood.
~ M ~
Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma • Gemma Huang is an aspiring Chinese American actress who lands the lead female role in a modern movie remake of Madam Butterfly. This exciting achievement has some serious drawbacks, however. First, the director knows nothing about Chinese culture, rooting his vision of her character in stereotypes. Second, the movie will be filmed in Beijing, a city Gemma’s parents have long warned her against visiting. Nevertheless, Gemma chooses to go. Upon arrival, she is immediately mistaken for Alyssa Chua, China’s highest-profile socialite, who also happens to be Gemma’s cousin.
What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi • Sixteen-year-old Mellie is the ideal daughter for her conservative, religious family. But her perfect life changes one afternoon when she is raped in her own home. Too afraid to tell anyone, Mellie silently watches the waistband on her jeans grow tighter, convinced her pro-life parents would sentence her to having her rapist’s baby. Lise, Mellie’s classmate and former childhood friend, is an activist and works as an escort and shield for women against the constant group of protesters at the local women’s clinic. When Lise figures out Mellie’s situation, she takes steps to help her friend at the risk of revealing her own secret.
Winter Falls by Nicole Maggi • Twin Willows, Maine, is the most boring place on earth, according to 16-year-old Alessia Jacobs. Then the Wolfe family moves to town, and they have intriguing twins her age: the dark and brooding Bree and the hot, seductive Jonah. She also finds an Italian amulet between bricks in the cellar of her basement, after which she begins to have strange visions where she becomes a falcon.
Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino • The tagline for “Uncrashable Dakota” reads: “Who can keep the most magnificent airship in the world from falling out of the sky?” Enticing enough and, in the novel, author Andy Marino steampunks one of the most well-known historical events with modern-day invention through highly unconventional means.
Flight Season by Marie Marquardt • Rising college sophomore Vivi Flannigan is an avid birder and Yale student who lands a dream internship at a hospital near her home in Florida. TJ Carvalho, about to finish his nursing degree, works at his family’s restaurant and at the same hospital, where he cares for feisty Ángel Solís, who suffers from a terrible heart infection. When the three are thrown together during the summer, each must learn what’s important to the others and to themselves.
A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet • Seventeen-year-old Tera and her father are close, drawn together by their artistic talents. She will do anything to earn his praise. When Tera graduates from high school in the spring, she will be off to Paris to study at a prestigious art school and live her dream. She will also escape her mother, who is emotionally remote and hates how Tera always takes her father’s side. However, everything changes when her father is arrested for child pornography, a heinous crime Tera believes he couldn’t have committed.
All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall • Estrella is a feisty 15-year-old living with her parents on a ranch in southern Texas. It’s 1931, and the Great Depression is in full swing. Her town is severely divided ethnically, and families of Mexican descent, though American citizens, are being rounded up and repatriated across the border. Following a protest that Estrella organizes, her home is burned, and she, her toddler brother, and mother are separated from her father while being transported to Mexico. They are thrown onto a train, forced into an open-air livestock corral for days with hundreds of others in harsh winter weather, and then taken to Mexico City …
The Convent by Maureen McCarthy • Aside from her broken heart, Peach has a good life. But in the summer of her nineteenth year, she takes a job at a café in what was once Abbotsford Convent and her life changes forever. She always accepted that she was adopted, but she never knew her family history was tightly bound to the convent.
The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy • Bennett Bardo’s dreams just came true. His gorgeous neighbor, Sophie Gilkey, is going to prom with him. But things change when she is abducted by aliens right before Bennett’s eyes in the New Mexico desert. Happening upon a bus that resembles a metal platypus at an In-and-Out Burger, Bennett hops a ride and is whisked off into space with the members of The Perfectly Reasonable, an intergalactic band of musicians that agree to help him locate Sophie after their tour is over.
Where We Are by Alison McGhee • Sesame and Micah love planning their future South Minneapolis café together, and only they know their deepest secrets: Sesame lives under the foster care radar in an abandoned structure following her grandmother’s death; Micah is concerned about changes in his parents since becoming disciples to the “Prophet.” Late one night before winter break, Micah and his parents are whisked underground by the cult leaders, forced to leave their phones behind.
What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin • At 17, Poppy is one of Mitch’s “flowers,” whom he keeps at a motel and sells for sex on a secret website. When rescued from a life as a trafficked teen, Poppy has a choice: escape the hospital where she’s recuperating or live with her aunt and uncle, who want to help her become Alexa—Lex—again. She chooses her family and begins the difficult journey to recovery. She makes friends who are supportive, but trust remains an issue, and obstacles impede her pathway.
10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon • Pinky Kumar, the unicorn-haired, unapologetic social justice warrior, is spending the summer at the family place on Cape Cod with her parents, aunt, uncle, and perfect cousin, Dolly. Her mother—a high-profile lawyer whose nickname in West Coast legal circles is The Shark—ironically declares Pinky guilty before proven innocent regarding everything. Plus, Pinky sees her cousin as competition and no wonder. Dolly is known as a wholesome and generous humanitarian who never gives her parents trouble (like Pinky) or makes bad decisions (like Pinky), and Pinky’s mother never fails to freely criticize each of Pinky’s faults.
There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon • Seventeen-year-old, swoonworthy Ashish Patel is the basketball star of Richmond Academy. Bummed after being dumped by his college girlfriend, he challenges his parents to make good on their constant threat to find him an Indian American girl to date. Their choice is Sweetie Nair, Piedmont High’s track star. When Ashish’s mother proposes the match, Sweetie’s mother adamantly insists that their children aren’t compatible—namely because Sweetie is fat. Furious with her mother’s constant ragging about her weight, Sweetie takes matters into her own hands and agrees to the Patels’ four-date contract without telling her parents. Ashish and Sweetie accept the arrangement, each feeling they have something to prove…
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon • Young Adult Rom-Com for the Win! • A New York Times bestseller • Girl has goal (break the glass ceiling in the world of coding without “IIH” distractions). Boy has goal (woo the girl his parents have arranged for him to marry before they both go off to college). Boy meets girl but stages disastrous introduction (“Hello, future wife. I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!”). Girl tosses Starbucks iced coffee at this “loony bin escapee.”
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer • Prudence is a judgmental overachiever who can’t abide an academic slight. She’s certain that despite Quint, her loafer lab partner in marine biology class, her project will earn her the top grade and benefit her coastal town. However, when Quint finally shows up to class for their presentation, he brings more heft to the project than Pru anticipated and pulls off the higher grade, much to Pru’s angry surprise. After an evening out with friends, during which she hits her head, Pru discovers she has the magical ability to exact karmic justice on people in town—except for Quint, on whom her wishes have the opposite effect.
Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes • Florida teen Analee Echevarria has feared social interaction since her mom died three years ago. Now, she’s dealing with even more personal hurdles: her best friend, Lily, has gone radio silent; she can’t figure out how to express her feelings for Harris, her online role-playing quest partner; and worst of all, her Cuban father is about to marry a younger, Barbie-perfect yoga instructor. When partnered in biology class with insufferable heartthrob Seb Matias, who isn’t over his latest breakup, Analee takes a chance on his wacky suggestion: become a fake couple to make his ex-girlfriend jealous.
The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller • The post-prom plan is to overnight at Zoe’s uncle’s secluded cabin to facilitate Julia’s sex pact. But as the caravan of eight friends leaves for its destination, the plan begins to unravel, one couple at a time. From a family health emergency to a flare-up of lupus, life keeps stubbornly getting in the way. Among the speed bumps is Zoe’s reluctance to tell her girlfriend that she’ll be heading across the country to attend Yale. And Julia and Kevin’s role-playing goes awry when she gets locked in a closet.
I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski • What could go wrong when you’ve mapped out a four-and-a-half-week backpack trip through Europe with your best friend? Plenty, it turns out. Nineteen-year-old Sydney and Leela planned to trek around Europe, see the sights, kiss hot boys, and have a summer they’d never forget. But when Leela’s ex-boyfriend shows up unexpectedly, even the best-laid plans fall apart.
The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir • Chace Porter, Oyster Bay Prep’s soccer star and leading man, is found dead, and the only clue in this whodunit is a picture in his pocket of him with a girl no one knew was close to him. His girlfriend, Lana Rivera, is both devastated by his death and furious at her ex-roomie, Nicole Morgan, the girl in the picture. While the student body is sequestered on campus during the investigation, Nicole becomes the prime suspect before being arrested. But did she really murder Chace? She claims she didn’t, but the evidence categorically points to her.
Game Change by Joseph Monninger • In the rural town of Rumney, New Hampshire, senior Zeb Holloway’s life seems fairly set: repairing cars with his uncle, hunting deer on weekends, helping his overworked single mom, and sitting on the bench as the backup QB on his high school’s football team. Things change when the star QB breaks his leg and Zeb must step up, be a leader, and start the state championship game. Used to a quiet life, Zeb suddenly feels the pressure of everyone watching and counting on him.
Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore • Fourteen-year-old Dylan, autistic and synesthetic, is the result of the union between her French mother (whom she adored) and her Guyanese father (who left them). Following her mother’s unexpected death, Dylan grieves and grapples with who she really is and how she believes her father stole her whiteness. She also dreams of going to Paris, where she believes her skin color wouldn’t matter the way it does in Australia. But life has other plans for the deep-thinking girl who hears music in colors, knows people’s secret memories by their eyes, and talks about the magic of water.
Better than the Best Plan by Lauren Morrill • Ritzy’s life drastically changes when her impulsive mother leaves to take a self-discovery journey alone, and social services shows up in her stead. Ritzy is shocked to discover that she’s going into foster care with the same woman who cared for her as an infant. The woman lives in an exclusive island town, which, on top of living under someone else’s roof and rules, is another adjustment for Ritzy. However, as she makes friends, gets a job, and spends time with the handsome boy next door, she finds it’s easy to leave her hard-knocks life behind. Yet, when her Mom returns expecting to get her daughter back, Ritzy must find a way to balance what she wants with whom she wishes to keep in her life.
Hoop City: Detroit by Sam Moussavi • Isaiah knows he is a great basketball player, and playing varsity as a freshman at Detroit Catholic is a big deal. He was born to play, and his father, who once played in the NBA, has relentlessly coached him since he was a child. But Isaiah comes from the comfortable suburb of Auburn Hills, not the inner city, like his teammates. The death of a teammate and experience of being teased for not being tough or black enough serve as catalysts for Isaiah to reflect on who he is and what he wants.
~ N ~
The Place Between Breaths by An Na • Grace King, 16, is smart and mature for her age. She’s grown up with the knowledge that her father’s primary focus in life is studying schizophrenia, the disease that made her Korean-born mother walk away from them, never to be seen again. Her father, removed and detached from Grace, conducts his research at a prestigious lab, holding on to the hope of finding both a cure and Grace’s mother. While Grace is an intern at the lab, she accidentally notices coding issues in test results that just might be the breakthrough needed. However, Grace begins falling apart inside without warning.
Deep Water by Katherine Nichols • Seventeen-year-old Eddie Otero craves the thrill of adventure, and in 1971, he gets in over his head. A strong and talented swimmer, he accepts the challenge to swim a waterproof package of weed from Mexico back to his small California town near San Diego. The danger fuels his desire to succeed, as does the prospect of big money. Along with other high-school friends and the Spanish teacher, Eddie starts a small business with big payouts, which expands into a multimillion-dollar global smuggling concern. But no amount of money can prevent them from becoming federally indicted fugitives.
Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn • Fifteen-year-old Amandla has always set her sights on leaving Sugar Town, a slum outside Durban, South Africa. However, her future is difficult to imagine, as she knows only three things about herself: she does well in school, her father (whom she never met) was Black, her mother is white. When her mother returns from one of her secret trips to Durban, Amandla finds a note and a wad of cash, prompting her to investigate where her mother goes.
~ O ~
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien (Book One) • Rosie’s best hope for an education as a filmmaker is to make the cut at the esteemed Forge School of the Arts. With that comes the school’s hugely popular, 12-hour-a-day reality show broadcasting the students’ every move. To make the cut, a student’s “blip” ratings must put her or him in the top 50, achieved primarily via manipulation by the viewers, sponsors, producers, and staff. Students are subjected to 12 hours of medicinally induced sleep each night, supposedly to boost their creative output, but when Rosie bypasses the nightly pill, she learns that she is part of a sinister plan.
The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh M. O’Brien (Book Two) • Expelled from the Forge School in front of the entire country, Rosie Sinclair stands by her claim that students’ dreams and memories—including hers—are being mined in labs below the school’s grounds. Fearing for her life and trusting no one, she feels alone, especially since her inner voice left her. That voice, however, now rests in a pregnant girl, who is being kept alive after an accident.
Karma: A Novel in Verse by Kathy Ostlere • A 15-year-old girl from the prairies of Manitoba, Canada, travels to India to deliver her Hindu mother’s ashes. No sooner than when she and her Sikh father land in Delhi is Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassinated. Separated during the melee that follows, the girl— Maya to her late mother, Jiva to her father—is forced to make hard and split-second decisions in the middle of a human firestorm.
Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan • Sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley has a rich and contented life. Tiny Bayou Perdu, a shrimping and fishing town in Louisiana, offers all she needs: best friends, family, salt air, gumbo, and pure peace when she’s on the water. During a local festival, she meets Tru, a Vietnamese boy she can’t get out of her mind; but shortly thereafter, Hurricane Katrina forces evacuation. Chaos and destruction push them away, as the Rileys seek refuge with an aunt in Atlanta. There Evangeline feels lost and restless, craving home and the familiar, while her family struggles to rebuild their lives.
~ P ~
Meet Me at Midnight by Jessica Pennington • For Sidney Walters and Asher Marin, summers at the lake mean swimming, boating, bonfires, and parties—and a friendship rooted in a six-years-long prank war. Now, in the summer before they head off to college, their pranks escalate, causing the families to be kicked out of their treasured rental cabins. A truce is called, and Sid and Ash plan one final prank together as revenge for their eviction. However, being in cahoots opens the door to feelings that have been simmering since their first summer together.
Since Last Summer by Joanna Philbin. (Book Two of The Rules of Summer) • This thoroughly upscale teen chick lit continues to examine relationships established in Rules of Summer (2013). Rory McShane, now Connor Rule’s girlfriend, is invited by Connor’s sister Isabel to stay at the Rules’ home in East Hampton. This summer is different because Rory isn’t the errand girl anymore; she is “part of the family.”
The Girl You Thought I Was by Rebecca Phillips • According to family and friends, junior Morgan Kemper is sweet, smart, and together; however, since her parents split a year ago, she’s secretly been shoplifting. Despite craving the rush that comes with the act, Morgan repeatedly tells herself each time will be the last. Then she’s busted at the mall and sentenced to complete 30 hours of community service over the summer. Morgan believes she can do her time without her friends finding out, but her guilt over the incident grows once she meets Eli, the cute boy who works at the charity store where Morgan volunteers. Suddenly, she’s faced with a tough decision …
Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me to Me by Gae Polisner • Fifteen-year-old JL (Jean Louise), named after author Jean-Louis “Jack” Kerouac, is wrapped in a chrysalis of confusion and unease. Her father left on business over a year ago. Her mother, suffering from dissociative disorder, writes letters to long-dead Kerouac, whom her grandmother once kissed in a restaurant. Mostly, JL feels abandoned by her longtime confidante and bestie, Aubrey, who has embraced new girlfriends that whisper about JL’s relationship with her older boyfriend, Max.
Giant Days by Non Pratt • Based on the popular graphic-novel series Giant Days, Pratt retells a part of the story through the original three protagonists. Susan, Esther, and Daisy are first-year college students who make a most unlikely trio. Susan, the premed major and self-proclaimed sleuth, has a sharp wit and overly critical eye. Esther, the English major, worships all things goth. Daisy, the sweet homeschooled girl, struggles to find her feet in such an unfamiliar place. Yet, the three click.
~ R ~
Again, but Better by Christine Riccio • In 2011, Shane Primaveri’s college life has been dismal. To reset her introverted life, she signs up for a semester in London and an internship with a magazine—and lies to her parents, who believe she’s pursuing her premed studies, not creative writing. Her life becomes wonderfully filled with taking weekend trips with her friends, updating her travel blog, writing for her classes, and embracing her internship. However, when Shane learns her crush has a girlfriend and her parents show up unannounced, her new life plummets into a death spiral. Jump ahead to 2017 …
Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat • When Ivy’s parents announce that they have lost their expensive digs and nearly everything they own, including Ivy’s beloved baby grand, it’s the end of her world. The piano and singing are Ivy’s passions, and the move to Lakeside, a low-income town where the poor kids at school live, is too much for her upscale esteem to bear. She can’t tell her friends for fear of ostracism. Enter suave and mysterious James Wickerton, whose attention is focused on Ivy. When rumored drug dealer Lennie Lazarski, Ivy’s new next-door neighbor, also starts taking notice of her at home and (gasp!) at school, that’s the limit.
Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff • The minute obsessive fandom bleeds into real life, there’s bound to be trouble. Grace Thomas is a self-proclaimed ordinary person, but as music blogger Gigi, she’s an integral part of boy band Fever Dream’s fandom. One night during the summer after graduation, Grace finds herself face-to-face with the band’s heartthrob, Jes. When a paparazzo takes their picture and it goes viral, Grace/Gigi finds herself straddling the worlds of the band, fandom, and real life, forcing her to face complicated truths about herself. This is a realistically told tale of a fan and star falling into a relationship that is messier and thornier than anticipated.
Girl from Nowhere by Tiffany Rosenhan • Sophia Hepworth and her diplomat parents have settled down. After a life of hopscotching countries (94), changing schools (31), learning languages (14), and dodging bullets meant for her (2), she’s ready to live like a normal 16-year-old in a resort town in Montana. Just as she begins to fit in, her past is resurrected, and the combat survival training her parents drilled into her may be the only thing that will keep her alive.
It’s All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick • Rudnick (Gorgeous, 2013) takes on celebrity culture by pitting a Lindsay Lohan/Miley Cyrus–type teen star (aptly named Heller) against her upstanding, kneesock-wearing cousin Caitlin, who is a bundle of anxiety and compulsion issues. The weekend before the premiere of Heller’s Hunger Games-esque movie, Angel Wars, Caitlin is recruited to keep Heller clean and sober. The problem is, the 17-year-old cousins get along like oil and water.
~ S ~
The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez • In third grade, Emelia DeJesus was the victim of a violent attack and left for dead. Now, at the age of 16, she still grapples with the trauma she experienced. She tries to be “normal” when she’s with her boyfriend, but her protective mother hovers and worries so much that Emelia feels she can never be free. Only her older brother, Tomás, provides a refuge in her life. When word unexpectedly arrives that the boy Emelia identified as her attacker is to be released because the real perpetrator surfaced and confessed, Emelia’s world is upended again.
Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage • Just outside of Boston, in a patriarchal Italian American community, sisters Mira and Francesca Cillo are dead, their bodies entwined and retrieved from a toxic quarry lake. Days after the suicide, Ben Lattanzi—whom Mira had allowed to touch seven parts of her body—receives a letter from Mira, starting him on the hunt for notes at each of the locations where they had touched. Each note cryptically reveals more about why the sisters chose to end their lives, exposing complex reasons that involve a self-proclaimed religious stigma, a risky crush, and a devastating lie.
How to Live on the Edge by Sarah Lynn Scheerger • Teenagers Cayenne and Saffron barely remember their mother, who died from breast cancer when they were young. Understanding that this could be their future as well, Cayenne aspires to live fully, if recklessly, while Saffron is dedicated to being her best self. When their Aunt Tee, who raised them, tests positive for BRCA—the inherited gene that all but guarantees her their mother’s fate—she opts for elective mastectomy and gives the girls access to a journal and series of videos created for them by their mother.
Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt (Book One in a Series) • Sophomore Merrilee Campbell loves to read and believes the boys in books are so much better than in real life. Yet, as a transfer student to an exclusive prep school, she hopes to find a blissful romance with one of the picture-perfect guys there. Monroe Stratford, cast in the school play as Romeo, taps Merri as his girlfriend, leading her to think she could be his modern-day Juliet—that is, until his possessiveness repulses her as much as the headmaster’s gorgeous son, Fielding Williams, seems to be repulsed by her. As her lit class dissects Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the reality of her situation as well as the story she thought she knew, sinks in.
Bookish Boyfriends: The Boy Next Story by Tiffany Schmidt (Book Two in a Series) • Freshman Aurora “Rory” Campbell is a talented artist with uninspiring grades and an unrequited crush on Toby, the boy next door. She’s convinced he doesn’t notice her because he’s mooning over her sister Merrilee, the sophomore dynamo from Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy (2018). Though Toby’s nice to her, Rory ultimately feels ignored by him and her older sisters. When Rory’s lit class reads The Great Gatsby, she is put off by Gatsby’s overt pining for Daisy and just can’t make connections to the novel. Once again, wise Ms. Gregoire works her teacherly magic by assigning Little Women as extra credit, both to help Rory’s sagging grades and to assist her with indispensable introspection.
Where There’s a Whisk by Sarah J. Schmitt • Peyton Sinclaire doesn’t want to get stuck baking pies in a Florida panhandle diner. With her father in prison for embezzling and her mother having lost her business, winning Top Teen Chef would be Peyton’s ticket to culinary school in New York City and a better life. After landing a spot on the show, Peyton is determined to win by staying focused and earning the judges’ votes with her gustatory delights, rather than pity for being the “poor contestant.” Then there are the two cute cooking competitors, who are also vying for Peyton’s starry-eyed attention.
Interlude by Chantele Sedgwick • Eighteen-year-old Mia Cox wants to donate a kidney to her younger sister, Maddy; however, she’s not a match. Their last hope rests with their birth mother, who abandoned the family when Maddy was a baby. To save Maddy’s life, Mia hops on an airplane to N.Y.C., hopeful she can convince her mother to help. Mia is seated next to a cute guy, and their conversation takes an awkward turn when she tells him she hates the band Blue Fire before realizing her seatmate is their lead singer, Jaxton Scott.
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard (Book One) • It’s murder to be beautiful, smart, and perfect. Five high-school-senior girls hate one classmate, Nolan, enough to collectively want to kill him for the pain he caused them individually. Instead, they decide an embarrassing prank will do the trick. That mission is soon accomplished, with one hiccup: the morning after the prank, Nolan is found dead, murdered in the exact manner they’d once laughed about. When the police zero in on the girls and their other dirty little secrets, they become desperate to prove their innocence.
The Good Girls by Sara Shepard (Book Two) • Picking up right where The Perfectionists (2014) left off, murder happens. While the girls try to figure out who killed Nolan and their film studies teacher, Mr. Granger, more people—all privy to their secret conversation in class—die or are severely injured.
I Become Shadow by Joe Shine • Not-so-popular 14-year-old Ren Sharpe is kidnapped one night and whisked away to the training facility for FATE (Future Affairs Training and Education), part of a secret world organization. For the next four years, she and hundreds of other international “recruits” undergo searing daily nerve-killing injections called “fire.”
Kissing Ezra Holtz (And Other Things I Did for Science) by Brianna Shrum • Just because you’ve grown up together doesn’t mean you have to like each other. Such is the case with Amalia Yaabez and Ezra Holtz. She’s convinced he’s a total nerd (he is), and he believes she’s wild (she is). The one thing they have in common besides attending the same temple is that they’re smart. When paired for a lengthy AP Psych project, they dig up an old study, update it, and set out to prove that dissimilar people who are thrown together under the right (controlled) circumstances can fall for each other—but are Amalia and Ezra as susceptible as their subjects?
The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson • Skye is a talented artist who can’t wait to attend art school after graduation. In the meantime, she loves making art, getting stoned, and partying with her friends. When Skye’s mother’s ex-boyfriend, Dan, a sleazeball in academic clothing, comes back into her world, Skye doesn’t know what to do. Dan is demanding and critical, and his presence chafes against the damage he inflicted on Skye when she was 12. As a result, Skye feels the need to abandon her scholarship and shield her 12-year-old sister. Facing the truth she’s suppressed since that night while camping, Skye is empowered and sheds the guilt she’s carried for years.
The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver • San Franciscans Franny, 14, and her sister Valentine, 17, receive an invitation from Aunt Theo to spend the summer at her apartment in Greenwich Village. Their chaperone, Clover, a protégé of Theo’s, teaches the girls the difference between glamorous and sophisticated. New vocabulary (trousers, not pants, and camisole, not tank top) swirls around the girls as they experience New York City’s nontouristy, high-class secret places. Impulsive Val wants to do things, go places, and meet boys, while Franny, the narrator, is happy to embrace Clover’s and Theo’s old-fashioned ideas.
The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy • Stella wants to forget what happened 11 years earlier: she and her red-haired friend Jeanie went missing, but only Stella returned. There are too many reminders—Jeanie’s old house, an annual festival, and now the return of Jeanie’s older brother, Daniel—but the problem is that Stella doesn’t remember anything. When a new corpse of a young, red-haired girl is found, Stella’s memories begin to surface, compelling her to dig into old secrets of death, rituals, and monsters. Meanwhile, Stella faces social struggles, having to choose between friendship with popular Zoey or loyal Sam.
High and Dry by Sarah Skilton • Charlie Dixon had it made: soccer star, great parents, loving girlfriend, and worry-free college acceptance. Then he’s hit by an avalanche of problems. Heartsick about being dumped (and nursing a drinking problem), he leaves his car at a party and his previous ex drives him home. At the same time, a student trips out on LSD and is dumped at the hospital ER by someone driving Charlie’s car.
Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith • Separately, Chris and Maia are two teens consumed by deep personal problems. When Chris spends the summer at his aunt’s in small-town North Carolina to escape his parents’ arguments about his being transgender, the two teens meet and gradually become more than friends. Nevertheless, it takes time for Chris to reveal he’s trans, and he doesn’t want to talk about the brutal gendered assault he suffered a year ago. Maia’s reluctance to talk about her sister’s death continues to shield another secret she’s hoping never to reveal, especially to Chris. Smith’s whole-hearted support of LBGTQ teens and equality is genuine, as is her acknowledgment that grief must occur on one’s own terms.
Color Blind by Sheila Sobel • Seventeen-year-old April suddenly finds herself orphaned, angry, and living in post–Hurricane Katrina New Orleans with an aunt she’s never met. Kate—a happily single, free-spirited chef—welcomes April into her home, but April immediately builds a wall of antagonism between them. Unemployed and irritated by her circumstances and Kate’s house rules, April takes a stroll in the neighborhood, where she meets Miles, a bayou-native tour guide, who shows her the city. During Miles’ tour, April lingers by the grave of Marie Laveau, the queen of voodoo, and soon after discovers a clue to her own fragmented past.
Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Solomon • Sophie would do anything for her best friend Peter, a talented musician in need of a kidney transplant. She believes that the two of them are destined to be in love, but events don’t go as she imagined after she donates a kidney to him. Now able to attend high school in lieu of homeschooling, Peter becomes interested in Chase, a classmate who invites him to join his band. While Peter’s interests broaden, Sophie is left to pick up the loose threads of her life and dance training, but she can’t shake Peter from her heart and mind.
Blank by Trina St. Jean • The accident that put Jessica in a coma wiped out all knowledge of her family and friends, leaving her both mystified and scared. Exhibiting the typical wide-swinging moods and lack of emotion caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI), Jessica is as much a question mark to herself as is the prognosis for her full recovery. As she tries to put together the puzzle of just who the old Jessica was, her conclusions shift, each one more baffling than the next.
Nick and June Were Here by Shalanda Stanley • Nick and June mean everything to each other, and they’ve created perfection inside an abandoned barn in their small community. Nick loves to paint, and June dreams of a future that includes college. But outside the barn, their lives are far from ideal. Nick’s family life is in shambles and he’s following his father’s criminal footsteps in the carjacking biz. Meanwhile, June confesses to hearing voices, which have grown louder and more frequent. During her hospitalization, June is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and Nick is busted for pinching one car too many. In a bold move, they secretly head for Nick’s uncle’s off-the-grid house in the mountains.
Mindwalker by A. J. Steiger (Book One) • Lain Fisher, 17, lives in a war-, violence-, crime-free America, thanks to the government and the Institute for Ethics in Neurotechnology. The population is controlled through “conditioning” and can undergo “Mindwalking,” a process that removes negative memories, leaving behind only homogeneous sociability. While Lain is training to become a Mindwalker (one who removes memories), she meets Steven, a victim of horrific child abuse who is a “Type Four” in the caste system; he wears a collar that monitors his brain and actions and “tazes” him if he becomes violent.
Mindstormer by A. J. Steiger (Book Two) • In this sequel to Mindwalker (2015), Lain Fisher wakes to find herself unable to recall the previous few months and knows she’s been subjected to a targeted memory wipe. When a group of revolutionary Blackcoats rescues her from the Institute for Ethics in Neurotechnology (IFEN), a former coworker and her ex-boyfriend facilitate her memory restoration and smuggle her over the Canadian border wall. There, they arrive in the Citadel, the Blackcoats’ high-tech headquarters, where they train to destroy the closed government of the United Republic of America and its controlling arm, IFEN.
Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone • He wasn’t the kind of guy Emily would have gone for in high school. She wasn’t the girl Trevor always thought she was. He was the sexy musician with tattoos on his fingers and a blue streak in his hair. She was the uptight and gorgeous preacher’s daughter who was rarely seen with a boy. He was the guy who had been in an accident that put him in a coma for much of his senior year and now suffers from traumatic brain injury (TBI). She was the girl whose senior year was spent in silent confusion over a life-changing secret about her family. Trevor’s and Emily’s worlds collide when she becomes his summer tutor so that he can earn his diploma.
That’s Not What I Heard by Stephanie Kate Strohm • Seniors Kim and Teddy, William Henry Harrison High’s golden couple, are apparently done. Quitsville. Uncoupled. The source of this hot gossip, freshman Phil Spooner, finds himself in the spotlight after passing along the story with an embellishment or two. Immediately, the school splits into Team Kim and Teddy Bear. The breakup fever spreads, and by the time the prom committee must make a final decision on the theme, there are four wildly disparate ideas (and teams) dividing the school gym into quarters.
Made In Korea by Sarah Suk • Senior Valerie Kwon runs the top student business at Crescent Brook High, selling beauty products with her cousin and making a killing in cash. She hopes this will get her into a top business college and finance her grandmother’s dream trip to Paris. Nevertheless, her parents and perfect older sister frustratingly think it’s a cute hobby. Enter Wes Jung, a new student and business competitor, who begins selling promo products for a popular K-pop group, for which his mother is a publicist.
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland • Esther Solar’s family is not just strange, they’re cursed. Ever since Grandpa Reg met Death and was told he’d die by drowning, the Solars have believed they’re fated to die from their greatest fear. For Esther’s mother, it’s bad luck; her agoraphobic father won’t leave the basement; and her twin brother is petrified of the dark. To learn what her own curse will be, Esther keeps a “semi-definitive list” of all her fears, not knowing which will be her demise.
The Door in the Mountain by Caitlin Sweet • Ancient Crete is a land where death and beauty coexist. Princess Ariadne, born to King Minos and Queen Pasiphae, hasn’t been godmarked like her younger half brother, the beloved Asterion the Bull Prince, and her other siblings, all of whom were given specific gifts that determine their life paths.
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Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka • During fall track training, senior Chloe passes out and wakes to a diagnosis that indicates she needs a new heart. Following her transplant, Chloe feels unable to connect to her previous life, and she is plagued by blood-soaked nightmares and fragmented memories of unfamiliar people and places. While finishing classes in summer school, Chloe researches posttransplant experiences, discovering the possibility of cellular memory. She fuses this with her interest in multiverses and wonders if this could be the key to her posttransplant self.
Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (Book One) • Ollie, 14, lives sequestered with his mother in an A-frame house in the woods of northern Michigan. He can see the colors and shapes of the electricity to which he is allergic. Moritz, a 16-year-old who lives in Germany, has no eyes but can see through superecholocation. He also requires a pacemaker, which means he and Ollie can never meet. Ollie lives in an overprotected world, while Moritz goes to school and is bullied. Both boys need a friend, and through a pen pal relationship, they find the strength to go on.
Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas (Book Two) • Electro-sensitive Ollie and eyeless Moritz and his pacemaker return in a sequel that is darker than Because You’ll Never Meet Me (a 2016 Morris Honor Book), and the boys’ affectionate epistolary relationship continues. As Ollie bravely travels out of his Michigan woods to meet other blunderkind, or blunderkids like himself, he is eager yet apprehensive about his mission to write their stories.
Hung Up by Kristen Tracy • Lucy, in East Montpelier, Vermont, dials a number more than once, leaving increasingly angry messages about the lack of return calls acknowledging an order she had placed. James, almost an hour away in Burlington, finally answers, explaining he’s not the business she was trying to reach. A conversation ensues, and the two 16-year-olds gradually become phone friends. Their cautious yet witty exchanges slowly include analytical and enlightening dialogue.
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Hello Now by Jenny Valentine • Jude, a flat-out realist, hates living on the edge and starting anew. When Jude’s mother no longer has a job, and money gets tight, they move to a seaside community, where Jude feels incredibly alone. Understand-ably, she thinks love and magic are myths; however, her interest is piqued when Novo appears across the street, clad in head-to-toe black, yet spreading vibrant colors, love, and harmony to all who see him. Jude is transfixed, wondering who he is and why he is seemingly there just for her.
The Merciless by Danielle Vega • It’s hard to know who your friends are when you’re the new girl. For Sophia Flores, Adams High is one more in a long line of schools—her mother is an Army nurse. On her first day, Sophia quickly makes friends with Brooklyn and Riley, even though they are both from different factions. Pushed and pulled by Brooklyn’s craving for tattoos, danger, and excitement and Riley’s religious seduction topped with southern sweetness, Sophia finds it difficult to make her own decisions. When Riley decides that Brooklyn requires an exorcism, Sophia finds herself trapped.
Every Single Lie by Rachel Vincent • Months after dealing with her father’s overdose death, Beckett Bergen regrets a hasty breakup with her supportive boyfriend, Jake. Then she discovers a dead baby in a gym bag in the girls’ locker room at school. Beckett becomes a suspect despite being merely a witness. She becomes the target of vicious rumors that spread not only through her small Tennessee community but also nationwide via a new Twitter account that seems—to Beckett and her police detective mom—to know too much about the investigation.
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Ultimatum by K.M. Walton • The only things brothers Oscar and Vance have in common are a mother, who died in a car crash three years earlier, and an alcoholic father, who is dying of liver failure. Vance, a high-school senior, loves to hang and drink with his dad, and thinks Oscar is a drag. Oscar, a year younger, loves to draw and listen to classical music, but has become withdrawn because his interests are mocked by his family. He sees what alcohol is doing to his father and how his brother is stumbling down the same path.
The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber • Fifteen-year-old Wing Jones lives in a house of strong women—her Chinese mother and her Chinese and Ghanaian grandmothers—and in the shadow of her brother Marcus, the congenial football star destined for greatness. But when Marcus drinks and drives, killing two people and ending up in a coma himself, Wing’s life becomes a nightmare: schoolmates place the blame for the tragedy on her, and the family can’t keep up with the mounting hospital bills. Unable to sleep, she finds release and focus in running.
Let Me List the Ways by Sarah White • Seniors Mackenzie Clark, aka Zie, and Nolan Walker have been neighbors and best friends forever, with their own set of rituals, like their nonstop creation of top 10 lists. Their lives are so closely entwined that not only do they share everything, but Nolan has also become proficient in caring for Zie’s type 1 diabetes and is always alert for changes in Zie’s demeanor. The problem is that Zie is secretly, desperately in love with Nolan …
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe (Book One of the “V” Trilogy) • A shadowy, sinister island cloaked in mystery and secrecy off the coast of Maine is home to Cania Christy, a school for privileged, beautiful teens. However, Anne, a junior and up-and-coming artist, is different from the rest of the students: she is the brilliant daughter of a poor mortician. From her first moment there, nothing seems to be . . . quite right.
The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe (Book Two of the “V” Trilogy) • Anne Merchant is back at Cania Christy Preparatory Academy, and the tension escalates when she finds herself in a more troubling situation than before. Snatched again from her coma in a California hospital, Anne is forced to use her success formula—look closer—more than ever.
Me Since You by Laura Wiess • On the day sophomore Rowan Areno skips school, a series of tragic events occur for which she feels personally responsible. She befriends Eli, a young man who witnessed a suicide and is also dealing with the loss of his father in Iraq…
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The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young • At 17, writing poetry is Comet Caldwell’s passion, but she never shares it for fear of rejection. When Tobias King, a new student from America, shows up at school, he’s brash, insolent, and hangs with Stevie Macdonald and the bad-boy crowd. However, when paired for an assigned presentation, Comet slowly discovers the secrets that brought Tobias to Scotland. As Tobias and Comet begin spending all their time together, Stevie and company publicly bully her with vile and vulgar taunts. Yet, together, she and Tobias make the commitment to move forward, giving Comet some much-needed confidence. But when tragedy strikes, Comet’s relationship with Tobias shatters, and she is left to make challenging decisions about her future.
He Must Like You by Daniele Younge-Ullman • Libby’s senior year has slapped her hard. Paying for college is now her responsibility, and she needs to find her own place after graduation so her parents can rent her room out. Though she begins making good money as a restaurant server, a sloppy overnight with a coworker leaves her feeling bad about herself. Uncomfortable vibes at the restaurant only increase when a well-to-do customer’s verbal and physical harassment goes too far—prompting Libby to pour a pitcher of sangria on him. Then, a school assembly about sex and consent makes Libby realize it’s time to take control and stand up for herself, her girlfriends, and her female coworkers.
Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu • In this prequel to Yu’s debut novel—Four Weeks, Five People (2017)—Stella, a junior who suffers from depression, seems over the meltdown she experienced the year before. Happier than she’d been, she’s content to hang out with best friends Katie (who’s into athletes) and Lin (who’s consumed by her need to get into Brown next year). Enter Kevin, a philosophy student who becomes Stella’s first boyfriend. Their relationship takes Stella on an emotional roller-coaster, and though their fights become more frequent and intense, she ignores her therapist, friends, grades, and parents.
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Goodbye from Nowhere by Sara Zarr • Kyle’s life is nice: perfect girlfriend, baseball buddies, nice house, nice family. But all that falls away when Kyle’s dad mentions he’s dealing with a secret: Mom is having an affair. Now it’s Kyle’s secret. Consumed by this, Kyle distances himself from his girlfriend, baseball, and friends. Trusting only his favorite cousin and confidante Emily, he texts everything that’s on his mind and tells her the secret can’t get out until after the family’s final summer trip to his grandparents’ farm before it is sold.
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao • Sinclair Prep on New York City’s Upper West Side is home to the brainiest students from the area’s richest, most powerful families. Junior Jamie Ruan ranks number one until her father is caught embezzling from his Fortune 500 company. One by one, her four best friends—Akil Patel, Krystal Choi, Alexander Lin, and Nancy Luo—step away from her. When Jamie is found dead, the four are implicated in a series of posts by “The Proctor” on Tip Tap, a social media platform. Each has dark personal secrets, including a freshman-year incident that, if revealed, would carry dire consequences and expulsion for all.
My Eyes Are Up Here by Laura Zimmerman • Until ninth grade, Greer Walsh’s body was acceptable. Then her bustline grew. And grew. Now a sophomore, she’s a 32H who hides Mavis and Maude (her “girls”) with an oversize sweatshirt and slumped posture. She thinks of boys solely as a source of snickers and taunts, until she meets transfer student Jackson Oates, who begins to dominate her thoughts. Little does she know that Jackson feels the same about her.