Young Adult Fiction
The Geography of You and Me

The Geography of You and Me

Owen and Lucy live in the same apartment building, but don’t meet until they’re stuck in an elevator together during a blackout. They forge an instant connection—but almost immediately after, Owen and his father take off for New Mexico, then California, then Seattle, and Lucy and her parents move to Scotland, then England. (Long-distance travel is quite the metaphor for adolescence, no?) As they move farther apart, their connection deepens, which makes them wonder: what if home isn’t a place, but a person?

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Cinder

Cinder

Each book in the YA fantasy series The Lunar Chronicles puts a new spin on an old fairy tale. In this first installment, Cinderella becomes a kickass mechanic, despised by her mother and stepsisters because she’s a cyborg. Admittedly, it sounds cheesy, but it works. Though it’s clear where the story is headed, spotting the imaginative ways Meyer reinvents the old fairy tale keeps the reader turning the pages. Fresh, fun, surprising, and compulsively readable.

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Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone

The first in a YA trilogy, rooted in Russian and Slavic myth, in which each new book is better than the one before. During a terrifying encounter on the magically-created Shadow Fold, quiet and passive Alina discovers her remarkable gift: she is a sun summoner. As she studies with the magical elite, she begins to understand how she has the power to save her kingdom—or ruin it, if her gift falls into the wrong hands. A magical coming-of-age story.

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Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour

$10.99$2.99

For fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. After her family (or what’s left of it) impulsively moves from California to Connecticut, Amy has to get her car cross-country. There’s just one problem: because of a tragic accident, Amy doesn’t drive. Enter Roger, an old family friend who volunteers to come along for the ride, and who is dealing with his own heartbreak. Before long, the two friends decide to ditch her mom’s carefully-orchestrated route in favor of the scenic route, stopping to see familiar haunts, old loves, and plenty of small town America. Matson adds color to this sweet story with emails, receipts, and playlists galore. Sure to inspire wanderlust. If you like this, read Since You’ve Been Gone next.

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The Book Thief

The Book Thief

$9.99$2.99

"You are going to die," begins this 2006 novel. A fitting beginning to a story about hard things: a little girl and her family struggling to endure in WWII Nazi Germany. The characters are interesting and unexpected, right down to the unusual narrator. You'll see why this was an instant staple on school reading lists when it was published ten years ago, and why it has captured the hearts of readers from age 10 to 110. Beautiful, haunting, fascinating, hopeful.

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Winter

Winter

$11.99$2.99

Coming November 10. I blew through Fairest last week and now I can't wait to read this fifth and last installment of The Lunar Chronicles. Come on, November!

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The Mother Daughter Book Club #7

The Mother Daughter Book Club #7

Sarah and I blew through the The Mother Daughter Book Club series in December, and now we're impatiently waiting for the seventh and final book. Coming Summer 2015.

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Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles

Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles

$9.99$2.99

I inhaled the first three books of The Lunar Chronicles on vacation last summer and have been waiting impatiently for the next installment ever since. Fairest hits shelves January 27. The series' final book Winter, coming November 2015, is also on my list.

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The Day the Angels Fell

The Day the Angels Fell

5.95 (AUDIBLE)

Neil Gaiman meets Madeleine L'Engle. Shawn Smucker's excellent YA novel, and I just found out another podcast guest Adam Verner read the audiobook! Listen to Shawn on Episode 84 of What Should I Read Next, and Adam Verner on Episode 31. I'm a longtime fan of Smucker's nonfiction. Read my mini-review here. The ebook is not on sale, but you do not have to be an Audible member to get this price.

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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

In the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, 12 poor districts are each forced to send two tributes to the oppressive Capitol’s annual Hunger Games: a gladitorial-style competition where the teens are forced to fight each other to the death while the district’s citizens have to watch. But rebellion is already brewing in the districts, and the Capitol gets more than it bargained for when Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s place as tribute.

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Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter Series

Orphaned Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is until he turns 11 and receives his invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, opening up a whole world of magic and muggles, potions and spells, friends and enemies. The series is now available in ebook form--which makes it a lot easier to take a whole boxed set on vacation. Starting June 19, Amazon Prime members can borrow Harry Potter books for free from the Kindle lending library, (though borrowing is limited to one book a month at this time).

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The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

The title of this YA hit riffs Shakespeare: wholly appropriate for this story of teenage star-crossed lovers (and cancer patients). 16-year-old narrator Hazel is smart, funny, and sincere, and she tells a great story. Quirky, charming, heartbreaking.

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Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

I finished this one on a weekday afternoon when I was supposed to be working, because all I wanted to do was finish this book. (Interestingly, I also inhaled Rowell's newest, Landline, which just came out yesterday. But I didn't like it nearly as much.)

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Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

$4.99$2.99

John Green's 2005 novel was the most challenged book of 2015; according to the American Library Association, the most frequently cited reasons for the requests to remove it from a school or library were "offensive language and "sexually explicit descriptions." John Green responded, "What usually happens with Looking for Alaska is that a parent chooses one page of the novel to send to an administrator and then the book gets banned without anyone who objects to it having read more than that one particular page.”

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Throw Like a Girl

Throw Like a Girl

When Olive (or “O-Rod”) Rodinsky throws a punch that gets her kicked off her school’s softball team, she’s forced to quit the sport she loves and transfer to the school she hates. But then a second chance arrives in a form she never expected: her new school's injured quarterback recruits Liv to be his back-up. The familiar premise feels fresh in Henning’s hands; she manages to cover serious issues relevant to teens and today's culture (hello, concussions) while still delivering an easy, light-hearted read. If you're on the lookout for a sweet, smart, and chaste YA novel—whether that's for you or a young reader in your life—this could be exactly what you're looking for.

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Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1)

Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1)

$4.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

My kids are hooked on this series. From Publishers Weekly: "Fantasy fans on the younger side of Harry Potter will find a good jolt of action, mystery and humor in Corduner's light and swift reading of this magyk-filled adventure."

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I Wanna Be Where You Are

I Wanna Be Where You Are

A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.

"In a world where it's easy to lose faith in love, I Wanna Be Where You Are is a brilliant burst of light. A dazzling debut." ― Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast―two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest's I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.

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Reign Rain
You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown

Johnson makes a triumphant debut with her happy and poignant YA novel. Orchestra geek Liz Lighty stays out of the spotlight in small town Campbell, Indiana, and she's totally okay with her wallflower status. She has a plan to escape the Midwest and become a doctor, and it all starts with attending her elite dream school, Pennington College. When her financial aid package falls short, Liz is devastated until she remembers that her school offers a large scholarship for the prom king and queen each year. Reluctant to subject herself to extra attention but eager to win the money, Liz enters the competition for prom queen. The smart and funny new girl in school makes events leading up to prom more bearable, but Mack is also vying for the prom queen title. As Liz develops feelings for her, the competition gets complicated.

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This Is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks Like

This is such a fun read for anyone who has a soft spot in their heart for a solid YA novel, and it's a must-read if you loved the movie Notting Hill. When a teenage Hollywood star mistypes an email address, his message ends up in the inbox of a small-town teenage girl in Maine. The two strike up a witty correspondence, even though (or really, because) she doesn't know who he is. When his latest film is shot on location in her town, the relationship moves from online to real life. But the paparazzi make his life miserable, and the girl has secrets of her own.

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The Voting Booth

The Voting Booth

I appreciate how in this timely book, Brandy Colbert takes on big, complex issues and serves up a warm and engaging story. Black teen protagonists Marva and Duke take turns as narrators, which makes the story feel intimate and personal, while offering lots of food for thought. Told over the course of one day, Marva, enthusiastic citizen, and Duke, son of a politically-engaged family, overcome obstacles in their quest to make Duke’s vote count on election day. As they work together for a shared cause, they talk about their lives, and the hard stuff they’re facing, right now. It’s a book I’m sure I’ll continue to think about as our own election day draws nearer here in the United States. 

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Mother-Daughter Book Camp (The Mother-Daughter Book Club #7)
Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Quadir and Jarrell are determined to give their friend Steph the legacy he deserves after losing him. With the help of Steph's sister Jasmine, they take his tracks and come up with a plan to release them under a new rapper's name: The Architect. When Steph's music catches the ear of a big-time producer, the Brooklyn teens scramble to prove their friend's talent, even though he's gone. Jasmine, Quadir, and Jarrell each keep secrets of their own, and as they dig into Steph's music, and his past, they must confront the truth. A powerful story of friendship with a page-turning puzzle and satisfying ending, this YA novel is excellent on audio.

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Heartless

Heartless

I loved The Lunar Chronicles, and was excited to just find out last week about Meyer's next novel. She describes it like this: "A prequel to Alice in Wonderland, HEARTLESS will tell the tale of how a marquis’s teenage daughter became the infamous Queen of Hearts. It will be a story of whimsy and madness, passion and tragedy, ravens and writing desks."

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Slay

Slay

At school, Kiera Johnson is an honor roll student, math tutor, and one of the only Black kids in her classes. But in the world she's created for herself, she is one of hundreds of thousands of Black gamers dueling in the online role-playing card game, Slay. Kiera is the game developer, but no one in her "real life" knows about the project, and her identity is a secret online. When Slay is mentioned in relation to the murder of a Kansas City teen, Kiera is distraught. News of the game and its Black-players-only rule reach media outlets, and Kiera's safe haven becomes a point of national discussion. When an anonymous troll enters the game and threatens to sue over discrimination, Kiera is determined to protect herself, her game, and her Blackness in a world that doesn't understand.

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Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things

I feel like I've been holding out on you on this one because I read and loved this book months ago. (I DID recommend it on this episode of What Should I Read Next with Leigh Kramer.) A girl-next-door type suddenly finds herself in an elite California prep school, and has to figure out how to navigate this new privileged world while still grieving her mother's death. When she gets an email from an unidentified boy who calls himself "Somebody Nobody" offering to be her spirit guide to her new school, she doesn't want to say yes—but she really needs his help. A sweet and fun teen romance, but also a pitch-perfect portrayal of the grieving process. I couldn't stop myself from cheering for Jessie as she put her life together again. Published April 5 2016.

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Cinderella is Dead

Cinderella is Dead

A brand new Cinderella retelling! I'm intrigued. Set 200 years after Cinderella marries her prince, the annual ball still serves as a matchmaking event. However, if the young women who attend don't make a match, they disappear. Sophia flees the ball early, hiding out in the castle's mausoleum where she meets Constance, a descendant of Cinderella who encourages Sophia to question everything. They create a plot to take down the patriarchal kingdom, learning more about their society as their plan unfolds. I love this book's cover, and I'm hoping for a fun page-turner.

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The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything

$10.99$1.99Audiobook: 4.49 (Whispersync)

I love Morgan Matson books—I've chosen at least one of her books for previous Summer Reading Guides, and others have been strong contenders—and was absolutely delighted to stumble upon this brand-new release (May 3) at my local bookstore. Andie is a politician's daughter who has her life, and her summer, all planned out: she can't wait to flee town (and the ever-watchful eyes of her father's staff) for her perfect summer internship that's going to help her land her spot at the perfect college. But that was before the scandal. Now her summer plans are off ... and a girl who never does anything unexpected faces a whole summer full of just that. This isn't great literature or anything but Matson does what she does really well. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Smith or Jenny Han. Without giving too much away, I'll just say you writerly types have an extra reason to love this one.

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10 Blind Dates

10 Blind Dates

With her parents in Louisiana for Christmas and a freshly broken heart to nurse, Sophie goes to spend the holidays with her grandparents and huge extended family. Hoping to cheer up her granddaughter, Sophie's nonna makes a plan to set her up on 10 blind dates, chosen by different family members. The dates are just as eclectic and surprising as her family members, filling her Christmas break with memorable moments. But when her ex-boyfriend turns up, she has new feelings to sort out. This charming YA novel is perfect for fans of big family stories; I thoroughly enjoyed it last year.

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Fangirl: A Novel

Fangirl: A Novel

The popular precursor to Rowell's new novel Carry On. It's not my favorite Rainbow Rowell novel, but many of you disagree with me there.

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