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?More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
"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.More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
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).More info →
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.More info →
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."More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
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.More info →
While not technically a YA book, it sure reads like one. (No wonder it won the Alex Award, which goes to adult books teens will love.) In a remote tumbledown hotel packed with hormone-fueled high school students gathered for a statewide music festival is the backdrop for this whodunit. Fifteen years after a wedding night murder-suicide, a teen prodigy disappears from the same hotel room. Strongly reminiscent of Greenglass House and Clue: The Movie. Essential reading for Rainbow Rowell fans.More info →
From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes The Gilded Wolves, a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change--one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires...
No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.
It's 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history--but only if they can stay alive.More info →
Tom and Isabel live alone on Janus Rock, keeping the lighthouse. After two miscarriages and one stillbirth, all on the isolated island, Isabel is despondent. When a boat holding a dead man and a crying baby washes up on shore, Isabel persuades Tom to leave the discovery out of his log and eventually adopts the child as her own. But when they visit the shore and its nearby community two years later ... you can imagine what might happen.More info →
This brand new release from the author of The Silver Linings Playbook is on my summer reading list. In this coming-of-age story, good girl Nanette is drifting through her quiet suburban life—until her teacher gives her a copy of the cult classic The Bubblegum Reaper . She obsesses over the book, and is challenged to confront the conformist way she's been living. But when she chooses a different path, she realizes every choice has a cost. Critics are praising this for its strong female lead and numerous Catcher in the Rye references. Published May 31, 2016.More info →
Ben De Becker just came out as nonbinary, and their parents kicked them out, forcing them to move in with their estranged sister Hannah and her husband. In the midst of trauma and heartbreak, Ben starts at a new school determined to keep a low profile and to not make any new friends. But when Nathan Allan turns his charisma and charm towards Ben, they start to build a sweet friendship, which might even lead to something more. With the help of Hannah, a therapist, and chance at happiness, Ben begins to heal. This book is ultimately hopeful, but mind your triggers.More info →
This is Sophie Kinsella's 24th novel but her very first for younger teens and tweens. After a bullying incident at school that's never fully described, 14-year-old Audrey is practically crippled with anxiety. She's been making steady progress, but when her older brother brings home his friend Linus, she's pushed way out of her comfort zone. But maybe that's just what she needs. This engaging novel weaves together family, friendship, mental illness, and video games.More info →
The publisher describes this as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park, which sounds right to me. This is Niven's eighth novel, but her first for young adult readers, inspired by her friend's experience with mental illness and suicide. Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of their high school's bell tower. It's unclear who saves whom, but an unlikely friendship is born between the troubled bad boy and grieving good girl. But it's only a matter of time before things begin to fall apart.More info →
Think When Harry Met Sally for the YA crowd. I read this in a day. Two teens who seem like total opposites are thrown together, not exactly happily, and each discover there's more to the other than meets the eye. The book unfolds in a series of rides to school, and comes complete with playlist. Perfect for Morgan Matson fans. Published May 3, 2016.More info →