Young Adult Fiction
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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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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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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Bellweather Rhapsody

Bellweather Rhapsody

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.

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The Light Between Oceans: A Novel

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel

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.

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Every Exquisite Thing

Every Exquisite Thing

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.

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Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself
Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey

$9.99$1.99Audiobook: 9.49 (Whispersync)

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.

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