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Teen Recommendations (13+)

So many novels, so little time.  So let us help you find the real gems. 

Find out what our Teen Advisory Board is up to here - and access their blog for lots of other recommendations.

What the Night Sings Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524700386
Availability: Available from warehouse in 1-5 business days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - February 20th, 2018

Equally a love letter to the power of music and a Holocaust remembrance. Lyrical, evocative language is the real strength of the book, though the story is equally engaging. It's almost more poignant because the heartbreaking details are reported so matter-of-factly, while the hopes and dreams are presented so magically, that the juxtaposition makes the harsh reality all the clearer. For fans of Number the Stars, Letters from Rifka, and other WWII tween/YA reads, this provides a new perspective, telling two Holocaust stories we don't often hear – a secular Jew's confusion over both her treatment, and afterward, her religion, and the significance of music during this terrible time. Exceedingly powerful, with illustrations acting like a garnish for the writing. -Broche

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The Poet X Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062662804
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: HarperTeen - March 6th, 2018

Unputdownable! 15yo Xiomara longs for the simple relationship she had with her mother before she became a curvy Afro-Latina, turning neighborhood boys’ heads despite wanting to be invisible to them. Burdened by her immigrant Catholic mother’s excessive devoutness, there’s no room for Xiomara to question her faith or wonder how she feels about Aman, a boy who encourages her interest in writing poetry & dubs her Poet X. Gutsy, yet vulnerable Xiomara finds her voice & tells her powerful truth in this stirring free verse story about becoming comfortable with oneself, finding your inner power, and learning how to wield it. Acevedo makes every word count. Her lovely metaphors adds dramatic dimension to the roller coaster ride of emotions. -Michelle

Brave Enough Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635830200
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Flux - August 21st, 2018

Spoiler alert: No one with cancer dies in this story. They do play Uno, shave their head, get stabbed, make new friends, enjoy glitter, attend camp, get kissed (!), and above all else, discover they are brave enough to continue living life, and as a result maybe, just maybe, Casen Martin, teen and formerly the youngest dancer at the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory before the big C happened, believes she might dance again. A heartfelt addition to the #ourvoices canon by a debut author. Ages 14+

Dread Nation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062570604
Availability: Available from warehouse in 1-5 business days
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 3rd, 2018

Two days before Jane McKeene was born, the dead on the battlefields of the Civil War began to walk the earth. Though she was born to plantation owners, Jane’s mixed-race heritage and dark skin means she is now training at combat school to be an Attendant: a zombie-killer whose job it will be to protect the White woman she iscontracted to. But her tempestuous and curious nature embroil Jane and her friends in the politics and treacherous landscape of post-Reconstruction America in this alternate history. Cinder meets The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pride & Prejudice and Zombies featuring a new kick-ass heroine whose no-nonsenseapproach to life and zombie killing make for inspired storytelling. -Broche

The Sun Is Also a Star Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553496680
Availability: Available from warehouse in 1-5 business days
Published: Delacorte Press - November 2016

This love story foiled by deportation reminds us of the difficulties that children of immigrants face and the importance of living your dreams instead of the dreams others have for you. As with Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything, this story is a love letter to the universe, the oceans, atomic matter, chaos, and all that exists in betweem. Ages 14+. -MICHELLE

Long Way Down Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481438261
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - April 2nd, 2019

Fifteen­year­old Will’s older brother Shawn was just murdered. Will hops on an elevator bent on revenge, but on each floor a new passenger gets on, a passenger who is in some way connected to Shawn. 7 floors with 6 visitors, BRILLIANT free­verse story. Every word precisely chosen to grab your heart and mess with your head. A book to be shared and talked about for ages 13+. -MICHELLE

Dear Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101939499
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Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - October 17th, 2017

Black Yale­bound graduating senior Justyce McAllister’s life takes on a new harsh reality when he’s roughed up by a policeman while innocently helping a friend. Justyce, feeling powerless to escape systemic racism, writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Are Dr. King’s teachings still relevant? LikeThe Hate U Give,this story thoughtfully encourages dialogue about the challenges of racial issues in America. A must­read for ages 13+. -MICHELLE

The Astonishing Color of After Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316463997
Availability: Available from warehouse in 1-5 business days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 20th, 2018

When fifteen-year-old Leigh’s Taiwanese mother commits suicide, she is visited by a great red bird who delivers a package from her mother with a note:

I want you to remember.

Remember what?

Certain that her mother has been reincarnated, Leigh travels from the U.S. with her white father to meet her Taiwanese grandparents for the first time. X.R. Pan’s astonishingly beautiful debut sensitively deals with Leigh’s mother’s long fight with depression amid a lifetime of heartbreak. Like Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls, the magical elements are both haunting and exhilarating as we follow brave young Leigh’s metamorphosis into the strong resilient and brilliant artist she was meant to be, reminding us of the power of grief. For 13+. -Michelle

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Dry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481481960
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2018

What happens when water-- the thing most of us take for granted every day, the thing that any living being needs to survive-- disappears?

When the taps in suburban California stop working, families are forced to go to extremes just to survive. In the midst of the initial panic, Alyssa's parents leave to find drinking water but don't return, so she gets stuck with her little brother and creepy, apocalypse-obsessed neighbor. Together, they trek across a now unfamiliar landscape, meet unlikely new friends and charming foes, and test their odds against “water zombies”-- humans who are so dehydrated that they will do anything for a single drop of water. This is a topical story, with themes of climate change, unethical public policy, and resource scarcity. More than anything, though, this book tests themultifaceted nature of humanity...When true disaster strikes, will people react with greed and violence, or charity and cooperation? --Kalee C.

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Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250170972
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 6th, 2018

In the land of Orïsha, gods and magic were once abundant and celebrated. But then the King of Orïsha wiped out all magic and the gods disappeared-- or so it was thought. When Zélie, a young magi, is given the opportunity to return magic to Orïsha, she leaves homeand goes on an epic quest. Along the way, she teams up with a rogue princess, Amira, and together they outrun the crown-prince, who wants to prevent the return of magic at all costs.

I could not put this book down! The characters are robust and nuanced, and the West African-inspired fantasy is dazzling. Zélie and Amira's adventure kept me on my toes and left me wanting more-- I can't wait for the sequel! This book is perfect for readers who love mythology, empowering characters, and a touch of romance. --Kalee C.