I Wish You All the Best by Mason DeaverWhat it’s about: After coming out to their parents as nonbinary, Ben De Backer is kicked out of the house, forcing them to move in with their older sister and finish senior year at a new school.
Why you might like it: Although Ben’s situation is tough, there’s plenty of hope to be found as they work through anxiety, rebuild their family, and grow closer to classmate Nathan.
About the author: This own voices book is author Mason Deaver’s debut.
The Missing Season by Gillian FrenchWelcome to: Pender, Maine, where legend has it that a monster known as the Mumbler steals kids on Halloween.
What happens: Newcomer Clara doesn’t believe in the Mumbler, but the missing kids are real enough, and as Halloween approaches and her new friends’ prank war intensifies, Clara can’t ignore the creeping suspicion that she’s in danger.
Reviewers say: “A spare, spectral thriller that catches like a hook and doesn’t let go” (Booklist).
Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. JacksonWhat it’s about: After up-and-coming rapper Stephon is murdered, his sister, Jasmine, and his best friends, Quadir and Jarrell, keep his talent alive by promoting his music under a different name. Yet the closer they get to success -- and to finding Steph’s killer -- the harder it is to keep their secret.
Read it for: convincing characters, emotional depth, and a vivid 1990s Brooklyn setting.
You might also like: Lamar Giles’ Spin or Angie Thomas’ On the Come Up.
If It Makes You Happy by Claire KannStarring: Winnie, who’s fat, proud, and excited to spend the summer working at her granny’s diner and hanging out with her family and her queerplatonic ungirlfriend, Kara.
What happens: Winnie is appointed Summer Queen of her small town, a role that comes with obligations as well as complications -- such as her feelings for the Summer King, Dallas.
Is it for you? If you prefer inclusive stories that focus on characters and relationships, you don’t want to miss this warmhearted read.
This Time Will Be Different by Misa SugiuraWhat it’s about: Despite years of pressure from her high-achieving mother, C.J. Katsuyama’s only ambition is to hone her flower-arranging skills at the family flower shop. Yet when her mom threatens to sell the shop to a family that once took advantage of C.J.’s grandparents, C.J. finally finds her own determination.
Read it for: realistically complicated characters, family secrets, a slice of Japanese American history, and a touch of romance.
For Fans of Karen M. McManus
Time Bomb by Joelle CharbonneauWhat it's about: A bombing at their high school leaves students Frankie, Rashid, Tad, Z, Diana, and Cas trapped together, dependent on each other to survive but all too aware that any of them could be the bomber.
Read it for: multiple perspectives, shifting alliances, and steadily building suspense.
Reviewers say: "a powerful page-turner that doesn’t let up until its explosive finale" (Publishers Weekly).
The Night She Disappeared by April HenryWhat it’s about: After Kayla, Gabie’s co-worker at Pete’s Pizza, goes missing during a delivery, Gabie is just as shocked and mystified as the police seem to be…until she realizes that she might have been the intended victim.
Why you might like it: layers of intrigue and multiple perspectives -- including the kidnapper’s -- will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way through this thriller from the author of Girl, Stolen.
Truly Devious by Maureen JohnsonWhat it's about: Sixteen-year-old true crime enthusiast Stevie Bell arrives at Ellingham Academy (an unusual school for exceptional students) with one goal: to solve a kidnapping that took place there in 1936. Cracking the cold case proves complicated, however, when a present-day murderer begins targeting Ellingham students.
Series alert: Hold on tight and prepare for some cliffhangers in this atmospheric, multilayered mystery: Truly Devious is just the 1st in a trilogy.
People Like Us by Dana MeleThe setting: Bates Academy, an elite prep school where Kay Donovan has reinvented herself as a popular soccer star, leaving her shady past behind.
The set-up: Kay’s past catches up to her, however, when a murdered classmate leaves behind a digital scavenger hunt that forces Kay to expose her new friends’ darkest secrets...or else have her own secrets revealed.
Read it for: backstabbing, revenge, and an intricate plot that will keep you guessing.
The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda SearcyStarring: Betsy, who's starting over in a small Texas town but can't escape the shadow of her past or the sinister calls from the burner phone hidden under her bed; and Kayla, who's working hard to get out of government housing in Washington and can't escape the suspicion that she's being targeted by a serial killer.
Why you might like it: Dual narrators (who might not be trustworthy) and simmering tension will keep you glued to every twist in this suspenseful story.