Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand HessNovel in Verse. As the son of a rock star who's notorious for his addictions, 17-year-old Blade Morrison's privilege has always been shadowed by his dad's neglect and unreliability. Still, Blade's own music provides him with a creative outlet -- or it used to, until a shocking family secret upended his life and sent him on a journey from California to Ghana in search of answers. Combining Blade's authentic first-person voice with his original lyrics and references to classic rock, this novel in verse is a "rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll" (Booklist).
The Special Ones by Em BaileyThriller. He is watching. He doesn't have a name, yet Esther and the other Special Ones know that his cameras monitor their every move. Even though they live on an isolated, old-fashioned farm, the Special Ones' job is to offer spiritual guidance to his internet cult followers -- and failure to do so could result in any of them being "renewed" and never seen again. Oozing suspense and claustrophobic dread, this tale of brainwashing, complicity, and survival is a must-read for fans of provocative thrillers such as Stephanie Oakes' The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly or Kevin Brooks' The Bunker Diaries.
Little & Lion by Brandy ColbertFiction. After a year at boarding school, Suzette is back in Los Angeles to spend the summer with her close, multiracial family. She's especially hoping to renew her bond with her brother Lionel, who has bipolar disorder. That hope is tested, however, when Lionel asks her to keep an uneasy secret. Developing a crush on the girl that Lionel likes doesn't make things any easier, especially since Suzette is also attracted to her old friend Emil and is still coping with the fallout from a romance with her roommate. An inclusive supporting cast underscores Suzette's intersecting identities and realistically messy emotions in this character-driven story about love and loyalty.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-DoyleMagical Realism. A battered, handwritten spellbook presents an irresistible temptation in this atmospheric and slightly supernatural read. Following the May bonfire in the Irish town of Balmallen, several teens notice missing items. Some of the lost things are material, such as the diaries of Laurel and her friends; others are more intangible, such as a mother's love or a friend's safety. The spell seems like a solution, but the price of restoring what was lost may be more than the spell's casters can bear. Though the story's multiple narrators might be perplexing at first, patient readers will be rewarded by the elegant twist that brings their storylines together.
What Goes Up by Katie KennedyScience Fiction. When NASA begins recruiting teens for their top-secret Interworlds Agency, Rosa Hayashi and Eddie Toivonen are both eager to apply. Highly educated and scientific, Rosa is perfect NASA material, while Eddie (who's running from his abusive dad) is a more unconventional choice. After some fierce competition and "no small amount of snarky banter" (Publishers Weekly), Rosa and Eddie both make the cut -- and their first assignment arrives sooner than expected in the form of some unfriendly extraterrestrial visitors. If you love humor and rocket science in equal measure, you won't want to miss What Goes Up.
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée AhdiehFantasy. When Shahrzad marries Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, she has only revenge on her mind. Her best friend was one of the many brides that the caliph has killed, and Shazi plans to take him down, even if it means abandoning Tariq, her betrothed. Yet after the wedding, Shazi finds herself strangely drawn to Khalid, and even as Tariq plots to storm the palace, her feelings for Khalid grow, leading to a high-stakes love triangle and a high-drama cliffhanger ending (resolved in the sequel, The Rose & the Dagger). For another lush fantasy inspired by Middle Eastern folk tales, pick up E.K. Johnston's A Thousand Nights.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanFiction. The letters were never supposed to be sent. For awkward 16-year-old Lara Jean, writing secret love letters to help herself get over her crushes was just another hobby, like knitting or scrapbooking. So when the letters are accidentally mailed, Lara Jean freaks out. Embarrassed by her letter to her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh, Lara Jean denies her feelings for him by pretending to date Peter, one of her other former crushes. Things only get messier from there. With memorable characters and realistically complicated relationships (especially among Lara Jean's tight-knit Korean-American family) this series opener is a charmer.
Catching Jordan by Miranda KenneallyFiction. Jordan Woods may come from a family of high-profile football players, but she's worked harder than any guy to earn her spot as quarterback of her school football team. Now, with the state championship in sight, Jordan is suddenly sidetracked by personal drama: she's attracted to Ty, who's competing for her position on the team, but her best friend Henry has confessed that he's in love with her. Similar to Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Dairy Queen, this 1st book in the Hundred Oaks series portrays a relatable female athlete trying to balance her life both on and off the field.
Inheritance by Malinda LoScience Fiction. It's not exactly a typical setup for a love triangle: Reese and her boyfriend David share unusual abilities after being injected with alien DNA, yet Reese still feels a strong connection to her ex-girlfriend Amber, who turned out to be an alien. In fact, all of humanity has just learned about the presence of aliens on Earth, a revelation that forces Reese, David, and Amber into the center of a wide-reaching conspiracy. Though you'll need to start with the previous book, Adaptation, to understand this sequel, Inheritance will appeal to readers who crave an unconventional approach to both science fiction and romance.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsRomance. As a costume designer, 17-year-old San Franciscan Lola thinks nothing of expressing herself with loud patterns, wigs, and sequins. Figuring out exactly what she needs to express, however, is a little more challenging. Despite her two dads' disapproval, Lola is happy with her older rock-musician boyfriend, Max...until Cricket Bell, aspiring inventor and Lola's first love, moved back into the house next door, and Lola begins questioning what (and who) she truly wants. Sweet, steamy, and filled with quirky characters, Lola and the Boy Next Door is natural choice for fans of Becky Albertalli or Rainbow Rowell.
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