The Silence Between Us by Alison GervaisWhat it’s about: After unwillingly transferring from a Deaf school to a hearing school, 17-year-old Maya has to deal with lip-reading, working with an interpreter, and stereotyped assumptions of her classmates -- including Beau, the popular guy who seems interested in her.
Why you might like it: whether Maya’s experiences feel familiar to you or offer new insights, her coming-of-age story (inspired by the author’s own) is both honest and absorbing.
Try this next: Whitney Gardner’s You’re Welcome, Universe.
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey LeeWhat it’s about: Witty, opinionated advice columnist “Miss Sweetie” has 1890 Atlanta buzzing, and nobody suspects that she’s really 17-year-old Jo Kuan, a sharp-minded, Chinese American lady’s maid who’s begun to wonder if it’s time to leave her anonymity behind.
Why you might like it: Jo is a compelling character with a lot to say about race and gender in the post-Civil War South, as well as a lot of questions about her hidden family history.
The Merciful Crow by Margaret OwenWhat it’s about: When a routine job takes an unexpected turn, Fie -- future chief of the Crows, Sabor’s lowly caste of undertakers and mercy-killers -- has to decide if the promise of protection for the Crows is worth the risk of a dangerous quest.
Read it for: diverse characters, pulse-pounding adventure, and an intriguing system of magic.
Series alert: This debut fantasy is the 1st in a duology.
Wilder Girls by Rory PowerWhat it’s about: Ever since the Tox infected the Raxter School for Girls, killing some and leaving others distorted, the survivors have been under strict quarantine -- but that doesn’t stop student Hetty from venturing into the Tox-ravaged woods in search of a missing friend.
Is it for you? The gruesome mutations and brutal violence of the Tox might be too much for some readers, but those who like things dark and disturbing will be hooked by this dystopian/horror hybrid.
Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim WellsWhat it’s about: Maren ben Gao never wanted any trouble, but after her girlfriend Kaia is kidnapped and forced to become one of the Emperor’s prophets, Maren hatches a reckless plan to steal one of Emperor’s dragons and rescue Kaia.
For fans of: the dragon lore, politics, and diverse characters in Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina books.
Series alert: This gripping fantasy will leave you longing for the planned sequel.
American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-ScottStarring: Teodoro “T” Avila, who’s only just started getting his life on track when his golden-boy brother, Manny, returns from the Iraq War with PTSD.
What happens: T’s take-charge sister Xochitl tricks her brothers into joining her on road trip that might help Manny find himself again.
Why you might like it: You won’t soon forget this unvarnished yet hopeful look at mental illness and the importance of family.
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemoreFeaturing: the Nomeolvides women, keepers of the garden at La Pradera estate and bearers of both a gift and a curse: they can make flowers grow with their bare hands, but if they fall in love, their beloved is doomed to disappear.
What happens: Estrella Nomeolvides finds a mysterious boy in the garden, prompting the family to unearth some long-buried secrets.
You might also like: Lana Popović’s Wicked Like a Wildfire, another lush and leisurely paced tale of magical realism.