Internment by Samira AhmedThe setting: a frightening near-future U.S. in which Muslim Americans are forced into internment camps.
What happens: Wrenched from her home after she and her family are imprisoned, strong-willed 17-year-old Layla Amin becomes a leader for the resistance, risking everything to take down the camp and shatter the silence that allows violent injustice to go unchecked.
Is it for you? While some readers might find the premise too disturbing, others will be riveted by the brave, authentic heroine.
We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza BartlettWhat it’s about: Linnâe is a general’s daughter who disguised herself so she could join the army. Revna is a so-called traitor’s daughter who was caught using illegal magic. Their dislike is mutual, but when they’re both recruited to an all-female regiment that flies living metal planes into battle, their lives depend on their ability to share a cockpit.
Read it for: an unlikely but powerful friendship and an imaginative, Russian-inspired fantasy world.
In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan CarltonWhat it’s about: In 1958, after her father dies and her mother moves the family from New York City to Atlanta, Ruth Robb quickly learns the ways of privileged, popular Southern girls: become a debutante, find a nice boyfriend in the Christian club, and don’t tell anyone you’re Jewish.
Why you might like it: Inspired in part by real events, this detail-rich historical read captures the tension between fitting in and staying true to family and faith.
Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCrearyWhat it is: a candid, upbeat memoir about author Michael McCreary’s experiences of growing up autistic and becoming a stand-up comic.
What’s inside: snarky humor, pop culture references, supportive advice for readers on the spectrum, and misconception-busting insights for neurotypical readers.
You might also like: Shane Burcaw’s Laughing at My Nightmare, another uproarious memoir by an author who uses humor to deal with ableism (as well as life’s other challenges).
Night Music by Jenn Marie ThorneStarring: classical pianist Ruby, who just bombed her audition for the music school where her famous composer father teaches, and musical prodigy Oscar, who just scored a chance to study with Ruby's dad for the summer.
What it’s about: Even though Ruby needs to figure out who she is outside of the music world, and Oscar shouldn’t risk his career by dating his mentor’s daughter, their connection is undeniable.
For fans of: thoughtful, captivating contemporary romance.
Avalon by Mindee ArnettWhat it’s about: Mercenary Jeth Seagrave is determined to buy back his parents’ spaceship from a ruthless crime boss -- so determined that he and his renegade crew take a job in the dangerous, unpredictable Belgrave Quadrant.
Who it’s for: Bursting with high-octane action, this series opener (followed by Polaris) will grab readers who love space westerns, heist stories, and chosen families.
Try this next: M.K. England’s The Disasters.
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda BellezaStarring: Crown Princess Rhee, sole heir to the galaxy’s dynasty, now undercover and out for revenge after an assassination attempt; and Aly, a refugee turned reality TV star who becomes a fugitive after he’s accused of Rhee’s murder.
Read it for: compelling characters, interstellar world-building, and intertwining storylines that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Series alert: catch the conclusion to this duology in Blood of a Thousand Stars.
Contagion by Erin BowmanFeaturing: microbiology intern Thea, former military pilot Nova, and their teammates on the rescue ship sent to answer a distress call from a mining crew on the planet Achlys.
What happens: By the time the team arrives on Achlys, there's nothing left but piles of corpses and an ominous note. Can they discover what killed the drill crew without meeting the same fate? Multiple perspectives heighten the suspense in this horror/science fiction hybrid.
Look for: the sequel, Immunity, on shelves this July.
Defy the Stars by Claudia GrayWhat it’s about: While fighting to protect her home planet from Earth colonizers, pilot Noemi discovers Abel, an abandoned, highly advanced Earth mech who might prove to be a crucial ally.
Why you might like it: Alternating narration allows you to see both sides of Noemi and Abel’s evolving relationship -- and the complicated moral dilemma that comes with it.
Series alert: this gripping science fiction story continues in Defy the Worlds and Defy the Fates.
Nyxia by Scott ReintgenWhat it’s about: To save his struggling family, Detroit teen Emmett Atwater accepts a high-paying offer from Babel Communications to join their expedition to the planet Eden, home to a miraculous substance called nyxia. The catch? He’ll have to fight the nine other recruits for a place on the final team.
Series alert: to find out what’s next for this page-turner's multicultural cast, pick up the sequels, Nyxia Unleashed and Nyxia Uprising.
Contact your librarian for more great books for age 14 and up!