The Hazel Wood by Melissa AlbertWhat it's about: After years on the road with her mother, running from their freakishly bad luck, Alice is resourceful, tough, and angry -- qualities she'll need after her mom is kidnapped. Desperate to rescue her, Alice looks for clues from a forbidden source: Tales from the Hinterland, the cult-classic book of sinister fairy tales written by her grandmother.
Who it's for: readers who relish dreamy, disturbing, and sophisticated fantasy.
Book buzz: This debut novel had a movie deal before it even hit bookshelves.
Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann AguirreWhat it's about: Just when things are looking especially bleak for 18-year-old thief Zara, she gets an unexpected reprieve: she's been chosen as an Honor, one of a select group of humans who will join the Leviathan -- a species of sentient alien spaceships -- on an exploratory journey through the stars.
Why you might like it: With futuristic world-building and complex bonds between human and alien characters, this series opener is sure to grab science fiction fans.
American Panda by Gloria ChaoStarring: 17-year-old MIT freshman Mei, whose future has been planned by her traditional Taiwanese parents: medical school, marriage to a Taiwanese guy, babies. With such heavy expectations, how can Mei tell her parents that she hates germs, loves dancing, and might be falling for her Japanese-American classmate?
Why you might like it: It's a funny, even-handed look at a teen girl's struggle to define herself without losing her family.
Read this next: Erika L. Sanchez's I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter or Samira Ahmed's Love, Hate, & Other Filters.
Between the Lines by Nikki GrimesWhat it is: a follow-up to Bronx Masquerade, similarly packed with authentic first-person poems that offer glimpses into the lives of the diverse students in Mr. Ward's high school poetry class.
Featuring: Darrian, who's grieving his mom's death while dreaming of being a journalist; Jenesis, who's worried about aging out of foster care; Marcel, whose dad shouldn't have gone to jail; and Freddie, who's tired of being the responsible caretaker in her family.
When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A.J. SteigerWhat it's about: Surviving the foster care system as a person on the autism spectrum hasn't been easy for Alvie, but she's got an apartment, a job, and soon she'll be 18 and emancipated. She doesn't need any complications -- complications like Stanley, a guy with a rare medical condition who understands Alvie like no one else.
Reviewers say: "A gorgeous love story of depth and raw emotion" (Kirkus Reviews).
Giant Days, Volume One by John Allison; illustrated by Lissa Treiman Starring: Susan, Esther, and Daisy, three unlikely friends trying navigate their first year of college. Because whether you're having awkward personal revelations, dealing with gross dudebros, or surviving the flu in a dorm room, it's easier when you don't have to do it alone.
Who it's for: older teens looking for a snarky and relatable slice of university life.
Series alert: This collection is just the 1st of many: Volume 7 is due out later this month, and the series is still in progress.
Through the Woods by Emily CarrollWhat it's about: A dismembered bride. A monster in human skin. A wolf outside your window. These familiar fairy tale themes get a visually arresting new spin in this collection of horror comics. Canadian artist Emily Carroll illustrates each chilling tale with bold colors (emphasis on blood red), careful details, and suspenseful pacing.
Is it for you? If you love the eerie atmosphere of Edward Gorey's art but prefer a more unsettling edge, don't miss this shiver-inducing read.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony CliffIntroducing: Selim, a thoughtful, tea-drinking soldier, and Delilah Dirk, the infamous adventurer who sweeps him away into a world of swordfights, stealing, and intrigue.
Why you might like it: With sharp dialogue, an unconventional friendship, a swashbuckling heroine, and sumptuous illustrations, this historical adventure is hard to resist.
Series alert: Delilah and Selim's travels (and troubles) continue in Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling.
Nimona by Noelle StevensonWhat it's about: When gleefully violent Nimona first offers to be his sidekick, villainous Lord Ballister Blackheart turns her down. Once she reveals that she's a shapeshifter, however, Blackheart is intrigued. Nimona could be useful for overthrowing Blackheart's archenemies...but does she really have her powers under control?
Why you might like it: Adorably edgy cartoons provide the perfect visuals for this witty, heartfelt fantasy that defies stereotypes about good and evil.
Book buzz: An animated Nimona movie is already in the works.
SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian TamakiWhat it is: A collection of black-and-white comics set at a highly unusual school (think Hogwarts meets Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters).
Featuring: bespectacled witch Marsha, who's hiding a crush on her fox-eared friend Wendy; feminist performance artist Frances; oblivious athlete Cheddar; and the reluctantly immortal Everlasting Boy.
Who it's for: fantasy and science fiction fans who appreciate surreal, darkly witty storytelling.
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