Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha SaeedFeaturing: Jamie Goldberg (awkward, Jewish, politically passionate) and Maya Rehman (confident, Muslim, preoccupied with personal problems).
What happens: After their moms volunteer them to go door-to-door campaigning for a local Senate candidate, Jamie and Maya’s reluctant friendship turns into something deeper and a lot more complicated.
About the authors: This is the first team-up between Becky Albertalli (author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) and Aisha Saeed (author of Amal Unbound).
Almost American Girl by Robin HaWhat it’s about: Chuna is 14 when her single mom decides to marry a Korean American man, moving their little family from Seoul to Alabama. Feeling adrift in a new country, a new language, and an unwelcoming new school and stepfamily, Chuna finds an anchor in drawing comics.
Why you might like it: This illustrated memoir offers an honest, unsentimental look at a mother-daughter relationship, and at how one immigrant teen finds herself through art.
What I Carry by Jennifer LongoWhat it’s about: After spending her whole life in foster care, 17-year-old Muir only has one placement left before she’s free of the system. She knows how to pack light, and she never gets attached -- until she arrives in Bainbridge Island, Washington, and finds a family and friends she might actually want to keep.
Who it’s for: readers who like slice-of-life stories that are both funny and thoughtful.
Layoverland by Gabby NooneWelcome to: the Memory Experience Department in Layoverland, an airport-like purgatory where recently deceased souls can unpack their emotional baggage and try to catch a flight to heaven.
What happens: Cynical, sharp-tongued Bea learns that in order to get to heaven, she’ll have to help 5,000 other souls get there first, starting with Caleb, the guy who caused her fatal accident.
For fans of: TV’s The Good Place, and other snarky yet heartfelt stories about second chances in the afterlife.
The Gravity of Us by Phil StamperStarring: 17-year-old social media journalist Cal, who has to abandon his dream internship when his family moves across the country so that his dad can be an astronaut for NASA’s Mars mission.
What happens: While a reality TV crew follows the astronauts and their families, Cal hangs on to his ambition even as he starts falling for neighbor and fellow “Astrokid” Leon.
About the author: This quietly charming own voices romance is the 1st book by author Phil Stamper.
Focus On: Australian Authors
Words in Deep Blue by Cath CrowleyWhat it’s about: After her brother's death, 18-year-old Rachel moves back to the Melbourne suburb where she grew up. Despite her devastating grief, she reconnects with Henry, her former best friend (and unrequited love), and finds solace in a job at his family's bookstore.
How it’s told: Rachel and Henry take turns narrating this thoughtful, moving story about pain, hope, and the power of words.
Who it’s for: bookish types (and if you’re reading this, that probably means you).
Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin GoughWhat it’s about: Bonded by their frustration with harassment and injustice at their elite all-girls school, rule-follower Harriet and rebellious Will create an imaginary student named Amelia Westlake, and begin taking action under her name.
Read it for: the smart social commentary, the clever pranks, and the growing attraction between Harriet and Will.
You might also like: Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie (for girls protesting school sexism) and Steph Bowe’s All This Could End (for opposites-attract romance).
The Things She's Seen by Ambelin and Ezekiel KwaymullinaWhat it’s about: Following her death in a car accident, Beth has become a ghost, visible to no one except for her grieving police detective father and Isobel Catching, a strange girl who’s the only witness to the arson case Beth’s dad is investigating.
Why you might like it: Own voices Indigenous characters, disturbing secrets, and compelling writing drive this supernatural thriller.
My Sister Rosa by Justine LarbalestierWhat it’s about: Che has always been concerned by his little sister Rosa's sadistic, manipulative tendencies. After their Australian family's move to New York City, however, her disturbing behavior escalates, leaving Che -- who's already dealing with finding new friends and falling for fellow boxer Sojourner -- facing a painful question: is he afraid for his sister, or of her?
Why you might like it: Diverse, compelling characters and gripping psychological tension make My Sister Rosa difficult to put down.
The Brightsiders by Jen WildeWhat it’s about: After a public scandal turns her life into clickbait, 17-year-old rock star Emmy tries to put herself back together. She’s got her friends to support her -- although that might change if they find out about her secret, steamy relationship with bandmate Alfie.
Try this next: If you like the pop culture references and variety of LGBTQIA characters in The Brightsiders, you might also like author Jen Wilde’s Queens of Geek, featuring some of the same characters.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!