Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira AhmedFeaturing: the intersecting stories of two young Muslim women: Khayyam, a modern-day multiracial high schooler who’s confused about her ex and crushed by an art school rejection; and 19th-century Leila, who longs for freedom while living in a pasha’s harem.
What happens: While visiting Paris, Khayyam meets a descendant of author Alexandre Dumas, and together they try to uncover Leila’s long-hidden impact on history.
Further reading: For another engrossing mystery that intertwines the past and the present, try Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution.
Deeplight by Frances HardingeWhat it’s about: After scavenging the pulsing, disembodied heart of a monstrous god from the waters hear his home on Lady’s Crave island, storyteller Hark uses the grisly relic to revive his half-drowned friend, Jelt, kicking off a sinister transformation that challenges Hark’s understanding of faith, fear, and friendship.
Reviewers say: “Chilling and provocative, this dark fantasy will appeal to thrill seekers” (Booklist).
Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha MabryStarring: Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa Torres, three sisters who feel trapped not only by their controlling father and their old San Antonio neighborhood, but also by the restless spirit of their older sister Ana, who died a year ago.
Why you might like it: Told from multiple perspectives, Tigers, Not Daughters offers a moving, unsettling, and quietly otherworldly portrait of grief and sisterhood.
For fans of: the haunting magical realism and complex Latinx characters in Anna-Marie McLemore’s books.
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen YangWhat it it’s about: Graphic novelist and self-proclaimed comic book geek Gene Luen Yang delves into sports, history, and memoir in an illustrated account of the year he spent with the Dragons, a diverse high school basketball team striving to become state champions.
Art alert: With clean lines and vivid colors, Yang’s artwork emphasizes the humor, exhilarating sports action, and true-to-life details in this unconventional nonfiction read.
For fans of: the gripping documentary style of Netflix’s Cheer.
Imagining Your Story: Write It Out
Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book? by Ally CarterWhat it is: an honest, easy-to-read guide for aspiring writers that covers the entire process of writing a book, from outlining to editing to publishing.
Featuring: tried-and-true advice from popular author Ally Carter, as well as cameos from David Levithan, Marie Lu, and Holly Black (to name just a few).
Is it for you? If you’ve ever struggled through NaNoWriMo or gone to an author event just so you could ask for writing tips, this book is for you.
500 Words or Less by Juleah Del RosarioWhat it’s about: After everyone at school finds out that Nic Chen hooked up with her boyfriend’s best friend, Nic tries to rebuild her reputation by writing college admissions essays for her classmates. It’s easy enough to write about other people...but is she losing herself in the process?
Why you might like it: Written in a spare, reflective style, this story-in-verse gives you insight not just into Nic’s life, but also into the lives of everyone she writes for.
How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn NelsonWhat it is: a collection of 50 autobiographical sonnets describing poet Marilyn Nelson’s experiences growing up black in 1950s America, including her family’s frequent moves (her father was an Air Force officer) and her realization that "there's a poet behind my face."
Who it’s for: those who find comfort in words, as well as those who see themselves in Nelson’s search for her own authentic voice.
Final Draft by Riley RedgateWhat it’s about: High school senior Laila is obsessed with watching, reading, and writing science fiction. When her hyper-critical new writing teacher says that her writing won’t improve unless she gains some real-life experiences, Laila discovers that reality can be just as thrilling -- and just as heartbreaking -- as fiction.
Read it for: an inclusive cast of characters, including a snarky main character whose messiness and mistakes may be all too relatable.
You might also like: M. Beth Bloom’s Don’t Ever Change.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca ZappiaWhat it’s about: No one at school knows that friendless, introverted Eliza is also LadyConstellation, creator of the popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza never has cause to question her careful anonymity -- at least not until she bonds with Wallace, a new classmate and Monstrous Sea superfan.
Including: illustrated pages from Monstrous Sea, as well as snippets of Wallace’s fanfic.
Further reading: For another thoughtful story featuring the particular challenges of internet fame, pick up Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!