Dough Boys by Paula ChaseWhat it’s about: Rollie and Simp came up together in the Pirates Cove housing project, but when their basketball coach begins pressuring them to work for the local drug dealer, the two best friends face some tough choices.
Why you might like it: Rollie and Simp take turns narrating, letting you see both sides of their story.
Series alert: If you love the authentic, complicated characters in Dough Boys, don’t miss the previous companion book, So Done.
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart GibbsIntroducing: twelve-year-old super-genius Charlie Thorne, who’s just been recruited (okay, blackmailed) by the CIA to help them beat a terrorist group in the race to find an explosive, long-hidden equation by Albert Einstein.
Read it for: breathless action, fascinating cryptography, and a rebellious heroine who can outwit anyone.
Series alert: This is only the 1st of many adventures for Charlie Thorne.
The Okay Witch by Emma SteinkellnerWhat it’s about: Lonely 13-year-old outsider Moth Hush is shocked to discover her hidden witchy abilities, as well as a long history of power and prejudice in her family and her Massachusetts hometown.
Who it’s for: fans of Molly Ostertag’s Witch Boy series, as well as anyone looking for a fun, inclusive, and thought-provoking graphic novel about the perks and perils of magical heritage.
Shadow School: Archimancy by J.A. WhiteWelcome to: Shadow School, an eerie old mansion turned middle school where new student Cordelia Liu keeps seeing ghosts in old-fashioned clothes. Can her new friends Benji and Agnes help her figure out who the spirits are, and how to set them free?
Why you might like it: This paranormal story, the 1st in a trilogy, is smart, scary, and suspenseful.
You might also like: Avi’s School of the Dead, another creepy tale set at an uncanny academy.
My Life As an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi ZoboiWhat it’s about: After moving from Alabama, where she lived her NASA engineer grandfather, to New York City to live with the father she barely knows, space-obsessed Ebony-Grace has a hard time fitting in with the other kids in 1984 Harlem.
Why you might like it: Sprinkled with science fiction comics and dispatches from Ebony-Grace’s outer-space “imagination location,” this book isn’t just outside the box -- it’s out of this world.
What's lurking in the woods?
Small Spaces by Katherine ArdenIntroducing: Ollie, a bookish sixth-grader who realizes that the scary antique book she's been reading is actually local history -- and that her entire class might be in danger.
Featuring: scarecrows, shapeshifters, a smiling specter, and a frightening journey through a fog-shrouded forest.
Series alert: This spooky chiller is the 1st in a series, followed by Dead Voices.
In Darkling Wood by Emma CarrollWhat it’s about: While staying with her prickly grandmother Nell, Alice explores the nearby Darkling Wood, where she meets a girl named Flo who claims that fairies live in the woods -- fairies that might turn vengeful if Nell goes through with her plan to cut down their home.
Why you might like it: Alice’s modern story intertwines with World War One-era letters to create layers of irresistible mystery and magic.
Dreaming Dangerous by Lauren DeStefanoWhat it's about: At Brassmere Academy for the Extraordinary, an unusual school hidden deep in the woods, friends Plum, Vien, Gwendle, and Artem share synchronized dreams filled with adventure and monsters to slay.
What happens: As their dreams begin turning into nightmares, Artem vanishes with an ominous warning: "They're coming for us."
For fans of: author Lauren DeStefano's A Curious Tale of the In-Between and other eerie tales of friendship.
Where the Woods End by Charlotte SalterWhat it’s about: Despised by her neighbors and abused by her spell-caster mother, 12-year-Kestrel is tasked with defending her village from the hungry, nightmarish Grabbers that lurk in the endless forest.
What happens: Armed with a sharpened spoon and accompanied by a fierce talking weasel, Kestrel sets out on a dangerous quest for freedom.
Who it’s for: This gory, spine-chilling blend of horror and fantasy will bewitch fans of dark fairy tales.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 10-13!