Promise Boys by Nick BrooksThe crime: the murder of Kenneth Moore, principal of Washington, D.C.'s Urban Promise Prep.
The suspects: three students. Trey, a jokester basketball player who supposedly supplied the gun; Ramon, a future chef whose hairbrush was found at the scene; and J.B., a quiet guy covered in the principal's blood. To clear their names, the boys must identify the killer themselves.
For fans of: Jason Reynolds' examinations of systemic injustice and Karen McManus' twisty thrillers.
Spice Road by Maiya IbrahimWhat it is: a gripping epic fantasy set in a magical desert world inspired by Arab culture.
What happens: 17-year-old Imani, who wields magic to defend her city, meets a djinn named Qayn, who informs Imani that her traitorous brother is not dead, as everyone assumed. With a crew, Imani ventures into the Forbidden Waste to bring him home.
Series alert: This richly detailed story kicks off a trilogy promising memorable characters, adventure, and romance.
The Davenports by Krystal MarquisThe setting: 1910 Chicago, where three teenage members of the wealthy Davenport family grapple with the expectations placed upon them.
The set-up: Olivia needs a perfect marriage match, but a passionate civil rights activist is more appealing than the proper Black Englishman courting her. Meanwhile, her younger sister Helen would rather work on cars with her brother John than be a society wife.
What sets it apart: This dazzling historical romance spotlights Black lives during a rarely depicted era of history.
As You Walk On By by Julian WintersDouble dog dare you: Best friends Theo, Darren, and Jay have been daring each other to do funny and embarrassing stunts throughout high school.
What happens: After a promposal dare goes wrong, Theo hides out in a bedroom at a party, feeling targeted for being queer and less rich than his friends. One by one, partygoers visit him. Turns out everyone's been hurt, and everyone has been guilty of treating someone poorly.
Read it for: an authentic exploration of friendship.
The Cartographers by Amy ZhangMeet: Ocean Sun, daughter of a hard-working immigrant mother. Ocean's mother thinks she's attending an elite university in New York City. In fact, she's living off her savings, coping with anxiety and depression, and struggling to envision her future.
Enter: Constantine Brave, who loves graffiti and philosophical conversations. Through him, Ocean learns more about herself, making it harder to keep her mother in the dark.
Who it's for: anyone who's wondered how to control the direction of their life.
Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia ShammasA hero's journey: Aiza, a member of the second-class Ornu people, conceals her identity to enlist in the army of the Bayt-Sajii Empire. If she can become a knight, she will gain citizenship.
A search for truth: Although Aiza makes friends -- and a few enemies -- she begins to question what she's been told about why war is necessary.
Why you might like it: This compelling fantasy comic imagines a thrilling and thought-provoking alternate history of the Middle East and North Africa.
Skin of the Sea by Natasha BowenWhat it is: a romantic and fast-paced Afrofantasy following Simi, a mermaid dedicated to collecting the souls of deceased people thrown from slave ships.
What happens: Simi defies the gods by saving the life of Kola, tossed overboard while still alive. If she can't make things right, the fate of her fellow mermaids and even the entire world may be at stake.
Try these next: Kylie Lee Baker's The Keeper of Night or Liselle Sambury's Blood Like Magic.
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae SafiMortal enemies: Rachel has hated perfect cheerleader Sana ever since Sana asked her out as a prank freshman year. It had to be a prank, right?
The twist: Rachel is forced to cast Sana in the film project that stands between Rachel and her NYU scholarship. Working together, Rachel and Sana realize they're both under a lot of pressure, and they don't have to face it all alone.
Read it for: an angst-filled yet hopeful romance.
Sherwood by Meagan SpoonerSteal from the rich: Lady Marian is grieving her childhood love Robin of Locksley, who died in the Crusades. Sir Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff of Nottingham's right-hand man, inherits the Locksley estate and now aims to wed Marian.
Give to the poor: Lady Marian witnesses Nottingham suffering under the rule of Prince John and the sheriff. Donning Robin's distinctive green cloak, she will seek justice for the people herself.
For fans of: action-packed feminist retellings and lionhearted heroines.
All My Rage by Sabaa TahirStarring: estranged friends Salahudin and Noor, trying to find their way back to each other while dealing with family strife, grief, and Islamophobia in their small desert town of Jupiter, California.
How it's told: in Salahudin and Noor's alternating perspectives, with lyrical glimpses into Salahudin's mother Misbah's past, plus tons of music references throughout.
Adaptation alert: This Printz Award-winning novel from the author of the popular Ember in the Ashes series is set for a television adaptation.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!