Lightlark by Alex AsterThe deadly game: Once every 100 years, the island Lightlark hosts the Centennial, during which six realms' leaders fight to break the curses tormenting their people.
Enter: Isla Crown, the ruler of Wilding. Her people are cursed to kill anyone they fall in love with. To save them, she must embrace betrayal, even if that means betraying her own heart.
Series alert: This suspenseful fantasy, perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Marissa Meyer, is the first in a series.
The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb CalettiAn Instagram comment: leads social media-obsessed Harley Proulx to discover her half-siblings, who share the same sperm donor father. Together they journey to Hawaii to meet the charismatic deep-sea diver.
Nineteenth-century documents: describe a mysterious seafaring expedition with a story that converges with Harley's.
Why you might like it: This thought-provoking, richly detailed story paints a sympathetic portrait of anxiety heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic and explores the multitude of forces that shape identity.
Dead Flip by Sara FarizanHalloween night, 1987: Twelve-year-old Sam, one of a trio of inseparable friends, disappears. Cori thinks he's dead, but Maz thinks an evil pinball machine took him.
Six years later: Maz, a track star with a drinking problem, and Cori, a closeted lesbian, aren't speaking. When Sam suddenly returns, still 12 years old, the two must reconcile to solve this creepy mystery.
For fans of: bittersweet, nostalgic depictions of the literal horror of adolescence, like It and Stranger Things.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. JacksonWhat it is: a reimagining of Stephen King's Carrie inspired by a Georgia school that segregated its prom until 2014.
Meet: Madison Washington, a light-skinned biracial girl who passes as white until a rainy day reveals her hair's natural texture. The bullying Madison suffers awakens her telekinetic powers. On prom night, revenge will be hers.
Is it for you? This bone-chilling, fast-paced horror novel is for readers prepared for intense depictions of child abuse, racism, colorism, gore, and police brutality.
Destination Unknown by Bill KonigsbergWelcome to: New York City, 1987. Sheltered Micah Strauss spots CJ Gorman wearing a plexiglass bra in a nightclub bathroom and is instantly enraptured.
What happens: The two boys forge a friendship that brings Micah into the queer community, where he experiences both wonder and fear as the AIDS epidemic looms large.
Read it for: the nuanced snapshot of a tumultuous and exhilarating time, the loveable cast of characters, and the '80s music references.
The Honeys by Ryan La SalaMeet: Mars, a genderfluid teen whose twin sister Caroline died horrifically during a visit home from the Aspen Conservancy, an exclusive summer camp.
What happens: Mars heads to Aspen and is drawn to "the Honeys," Caroline's friends and the camp's beekeepers. Mars suspects these unnervingly alluring girls are connected to their sister's death.
Why you might like it: This lush horror novel uses bees to make sharp social commentary while creating intensifying dread in a seemingly beautiful setting.
Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManusWhat it is: an edge-of-your-seat thriller from author Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying) about Brynn, a high school senior reexamining a cold case that took place at her posh private school.
What happens: Brynn lands an internship with a true crime TV show and investigates the death of her favorite teacher at St. Ambrose. Three suspicious students -- including Brynn's former best friend Tripp -- escaped charges at the time, but Brynn will uncover the truth. And you won't see it coming.
Abuela, Don't Forget Me by Rex OgleWhat it's about: the warm, steady presence of a grandmother. She offered safety, a sense of home, and a connection to Mexican culture to a child experiencing abuse, poverty, racism, and homophobia.
How it's told: Author Rex Ogle’s emotionally intense memories chronicling life from age four through college are conveyed through lyrical, moving poetry.
Author alert: This life-affirming book is a companion to Ogle's harrowing autobiographies Free Lunch and Punching Bag.
I'm the Girl by Courtney SummersHit and run: Biking to exclusive resort Aspera in search of a glamorous job, Georgia is knocked unconscious. When she awakes, she finds 13-year-old Ashley, murdered and left on the roadside.
At Aspera: the owners hire Georgia, promising she can work up to the dream position. Plunged into a world of wealth and power, she investigates the murder with Ashley's sister Nora.
What sets it apart: Georgia's naive, earnest narration reveals to readers the sinister tactics used to manipulate her.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
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