Alma Presses Play
by Tina Cane
What it's about: In 1980s New York, half-Chinese, half-Jewish Alma, whose life is a series of halfways, uses her Walkman to get through the challenges thrown her way until she is ready to press play on the soundtrack of her life.
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn HermanThe set-up: For generations, only seven families in Ilvernath knew about the deadly tournament to determine who controlled the region's powerful high magick. Now, a tell-all book spilling the dirty truth has attracted attention to the gruesome tradition, putting extra pressure on the teenage competitors.
How it's told: in shifting perspectives following four of the contenders.
Series alert: This emotionally intense and violent fantasy with complex, flawed characters is the first in a planned duology.
Our Violent Ends by Chloe GongWhat it is: a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, set in an alt-1920s Shanghai strained by gang violence, monster attacks, and political turmoil.
What happens: After Juliette sacrifices her relationship with Roma to protect him, a new evil arises. Now their rival gangs must cooperate amid monstrous and political threats.
Series alert: If BookTok led you to pick up author Chloe Gong’s inventive debut These Violent Delights, complete the duology with Our Violent Ends.
You'll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManusStarring: former best friends Ivy, Calvin, and Mateo, who ditch school only to discover the dead body of a fellow student. Ivy quickly becomes a prime suspect.
What happens: The trio must unravel the complex web of secrets and lies surrounding their friendship if they're ever going to solve the murder.
Author alert: If you enjoyed author Karen M. McManus' One of Us is Lying, you will appreciate this twisty, suspenseful thriller.
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric SmithLogged on: Adam and Whitney used to be best friends but now lob insults at each other from their family business Twitter accounts. Adam helps run his late dad's quirky pinball arcade, while Whitney's dad runs a chain of slick gaming cafés.
Snowed in: When a snowstorm traps Adam and Whitney alone in the pinball arcade, they finally have the time to work out their differences.
Who it's for: fans of hating to dating romances with relatable characters.
Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane AndersWhat it's about: Though she looks like a human Earthling, 17-year-old Tina knows she's an alien clone destined to influence an intergalactic war. But knowing that and doing it are very different, as Tina discovers when destiny arrives and expects her to become a starship captain.
Read it for: found family, thrilling momentum, an inclusive cast of characters, and a fascinating space setting.
For fans of: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's Aurora Rising.
Happily Ever Afters by Elise BryantStarring: aspiring writer Tessa Johnson, who never sees herself in the romances she reads. She will write her own story, but she needs some real-life inspiration.
Enter: Nico, a brooding fellow writer at Tessa's selective, arts-focused high school. Pursuing a relationship with him might fix Tessa's writing block, but she risks losing sight of what she really wants.
For fans of: Mary H. K. Choi, Nicola Yoon, and romance novels, of course.
Wings of Ebony by J. ElleWhat it is: an action-packed fantasy novel following 17-year-old Rue discovering her demigod heritage when she’s whisked away to the hidden island of Ghizon after her mother’s murder.
What happens: Rue breaks the rules of the magic-filled land by returning to Houston to see her sister, a decision that could change Rue and Ghizon forever.
Series alert: This moving tale of love, grief, and vengeance, infused with #BlackGirlMagic, is the first in a planned duology.
Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn SmithDid you know? Wonder Woman has a twin sister? 17-year-old Nubia finds out herself after she reveals her superpowers while protecting a friend.
Now what? Compelled like Wonder Woman toward truth, love, and justice, Nubia must tackle the systemic racism in her town while trying to keep her powers secret.
Who it's for: fans of author L.L. McKinney’s novel A Blade So Black, and anyone interested in DC’s first Black female superhero.
Can't Take That Away by Steven SalvatoreWhat it’s about: When being cast in the role of Elphaba in the school production of Wicked causes a stir, genderqueer student Carey must find their voice and stand up against discrimination.
How it’s told: in chapters that identify what pronouns Carey is feeling and using that day.
Why you might like it: This thoughtful, hopeful novel tackles tough topics like bullying and suicidal ideation while also emphasizing the joy in fighting for what’s right.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!