A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. BrownStarring: Malik, a refugee who makes a deadly deal to save his sister; and Karina, a princess who turns to bloody necromancy in her grief over her mother’s death.
What happens: Although they seem fated to destroy each other, Karina and Malik are irresistibly drawn together amidst the magic and high-stakes intrigue of this Afrofantasy series opener.
For fans of: the layered plots and vivid world-building in Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orisha series.
The Henna Wars by Adiba JaigirdarWhat it’s about: Dismayed by her parents’ disapproval after she comes out as a lesbian, Bangladeshi Irish Nishat sets her sights on winning her school’s business competition. Marketing her mehndi design skills seems like the perfect plan...until Nishat’s childhood friend (and current crush) Flávia opens a competing henna art business.
Why you might like it: This own voices story offers authentic characters and an exciting blend of romance and rivalry.
You might also like: Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me in a Crown.
Nowhere on Earth by Nick LakeWhat it’s about: After finding a lost little boy named Aidan, Emily Perez feels immediately motivated to help him get home and away from the shadowy agents pursuing him. That’s why she and Aidan stow away on a bush plane, and that’s why, when the plane crashes in the frozen wilderness, Emily refuses to give up.
Why you might like it: The twists and turns in this survival thriller will make you think while keeping your on the edge of your seat.
Again Again by E. LockhartWhat it’s about: Dog-walker and rising high school senior Adelaide isn’t sure what she wants. Should she try to rescue her failing grades? Should she let herself fall for poet Jack? Should she reconnect with her brother, a recovering addict?
What happens: Each choice that Adelaide makes leads to a different parallel timeline, and you can follow her into each of them.
Read it for: smart book design, a poignant sibling relationship, and a thought-provoking take on the multiverse.
Burn by Patrick NessThe setting: Frome, Washington, 1957, where Russian blue dragon Kazimir has just been hired to work on Sarah Dewhurst’s family farm.
What happens: Kazimir hopes to protect Sarah as it becomes clear that she might be the key to an apocalyptic prophecy; meanwhile, dragon-worshipping assassin Malcolm journeys toward Frome, intent on a world-shattering confrontation.
Why you might like it: Taut pacing and stunning revelations will keep you turning the pages of this fantasy-infused alternate history.
The Islands at the End of the World by Austin AslanWhat it’s about: When the enormous, cloudlike Emerald Orchid appears in the sky and disables Earth’s technology, Leilani and her dad are stranded in Oahu. Amidst the panic and chaos, father and daughter must find their own way home to their family on Hawaii.
Read it for: a suspenseful survival story that delves into the culture, environment, and mythology of the Hawaiian islands.
Series alert: Don’t miss the sequel to this eco-apocalyptic tale, The Girl at the Center of the World.
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie DimalineIn a world...where climate change has ravaged North America, Métis teen Frenchie and his fellow survivors are on the run from the Recruiters, who seek to harvest and sell Indigenous peoples' bone marrow in order to restore white peoples' lost ability to dream.
Read it for: bold, unflinching world-building that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into the post-apocalyptic future.
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne DuyvisWhat it's about: With her sister missing, her mom slipping deeper into addiction, and a comet about to decimate the Earth, 16-year-old Denise makes a last-ditch attempt to guarantee her family's safe passage on a generation ship.
Why you might like it: Set in Amsterdam and starring a complex autistic heroine, On the Edge of Gone is a refreshingly atypical apocalyptic thriller.
Did you know? Author Corinne Duyvis coined the "own voices" hashtag.
The Rains by Gregg HurwitzWhat it’s about: Growing up becomes scarier than a death sentence after an alien parasite attacks all humans over 18, turning them into vicious, zombie-like creatures.
What happens: Though Chance and his brother Patrick have survived so far, Patrick's 18th birthday is mere days away. Desperate, the brothers venture into danger, hoping to find answers before Patrick's time is up.
Who it’s for: Full of gritty, pulse-pounding action, The Rains is perfect for fans of Rick Yancey's 5th Wave series.
Life L1k3 by Jay KristoffWelcome to: the post-nuclear remains of North America, where robot-gladiator pilot Eve is on the run from gangsters, bookies, and a fanatical Brotherhood that wants to crush her unusual power over technology.
What happens: Eve meets Ezekiel, a “lifelike” android who knows more about Eve’s shady past than Eve herself.
Series alert: If the breathless pace, futuristic robots, and explosive secrets in this series opener leave you wanting more, don’t miss the sequels, Dev1at3 and TrueL1f3.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
Somerset County Library System of New Jersey1 Vogt Drive
P.O. Box 6700
Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807