Into the Sublime by Kate A. BoormanFour leave: in search of "The Sublime," a legendary subterranean lake with mystical powers. Amelie, Devon, H, and Gia, who barely know each other, hide their motivations for venturing into the claustrophobia-inducing cave system that supposedly conceals The Sublime.
Three come back: including Amelie, covered in someone else's blood and ready to share her account of the disastrous excursion.
How it's told: from the ending, when a skeptical deputy must untangle the truth from Amelie's horrific, possibly unreliable story.
Love Times Infinity by Lane ClarkeMeet: Michie, who struggles with self-love, in part because she was born of sexual assault. College admissions essays asking her to define herself as well as unexpected contact from her estranged mother are magnifying her anxieties.
Enter: the hot new guy in school, Derek de la Rosa. Crushing on Michie, he gently challenges her to believe in herself.
For fans of: Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also a Star, Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X, and other healing, emotional love stories.
Wake the Bones by Elizabeth KilcoyneWhat it is: an atmospheric and suspenseful horror novel set in the cursed farming town of Dry Valley, Kentucky.
What happens: Taxidermist and tobacco hand Laurel witnesses her bone pile standing up and walking away. To save everyone and everything she cares about, Laurel must uncover her late mother's secrets and tap into her own magic.
Who it's for: fans of gory, visceral horror and anyone who understands simultaneously loving and loathing your hometown.
Beating Heart Baby by Lio MinThe new kid: Santi, troubled by his past, arrives at his new school eager to join the award-winning, rambunctious marching band. Suwa, the drum major with a similar painful history, finds Santi annoying yet intriguing. The two forge a friendship that soon blossoms into something more.
How it's told: like a vinyl record, with Santi narrating the A-side and Suwa narrating the B-side.
Read it for: the lyrical writing style overflowing with love for indie rock, Los Angeles, and art.
Semi-Famous: A True Story of Near Celebrity by Josh SundquistWhat it is: a funny examination of celebrity by someone described on Instagram as "this semi-famous internet comedian."
Featuring: hilarious hand-illustrated graphs, interviews with famous and semi-famous people, and author Josh Sundquist's tale of his own cringe-worthy quest for stardom. Sundquist, who lost a leg to childhood cancer, also recounts his confrontation with TikTok truthers claiming he faked his disability.
Who it's for: anyone seeking notoriety who could use a dose of harsh reality softened by clever humor.
His Hideous Heart: Thirteen of Edgar Allan Poe's Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined by Dahlia Adler, editorWhat it is: 13 fresh, creepy interpretations of Edgar Allan Poe's work.
Featuring: twisted tales by YA authors including Tessa Gratton, Kendare Blake, and Tiffany D. Jackson. Poe's original stories and poems are also included.
Don't miss: Rin Chupeco's "The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay," blending Filipino mythology into "The Murders in the Rue Morgue;" and "The Oval Filter," by Lamar Giles, in which a deceased Instagram influencer haunts a star football player.
White Smoke by Tiffany D. JacksonWelcome home? Fresh from rehab, Mari moves with her newly blended family to a gentrifying town where their renovated house is plagued by strange smells, unexplainable shadows, and sinister forces tied to the town's deadly history.
Reviewers say: "searing social commentary and genuinely creepy haunts" (Kirkus Reviews).
Is it for you? Mari's experience of anxiety and addiction is vivid and gripping; those looking for a less intense (but just as eerie) story might prefer Cherie Priest's The Agony House.
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-JonesAccording to legend: a fae curse animates the bone houses, rotting corpses rising nightly in the forbidden forest.
Enter: Ryn, a gravedigger and one of the few who believes the legend. She teams up with Ellis, a mapmaker dealing with chronic pain, to brave the forest, break the curse, and protect Ryn's village.
Why you might like it: This atmospheric, Welsh-inspired tale pairs its melancholy meditation on life and death with moments of comic relief, mostly from an undead goat.
Girls Save the World in This One by Ash ParsonsBraaaaaains! June Blue is ready to make memories with her BFFs Imani and Siggy at ZombieCon!, the convention for their favorite show, Human Wasteland.
But seriously, braaaaaains! Not all the zombies shuffling through the convention center are cosplayers. Now the trio must band together with some actors and fellow convention-goers to stay alive and save humanity.
Try this next: Lily Anderson’s Scout's Honor or Kelly Devos' Eat Your Heart Out, two further fast-paced, darkly humorous tales of teens vs. monsters.
The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie PerkinsThe danger: the unfamiliar terrain of North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest, where high school graduates Neena and Josie are on a three-day backpacking trip before setting off for college. When Josie falls into a sinkhole, she's gruesomely injured and trapped.
The bigger danger: the pair of serial killers Neena crosses paths with as she leaves Josie to find help.
Read it for: the immersive world-building, the ratcheting tension, and the emotionally grounded friendship.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
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