Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn AndersonScience Fiction/Historical Fiction. A puzzling old postcard and a very elderly tortoise are only two of the many connections between three teen girls in this genre-blending story. In 2065 Kansas, orphan Adri Ortiz trains to become a Mars colonist since she has no emotional ties on Earth; on the same Kansas farm in 1934, Catherine Goodspeed tries to help her family survive the deadly Dust Bowl; and in 1919 England, Lenore Allstock mourns her brother's death in World War I while writing to a distant friend. Told through diaries and letters, this "thought-provoking, lyrical novel" (Booklist) offers memorable characters and a riveting, intertwining plot.
Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya BoldenHistorical Fiction. After growing up enslaved in the rural American South, Mariah and her brother Zeke are freed by Union soldiers in 1864. Uncertain of their futures in place where "colored lives don't matter," they join General Sherman's march through Georgia, and it's there that Mariah meets Caleb, a free black man whose past holds as many painful secrets as Mariah's own. Their alternating voices describe their tentative romance, as well as the difficulties of their journey -- including its tragic conclusion. For another heart-wrenching historical story based on real wartime tragedy, try Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.
Dividing Eden by Joelle CharbonneauFantasy. Assassination shatters the sheltered lives of royal twins Carys and Andreus in this thrilling fantasy. The palace walls have always protected them from monsters, and Carys has always protected her brother Andreus' secrets. Yet after their father and older brother are murdered, the twins become rivals in the Trials of Virtuous Succession, a harrowing contest to determine who will rule. Soaked in tension and twisty intrigue, Dividing Eden races toward a conclusion that will leave you feeling impatient for the sequel. While you wait, pick up Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns for another dose of high fantasy featuring cutthroat competition between royal siblings.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath CrowleyFiction. After her brother's death, 18-year-old Australian Rachel moves back to Gracetown, the Melbourne suburb where she grew up. Despite her devastating grief, she soon reconnects with her former best friend (and unrequited love) Henry, and finds solace in a job at his family's bookstore, where a special "Letter Library" houses books filled with notes left by customers. Between snippets from the Letter Library, Rachel and Henry take turns narrating this thoughtful, deeply moving story about pain, hope, and the power of words. Bookish types (that probably means YOU) will want to savor Words in Deep Blue.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya MenonRomance. What's a modern feminist to do when she accidentally falls for the guy her parents have chosen as her future husband? That's the question facing high school grad Dimple Shah when she meets Rishi Patel at a con for app developers. They get off to a rocky start, and the sparks nearly fizzle out before they begin to fly. Though they're both smart, geeky, first-generation Indian Americans, forward-thinking Dimple is openly ambitious while the more traditional Rishi hides his true interests, leading to an odd-couple relationship that's as authentic and hysterically funny as you'd expect. Already generating buzz, this debut is a can't-miss read for romance fans.
Focus on: Fans and Fandom
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna BreslawFiction. Though she's salty and awkward in real life (she only has two friends and one longtime crush), Scarlett's a big deal in the online fandom for the paranormal TV drama Lycanthrope High -- which makes it all the more upsetting when the show is cancelled. Deprived of new canon material, Scarlett begins writing a different kind Lycanthrope High fanfic, basing the characters on people in her real life. Despite her prickly attitude and self-centered behavior, Scarlett is a relatable mess, and readers will root for her as she faces the collision of real life and fandom.
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian KatcherFiction. Overachiever Ana couldn't care less that this year's sci-fi convention conflicts with her quiz bowl team's championship, but geeky Zak, a reluctant quiz bowl alternate, is disappointed to miss the con. So when Ana's brother (and teammate) Clayton ditches the quiz bowl for the con, Ana enlists Zak to help her find him. The two of them take turns narrating their wild night-long search, which includes cosplayers, gamers, card collectors, felons, a Star Wars/Star Trek wedding...and a growing attraction that Zak and Ana can't ignore. Similar to Jen Wilde's Queens of Geek, this con-centric story offers both genuine emotions and pop-cultural humor.
Kill the Boy Band by Goldy MoldavskyFiction. Created on reality TV and molded into superstars, British boy band The Ruperts are the object of obsession for millions of fangirls. Among the most obsessive are the narrator and her friends, who love the band SO MUCH that they kidnap one of the Ruperts and tie him up their hotel room, kicking off a spiral of paranoia, recrimination, and murder. If you're hoping for a balanced take on boy-band fandom, you may want to pick up Zan Romanoff's Grace and the Fever instead; but if you want a "bitingly satirical" (Publishers Weekly) take on celebrity worship, this pitch-black comedy is for you.
Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFiction. It's Cath's first year of college, and without the support of her twin sister Wren, Cath is socially adrift. She's much better at writing (especially fanfiction about Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque book character) than she is at talking to people, so she's surprised to find herself becoming friends with her brash roommate Reagan…and maybe more than friends with Reagan's charming ex-boyfriend, Levi. Members of real-life fandom will appreciate the subtle in-jokes, but anyone can enjoy the smart, snarky dialogue, intense family drama, and endearing romance in this coming of age story. (And if you want to get super-meta, you can follow Simon Snow's adventures in Carry On, also by Rainbow Rowell.)
The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz TashFiction. From their childhood love of Harry Potter to their more recent passion for comics, Graham and Roxy's close friendship is founded on shared fandoms. When Graham finds out that the reclusive creator of their favorite comic will be appearing at New York Comic Con, he sees it as a sign: the event will be the perfect time to finally confess his love for Roxy. Once they arrive at the con, however, Graham discovers that grand romantic gestures are lot easier in fiction than in real life. Pop culture in-jokes, quippy dialogue, and diverse characters all add to the charm of this quirky romantic comedy.
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