Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn BarnesWhat it's about: When her estranged grandmother offers her half a million dollars to become a debutante for a season, 18-year-old car mechanic Sawyer can't refuse, and not just because of the money -- it's also a chance to find the father she's never known.
Read it for: a sharp, page-turning peek at the ball gowns, back-stabbing, mysteries, and scandals of Southern high society.
An Assassin's Guide to Love & Treason by Virginia BoeckerFeaturing: Katherine (aka Kit), a girl who disguises herself as a boy as part of a plan to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I; and Toby, the spy who's tasked with foiling the assassination.
What happens: Suspicions (and sparks) ignite when Toby and Kit are cast in an exclusive royal performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
For fans of: the delicious historical detail and inclusive attitude of A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn CallenderStarring: Nate Bird, who swears off dating after his father dies (leaving his mom heartbroken) and his romance with best friend Florence fails.
What happens: Nate's childhood friend Ollie moves back to town, and their rekindled connection challenges Nate's anti-relationship resolve.
Why you might like it: This will-they-or-won't-they romance offers authentically awkward situations and a diverse, well-rounded group of characters.
Phantom Wheel by Tracy DeebsWhat it's about: After being tricked into creating a data-stealing virus for greedy tech company Jacento, six teen hackers join forces to destroy the virus before it unleashes digital devastation.
Why you might like it: Pairing complex characters with a pulse-pounding pace, this cyberthriller is "a must-read for every aspiring hacktivist" (Kirkus Reviews).
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha NganWhat it's about: At age 17, Lei, a member of Ikhara's lowly Paper caste, is forced into training to become one of the brutal Demon King's concubines. Despite living in constant fear, she soon finds herself drawn into an unexpected romance -- and a treacherous plot.
Who it's for: Though the disturbing themes of oppression and violence may not be for everyone, mature fantasy fans will appreciate the intricate world-building, gripping pace, and captivating love story in this debut novel.
Never Always Sometimes by Adi AlsaidFeaturing: Best friends Julia and Dave, creators of the Never List, an outline of all of the clichéd teen activities -- such as life-changing road trips, hair dye experiments, and running for prom king -- that they'll never, ever do.
What happens: For senior year, Julia and Dave decide to break their own rules and see how many "nevers" they can accomplish. The results are hilarious, poignant, and surprising.
For fans of: Stephanie Perkins and John Green.
Top Ten by Katie CotugnoWhat it is: A charming and realistic collection of flashbacks highlighting the top ten moments in the odd-couple friendship between popular hockey player Ryan and anxious introvert Gabby.
Why you might like it: Alternating perspectives let you see both characters' points-of-view as they support each other through health issues (both mental and physical), grapple with their growing attraction (a problem, since they both have girlfriends), and approach the end of high school.
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan MatsonWhat it's about: Two weeks after she disappears without saying goodbye, Emily's best friend Sloane mails her a list of challenges for the summer. With the help of attractive overachiever Frank Porter, Emily tackles the list -- which includes "go skinny-dipping," "dance until dawn," and "ride a horse" -- and hopes that they'll lead her back to Sloane.
Is it for you? If you loved Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes, you'll fall for this sweet and funny read.
Side Effects May Vary by Julie MurphyWhat it's about: Facing terminal leukemia, Alice enlists her friend Harvey to help her complete her revenge-fueled "Just Dying To-Do" list -- a plan that backfires when she goes into unexpected remission.
Who it's for: readers looking for honest stories about not-so-saintly cancer survivors.
About the author: Go back to the start with this first book from Julie Murphy, the popular author of Dumplin' (which is soon to be a Netflix movie).
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal SutherlandWelcome to: the Solar family, where each member is cursed to live with (and die from) one great fear.
What happens: Seventeen-year-old Esther Solar doesn't yet know which fear will kill her, but she keeps a long list of contenders, carefully avoiding them all...until her childhood crush Jonah convinces her to confront and conquer them instead.
Read it for: a dark, moving, magical realist story about the thorny bonds of mental illness and family history.
Contact your librarian for more great books for age 14 and up!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515