Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. KrosoczkaWhat it is: a moody, expressive graphic memoir in which author and artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka describes -- with gut-punching openness -- how he was raised by his caring, challenging grandparents while his heroin-addicted mother was in rehab (or jail).
Who it's for: Whether you're curious about the guy behind the Lunch Lady comics (remember those?) or you're looking for a mature, unflinching family story, Hey, Kiddo might be for you.
Sawkill Girls by Claire LegrandThe setting: Sawkill Rock, home to wealthy people, beautiful horses, and a legendary monster that preys on young women.
Featuring: outsider Zoey, who refuses to give up on her missing best friend; newcomer Marion, whose sister just disappeared; and privileged Val, who might be trapped by her family's dark legacy.
Read it for: atmospheric, magic-tinged horror starring diverse teen girls who band together to battle evil.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh MafiWhat it's about: When Shirin (16, loves break-dancing, wears a hijab) starts at a new school the year after 9/11, she's unsurprised by the anti-Muslim hostility she faces. She knows better than to let her guard down -- not even for Ocean James, a classmate who seems genuinely into her.
Author alert: Tahereh Mafi, author of the popular Shatter Me series, drew on her own teen experiences when crafting this sharp, honest story.
You might also like: Samira Ahmed's Love, Hate & Other Filters.
Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens by Marieke Nijkamp, editorWhat it is: an intersectional, multi-genre short story collection about teens with disabilities, written by authors with disabilities.
Featuring: authors such as Dhonielle Clayton, Corinne Duyvis, Kody Keplinger, and Francisco X. Stork.
What's inside: a wheelchair-user on a rescue mission in a creepy carnival; an agoraphobic coder trying to protect her planet; a boy with chronic pain who reanimates a famous spirit; an advice columnist with irritable bowel syndrome; a wish-granting girl with autism; and more.
Pride by Ibi ZoboiWhat it is: a contemporary remix of Pride and Prejudice, set in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood and starring Zuri Benitez, an Afro-Latina poet with four sisters, college goals, and no time for stuck-up rich guys like her new neighbor, Darius Darcy.
Who it's for: fans of the original book, as well as readers looking for a smart, bittersweet story about ambition, class differences, family, and first love.
The Whole Thing Together by Ann BrasharesWhat it's about: They're the same age, they sleep in the same bedroom, and they have the same three half-sisters, but Ray and Sasha have never met. Ray's mom used to be married to Sasha's dad, and every summer the families take turns at the beach house -- until this summer, when they finally collide.
Why you might like it: Shifting points of view and compelling relationships drive this complex drama packed with revelations, romance, tragedy, and tension.
Unbecoming by Jenny DownhamWhat it's about: Seventeen-year-old Katie doesn't meet her grandmother, Mary, until the day she moves in with Katie and her controlling mom, Caroline. As Katie helps Mary hold on to her fading memories, she uncovers long-held secrets about Mary and Caroline...and realizes some truths about herself.
Who it's for: anyone looking for a sophisticated read about the intertwining conflicts, choices, and consequences faced by three generations of women.
The Other F-Word by Natasha FriendWhat happens: High-schoolers Hollis and Milo, half-siblings who grew up with different pairs of moms, join forces to search for the identity of their shared sperm donor.
Read it for: a thoughtful exploration of family (biological and otherwise) starring believably imperfect characters.
Try this next: Cynthia Weil's 806 or Robin Benway's Far from the Tree, two further books about newfound siblings in search of answers.
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali PerkinsWhat it is: an intimate glimpse into the lives of the Das women, spanning the 1960s into the 2000s.
Featuring: aspiring actress Tara and her activist sister Sonia, uprooted by their Bengali mother to grow up in 1970s New York; their daughters Anna and Chantal, both navigating the connections and divisions between cultures; and Ranee, the matriarch who clings to tradition.
Who it's for: Culturally distinct and utterly relatable, this family saga holds appeal for all kinds of readers.
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana PopovicWelcome to: Montenegro, home of twin Iris and Malina. Like every girl in their family, both sisters have a "gleam" -- a unique magical ability -- though their mother forbids them from using these gifts. After their mother is attacked, however, Iris and Malina must dig into their family's cursed history to discover the source of their power.
Series alert: This lush, detail-rich fantasy is followed by a sequel, Fierce Like a Firestorm.
For fans of: Anna-Marie McLemore and Laini Taylor.
Contact your librarian for more great books for age 14 and up!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515