The Beautiful by Renée AhdiehWhat it’s about: Fleeing a painful past in Paris, French Asian seamstress Celine arrives in 1872 New Orleans, where she finds herself falling for uncanny underworld leader Sébastien even as she’s stalked by a bloodthirsty serial killer.
Read it for: smoldering paranormal romance and chilling mystery set against a lush and detail-rich backdrop.
Series alert: This vampire fantasy is the 1st in a new series from popular author Renée Ahdieh.
Slay by Brittney MorrisWhat it’s about: No one knows that honors student Kiera is the developer behind SLAY, an online role-playing game she created as a refuge for black gamers like herself. Her anonymity is threatened, however, when the murder of a SLAY player puts the game under fire from the media, and Kiera has to defend the world she’s created.
Why you might like it: Alongside immersive gaming scenes, this own voices debut features an authentic take on the diversity of black experiences.
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan ParkerStarring: music-obsessed, “super-emo” Morgan, who’s dealing with depression and feeling stuck at a small-town religious school where she’s one of only a few black students.
What happens: With the help of new friends, Morgan tries to block out the noisy opinions of others and figure out who she is and what she wants.
About the author: This is the first YA book from poet Morgan Parker, inspired by her own teen years and diaries.
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura RubyFeaturing: fourteen-year-old Frankie, abandoned by her father in a Chicago orphanage during the lead-up to World War II; and Pearl, the ghost who watches over her.
What happens: While Pearl tries to reconcile her own tragic life and death, she watches Frankie grapple with poverty, family instability, falling in love, and the search for meaning in a harsh world.
Who it’s for: Fans of author Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap will enjoy this similarly subtle, strange, and thought-provoking story.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker; illustrated by Wendy XuWhat it’s about: Apprentice witch Nova joins forces with Tam, her long-lost werewolf friend (and crush) to defend her small New England hometown from a demonic threat.
Why you might like it: With a sweet romance and a cozy autumn color palette, this graphic novel is a whimsical, enchanting read.
You might also like: Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle’s Moonstruck, another charming fantasy romance featuring a lovable werewolf.
Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin HearneWhat it is: a quirky comedic fantasy adventure that riffs on classic genre tropes (think The Princess Bride).
Featuring: a farm boy (briefly), a talking goat, a seven-foot-tall warrior in a chainmail bikini, an enchanted rabbit bard, an alektorophobic assassin, a sand witch, and a dark lord.
Who it’s for: This series opener (written for adults) is sure to grab readers who love Terry Pratchett or Diana Wynne Jones.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi MeadowsWhat it is: the tragic tale of England’s Lady Jane Grey, reimagined as a historical fantasy packed with intrigue, crackling banter, and animal shapeshifters.
Featuring: teenage King Edward VI, who’s weary of pesky usurpers; bookish Jane, who'll inherit the throne; and Gifford, Jane’s new husband, who's sometimes a horse.
Try this next: My Plain Jane, by the same trio of authors, offers an equally irreverent spin on Jane Eyre.
Newt's Emerald by Garth NixThe crime: No sooner has 18-year-old Lady Truthful Newington inherited the Newington Emerald than the magical gem is stolen from her.
The investigation: Disguised as a man (complete with enchanted mustache), Truthful travels to London, where her search for the precious family heirloom leads to danger, sorcery, and maybe even love.
Read it for: Jane Austen-style wit mixed with lighthearted fantasy.
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret RogersonWhat it's about: At first, fairy prince Rook is outraged by human artist Isobel's too-insightful portrait of him. Yet when the two are forced to become allies, hostility gives way to forbidden love.
What’s inside: a bold heroine, breathtaking romantic tension, thrilling action, and unexpected twists.
Why you might like it: Flashes of humor (such as Isobel’s kid sisters, who were transformed from literal goats) lighten this lush, gripping tale.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. YeeWhat it's about: Genie is shocked to learn that Quentin, the new Chinese guy at school, isn’t just annoying and weirdly attractive -- he's also the not-so-mythical Monkey King, and Genie’s destined to help him send a horde of demons back to hell.
Why you might like it: You'll be pulling for snarky perfectionist Genie as she tries to balance academics with demon-fighting in this wildly entertaining fantasy.
Don't miss: the sequel, The Iron Will of Genie Lo, out in January 2020.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515