With the Fire on High by Elizabeth AcevedoStarring: high school senior Emoni Santiago, who has "magic hands" in the kitchen, but worries that becoming a chef won't help her build a future for herself and her two-year-old daughter.
Read it for: clear, vivid writing; mouth-watering food; and characters so realistic that you'll miss them when you close the book.
Book buzz: If you loved The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo's multi-award-winning debut, be sure to read this highly anticipated follow-up.
Love from A to Z by S.K. AliWhat it's about: When they meet on the spring break trip to Qatar, Adam and Zayneb discover that they have a lot in common: both Muslim, both mourning, and both harboring big secrets. Soon, they're taking turns sharing from their journals, leading to clashes and connection alike.
Why you might like it: this realistic romance captures not only the exhilaration and heartache of love, but also offers an insider's perspective on growing up Muslim.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah FaizalWhat it is: a captivating, detail-rich fantasy inspired by the history and mythology of ancient Arabia.
Featuring: Zafira, aka the Hunter, who disguises herself as a man and braves a cursed forest in order to feed her people; and Nasir, aka the Prince of Death, who assassinates anyone who threatens his ruthless father, the sultan.
What happens: When both begin a quest to restore the magic that could save their kingdom, these adversaries become uneasy allies.
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffWhat it's about: As the highest-achieving cadet at Aurora Academy, Tyler Jones expects to lead an elite squad, but winds up with a crew of diverse misfits and a stowaway who holds the key to starting -- or preventing -- intergalactic war.
Why you might like it: Evolving relationships, adrenaline-pumping action, and multiple perspectives will keep you on your toes in this futuristic series opener from the authors of the Illuminae Files.
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina MorenoWhat it's about: People say that Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea. The sea claimed the lives of her father and grandfather, and while Rosa knows she should stick to home and dry land, the Florida teen can't stop dreaming about studying in Cuba -- and can't help falling for Alex, a tattooed boy with boat.
For fans of: Jenny Han, Sandhya Menon, Maurene Goo, and other authors of warm, inclusive rom-coms.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoWhat it is: an dark and bloody twist on The Little Mermaid.
Featuring: Princess Lira, a vicious siren who rips out the hearts of human princes; and Prince Elian, a seafaring human who hunts murderous sirens.
What happens: After Lira is unwillingly turned into a human, the two mortal enemies team up in pursuit of their shared goal: to find a crystal with the power to take down the brutal, merciless Sea Queen.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligWelcome aboard: the schooner Temptation, which can sail to any time or place, real or imaginary, as long as there's a map.
What happens: 16-year-old captain's daughter Nix begins to worry when her father finds a map to 1868 Honolulu, just before Nix's mother died giving birth to her. Could meddling in her past impact her future...or endanger her very existence?
Series alert: this gripping, genre-blending book is followed by a sequel, The Ship Beyond Time.
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia LucierWhat it's about: Eighteen years ago, the princes and royal navigator of St. John del Mar were kidnapped and murdered...or so it seemed. Now, newly discovered maps indicate that all three might still be alive, and it's up to Elias (the navigator's son), Ulises (the princes' brother) and Mercedes (a royal cousin) to find them.
Why you might like it: With sea serpents, sweeping intrigue, and simmering romance, what's not to like?
Look for: the companion book, Song of the Abyss, due out in July.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily SkrutskieIn a world...where floodwaters cover the earth and genetically modified sea monsters called Reckoners are used as protection from marauding pirates, 17-year-old Reckoner trainer Cassandra Leung is captured by pirate queen Santa Elena and ordered to train a stolen Reckoner pup.
Read it for: thrilling sea monster battles, a touch of romantic angst, and a complex, believable heroine.
Don't miss: the sequel, The Edge of the Abyss.
Song of the Current by Sarah TolcserWhat it's about: Though she's never heard the river god speak, Caro comes from a long line of wherrymen, and she's sure that sailing the river is her destiny. Destiny takes a turn, however, when her father's arrest forces Caro to transport a mysterious crate -- a crate which contains a frustrating boy named Tarquin.
Series alert: packed with world-building so vivid you can almost hear the rushing water, this fantasy duology concludes in Whisper of the Tide.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515