Shout by Laurie Halse AndersonWhat it is: a passionate poetry memoir about trauma, recovery, and finding your voice, written by the author of Speak.
Is it for you? Raw and defiant in its takedown of rape culture, Shout doesn’t pull any punches -- but if you’re a fan of Laurie Halse Anderson, this might be just what you’re looking for.
Want a taste? "We should teach our girls that snapping is OK, instead of waiting for someone else to break them."
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David HutchinsonWhat it’s about: Former best friends Dino and July were estranged when July died suddenly...which makes things extra-awkward when July inexplicably comes back to (un)life. Now they have to race against July’s increasing decomposition in a search for answers, even as they try face their personal issues.
Read it for: a diverse cast and a story that’s simultaneously gross, heartfelt, and deep.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay MejiaWhat it’s about: on the island of Medio, rival classmates Daniela and Carmen graduate to become the dual wives of a merciless politician, leading them to question their understanding of Median government as well as their feelings for one another.
Series alert: filled with twists, treachery, blackmail, and rebellion, this captivating fantasy will leave you longing for the planned sequel.
You might also like: Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury or Natasha Ngan’s Girls of Paper and Fire.
Tin Heart by Shivaun PlozzaWhat it’s about: After a life-saving transplant makes Marlowe “a girl with a borrowed heart,” she finds that nothing -- not even new friendships or a prank war with a cute butcher’s apprentice -- can stop her from obsessing about the identity of her anonymous organ donor.
Why you might like it: with a flawed, quirky heroine, Tin Heart is both funny and profound.
Try this next: Jessi Kirby’s Things We Know by Heart, a similar story with a different perspective.
Opposite of Always by Justin A. ReynoldsStarring: high school senior Jack, whose romance with college freshman Kate is clearly meant to be -- why else would her sudden death send him back in time to the night they met, kicking off a cycle of do-overs in which he tries, again and again, to save her?
Who it’s for: Combining time travel with witty dialogue and honest, heart-twisting emotion, The Opposite of Always will grab science fiction fans and realistic fictions fans alike.
Comics & Graphic Novels Roundup
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope BagieuWhat it is: a collection of stylish, brightly colored comics, each one a micro-biography of a daring woman from history.
Featuring: Mae Jemison, astronaut; Sonita Alizadeh, rapper; Las Mariposas, rebels; Christine Jorgensen, reluctant celebrity; and Nzinga, Queen of Ndongo and Matamba, to name just a few!
Who it’s for: comics fans, history geeks, and stop-and-start readers in search of browsable nonfiction.
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John HendrixWhat it is: a gripping biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian pastor who stood up against the Nazis and joined a conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
Art alert: Using only a few colors, author and artist John Hendrix creates intricate, infographic-style illustrations that fold in facts alongside deeply felt emotions.
Try this next: Patricia McCormick’s The Plot to Kill Hitler offers a deeper dive into Bonhoeffer’s brief yet fascinating life.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie WaldenWhat it’s about: Haunted by memories of boarding school and her lost love, Grace, Mia finds connection and hope when she joins a spaceship crew on an intergalactic journey to restore the ruins of abandoned, free-floating buildings.
Why you might like it: Set a world where everyone is female or nonbinary, this thought-provoking graphic novel (originally a webcomic) explores not only space, but also human relationships.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen WangThe setting: nineteenth-century Paris, where talented seamstress and aspiring fashion designer Frances has just gained a wealthy but confidential new client: Lady Crystallia, the secret alter-ego of young Prince Sebastian.
Is it for you? Though it plays fast and loose with history, this sweet, stylish graphic novel has charm to spare.
Art alert: If you grew up with Raina Telgemeier’s books, you might enjoy the similarly cartoony but more sophisticated look of Jen Wang’s illustrations.
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld; illustrated by Alex PuvillandWelcome to...what used to be Poughkeepsie, New York, but is now an altered-reality “Spill Zone” populated by unnatural beasts and corpses with glowing eyes.
What happens: Photographing the Spill Zone for cash is dangerous, but orphaned Addison risks it in order to finance an escape for herself and her little sister.
Why you might like it: Sharp angles, unusual colors, and adrenaline-pumping violence all combine in this surreal graphic novel, the 1st in a two-book series.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515