Gravity by Sarah DemingWhat it’s about: Jewish Dominican boxer Gravity Delgado knows that no matter what else happens -- fighting with her coach, flirting with a teammate, dealing with her abusive mom -- she needs to stay focused on two things: making the Olympic team and protecting her brother, Ty.
Read it for: sweaty, pulse-pounding bouts and a fierce main character who pulls no punches.
About the author: A Golden Gloves champion herself, author Sarah Deming writes about boxing from real-life experience.
Winterwood by Shea ErnshawFeaturing: Nora Walker, who’s descended from a long line of forest witches; Oliver Huntsman, who’s rescued by Nora after he inexplicably survives a winter storm; and the ancient, ominous woods that surround their Pacific Northwest town.
What happens: Though Nora is drawn to Oliver, she begins to suspect that he knows something about the local boys who’ve gone missing.
Reviewers say: “a delectably immersive, eerie experience” (Kirkus Reviews).
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda JoyWhat it is: an enthralling, intricately plotted, East African-inspired fantasy about two sisters forced into rivalry for their country’s throne.
What happens: Outcast for her unstable magick, Princess Eva becomes tangled in a web of political unrest while she prepares to face her sister Isa in a traditional -- and deadly -- battle for the right to rule.
For fans of: Tomi Adeyemi’s popular, West African-inspired Legacy of Orisha series (which continues this month in Children of Virtue and Vengeance).
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz RishiThe premise: As an alien jury deliberates Earth’s fate, humanity grapples with what might be its last week of existence.
The characters: Adeem, who longs to bring his estranged sister home; Jesse, who cashes in on doomsday through a scam; and Cate, who searches for the father she’s never known.
Try this next: For further bittersweet, hopeful stories about teens living out their final days, try Alexandra Coutts’ Tumble & Fall or Lisa Schroeder’s All We Have is Now.
The Light at the Bottom of the World by London ShahWelcome to: the year 2099, when London is completely underwater.
What happens: Desperate to discover where the corrupt government has imprisoned her father, submersible racer Leyla journeys through hazardous, unknown waters, accompanied only by a cagey, unwanted companion.
Series alert: This intriguing and richly detailed post-apocalyptic journey is the 1st in a duology.
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy GilbertStarring: high school senior and second-generation immigrant Danny Cheng, whose excitement about his art-school scholarship dims as his parents begin acting strangely and his tight-knit friend group implodes.
Why you might like it: If you enjoy character-driven reads, you'll be drawn to snarky, sympathetic Danny and his attempts to deal with grief, guilt, identity, family secrets, and love (romantic and otherwise).
This Raging Light by Estelle LaureWhat it’s about: With her mom MIA and her dad unable to offer help, Lucille is stuck paying the family bills and taking care of her little sister. Thankfully, she's got her best friend Eden to lean on…though their friendship gets complicated when Lucille falls for Digby, Eden's twin brother.
Why you might like it: Pairing Lucille's poetic voice with her tough situation, This Raging Light is an emotionally charged story about strength, loss, and finding love when you least expect it.
Light Years by Kass MorganIntroducing: Vesper, Cormak, Arran, and Orelia, four very different cadets who form a squadron at the Quatra Fleet Academy, a training ground for soldiers in an ongoing interstellar war.
Read it for: thrilling space combat, high-stakes drama, and an inclusive cast of characters -- including one who’s been sent to infiltrate the Academy and betray the other cadets.
Series alert: This fast-paced science fiction story (from the author of The 100) is the 1st in a series, followed by Supernova.
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. StorkWhat it’s about: Vicky Cruz can’t pretend to be okay anymore. Following a suicide attempt, she lands in a hospital psych ward where she meets Mona, E.M., and Gabriel, who all have different backgrounds and diagnoses, and who all offer the support Vicky needs to face the hard work of living.
Try this next: Readers who relish this intense, emotional exploration of mental illness may also want to try Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Last Night I Sang to the Monster.
The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. WeymouthStarring: siblings Evelyn, Philippa, and Jamie, who are transported from World War II London to the magical Woodlands, where they have years of adventures before they’re returned to London as if they’d never been gone.
What happens: Philippa and Jamie move on, but heartbroken Evelyn won’t stop searching for a way back to the Woodlands.
Try this next: If you’re fascinated by the poignant aftermath of travel between worlds, you might also want to try Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515