Legendborn by Tracy DeonnWhat it's about: While grieving the loss of her mother, 16-year-old Bree has her world shaken once again when she witnesses a demon attack and discovers the Legendborn, a magical secret society descended from King Arthur's knights.
Series alert: This series opener introduces a fascinating system of magic and an intriguing mash-up of Round Table lore with contemporary American cultures.
Further reading: For another inclusive reimagining of King Arthur's legend, pick up Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy's Once & Future series.
Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric GansworthWhat it is: a memoir in verse by Onondaga author and artist Eric Gansworth, describing his family, his life on and off the reservation, the scars of forced assimilation, and his own specific sense of Indigenous identity.
What's inside: reflections on the slur "apple" (meaning "red on the outside, white on the inside"); deep dives into Beatles lyrics and superhero fandom; memories of growing up Onondaga while living among the Tuscarora; plus paintings, photos, and "liner notes" from the author.
Finding Balance by Kati GardnerFeaturing: Mari Manos, who lives with the reminders of childhood bone cancer in the form of pink forearm crutches and an amputated leg; and Jase Ellison, who only acknowledges his history with childhood leukemia when he's with other survivors at Camp Chemo.
What happens: When Jase and Mari meet at camp, there's an undeniable attraction between them, but that connection turns uneasy after Mari transfers to Jase's private school and their different experiences and attitudes clash.
Even If We Break by Marieke NijkampWhat it's about: After years of playing a murder-mystery fantasy RPG, five formerly close friends gather at a remote cabin for one last game. Their final round soon grows intense as secrets are exposed, eerie events occur, and one of their number disappears, leaving bloody runes behind.
Read it for: the diverse cast of characters and the twisty blend of suspense and horror.
Try this next: Brent Hartinger's Three Truths and A Lie, another thriller in which a cabin getaway turns deadly.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth NixWelcome to: 1983 London, where art student Susan is searching for the father she's never met.
What happens: A frightening supernatural encounter introduces Susan to Merlin, one of the left-handed booksellers who defend the modern world from the invading Old World of myth and magic. (When they're not running bookstores, that is.)
Why you might like it: 80's punk style and pop cultural humor add an edge to the familiar fantasy tropes in this offbeat read.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth AcevedoStarring: high school senior Emoni Santiago, who has "magic hands" in the kitchen, but who 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, don't miss With the Fire On High.
The Black Flamingo by Dean AttaWhat it is: the story of how London teen Michael finds his voice, both as a poet and a drag performer, in a society eager to label him for how he expresses his gender, his sexuality, and his multiracial identity.
Why you might like it: the intimate, conversational style of Michael's first-person narration.
Book buzz: This own voices novel from spoken word poet Dean Atta (check him out on YouTube) won the 2020 Stonewall Award for Young Adult Literature.
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.
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason ReynoldsWhat it's about: Devastated by his mom's death, high school senior Matt gets a job at a funeral home, finding comfort in shared grief. Also, the job beats slinging chicken at the Cluck Bucket -- although Matt is drawn to Lovey, the tough, intriguing girl who works there.
Read it for: the true-to-life characters and insightful, unfussy style you expect from popular author Jason Reynolds.
Further reading: For straight-up poetry by Reynolds, try the short but powerful For Every One.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!