Flame in the Mist by Renée AhdiehHistorical Adventure. Samurai's daughter Hattori Mariko is smart and accomplished, but has no future outside of a politically savvy marriage. While traveling to meet her intended husband, she's attacked by the Black Clan, an infamous gang of thieves who leave her nearly dead…but with a new opportunity. Disguising herself as a boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan to discover who they are and why they marked her for death. Set in a fantasy-tinged feudal Japan, this 1st book in a duology has all the sumptuous world-building and smoldering romance that you'd expect from the popular author of The Wrath & the Dawn.
The Names They Gave Us by Emery LordFiction. Calm, responsible Lucy Hansson is mad. Her summer plans have been destroyed by an avalanche of bad news: her boyfriend wants to "pause" their relationship, she's got to work at the weird camp for troubled kids instead of at her family's familiar Bible camp, and her mom's long-dormant cancer has returned. Angry and questioning her faith, Lucy tries to adjust, but even as her new camp helps her to redefine acceptance, she uncovers secrets about her family that challenge her understanding. If you love the heartfelt and realistically messy drama of books by Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han, you won't want to miss The Names They Gave Us.
Windfall by Jennifer E. SmithFiction. The lottery ticket is meant as a joke birthday gift from Alice to her best friend (and secret crush) Teddy. They've both been through some tough times -- Alice was orphaned at age nine and now lives with her aunt and uncle, while Teddy's gambling father bankrupted his family before abandoning them -- so it feels almost impossibly lucky when Teddy wins $140 million. At first, it seems like their troubles might be over, but soon Teddy starts changing in unexpected ways. Good fortune is a lot more complicated than it looks in this thoughtful, romantic coming-of-age story.
The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth WeinHistorical Fiction. It's 1938, and as 15-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stewart heads off for one last summer at her grandfather's Scottish estate before it's sold, she's suddenly knocked unconscious. When she wakes up, her memories of what happened are missing, along with her family's heirloom river pearls and a scholar who'd been working at the estate. With help from her friends, Scottish Traveller siblings Euan and Ellen, Julie tries to piece together her memories, and the various mysteries along with them. Though you don't need to have read Code Name Verity to appreciate this prequel, fans will relish this poignant and detail-rich glimpse into Julie's pre-espionage past.
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld; illustrated by Alex PuvillandGraphic Paranormal Fiction. Whenever she ventures inside the spill zone, Addison is careful to stay on her motorbike in case she needs make a fast retreat from unnatural beasts, glowing-eyed corpses, or any of the other remnants of the spill that altered reality in Poughkeepsie, New York. Photographing her devastated hometown for cash is dangerous -- her latest assignment may actually prove fatal -- but Addison risks it in order to finance an escape for herself and her little sister. Sharp angles, unusual colors, and adrenaline-pumping-violence all combine in this eerie, intriguing graphic novel, the 1st in a two-book series.
Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane BurcawMemoir. From the first scene -- in which the author's brother helps him pee into a travel urinal on a minibus -- you'll see that this memoir by blogger and advocate Shane Burcaw is no soft-focus inspirational read. With a combination of "snark, swagger and self-deprecation" (Kirkus Reviews), Shane invites readers into an unflinching look at life with spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative (and potentially fatal) disease. Whether he's sharing his childhood discovery that wheelchairs make great getaway vehicles or describing his young adult exploration of sex and relationships, Shane's gleefully profane, live-to-the-fullest perspective is both thought-provoking and uproariously funny.
Audacity by Melanie CrowderHistorical Novel in Verse. After surviving pogroms and a long, difficult journey, Russian-Jewish immigrant Clara Lemlich arrives in New York City in the early 1900s, where her hope for a better life is swiftly replaced by the reality of crowded tenements and hazardous sweatshop work. Refusing to accept these conditions, Clara bravely defies her father, her bosses, and the odds by educating herself and organizing a labor union, so that the girls and women she works with can demand their rights. Written in page-turning poetry and inspired by a true story, Audacity is a "compelling, powerful and unforgettable" (Kirkus Reviews) tale.
On a Clear Day by Walter Dean MyersScience Fiction. Dahlia Grillo is ready to revolt. In the year 2035, a group of ruthless corporations called the C8 control the world's resources, and even from the safety of her gated community, Dahlia can't ignore the poverty and violence that the C8's greed has caused. Unwilling to be a bystander, Dahlia adds her math and computer skills to a diverse team of young rebels -- including a former rock star, a chess phenom, and an ex-con -- who are dedicated to taking the C8 down. Though it's a slim read with an intensifying pace, this dystopian story will leave you thinking long after the final page.
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve SheinkinNonfiction. What would it take to make a former soldier and government employee go public with top-secret information? For Daniel Ellsberg, it was the discovery that the U.S. government (including several presidents) had lied about their involvement in the Vietnam War. In the suspenseful style of a spy thriller, author Steve Sheinkin describes Ellsberg's life and his 1970s transformation from civil servant to activist deemed "the most dangerous man in America." While the political intrigue in Most Dangerous focuses on the U.S., the questions it raises about honesty and authority are relevant no matter where you live. For further true stories about corruption and exposure, try Matt Doeden's Whistle-Blowers.
Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town by Warren St. JohnNonfiction. After immigrating to the United States from war-torn countries all over the world, many of the boys in Clarkston, Georgia's refugee resettlement center were learning a common language besides English: soccer. Led by their determined coach, Luma Mufleh, the boys formed 3 soccer teams known as the Fugees, and though they didn't have much when it came to equipment and fans, their unusual team spirit began to attract attention. Pairing play-by-play action with the all-too-real struggles of adjusting to life in a new country, this "uplifting underdog story" (Kirkus Reviews) is a winner for sports fans and nonfiction readers alike.
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