The Electric Kingdom by David ArnoldWelcome to: the near-future United States, where the deadly Fly Flu has wiped out most of the population.
What happens: 18-year-old Nico and 12-year-old Kit are forced together as they search for a better life.
Why you might like it: While it has strong world-building as dystopian fiction fans might hope, The Electric Kingdom is also complex and slow-burning with well-developed characters.
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline BoulleyStarring: Daunis Fontaine, an 18-year-old girl who has roots in the local Ojibwe reservation and in a long line of French fur traders. Daunis is brave, imperfect, and curious as she digs for information about the mysterious person selling meth to members of her community.
Why you should read it: Without shying away from complex topics like grief, citizenship, drugs, and identity, author Angeline Boulley creates a thoughtful and layered thriller.
Can't Stop Won't Stop: A Hip-Hop History by Jeff Chang and Dave "Davey D" CookWhat it is: a history of hip-hop -- and so much more. This book is an updated and retooled version of a 2005 book by the same name.
Why it matters: Hip-hop has been a defining cultural movement for more than 50 years, up to and including its role in the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests. This engaging book traces that movement and illustrates the social and political influence of hip-hop through the ages.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal MaldonadoWhat it's about: Classic rom-com tropes get an update in this story about a young woman trying to balance many identities, friendship, her mother’s body-shaming, and first love.
Why you might like it: Anyone who’s ever struggled with feeling different will relate to Charlie Vega’s life as a fat brown girl in a white Connecticut town.
Who it's for: Author Crystal Maldonado says this book is “for all who are still learning to be kind to themselves, for those who dream.”
Like Home by Louisa OnoméStarring: 16-year-old Chinelo “Nelo” Agu and Kate Tran, two best friends on a mission to save their neighborhood from gentrification and find their places in the world.
For fans of: If you like books by Angie Thomas and Elizabeth Acevedo, you’ll enjoy this inclusive coming-of-age story centered on friendship, community, and what it means to call a place “home.”
For Fans of Leigh Bardugo
The Silvered Serpents by Roshani ChokshiWhat it’s about: Secrets. Murder. Romance. An ancient artifact and a crew of criminals with dark and twisty links to one another.
Why you might like it: Though this sequel to The Gilded Wolves focuses primarily on one protagonist, he is surrounded by a diverse cast of characters that each bring something unique to the table.
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica CluessWhat it's about: Henrietta Howel is invited to train as a sorcerer in a magical, monster-ridden, alternative version of Victorian London -- with all the glamor and secrets that entails.
Reviewers say: This fantastical novel “is a marvelous mash-up of Dickens, the students-with-magical-powers genre, and alt-history” (Booklist).
Series alert: Don't miss the sequel, A Poison Dark and Drowning.
Courting Darkness by Robin LaFeversWhat it is: the 2nd in a new series set in the same 15th-century universe as His Fair Assassin. This time, the perspective alternates between that of Sybella and Genevieve, two trained assassins working from within the French court.
Why you might like it: Both Sybella and Genevieve are icons of strength who struggle to make choices, and to ultimately understand themselves.
The Crown's Game by Evelyn SkyeIntroducing: Vika Andreyeva and Nikolai Karimov, two sorcerers dueling to win the coveted role of Imperial Enchanter in their native Russia.
The twist: Whoever wins the duel becomes Imperial Enchanter. Whoever loses is sentenced to death.
Read it for: action-packed, operatic fiction, a shocking climax, and maybe a little romance.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini TaylorWelcome to: a world where cities lose their names, where a quiet librarian can become a hero, and where the aftermath of war masks devastating secrets.
What's inside: Laini Taylor’s lush writing, intricate plots, carefully crafted characters, and penchant for star-crossed romance show up in full color in this 1st volume of two, followed by Muse of Nightmares.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!