YA Historical Fiction

THE SILVER BLONDE by Elizabeth Ross

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Clara is ecstatic when the studio execs promote her to the film editing staff. After putting in her time in the film studio vault, she will now be a real member of the crew. It is her dream come true–a dream that would have been difficult enough for any woman to attain, let alone a German immigrant in 1946. But her triumph turns to horror when she stumbles on the body of film star Babe Bannon’s stand-in.

Everyone has a theory as to who killed poor Connie. After all, Babe has a slew of enemies in the studio and beyond, and it would be easy enough for someone to mistake the stand-in for the star. Same build, same costumes, same silver-blonde hair. But Clara isn’t convinced that Babe was the intended victim. When the cops let her return Connie’s belongings, Clara finds herself swept up in an investigation that endangers her job and brings her back in contact with the Nazi threat her family worked so hard to leave in the past.

I loved this atmospheric noir mystery! Though WWII historical fiction is ubiquitous, this novel takes a fresh look at the War (and post-War) in Hollywood and the subtle, insidious ways that ordinary people get swept up in hateful movements. There are frequent reminders of the many American Nazi sympathizers before Pearl Harbor (including famous figures like Walt Disney and Henry Ford) and the way microaggressions create a culture of discrimination. Though it is set in the past, this novel is (sadly) timely.

Adult fans of historical mysteries: do not let the YA label turn you off to this book! It is for you. Teen fans of historical fiction, noir fiction, and/or Old Hollywood will certainly enjoy the book as well, but THE SILVER BLONDE really exists in the mythical “New Adult” niche. All of the characters are 18+, some of them war veterans, struggling to advance their careers in misogynistic, antisemitic workplaces and reevaluating priorities when good career moves will take them away from family. While these themes aren’t inaccessible to teens, they will resonate most with college-age adults and 20- and 30-somethings. College book clubs will definitely want to check this one out!

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

Amazon.com: The Silver Blonde eBook: Ross, Elizabeth: Kindle Store

AN EMOTION OF GREAT DELIGHT by Tahereh Mafi

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In just a year, Shadi’s life has been upended. Since her brother died, her mother has unraveled. Her father is in the hospital, likely to die, and Shadi can’t even pretend to be sad about it. Her sister only speaks to her to pick a fight. Her best friend hates her. And worst of all, her country has gone to war with Iraq, and though her family doesn’t come from Iraq, because Shadi wears hijab, her entire community seems to blame her for the tragedies and consequences of 9/11. As Shadi shuffles through her life, trying to keep her head down and to keep her grief at bay, her ex-best friend’s brother suddenly reappears in her life, and her delicate balance collapses. She will finally have to confront the traumas in her life and process the heartbreak that preceded it all.

A story of love, family, heartbreak, and forgiveness, this recent-historical novel will appeal to readers of YA contemporary fiction and difficult, gut-wrenching romances. The poetic prose elevates what would already have been a beautiful narrative into something truly exquisite. I highly recommend it to YA readers and book clubs.

UNDER A DANCING STAR by Laura Wood

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Beatrice quite enjoys shocking the vicar. Certainly, it’s more interesting than sitting at her parents’ dinner party, ignoring the fact that they’re trying to marry her off to a boring family friend and not talking about the most interesting development in her life, namely the recent copulation of glowworms by the lake.

But her rudeness at table is the final straw for her parents, who promptly ship her off to stay with her uncle Leo in Italy. Upon arriving, she is surprised to discover that her uncle is hosting a group of artists for the summer, the most infuriating of whom is Ben, a young man with a terrible reputation. But Bea soon realizes she could put Ben’s terrible reputation to good use. They make a pact to conduct a scientific courtship so that Bea can learn about sexual congress in practice, as well as in theory. The one rule is that neither must fall in love with the other. It seems like an easy agreement. But as tension grows among the artists and whispers of Mussolini’s sinister intentions circulate around them, Bea begins to worry that her summer with Ben will be far from easy and scientific.

Although this novel is marketed as “an adaptation of” MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, it is more accurately a prequel, a depiction of the “merry war” between Benedick and Beatrice that Leonato references in Act I, before the action of the play begins. While you won’t find a point for point pairing with MAAN in the plot, the novel is true to the spirit of the characters and the tone of the play–raucously funny but with serious, heart-wrenching undercurrents (in this case, the insidious rise of fascism in 1930s Italy). For this reason, it would work well in a classroom, with the caveat that Ben and Bea do have sex (off-stage) which I know would be an automatic disqualifying factor in some school environments.

Shakespeare parallels aside, there is a lot to love in this book simply as a YA historical fiction. Beatrice is a nuanced, feminist character; Ben has emotional depth; the romance builds authentically; and the historical backdrop has the right balance of lush world-building and thought-provoking social and political commentary. Highly recommend this one for YA historical fiction readers, book clubs, and (where possible) classrooms!

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher to write this review.

Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood: 9780593309575 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS by June Hur

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Hwani hasn’t returned to the island of Jeju in years—not since the Forest Incident, when she and her sister were found near the body of a murdered young woman, an incident which Hwani cannot remember.

But Hwani’s father never forgot. The woman’s murder was the one case Detective Min never solved, and the continued disappearance of young girls from the forest caused him to return to Jeju over the past five years. Until the day he disappeared. Disguised as a boy and clutching her father’s journal, Hwani returns to the village of her birth, determined to find her father and solve the mystery of the stolen girls. But when the mystery brings her to the door of her estranged sister, Hwani discovers that the forest isn’t the only source of secrets, and she begins to wonder if finding the truth of her past will be worth the cost.

Set in 15th century Korea, this historical mystery is suspenseful, atmospheric, and thought-provoking. It gripped me from start to end. Though it is YA, adult historical fiction readers will find lots to love here, too. My favorite book of the year so far, and a must-read for YA mystery or historical fiction fans!

A SPY IN THE HOUSE by Y.S. Lee

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Mary Yang should have been hanged. She would have been–in fact–had the headmistresses of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls not been interested in her promising skills and personality. Because more than an Academy, Miss Scrimshaw’s is a cover for a feminist spy ring called the Agency. And at 17, Mary (now under the pseudonym of Mary Quinn) is ready for her first assignment. She infiltrates the household of wealthy merchant as a companion for his vapid daughter in the hopes of finding clues as to the whereabouts of missing cargo ships. It is supposed to be an easy job for a beginning agent. But Mary and her supervisors didn’t count on the presence of a charismatic (and persistent) young man. Or on the fact that this particular job has a connection to Mary’s long-buried past….

A fun Victorian mystery with crossover appeal for teens and adults, A SPY IN THE HOUSE is the first in THE AGENCY series. Lee has a PhD in Victorian literature and culture, and her credentials show in her meticulous world-building. Recommend to readers who (like me!) enjoy a touch of romance in their mysteries.

LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott and LITTLE WOMEN (2019)

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In 1860s Massachusetts, four sisters and the boy next door grow up from a childhood of wild imagination and adventure to an adulthood of loss, love, and hope.

So I may be the only American white girl who was not a fan of LITTLE WOMEN as a kid. I mean, I liked most of the first half (the original Book One) but I never, never, never forgave Amy for burning Jo’s book. And I got very bored by Book Two, and also annoyed that Laurie married Amy (because again, SHE BURNED JO’S BOOK) and also super-super-annoyed that Jo married some random middle-aged German guy she just met because just because she was kind of lonely….

But I think that Greta Gerwig either read my childhood mind, or was also me as a child, because her adaptation was everything I wanted it to be. Florence Pugh made me like Amy. Genuinely understand and like her. The chaos of every scene must have been a nightmare to film, but it created such a joyful sense of community and family and connection between the four girls. I was mad at Amy for burning Jo’s book, but I was also mad at Jo for not noticing how much Amy looked up to her and wanted to spend time with her. And I loved the two-pronged solution to the “random German guy” problem: first, introducing him at the beginning of the film so he doesn’t come out of nowhere, and second, crafting an ending where Jo morphs with real-life Alcott, who didn’t believe women (including her character Jo) should have to get married (as she didn’t) but was forced to marry Jo off in the end to make it palatable to contemporary readers. In the film, you can take some delight in the unbelievable, silly, head-over-heels, love-at-first-sight ending because the director has hinted that it’s a fantasy and that the real Jo that you’ve known and loved is actually off somewhere, self-confident and content, living her dreams, publishing her books, and creating this fairytale ending for us to enjoy and for her to roll her eyes at.

P.S. I should note that I actually enjoy much more of Book Two as an adult. Especially now that I have kids. Especially that scene where Meg and John are trying to get their son to go to sleep and John ends up passed out in bed with his kid and Alcott remarks that trying to get a two year old to go to sleep is more exhausting than an entire day of work. Yeah. That. I read that part out loud to my husband. It’s somehow both comforting and discouraging to know that in 200 years of parenthood, nothing has changed….

DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland

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Jane would have grown up a slave if not for the War Between the States. Instead, she grew up helping her white mother defend the plantation against the onslaught of the undead who began to rise after the Battle of Gettysburg. Although the agreement to end the War so that North and South could join forces against the undead shamblers included the abolition of slavery, Black people are far from equal—arguably not even free. When Jane was rounded up with the rest of the Black teens on the plantation and sent to a finishing school where she would train to defend wealthy white women from shamblers, she hoped it would be an opportunity to gain some sort of liberty and life experience. Instead, she finds herself hampered by the racism and sexism that pervade her society. But when she and a classmate uncover a deadly conspiracy, they find themselves in grave danger and caught between the desire for self-preservation and the knowledge that if they don’t do something, the entire world could be lost to the undead.

This novel is stunning: well-written, nuanced, thought-provoking, timely, and with a gripping and richly imagined historical sci-fi that is nearly impossible to put down. Jane is a compelling and complex protagonist, and it is a pleasure to root for her against both the zombies and the disturbing social institutions that try to hold her back. For all of its thrilling adventure, it never shies away from a powerful and disturbing look at racism and its impact. I loved every page and highly recommend it to teen and adult fans of sci-fi, dystopia, or even historical fiction.

Coming Soon: YA Fiction in 2019

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A lot of great YA Fiction is slated for release in 2019!  Here’s a preview of some books to expect.  As always, publication dates and summaries are based on the info publishers have made available thus far and may be subject to change.

 

Continuing Series and Sequels

UNDYING by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (1/8)
An Unearthed novel

THE WICKED KING by Holly Black (1/8)
The Folk of the Air, Book 2

YOU WON’T SEE ME COMING by Kristen Orlando (1/8)
Black Angel Chronicles, Book 3

FIRESTARTER by Tara Sim (1/15)
Timekeeper, Book 3

IMPRISON THE SKY by A.C. Gaughen (1/22)
The Elementae series

SONG OF THE DEAD by Sarah Glenn Marsh (1/22)
Reign of the Fallen, Book 2

THE VANISHING STAIR by Maureen Johnson (1/22)
Truly Devious, Book 2

RANSACKER by Emmy Laybourne (1/29)
Sequel to BERSERKER

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE by Tomi Adeyemi (3/5)
Legacy of Orisha, Book 2

THE EVERLASTING ROSE by Dhonielle Clayton (3/5)
The Belles, Book 2

GRAVITY’S PULL by Marinaomi (3/5)
Life on Earth, Book 2

RUSE by Cindy Pon (3/12)
Sequel to WANT

THE FALL OF CRAZY HOUSE by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet (4/8)
Sequel to CRAZY HOUSE

ALL FOR ONE by Melissa de la Cruz (4/9)
Alex and Eliza, Book 3

THE RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (4/9)
A Shadowhunters Novel

FINALE by Stephanie Garber (5/7)
Caraval, Book 3

HER ROYAL HIGHNESS by Rachel Hawkins (5/7)
Royals, Book 2

NEXUS by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings (5/7)
The Andromeda Saga, Book 2

THE CLOCKWORK GHOST by Laura Ruby (5/14)
York, Book 2

SPLINTERED by Jon McGoran (5/14)
Spliced, Book 2

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE by Sandhya Menon (5/14)
Companion to WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI

BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo (5/21)
Follow-up to IF I WAS YOUR GIRL

STORM AND FURY by Jennifer L. Armentrout (6/11)
The Dark Elements, Book 4

#MURDERFUNDING by Gretchen McNeil (8/6)
#MurderTrending, Book 2

 

Fantasy & Sci Fi

THE SIMILARS by Rebecca Hanover (1/1)
When six clones of current and former students enroll at her boarding school, a teen finds herself in the uncomfortable position of interacting with the clone of her dead best friend.

THE GIRL KING by Mimi Yu (1/8)
When their father bypasses succession customs to name a distant male cousin as his heir, two sisters must embrace an ancient magic and combine forces to reclaim the empire as their own.

WHITE STAG by Kara Barbieri (1/8)
After being kidnapped by goblins and pressed into service by the King’s nephew, a girl finds her humanity slipping away as she begins to feel at home with her captors.

THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi (1/15)
An elite secret society enlists a diverse group of desperate people for a dangerous treasure hunt.

PRETTY IN PUNXSUTAWNEY by Laurie Boyle Crompton (1/15)
A teen must relive the first 24 hours as a new senior in high school until she finds her one true love.

STAIN by A.G. Howard (1/15)
After being raised in exile by a witch, a mute princess returns to her kingdom to claim it as her own.

CIRCLE OF SHADOWS by Evelyn Skye (1/22)
Two apprentice warrior-sorceresses engage on a secret spy mission in an enemy camp in an attempt to prove themselves to their superiors.

THE COLD IS IN HER BONES by Peternelle van Arsdale (1/22)
A teen must undertake a dangerous journey when her only friend is possessed and kidnapped by a demon.

COME FIND ME by Megan Miranda (1/29)
Two teens who both survived tragic events and the disappearances of their brothers discover a mysterious radio signal that seems to be summoning them.

A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer (1/29)
A random act of kindness causes a girl with cerebral palsy to be transported to the world of a cursed prince.

KING OF SCARS by Leigh Bardugo (1/29)
To keep his kingdom together, a young king must defeat the dark magic rising inside himself.

THE WILD LANDS by Paul Greci (1/29)
In post-apocalyptic Alaska, two teens must undertake a harrowing journey in order to survive.

STOLEN TIME by Danielle Rollins (2/5)
An early 20th century con artist’s path collides with a late 21st century time traveler.

THE WANING AGE by S.E. Grove (2/5)
Although she’s already reached the age when most people have completely lost their emotions, a teen finds that she still loves her brother so fiercely that she is driven to rescue him when he is kidnapped.

AN AFFAIR OF POISON by Addie Thorley (2/12)
After unknowingly helping her mother assassinate a king, a 17th century teen decides to help a bastard prince reclaim his throne.

CROWN OF FEATHERS by Nicki Pau Preto (2/12)
A war orphan flees her controlling sister, disguising herself as a boy to become a Phoenix Rider.

SPECTACLE by Jodie Lynn Zdrok (2/12)
A young morgue columnists begins having visions of a serial killer’s victims, from the murderer’s perspective, and gets swept up in the hunt to stop him from killing again.

THE AFTERWARD by E.K. Johnston (2/19)
An apprentice knight and a thief find that their country’s “golden age” isn’t quite what it was supposed to be.

TAROT by Marissa Kennerson (2/19)
The bastard daughter of a magician discovers her ability to create new worlds in tapestries.

MIKE by Andrew Noriss (2/26)
A young rising tennis star wonders why he is the only one who is able to see his new, strange friend, Mike.

THE LAST 8 by Laura Pohl (3/5)
One of few human survivors after an alien attack of Earth, a teen joins a group of other survivors but uncovers a dark secret.

THE MANIC PIXIE DREAM BOY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT by Lenore Appelhans (3/5)
Although he knows he is supposed to stay on script, a stock character in a novel goes off-book and finds himself in therapy.

THE OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS by Justin A. Reynolds (3/5)
When his girlfriend dies, a teen finds himself somehow transported back in time to the moment they first met.

BLOODLEAF by Crystal Smith (3/12)
A princess flees the pressures of the crown and practices magic disguised as a commoner.

WHEN THE SKY FELL ON SPLENDOR by Emily Henry (3/12)
After a tragic accident leaves her brother in a coma, a girl and her friends devote themselves to pursuing signs of the supernatural.

BETWEEN THE WATER AND THE WOODS by Simone Smith (3/19)
After using forbidden magic to save her younger brother, a girl must undertake a dangerous journey to warn the king of the dark powers that have been awakened.

GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS by Suzanne Young (3/19)
Teens at an elite boarding school for beautiful, accomplished young women, discover they are being trained to be auctioned off upon their graduation.

INTERNMENT by Samira Ahmed (3/19)
In a future where Muslims have been forced into internment camps, a teen girl starts a rebellion from inside the camp.

NEVER-CONTENTED THINGS by Sarah Porter (3/19)/
After dark faeries entrap two foster-siblings, the teens must fight for their freedom.

THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE by Ally Condie (3/26)
The young captain of a mining ship discovers a traitor among her crew and a routine voyage becomes treacherous.

ONCE AND FUTURE by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta (3/26)
King Arthur is reincarnated as a teen girl and teams up with a teenage Merlin to break the curse of reincarnation.

SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (3/26)
Three teens get swept up in a rebellion against the elite controlling classes that rule their planet.

THE ACCIDENT by Glasko Klein (4/2)
After a serious car accident, a teen gets a mysterious text message offering him the chance to go back in time for a “do-over.”

THE CHEAT by Sarah Richman (4/2)
After failing a test, a teen accepts the offer in a mysterious text message to go back in time and cheat on the test.

DESCENDENT OF THE CRANE by Joan He (4/2)
A princess embraces illegal magic to find her father’s murderer.

THE DEVOURING GRAY by Christine Lynn Herman (4/2)
When one of them accidentally releases an ancient monster, three teens are forced to overcome their differences to save their town from the curse of darkness.

WICKED SAINTS by Emily A. Duncan (4/2)
A prince and a girl with the power to communicate with gods plan to assassinate the king.

LOVE AND OTHER CURSES by Michael Thomas Ford (4/9)
When a teen finds himself falling in love with the new boy in town, he is in danger of suffering from his family’s ancient curse, which might cause the boy he loves to die.

THE RAVEN’S TALE by Cat Winters (4/16)
Young Edgar Poe’s life turns awry when he is haunted by a shadowy muse named Lenore.

THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT by Swati Teerdhala (4/23)
A soldier and a rebel find their loyalties tested when they fall in love.

AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (5/7)
After graduating from the Academy that prepared him for interstellar missions, a teen is assigned to lead a less-than-desirable squad, which includes a cryogenically frozen girl from the past.

CASTLE OF LIES by Kiersi Burkhart (5/7)
An army of invading elves traps an ambitious noblewoman in the castle and threatens her plans to seize power herself.

FOUR DEAD QUEENS by Astrid Scholte (5/7)
A young thief and a boy she robbed become suspects when their country’s four queens are murdered.

NOCTURNA by Maya Motayne (5/7)
A face-shifting thief and a grieving prince join forces to fight an ancient evil.

LAST BUS TO EVERLAND by Sophie Cameron (5/14)
A group of misfits find an entrance to a magical world where their problems seem much smaller, but when the doors to their fantasy world start to close, they must chose where to stay permanently.

THE KINGDOM by Jess Rothenberg (5/28)
An android programmed to work in a fantasy-themed amusement park begins having romantic feelings for one of the park employees.

THE BEHOLDER by Anna Bright (6/4)
The daughter of a political leader is sent by her stepmother on a dangerous journey with strict instructions to find a suitable husband.

BLOOD HEIR by Amelie Wen Zhao (6/4)
After being framed for her father’s murder, a princess turns to the country’s seedy underworld for help tracking down the true murderer.

THE HAUNTED by Danielle Vega (6/4)
When her family moves into a haunted house, a teen must take down the ghosts before they get her first.

WHERE I END AND YOU BEGIN by Preston Norton (6/4)
Two teens who have spent years antagonizing each other, somehow switch bodies and use the opportunity to help each other woo their respective crushes.

STRONGER THAN A BRONZE DRAGON by Mary Fan (6/11)
Although she is dismayed that her village chose her as the bride to convince a powerful ruler to serve as their protector, she decides to track down the thief who stole the other half of the village’s payment: an enchanted jewel.

ALL OF US WITH WINGS by Michelle Ruiz Keil (6/18)
Although she thinks she has escaped the dysfunction of her past and started a new life as a governess, a teen accidentally summons demons that want to seek vengeance on those who wronged her.

THE EVIL QUEEN by Gena Showalter (6/25)
A girl with the ability to commune with mirrors discovers that she is destined to become the Evil Queen in the story of Snow White.

WICKED FOX by Kat Cho (6/25)
An immortal, soul-eating fox-girl falls in love with a human boy.

THE STORM CROW by Kalyn Josephson (7/9)
After a devastating attack on her kingdom, a princess hopes to hatch a magical crow to restore balance to her kingdom and avoid an arranged marriage.

THE MERCIFUL CROW by Margaret Owen (7/30)
When a prince fakes his own death, a young mercy-killer becomes his unlikely protector.

VOYAGES IN THE UNDERWORLD OF ORPHEUS BLACK by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick (8/13)
When his brother is killed in WWII, an artist wounded in the London blitz loses his grip on reality and begins a journey into the Underworld in search of his brother.

 

Historical Fiction

INVENTING VICTORIA by Tonya Bolden (1/8)
In the post-Reconstruction South, a young black woman wrestles with her identity when she is offered the chance to join “high Black society” in the nation’s capital.

ALL IS FAIR by Dee Garretson (1/22)
After receiving an encoded telegram, a young woman escapes an English boarding school to become a World War I spy.

SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY by Rachel Dewoskin (1/22)
When her mother disappears, a Jewish teen and her family flee to Shanghai from Nazi-occupied Poland.

THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY by Hanna Alkaf (2/5)
Separated from her mother in a violent race riot, a teen must fight against her OCD and rely on an unlikely ally to find her way back home.

ANGEL THIEVES by Kathi Appelt (3/12)
A teen who is forced to steal angel grave markers to pay his room and board stumbles upon a connection to a slave mother desperate to get her daughters to safety and a caged ocelot starving near the bayou.

SHERWOOD by Meagan Spooner (3/19)
After Robin Hood’s death, Maid Marian takes on his dangerous mission.

A PLACE FOR WOLVES by Kosoko Jackson (4/2)
Two teen boys fall in love as they attempt to fight their way back to their families during a terrifying war in Kosovo.

WHITE ROSE by Kip Wilson (4/2)
A girl and her friends begin resisting the Nazi regime by circulating anti-Nazi propaganda.

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF TRUE by Susan Kaplan Carlton (4/9)
A Jewish girl tries to hide her religion when her family moves to the deep South and encounters prejudice and hate crimes.

PLANET EARTH IS BLUE by Nicole Panteleakos (5/14)
A nonverbal girl struggles in her new foster home without her older sister, but hopes to see her again for the launch of the Challenger space shuttle, with which they are both obsessed.

 

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

 DEATH PREFERS BLONDES by Caleb Roehrig (1/29)
A young socialite and her drag queen friends moonlight as cat burglars and find their lives in grave danger.

THE LONELY DEAD by April Henry (1/29)
A teen who can speak to ghosts becomes a suspect in her best friend’s murder and must track down the real killer.

THE DECEIVERS by Kristen Simmons (2/5)
After being accepted to an elite school, a girl gets swept up in the administration’s secret agenda to con the city’s officials.

IF YOU’RE OUT THERE by Katy Lautzenheiser (3/5)
When her best friend moves across the country, bizarre social media posts lead a teen to believe that her friend may be being held against her will.

KILLING NOVEMBER by Adriana Mather (3/26)
A teen becomes a suspect in the murder of a fellow student at an elite boarding school for spies and assassins.

THE LOST by Natasha Preston (4/2)
Two teens trying to figure out what happened to the girls who have disappeared in their town find themselves imprisoned with a series of challenges designed to keep them from escaping.

KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF by Tom Ryan (5/7)
After losing his best friend, a teen gets wrapped up in the hunt for the serial killer who murdered him.

LAST THINGS by Jacqueline West (5/7)
When strange things start happening in the woods, a metal band performer finds himself in danger and a teen fan claims to be able to protect him.

THE LOVELY AND THE LOST by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (5/7)
A teen who spent her childhood alone, lost in the woods, is enlisted to help search the wilderness for another missing child and begins to uncover some unsettling truths about her adoptive family.

THE THINGS SHE’S SEEN by Ambelin and Ezekial Kwaymullina (5/14)
A dead teen tries to help her detective father solve the mystery of another girl’s death.

ALL EYES ON US by Kit Frick (6/4)
When an anonymous stalker begins texting them, a secretly gay teen and the actual girlfriend of her fake boyfriend team up to find out who is threatening them and why.

WHEN WE WERE LOST by Kevin Wignall (6/4)
After their plane crashes in the jungles of Costa Rica, a small group of teen survivors fight for their lives.

 

Realistic Fiction

THE ME I MEANT TO BE by Sophie Jordan (1/1)
A teen finds herself caught between a solemn pact and her heart when she falls in love with her best friend’s ex, whom she promised never to date.

MATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Tiana Smith (1/8)
Even though her best friend is a match-making expert, a teen tries to set up her own date for Homecoming but winds up in a complicated love triangle.

A SKY FOR US ALONE by Kristin Russell (1/8)
A teen searching for answers after his brother’s death must face some hard truths about his small hometown, even as he finds a kindred spirit and falls in love.

WHEN THE TRUTH UNRAVELS by RuthAnne Snow (1/8)
When a suicidal teen goes missing after prom, her three best friends try to find her while confronting struggles of their own.

96 WORDS FOR LOVE by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash (1/15)
Overwhelmed by her upcoming transition from high school to college, a teen travels to India on a soul-searching journey.

FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN by Emma Mills (1/15)
In an attempt to get funding for a marching band trip, a teen tries to convince her small town’s only famous resident, a country singer, to come back and headline a fundraiser.

LET’S GO SWIMMING ON DOOMSDAY by Natalie C. Anderson (1/15)
In order to save his family from jihadists, a boy is forced to become a child soldier and attempts to mitigate the horrors he experiences by undertaking the dangerous role of a double agent for the Americans.

OUR YEAR OF MAYBE by Rachel Lynn Solomon (1/15)
After a teen donates a kidney to her best friend (and secret crush), their relationship becomes unexpectedly complicated.

THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU, AND ME by Olivia Hinebaugh (1/22)
A straight-laced teen takes a stand against abstinence-only education, handing out sex information and contraception in the bathroom of her high school.

THE FIELD GUIDE TO THE NORTH AMERICAN TEENAGER by Ben Phillipe (1/22)
A Canadian teen tries not to get too involved in the complex social scene at his new Texas high school.

ONLY A BREATH APART by Katie McGarry (1/22)
To escape her dark home life, a teen must rekindle a friendship with the former best friend who broke her heart.

THE LOVE AND LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI by Sabina Kahn (1/29)
When a teen’s conservative Muslim parents discover that she is gay, they derail her future by sending her to Bangladesh where she must struggle to stay true to her identity.

A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS by Alyssa Sheinmel (2/5)
Although she believes her confinement in the mental institution is a mistake, a teen must confront the terrible events that led the doctor and the judge to send her there.

FLIGHT OF A STARLING by Lisa Heathfield (2/5)
Two circus-performer sisters find their relationship strained when one sister enters into a forbidden romance with a non-circus boy.

NO ONE HERE IS LONELY by Sarah Everett (2/5)
After her best friend and her crush die in a car crash, a teen turns to her late crush’s online persona for comfort.

WATCH US RISE by Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan (2/12)
Two young activists start a Women’s Rights Club, despite the opposition they face from their school administration and others in their community.

THE YEAR I DIDN’T EAT by Samuel Pollen (2/12)
As a boy struggles with anorexia, his family life begins to fall apart and someone discovers his secret journal.

THE ART OF LOSING by Lizzy Mason (2/19)
A teen finds out that her boyfriend has been hooking up with her younger sister, but is consumed by guilt after her sister ends up in a coma as a result of a drunk driving accident.

THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS by Bill Konigsburg (2/26)
Two teen boys, each with a secret to keep, fall in love over an unusual summer.

RAYNE AND DELILAH’S MIDNIGHT MATINEE by Jeff Zentner (2/26)
Two teens try to deal with difficult decisions their senior year while hosting a local TV show with B-Rated horror movies.

SORRY, NOT SORRY by Jaime Reed (2/26)
A teen faces a difficult decision when her former best friend needs a kidney donation.

BARELY MISSING EVERYTHING by Matt Mendez (3/5)
Two Latino teens struggle to realize their dreams despite the obstacles posed by the endemic racism of the culture around them.

CHICKEN GIRL by Heather T. Smith (3/5)
A teen tries to regain her optimism after experiencing online bullying.

FAT ANGIE: REBEL GIRL REVOLUTION by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo (3/5)
After her sister is killed in Iraq, an LGBT teen decides to escape her school bullies and intolerant mother by going on a road trip inspired by her sister’s last letter.

FIELD NOTES ON LOVE by Jennifer E. Smith (3/5)
After his girlfriend dumps him, a teen places an ad looking for a stranger to take her place on the road trip they had planned.

THE ISLAND by D.A. Graham (3/5)
A boy jumps at the chance to be on an island survival reality show until he realizes he is in way over his head.

THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY by Laura Steven (3/8)
When private photos of her appear on a slut-shaming website, an aspiring comedian takes a stand against sexism.

A COLD DAY IN THE SUN by Sara Biren (3/12)
The only girl on the ice hockey team becomes the center of attention when the team is featured on TV.

HEROINE by Mindy McGinnis (3/12)
After a devastating accident, a teen athlete struggles with a growing addiction to prescription pain killers.

IZZY + TRISTAN by Shannon Dunlap (3/12)
Two teens from different backgrounds fall in love and embark on an epic romance.

THE SOUND OF DROWNING by Katherine Fleet (3/12)
Although she is desperate to stay in her relationship with her first love (even though it must stay a secret) a teen falls for the new guy in her small OBX town.

TIN HEART by Shivaun Plozza (3/12)
After receiving a life-saving heart transplant, a girl struggles with her identity in her second-chance life.

DIG by A.S. King (3/26)
Five teens struggle to make ends meet while trying to live up to their wealthy grandparents’ expectations.

XL by Scott Brown (3/26)
A short teen who has always longed to be tall finds his relationships strained when he has an unexpected and extreme growth spurt.

THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE by Ria Voros (4/2)
After her famous mother’s mysterious disappearance, a teen starts a new friendship and begins to uncover secrets about her mother’s past.

EVERY MOMENT AFTER by Joseph Moldover (4/5)
Two teens are still struggling with grief and guilt from a horrifying incident of gun violence in their elementary school years.

HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE DARK by Kathleen Glasgow (4/9)
A teen’s world turns dark with grief after her mother dies.

THIS BOOK IS NOT YET RATED by Peter Bognanni (4/9)
When their beloved movie theater is slated for destruction, one teen and his fellow cinema employees hatch a plan to save it.

THE MEANING OF BIRDS by Jaye Robin Brown (4/16)
When her first girlfriend dies, a teen finds herself struggling to process her grief without the help of her love.

IF I’M BEING HONEST by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (4/23)
A teen with a justified reputation for being horribly mean tries to change herself in order to get her crush to like her.

BRIEF CHRONICLE OF ANOTHER STUPID HEARTBREAK by Adi Alsaid (4/30)
A teen advice columnist who writes an eMag about love fears that she can’t go on with her writing when she has her own heart broken.

HOW TO BE LUMINOUS by Harriet Reuter Hapgood (4/30)
When her eccentric single mother disappears, a budding artist finds herself only able to see the world in monochrome as she processes her grief.

DEPOSING NATHAN by Zack Smedley (5/7)
A teen must come to terms with his complicated relationship with his best friend when he is called to testify against him in court.

HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES by Julie Buxbaum (5/7)
Two teens whose lives were each affected by the tragedy of 9/11 meet at a summer camp and have a chance to help one another heal.

LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME by Mariko Tamaki (5/7)
When a girl begins to question whether her on-again-off-again relationship with her seemingly perfect girlfriend is healthy.

SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW by Maurene Goo (5/7)
A K-pop star falls in love with a tabloid reporter over a midnight cheeseburger.

WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo (5/7)
A high school student balances her aspirations for becoming a chef with her need to care for her young daughter.

DON’T DATE ROSA SANTOS by Nina Moreno (5/14)
When she falls in love for the first time, a teen wonders if there is anything to the stories her grandmother tells about the family curse that destroys all the Santos women’s relationships.

AMELIA WESTLAKE WAS NEVER HERE by Erin Gough (5/21)
Two teen girls begin a secret campaign to expose their swim coach’s pattern of sexual harassment, and in the process they fall in love with each other.

BRIGHT BURNING STARS by A.K. Small (5/21)
A fierce competition and mutual love interest strains the friendship of two dancers at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

GOING OFF-SCRIPT by Jen Wilde (5/21)
A TV writing intern is furious when the show’s head writer steals her script and rewrites her lesbian character as straight.

SYMPTOMS OF A HEARTACHE by Sona Charaipotra (5/21)
After graduating from med school at age 16, a girl struggles with her career as a doctor, especially after she falls in love with a patient.

THE VOICE IN MY HEAD by Dana L. Davis (5/28)
When her terminally ill sister decides to pursue medically assisted suicide, a teen hears a voice in her head compelling her on an insane road trip that the voice claims will save her sister’s life.

IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY by Claire Kann (6/4)
A girl is dismayed when she is crowned Summer Queen and swept up in a series of publicity obligations, including the expectation that she’ll fall for the Summer King.

THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT by Misa Sugiura (6/4)
A teen finds a cause to fight for when her mom tries to sell the family business to the same family who exploited her grandparents during the Japanese Internment during WWII.

TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL by Aminah Mae Safi (6/11)
Two teen girls from different social classes who hate each other find themselves falling in love.

SOMETHING LIKE GRAVITY by Amber Smith (6/18)
A transgender boy and a girl grieving the loss of her sister find their paths colliding after a near-fatal car crash.

THE VIRTURE OF SIN by Shannon Schuren (6/25)
With the prospect of being forced to marry someone against her will, a teen finally finds the courage to try to break out of the cult in which she lives.

WE WALKED THE SKY by Lisa Fiedler (7/2)
Although her grandmother found freedom from her dysfunction family when she joined the circus, her granddaughter’s life is turned upside down when she is forced to leave it so that her mom can pursue a normal job.

PAST PERFECT LIFE by Elizabeth Eulberg (7/9)
When a teen sends in her college applications she discovers that she has been living her life under an assumed identity.

THE SHORTEST DISTANCE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE by Sandy Hall (7/9)
A new college freshman expects to start life with a clean slate, but is dismayed when a boy she hated in high school winds up in most of her classes.

THE UNDOING OF THISTLE TATE by Katelyn Detweiler (7/23)
When a famous bestselling teen novelist falls in love, she is tortured by the secret she keeps from everyone, including the boy she loves—that she didn’t really write her books.

TRULY, MADLY, ROYALLY by Debbie Rigaud (7/30)
An American teen’s life gets complicated when she falls in love with a European prince.

HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Katy Upperman (8/6)
After her sister’s death, a teen’s life falls apart and she begins to wonder if her sister is haunting her.

PUMPKINHEADS by Rainbow Rowell (8/27)
Two friends who only see each other one season a year when working at a pumpkin patch decide to make their last season together a memorable one.

 

 

HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE by Meredith Miller

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Joan has known Daisy’s brother was getting involved in something dark ever since the moment he came home covered in someone else’s blood. But when she tries to talk to Daisy about it, he brushes her off. Daisy knows his brother is somehow involved in the angel dust that has been making its way around the school, but how can he talk to Joan about it? She seems to have her own secrets these days, too. The biology teacher, for example. Secrets and lies push the friends further and further apart as violence and tragedy become familiar in their town.

A thread of mystery and suspense runs through this novel which is otherwise a character study and profile of a struggling community. The author paints a violent and corrupt world in the most beautiful poetic language (occasionally at the expense of clarity). I would recommend this novel to fans of literary historical or realistic fiction.

THE ARRIVAL by Shaun Tan

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A man travels to a foreign country, seeking a better life for his family. He arrives in a strange new land with bizarre language, buildings, and creatures. Even food is unrecognizable. As he begins to find his way, he encounters immigrants from other places, each with a different story of how they came to this unfamiliar land. By the time his wife and daughter are able to join him, he is ready to help other new arrivals navigate the world he once found so unnavigable himself.

Though its pages are few, this wordless graphic novel contains a wealth of meaning in its detailed and imaginative illustrations. The artist has captured the alien feeling of being isolated in a new place through fantastical cityscapes, while moving his character through a chain of interactions with other immigrants that builds a sense of community and universality around the immigrant experience. This beautiful story is not one to rush through. I’d recommend it to teens and adults who enjoy graphic novels and character-driven historical fiction.