What YA reading?
Laura’s Picks of 2020
Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower by Damian Duffy
In this graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, the award-winning team behind Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation , the author portrays a searing vision of America's future. In the year 2024, the country is marred by unattended environmental and economic crises that lead to social chaos. Lauren Olamina, a preacher's daughter living in Los Angeles, is protected from danger by the walls of her gated community. However, in a night of fire and death, what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny . . . and the birth of a new faith.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed mid-western town. But it’s okay-- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down... until she’s reminded of her schools scholarship for prom King and Queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. Available on cloudLibrary, Overdrive/Libby, & Hoopla.
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysterious town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity. Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today's Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history, and magic into a compelling tale that will keep listeners spellbound. Available on cloudLibrary & Hoopla.
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Available on cloudLibrary & Overdrive/Libby.
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
Meet Jared Martin: sixteen-year-old pot cookie dealer, smoker, drinker and son with the scariest mom ever. But Jared's the pot dealer with a heart of gold--really. Compassionate, caring, and nurturing by nature, Jared's determined to help hold his family together--whether that means supporting his dad's new family with the proceeds from his baking or caring for his elderly neighbours. But when it comes to being cared and loved, Jared knows he can't rely on his family. His only source of love and support was his flatulent pit bull Baby, but she's dead. And then there's the talking ravens and the black outs and his grandmother's perpetual suspicion that he is not human, but the son of a trickster.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
Brooklyn, 1998. Biggie Smalls was right: Things done changed. But that doesn't mean that Quadir and Jarrell are cool letting their best friend Steph's music lie forgotten under his bed after he's murdered--not when his rhymes could turn any Bed Stuy corner into a party.
With the help of Steph's younger sister Jasmine, they come up with a plan to promote Steph's music under a new rap name: the Architect. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph's talent from beyond the grave.
As the pressure of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only, each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph's fame, they need to decide what they stand for or lose all that they've worked so hard to hold on to--including each other. Available on hoopla.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place," he said, "where learning is a game."
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym "Truly, Devious." It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester.
But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. Available on hoopla, Overdrive/Libby, & cloudLibrary.
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
Jessica Wong is the kind of girl nobody notices. She's also the kind of girl who sees everything. There's no one better at overlooking Jess than her best friend, Angie. Jess can live without Angie knowing her real feelings, just so long as they're best friends. But when Angie meets Margot, Jess recognizes that things will never be the same. Worse still, Margot is one of the rare people who sees exactly how Jess feels about Angie. As Angie falls hard for Margot and gets caught up with Margot's wealthy friends, Jess's life begins to fall apart. If she isn't Angie's best friend, what is she?
Then, at a party, surrounded by Margot's friends, Jess finally breaks down and starts revealing a few of the secrets she knows. Not everyone in the party can handle what Jess reveals, and before the sun rises, someone's dead. Available on Overdrive/Libby.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true. Available on Overdrive/Libby & cloudLibrary.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test. Available on Overdrive/Libby & cloudLibrary.
Hispanic Heritage books
YA Hispanic Heritage Picks
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people...
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance--and Papi's secrets--the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. Available on Overdrive/Libby.
The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves
David Espinoza is tired of being messed with. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully's slap goes viral at the end of junior year, David vows to use the summer to bulk up-- do what it takes to become a man--and wow everyone when school starts again the fall. Soon David is spending all his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that's full of bodybuilders. Frustrated with his slow progress, his life eventually becomes all about his muscle gains. As it says on the Iron Life wall, What does not kill me makes me stronger. As David falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world, pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he'll have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything. Available on hoopla.
We Didn't Ask for This by Adi Alsaid
Every year, lock-in night changes lives. This year, it might just change the world. Central International School's annual lock-in is legendary -- and for six students, this year's lock-in is the answer to their dreams. The chance to finally win the contest. Kiss the guy. Make a friend. Become the star of a story that will be passed down from student to student for years to come. But then a group of students, led by Marisa Cuevas, stage an eco-protest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met. While some students rally to the cause, others are devastated as they watch their plans fall apart. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide just how far she'll go to attain them. Available on cloudLibrary.
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears . . . Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on. With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one -- and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come. Available on hoopla.
YA Graphic Novels
Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower by Damian Duffy
In this graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower, by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, the award-winning team behind the #1 bestseller Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, the author portrays a searing vision of America's future. In the year 2024, the country is marred by unattended environmental and economic crises that lead to social chaos. Lauren Olamina, a preacher's daughter living in Los Angeles, is protected from danger by the walls of her gated community. However, in a night of fire and death, what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny . . . and the birth of a new faith.
Dancing at the Pity Party: a Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder
From before her mother's first oncology appointment through the stages of her cancer to the funeral, sitting shiva, and afterward, when she must try to make sense of her life as a motherless daughter, Tyler Feder tells her story in this graphic novel that is full of piercing--but also often funny--details. She shares the important post-death firsts, such as celebrating holidays without her mom, the utter despair of cleaning out her mom's closet, ending old traditions and starting new ones, and the sting of having the "I've got to tell Mom about this" instinct and not being able to act on it. This memoir, bracingly candid and sweetly humorous, is for anyone struggling with loss who just wants someone to get it .
March: Book One by John Lewis
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.
Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Available on Overdrive/Libby & hoopla.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
Two timelines. Second chances. One love. A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love--only to learn the pain of loss. With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age: Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride--or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia--the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian's secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances--one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone's secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Available on Overdrive/Libby.
Chilling reads for hot days
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to "Our Neighbor's House"--though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in "A Lady's Hands Are Cold." You might try to figure out what is haunting "My Friend Janna," or discover that your brother's fiancée may not be what she seems in "The Nesting Place." And of course you must revisit the horror of "His Face All Red," the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page.
Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder--much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing--not even a smear of blood--to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania--derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.
But there are also opportunities--and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society's expectations. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
Who are the Sawkill Girls? Marion: The newbie. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she's sure she'll never find. Zoey: The pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she's broken--or maybe everyone else is. Val: The queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives; a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight...until now.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.
Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.
But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
New YA releases!
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming...human or demon. Princess or monster. Available on cloudLibrary.
Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti
Sydney Reilly has a bad feeling about going home to San Francisco before she even gets on the plane. How could she not? Her mother is Lila Shore-- the Lila Shore--a film star who prizes her beauty and male attention above all else...certainly above her daughter.
But Sydney’s worries multiply when she discovers that Lila is involved with the dangerous Jake, an art dealer with shady connections. Jake loves all beautiful objects, and Syndey can feel his eyes on her whenever he’s around. And he’s not the only one. Sydney is starting to attract attention--good and bad--wherever she goes: from sweet, handsome Nicco Ricci, from the unsettling construction worker next door, and even from Lila. Behaviors that once seemed like misunderstandings begin to feel like threats as the summer grows longer and hotter.
It’s unnerving, how beauty is complicated, and objects have histories, and you can be looked at without ever being seen. But real danger, crimes of passion, the kind of stuff where someone gets killed--it only mostly happens in the movies, Sydney is sure. Until the night something life-changing happens on the stairs that lead to the beach. A thrilling night that goes suddenly very wrong. When loyalties are called into question. And when Sydney learns a terrible truth: beautiful objects can break. Available on cloudLibrary.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
Marva was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election? Duke is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight. Only problem? Duke can’t vote. When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. Romantic and triumphant, The Voting Booth is proof that you can’t sit around waiting for the world to change... but some things are just meant to be. Available on Hoopla & cloudLibrary.
One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
The highly anticipated, #1 New York Times bestselling sequel to One of Us Is Lying ! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.
Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.
A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.
This time it’s not an app, though--it’s a game.
Truth or Dare.
Phoebe ’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.
Then comes Maeve and she should know better--always choose the dare.
But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.
Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules. Available on RBDigital, Overdrive/Libby, & cloudLibrary.
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Pulga has his dreams.
Chico has his grief.
Pequeña has her pride.
And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the trio knows they have no choice but to run: from their country, from their families, from their beloved home.
Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, they follow the route of La Bestia, the perilous train system that might deliver them to a better life--if they are lucky enough to survive the journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and desperation drumming through their hearts, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know there is no turning back, despite the unknown that awaits them. And the darkness that seems to follow wherever they go. Available on Hoopla.
Pride doesn’t end in June
Summer Blue Bird by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of-she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea. Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the "boys next door"-a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago-Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish. Aching, powerful, and unflinchingly honest, Summer Bird Blue explores big truths about insurmountable grief, unconditional love, and how to forgive even when it feels impossible. Available on Hoopla & RBdigital.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question --How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? Available on cloudLibrary.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true? Available on Hoopla & cloudLibrary.
The Love and Lies of Ruhksana Ali by Sabina Khan
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn’t so absolute. Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana’s mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her. Devastated and confused, Rukhsana’s parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother’s old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love. Available on Hoopla.
The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn’t want to think about, ever.
Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won’t like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he’s the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.
Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what’s considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.
Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they’re willing to risk -- to get the thing they want the most. Available on Hoopla & cloudLibrary.
Magical Worlds that Aren’t Harry Potter
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. Available on RBDigital, Hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
Nita is just looking for an escape from her bullies when she stumbles upon an odd book in the library: So You Want to Be a Wizard. Nita at first thinks it’s a joke. But once she reads the mysterious book, an alternate universe of Manhattan reveals itself to Nita and her friend Kit. The pair embark on a terrifying adventure where real life and magic intertwine and they find themselves entrenched in a battle between good and evil.
Join Nita and Kit on their magical adventures in the Young Wizards starter pack--dive deep into the ocean of Deep Wizardry where whales are wizards and ancient rituals are performed by sharks and dolphins. From the sea to the sky, join the dynamic duo on their third and most frightening challenge yet: Nita’s little sister, Dairine. Not only is she too smart for a ten-year-old, but she just became a wizard with almost limitless power. Kit and Nita end up chasing her across the galaxy before she gets into trouble so deep no one can rescue her. Available on Hoopla.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man to brave the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed compassion, his father would brutally punish him. War is brewing in Arawiya, and when Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover an artifact that can restore magic and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs--and the prize they seek poses a threat greater than either can imagine. Set in a rich world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a story of conquering fear and taking identity into your own hands. Available on Hoopla.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing--she is a "free agent" with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too? Available on RBDigital, Hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right. Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here--it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. Available on RBDigital, Overdrive/Libby, Hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
Understanding & Resisting Oppression (a very brief primer)
A Few Red Drops by Claire Hartfield
On a hot day in July 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the "white" beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary accounts as it traces the roots of the explosion that had been building for decades in race relations, politics, business, and clashes of culture. Archival photos and prints, source notes, bibliography, index. Available on hoopla & Overdrive/Libby.
How I Resist by Maureen Johnson
Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard - but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help? How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Shaina Taub, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson and Lambda-winning novelist Tim Federle. In How I Resist, readers will find hope and support through voices that are at turns personal, funny, irreverent, and instructive. Not just for a young adult audience, this incredibly impactful collection will appeal to readers of all ages who are feeling adrift and looking for guidance. How I Resist is the kind of book people will be discussing for years to come and a staple on bookshelves for generations. Available on hoopla.
The Stonewall Riots by Gayle E. Pitman
This book is about the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Riots are attributed as the spark that ignited the LGBTQ+ movement. The author describes American gay history leading up to the Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, and includes her interviews of people involved or witnesses, including a woman who was ten at the time. Profusely illustrated, the book includes contemporary photos, newspaper clippings, and other period objects. A timely and necessary read, The Stonewall Riots helps readers to understand the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ movement. Available on hoopla.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. Available on Overdrive/Libby.
Steal This Country by Alexandra Styron
Inspired by Abbie Hoffman’s radical classic, Steal This Book, author Alexandra Styron’s call for resistance and citizen activism will clearly be heard by young people who don’t accept "it is what it is," who want to make sure everybody gets an equal piece of the American pie, and who know that the future of the planet is now.
Styron’s lively primer on-how-to-make a difference opens with a personal essay and a historic look at activism and civil disobedience in America. That’s followed by thematic chapters on key issues such as climate change, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and religious understanding. Each chapter is introduced by an original full page comic and includes a summary of key questions, interviews with movers and shakers--from celebrities to youth activists--and spotlights on progressive organizations. A substantive section of how-to advice starts with an explanation of why activism matters and continues with practical information about group activities such as organizing, marching, rallying, and petitioning and individual actions like voting with your wallet, volunteering, talking with relatives with different viewpoints, and using social activism to get out a progressive message. Available on hoopla & RBDigital.
Aluta by Adwoa Badoe
For 18-year-old Charlotte, university life is better than she’d ever dreamed -- a sophisticated and generous roommate, the camaraderie of dorm living, parties, clubs and boyfriends. Most of all, Charlotte is exposed to new ideas, and in 1981 Ghana, this may be the most exciting - and most dangerous -- adventure of all. At first Charlotte basks in her wonderful new freedom, especially being out of the watchful eye of her controlling and opinionated father. She suddenly finds herself with no shortage of male attention, including her charismatic political science professor, fellow student activist Banahene, and Asare, a wealthy oil broker who invites Charlotte to travel with him and showers her with expensive gifts, including a coveted passport. But Ghana is fraught with a history of conflict. And in the middle of her freshman year, the government is overthrown, and three judges are abducted and murdered. As political forces try to mobilize students to advance their own agendas, Charlotte is drawn into the world of student politics. She’s good at it, she’s impassioned, and she’s in love with Banahene. As she is on her way to a meeting, Charlotte is picked up by national security, and her worst nightmares come true. And in the end, she must make a difficult and complicated decision about whether to leave her education, and her beloved Ghana, behind. Available on hoopla.
The House of One Thousand Eyes by Michelle Barker
Who can Lena trust to help her find out the truth? Life in East Germany in the early 1980s is not easy for most people, but for Lena, it’s particularly hard. After the death of her parents in a factory explosion and time spent in a psychiatric hospital recovering from the trauma, she is sent to live with her stern aunt, a devoted member of the ruling Communist Party. Visits with her beloved Uncle Erich, a best-selling author, are her only respite. But one night, her uncle disappears without a trace. Gone also are all his belongings, his books, and even his birth records. Lena is desperate to know what happened to him, but it’s as if he never existed. The worst thing, however, is that she cannot discuss her uncle or her attempts to find him with anyone, not even her best friends. There are government spies everywhere. But Lena is unafraid and refuses to give up her search, regardless of the consequences. Available on hoopla.
Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton
Follows Ricky from 1987-1991, and Samuel in 2006, as they are abducted to serve as child-soldiers in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Includes historical notes and information about Friends of Orphans, an organization founded by Ricky Richard Anywar, on whose life the story is partly based. Available on hoopla.
Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean
Every time a lad went fowling on the stacs, he came home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is. Every summer Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home. Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they’ve been abandoned--cold, starving and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive such a forsaken place of stone and sea? This is an extraordinary story of fortitude, endurance, tragedy and survival, set against an unforgettable backdrop of savage beauty. Available on RBDigital, Libby, & cloudLibrary.
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost. Available on Libby & cloudLibrary.
Laugh Out Loud Reads
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.
The Trouble in Me by Jack Gantos
This fiery autobiographical novel captures a pivotal week or two in the life of fourteen-year-old Jack Gantos, as the author reveals the moment he began to slide off track as a kid who in just a few years would find himself locked up in a federal penitentiary for the crimes portrayed in the memoir Hole in My Life. Set in the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood of his family’s latest rental home,The Trouble in Me opens with an explosive encounter in which Jack first meets his awesomely rebellious older neighbor, Gary Pagoda, just back from juvie for car theft. Instantly mesmerized, Jack decides he will do whatever it takes to be like Gary. As a follower, Jack is eager to leave his old self behind, and desperate for whatever crazy, hilarious, frightening thing might happen next. But he may not be as ready as he thinks when the trouble in him comes blazing to life.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A Black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs. Yet against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris...like loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making. But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life--along with the people who have found their way into his heart.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right. Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here--it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Truth is Stranger Than Fiction (page-turning non-fiction)
Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson delivers a brilliant and riveting account of the Siege of Leningrad and the role played by Russian composer Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony. In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history-almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943-1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm; they ate family pets and-eventually-one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens-the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory. Available on hoopla.
Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman
The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers’ lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend--Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of the Van Gogh brothers. Available on hoopla.
Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin
The action begins in October of 1875, as Secret Service agents raid the Fulton, Illinois, workshop of master counterfeiter Ben Boyd. Soon after Boyd is hauled off to prison, members of his counterfeiting ring gather in the back room of a smoky Chicago saloon to discuss how to spring their ringleader. Their plan: grab Lincoln’s body from its Springfield tomb, stash it in the sand dunes near Lake Michigan, and demand, as a ransom, the release of Ben Boyd --and $200,000 in cash. From here, the action alternates between the conspirators, the Secret Service agents on their trail, and the undercover agent moving back and forth between the two groups. Along the way readers get glimpses into the inner workings of counterfeiting, grave robbing, detective work, and the early days of the Secret Service. The plot moves toward a wild climax as robbers and lawmen converge at Lincoln’s tomb on election night: November 7, 1876. Available on hoopla.
The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
In the fall of 2013, on a bus ride home, a young man sets another student on fire. In a small private high school, Sasha, a white teen with Asperger’s, enjoyed "a tight circle of friends," "blazed through calculus, linguistics, physics, and computer programming," and invented languages. Sasha didn’t fall into a neat gender category and considered "the place in-between a real place." Encouraged by parents who supported self-expression, Sasha began to use the pronoun they. They wore a skirt for the first time during their school’s annual cross-dressing day and began to identify as genderqueer. On the other side of Oakland, California, Richard, a black teen, was "always goofing around" at a high school where roughly one-third of the students failed to graduate. Within a few short years, his closest friends would be pregnant, in jail, or shot dead, but Richard tried to stay out of real trouble. One fateful day, Sasha was asleep in a "gauzy white skirt" on the 57 bus when a rowdy friend handed Richard a lighter. With a journalist’s eye for overlooked details, Slater does a masterful job debunking the myths of the hate-crime monster and the African-American thug, probing the line between adolescent stupidity and irredeemable depravity. Few readers will traverse this exploration of gender identity, adolescent crime, and penal racism without having a few assumptions challenged. Available on RBDigital & Libby.
A Thousand Sisters by Elizabeth E. Wein
In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment--nicknamed the "night witches"--faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war. This is the story of Raskova’s three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky. Packed with black-and-white photographs, fascinating sidebars, and thoroughly researched details, A Thousand Sisters is the inspiring true story of a group of women who set out to change the world, and the sisterhood they formed even amid the destruction of war. Available on hoopla.
If you love nonfiction, check out YALSA’s Nonfiction Award winners!
All the Feels romantic novels
Something In Between, by Melissa De La Cruz
Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. She’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship to the school of her dreams. And then everything shatters. Her parents are forced to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation. As she’s trying to make sense of this new reality, her world is turned upside down again by Royce Blakely. He’s funny, caring and spontaneous--basically everything she’s been looking for at the worst possible time--and now he’s something else she may lose. Jasmine will stop at nothing to protect her relationships, family and future, all while fighting the hard truths of being undocumented. Available on hoopla.
My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? Available on Libby, RBDigital, & hoopla.
Let’s Talk About Love, by Claire Kann
Striking a perfect balance between heartfelt emotions and spot-on humor, this debut features a pop-culture enthusiast protagonist with an unforgettable voice sure to resonate with listeners.Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting-working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating-no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated-or understood. Available on RBDigital.
Puddin’, by Julie Murphy
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a little girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream of being a newscaster--and to kiss the boy she’s crushing on. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing that they might have more in common than they ever imagined. Available on Libby, hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
The Summer Of Jordi Perez (And The Best Burger In Los Angeles), by Amy Spalding
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship.
But really, nothing this summer is going as planned. She also unwittingly becomes friends with Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro-type who wants her help find the best burger in Los Angeles, and she’s struggling to prove to her mother--the city’s celebrity health nut--that she’s perfectly content with who she is. Available on hoopla.
Pandemic-related "Fiction" Reads
Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson
During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease. Available on RBDigital, Libby, & hoopla.
The Way We Fall, by Megan Crewe
Sixteen-year-old Kaelyn has returned to the Canadian island where she grew up, feeling shy but resolved to be more friendly and outgoing. She doesn’t get much chance, though. As the island community begins to be hit with a mysterious virus, Kaelyn records the events in her journal as if she is writing to her former best friend, Leo, now off the island. The virus symptoms move from a sore throat to a terrible itch, progressing to a stage where, just before they die, infected people are hyper-friendly and lose all their inhibitions. While Kae’s father, a microbiologist, frantically works to diagnose the illness, Kae finds herself gradually taking on a leadership role in distributing information and food to her panicky neighbors while she tries to discern whom she can trust in an atmosphere of fear. Book one of a trilogy. Available on RBDigital.
One For Sorrow, by Mary Downing Hahn
Against the ominous backdrop of the 1918 influenza epidemic, new girl Annie is claimed as best friend by Elsie, the tattletale, liar, and thief of the class. But Annie would rather spend time with the other girls, since Elsie is so mean. When Elsie dies of influenza, Annie thinks she’s free of her torment--until the bully returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and take revenge. Available on Libby & hoopla.
A Death-Struck Year, by Makiia Lucier
For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country--that’s how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode--and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can’t ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can’t help but wonder: when will her own luck run out? Available on hoopla & cloudLibrary.
In The Shadow Of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters
In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love--a boy who died in battle--returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her? Available on RBDigital & hoopla.
YA Short Story Collections available as e-books/e-audiobooks
(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, edited by Kelly Jensen
Who’s Crazy? What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when a label like that gets attached to your everyday experiences? To understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things--wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?--to different people. In (Don’t) Call Me Crazy , thirty-three actors, athletes, writers, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore a wide range of topics: their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and don’t talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy. If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages . . . and let’s get talking. Available on hoopla.
Rags & Bones, edited by Melissa Marr
The best writers of our generation retell the classics. Literature is filled with sexy, deadly, and downright twisted tales. In this collection, award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories, ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them; ones that have become ingrained in modern culture; and ones that have been too long overlooked. They take these stories and boil them down to their bones, and then reassemble them for a new generation of readers. Available on hoopla.
A Thousand Beginnings And Endings, edited by Ellen Oh
Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings: these are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. This young adult novel is an excellent choice for accelerated tween readers in grades 7 to 8, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom. Sixteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate. A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman--who both contributed stories to this edition, as well--the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renée Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong. Available on hoopla & cloudLibrary.
Three Sides Of A Heart, edited by Natalie C. Parker
You may think you know the love triangle, but you’ve never seen love triangles like these. These top YA authors tackle the much-debated trope of the love triangle, and the result is sixteen fresh, diverse, and romantic stories you don’t want to miss. This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff. A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet. What do all these stories have in common? The love triangle. Available on hoopla & cloudLibrary.
Black Enough, edited by Ibi Zoboi
Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today--Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America. This young adult novel is an excellent choice for accelerated tween readers in grades 7 to 8, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom. Black is...sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson. Black is...three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds. Black is...Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of. Black is...two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland. Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more--because there are countless ways to be Black enough. Available on hoopla.
Read & Watch: e-book/e-audiobooks that are also available as e-videos on Hoopla or Kanopy:
Breathe, by Anne-Sophie Brasme
Breathe is the haunting confession of nineteen-year-old Charlene Boher. From her prison cell, Charlene recounts her lonely adolescence. Growing up shy and unpopular, Charlene never had many friends. That is, until she meet Sarah, a beautiful and charismatic American-French girl who moved back to Paris for high school. Much to Charlene’s shock and delight, the two girls quickly develop an intense friendship. With Sarah by her side, Charlene finally begins to feel accepted and even loved. However, after a brief idyllic period, the girls’ relationship becomes rocky and friendship veers towards obsession. As Sarah drops Charlene for older, more glamorous friends, Charlene’s devotion spirals into hatred. Unfolding slowly and eerily towards a shocking conclusion, Anne-Sophie Brasme’s Breathe is an intense, convincing portrait of a possessive and ambiguous friendship. Available as an e-audiobook on hoopla; movie available on Kanopy.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is forced to move in with her conservative Aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone, and Cam becomes an expert at both. Then Coley Talor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship, one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to "fix" her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self--even if she’s not quite sure who that is. Available as an ebook on cloudLibrary; movie available on Kanopy.
How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff
Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy. As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way. Available as an ebook on cloudLibrary; movie available on hoopla.
Ashes In The Snow/Between Shades Of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life -- until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive? Available as an ebook on Libby & cloudLibrary; available as an eaudiobook on RBDigital & Libby; movie available on hoopla.
Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey
Charlie Bucktin, a bookish thirteen year old, is startled one summer night by an urgent knock on his bedroom window. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in their small mining town, and he has come to ask for Charlie’s help. Terribly afraid but desperate to impress, Charlie follows him into the night.Jasper takes him to his secret glade, where Charlie witnesses Jasper’s horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion. He locks horns with his tempestuous mother, falls nervously in love, and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart. Available as an ebook on Libby & cloudLibrary; movie available on hoopla & Kanopy.
The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharpe
Sutter Keely. He’s the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually. Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever. Available as an ebook on Libby & cloudLibrary; movie available on Kanopy & hoopla.
Young Adult Fantasy e-books and e-audiobooks for you to download:
Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy. Available on hoopla, RBDigital, Libby, & cloudLibrary.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance, by Tomi Adeyemi
After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too. Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath. Available on RBDigital, Libby, & cloudLibrary.
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, by M.T. Anderson
Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom -- from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them -- and war for their nations. Available on hoopla.
Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction--if they don’t kill each other first. Available on Libby & cloudLibrary.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
A fearful 16 year-old princess discovers her heroic destiny after being married off to the king of a neighboring country in turmoil and pursued by enemies seething with dark magic. Available on Libby, hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
In a world where some people are born with often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace of killing and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king. Available on Libby, hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima
Han steals an amulet that once belonged to the Demon King, which the wizards will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Raisa, Princess Heir of the Fells will become eligible for marriage after her 16 name-day; but while suitors may call, she isn’t ready to tie the knot…even when powers conspire to force her into an illegal union. Available on RBDigital & Libby.
The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts. Available on hoopla & cloudLibrary.
The Outcasts, by John Flanagan
Hal, who does not fit into Skandian society, ends up in a brotherband, a group of boys learning the skills that they need to become warriors, with other outcasts, and they compete with other brotherbands in a series of challenges. Available on Libby & cloudLibrary.
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
In tranquil hamlet of long-ago England young Tristan has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria. And here, one crisp October eve, Tristran makes his love a promise—an impetuous vow that will send him through the only breach in a high stone wall and into the most exhilarating adventure of his life. Available on RBDigital, Libby, & hoopla.
Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia
In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, 16 year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday. Available on Libby & hoopla.
The Girl at Midnight, by Melissa Grey
A girl who’s adopted and raised by a race of creatures with feathers for hair and magic in their veins becomes involved in an ancient war and a centuries-old love, discovering startling truths about the world she lives in. Available on Libby.
Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton
Amani is desperate to leave the dead-end town of Dustwalk, and she’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to help her escape. But after she meets Jin, the mysterious rebel running from the Sultan’s army, she unlocks the powerful truth about the desert nation of Miraji...and herself. Available on Libby, RBDigital, & cloudLibrary.
A Face Like Glass, by Frances Hardinge
When Neverfell, who has no memory, arrives in Caverna, her facial expressions make her very dangerous to the people who live with blank faces or pay dearly to learn to simulate emotions. Available on hoopla.
Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins
When Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. Available on RBDigital & hoopla.
Magonia, by Maria Dahvana Headley
Aza’s life has been defined by a unique lung disease and her evolving friendship with Jason; but just before her 16th birthday, she is swept up into the sky-bound world of Magonia and discovers her true identity. Available on Libby, hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
Legacy, by Cayla Kluver
Princess Alera of Hytanica resents that she is duty-bound to wed Steldor, the arrogant and hot-tempered suitor her father has chosen as successor to the throne, but the more she learns of palace intrigue and ancient feuds, the less sure she is of right and wrong. Available on hoopla & cloudLibrary.
Hunter, by Mercedes Lackey
Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous monsters fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky. To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders, whatever that might cost her. Available on hoopla.
Grave Mercy, by R.L. La Fevers
In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, 17 year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. Available on hoopla, Libby, RBdigital, & cloudLibrary.
Gifts, by Ursula K. Le Guin
When a young man in the Uplands blinds himself rather than use his gift of "unmaking"—a violent talent shared by members of his family—he upsets the precarious balance of power among rival, feuding families, each of which has a strange and deadly talent of its own. Available on RBDigital & hoopla.
The Young Elites, by Marie Lu
Adelina survived the blood fever that killed many, but left others with strange markings and supernatural powers. Cast out by her family, Adelina joins the secret society of the Young Elites and discovers her own dangerous abilities. Available on Libby & cloudLibrary.
Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
After a year of hard labor in the salt mines for her crimes, Crown Prince Dorian offers 18 year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien her freedom on the condition that she act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Available on Libby & cloudLibrary.
The Novice, by Taran Matharu
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy where must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. Available on Libby.
Echo North, by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart after her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf, the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an offer: for her to come and live with him for a year. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes. In his enchanted house beneath a darmountain, Echo discovers centuries-old secrets, a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up-- otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever. Available on RBDigital.
The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Being plucked from the streets, Sage learns that the nobleman Conner plans to choose an orphan to impersonate a long-lost prince. Conner’s rules become clear when he murders a boy who will not compete. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are questionable, yet he also realizes that his life balances on a sword’s point. Available on Libby, hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
The Kiss of Deception, by Mary E. Pearson
On the morning of her wedding, Princess Lia flees to a distant village to start a new life. Two strangers arrive, the jilted prince and an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love. Available on Libby.
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
Accompanied by her shape-shifting daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North. Available on RBDigital, Libby, & cloudLibrary.
Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch
Orphaned Meira, a fierce chakram-wielding warrior from the Kingdom of Winter, must struggle to free her people from the tyranny of an opposing kingdom while also protecting her own destiny. Available on RBDigital, hoopla, & Libby.
Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes
Princess Cleo of Mytica confronts violence for the first time in her life when a shocking murder sets her kingdom on a path to collapse. The King of Limeros’s son, Magnus, must plan each footstep with shrewd, sharp guile if he is to earn his powerful father’s trust. Rebellious Jonas lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished-and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making. Available on Libby, cloudLibrary, RBDigital, & hoopla.
Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen. Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Available on Libby & RBDigital.
The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott
15 year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, find themselves caught up in the deadly struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over the possession of an ancient book that holds the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life. Available on RBDigital, Libby, & cloudLibrary.
This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab
As the heirs to opposing sides in a warring city, Kate Harker and Augustus Flynn should never have met. A Romeo and Juliet-esque fantasy about the difference between good and evil and the blurry gray area in between. Available on hoopla.
The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
When the carnivorous capaill uisce rise from the sea each year, the island men prepare to prove their brawn and courage by outrunning the deadly beasts. And now, Kate, the first girl to enter the race, is determined to win it, facing fierce competition from Sean, to whom she is strangely attracted. Available on hoopla.
An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir
Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution. Available on Libby & cloudLibrary.
The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. Available on RBDigital, Libby, hoopla, & cloudLibrary.
The Thief, by Megan Turner
Gen, a thief incarcerated for stealing the king’s seal, is dragged from his cell by the king’s magus, who is on a quest. The prize is Hamiathes’s Gift, said to be a creation of the gods that confers the right of rule on the wearer. Available on Libby & hoopla.
And of course, there are more!