Looking for a great series to binge? Try Tahir’s searing quartet inspired by ancient Rome and Middle Eastern mythology/folklore! This series contains a spellbinding, slow-burn love story, expansive and captivating world-building, and an unflinching portrayal of the costs of imperialism and oppression. Laia remains the core of the story amidst the upheaval of an empire: she starts her journey as a spy for the rebellion and as the series continues she’ll face war, loss, and the daunting question of what it’ll take to save the people she loves.
Under the roof of Himawari House three young women from different countries will fall in love, have their hearts broken, struggle with language barriers, miss their families, and grapple with their sense of identity. Nao, Hyejung, and Tina are all foreign exchange students in Tokyo, while they share the same home they will find solace in their friendship and experience the joys–and difficulties–of adjusting to life in Japan. This is a gorgeous graphic novel about finding your family, making mistakes and growing, and figuring out what makes you happy.
This charming series–now a Netflix show–with a wonderful ensemble of friends navigating school, relationships, and growing up has been a favorite of mine for years; it’s impossible not to fall in love with the main characters, Nick and Charlie, as they become friends. It’s not long before Nick begins to question if he might be bisexual, and soon a romance blooms between him and Charlie. Following Nick and Charlie’s relationship as they grow, deal with mental illness, and unavoidable high school drama is a heart-warming and emotional journey.
Looking for a book that captures the feeling of watching a Studio Ghibli movie like Spirited Away? Look no further than this retelling of “The Tale of Shim Cheong” that’s a captivating story about fate and fighting to forge your own path. Follow Mina as she dives beneath the sea and into the Spirit Realm in an effort to wake the Sea God and save her home, and fall in love with this stunning novel and its themes of family and duty, love and hope, and redemption and forgiveness.
Hani’s a popular girl at school–until she comes out to her friends as bisexual and they invalidate her sexuality, and, in a moment of panic, Hani lies about dating Ishu Dey, their grade’s best student. You can expect all the fun–and angst–that comes with fake-dating, but this novel adds a fresh breath of air to the trope with its nuanced portrayal of two queer Bengali girls navigating coming out and confronting racism in their predominately white school. Bonus points for the audiobook, excellently narrated with Hani and Ishu’s Irish accents.
Vanja can’t *entirely* blame the curse she’s under on her godmothers Death and Fortune, but her upbringing might’ve been a factor…A captivating retelling of The Goose Girl–told from the villainous maid’s perspective–featuring curses and gods, angry girls, and a boy who’s the “human embodiment of a pocket ledger.” Funny and heart-breaking in equal measure and filled with heists, sleuthing, and even a bit of romance, Little Thieves is a masterclass in world-building, snarky characters, and there’s really nothing not to love about this dark fantasy.
Ophelia is a romantic: she loves her rose garden, Cuban food, her friends, and she loves love. But Ophelia feels lost when, after always crushing on boys, she starts thinking about a girl. Who is Ophelia if not the girl who loves boys, if she’s not the same girl her parents and friends know? A vulnerable and tender novel about what it’s like to question your future, your sexuality, and your sense of self. Come ready to cry but enjoy the beautifully affirming and loving nature of this fantastic debut.
Ever wondered what it would be like to wake up in another person’s body? Well, that’s the reality for ‘A’. Every single day ‘A’ wakes up and lives the life of someone new. It’s been their reality ever since they could remember and they have fully accepted it until they meet someone who they really connect with, Rhiannon. But what happens when the 24 hours is up and ‘A’ switches bodies? Be prepared to stay up all night to find out if ‘A’ will ever see Rhiannon again.
Hur stuns with her historical fiction once again: this is a gripping murder mystery set in 18th century Korea filled with slippery villains and the dark shadows of corruption that had me turning the pages with bated breath to see what would happen next, combined with a brilliantly tender romance. You’ll be rooting for Hyeon and Eojin to survive the politics of the palace and find the murderer before it’s too late, and for their burgeoning bond to become something more.
Iron Widow is a fantastical, queer science fiction reimagining of the only female emperor in Chinese history, following her journey from peasanthood to power as she fights her way into piloting the empire’s most powerful mecha Chrysalis. In a patriarchal society, Wu Zetian’s story carves a fiery path filled with romance and defiance wherein she isn’t afraid to bend the system to her will and agenda, and she’ll do whatever’s necessary to get her due.
There's a gonzo-like energy to Darcie Little Badger’s A Snake Falls to Earth. Nina is trying to solve the mystery of her great-grandmother’s story told in a dying language that may or may not involve her family’s link to the spirit world. Meanwhile, Oli, who lives in that spirit world, is trying to solve a mystery of his own in order to save his friend. Original world-building and unforgettable characters fill this dynamic novel about home, family, and friendship.
Any fan of Greek mythology won’t want to miss this contemporary, stylish reimagining of one of the most infamous Greek myths – Hades and Persephone. In this modern Olympus, Persephone is new to Olympus and is forced to navigate scandals, gossip, politics, and forbidden love. A story of finding one’s place and one’s power, this graphic novel has a captivating story and gorgeous art with both distinctive style and a vibrant pink/blue color scheme.
An action-packed read with unexpected twists and an enemies-to-lovers romance you’re sure to love, the tale of Robin Hood dons a new look in this YA fantasy. Apothecary apprentice Tessa refuses to watch her neighbors die as a mysterious sickness spreads through Kandala. Instead, she secretly distributes stolen Moonflower elixir – even if she risks execution. After revolution arises, Tessa is further embroiled into the politics and rebellion that are taking Kandala by storm.
Bugz is one of the top players of a global AR video game, thanks to her in-game use of her Anishinaabe culture. Feng, an Uyghur boy who plays as part of a rival “clan,” moves to the Rez from China to get away from an ever more threatening government. Both of them must learn to set aside their preconceptions: of each other, the world at large, and their own cultures. Kinew’s YA debut is generous and well-paced. I loved this book from start to finish.
I always wanted to be able to shapeshift, so of course I was drawn to this debut fantasy about a girl who uses her shapeshifting talent to spy for the king. When the prince falls ill, Rora will do anything she can to save him, including returning to the wilderness where she gets her power. Honestly, I came for the shapeshifting, but I stayed for the story of love and friendship.
A classic of the sword-and-magic style epic fantasy, but all the books set in Tortall show girls striking back against misogyny and injustice. Alanna wants to be a warrior in a world that doesn’t let girls fight—so she and her twin brother switch places beginning a world-changing adventure.
One of the biggest hits of the last few years completely lives up to the hype. A coming-of-age story about an Afro-Latina girl learning to be her full self, not who her family and friends think she should be. The audiobook, performed by the author, is AMAZING. For fans of Drake, crushes, poetry, and Jacqueline Woodson.
In this Breakfast Club meets murder mystery page-turner, One of Us Is Lying will keep you on your toes as you try to figure out who killed Simon. Every time you think you have it figured out something happens that will completely change your mind. I was completely enthralled in this book and found myself not being able to put it down. It's no question as to why this book is such a hit!
Extremely fun high-seas adventure! Part pirate intrigue, part family drama, part heist--this is everything I want from escapist fantasy. Our protagonist? Tough but not one-dimensional. Our setting? Ever-changing. Pre-existing knowledge of ship logistics? Not entirely necessary. Let yourself get swept away!
When the world is burning around you, you still go to prom. Hammonds does an astounding job of taking a slice and showing you one teen's life in the wake of Rodney King's murder from the inside out. And it's really impossible to oversell the writing—there were turns of phrase in here that amazed me AND ones that made me laugh out loud.
The beauty of a short story anthology is that it allows readers to delve into many different worlds, characters, and modes of storytelling back-to-back. This anthology is a glorious, bright celebration of sci-fi and fantasy, each story as unique and wondrous as the next!
Havenfall is a place on Earth where portals to other worlds converge. This overlap means that we the readers get the treat of encountering multiple realms--each with their own distinct world building and magic--all in one fantasy book. This fantastical setting is backed up by a well-filled cast and a plot with plenty of twists and turns.
Raybearer is one of the best stand-alone fantasy books I've read in years. It has a vast and diverse (but not overwhelming) world, a cast of powerful and complex characters, and a plot that swept me along. The details of the magic, the resonance of the relationships, and the depth of the worldbuilding engrossed me and I can't recommend this book enough!
This graphic novel delivers a Hardy Boys aesthetic (complete with sibling sleuths and a midcentury setting) with a fresh infusion of modernity, a twist of magic, and, of course, a whole lot of mystery!
Elatsoe can raise the spirits of the dead, a precarious skill passed down through her Lipan Apache family, that she has only ever used innocuously to reunite with her dog Kirby. But when her cousin is brutally murdered, Elatsoe is determined to uncover the dark forces behind his strange death and prevent his vengeful human ghost from causing chaos. Set in a spooky parallel present-day America, where faerie rings, vampires, and modern technology co-exist, Elatsoe is one of the most hauntingly original stories I’ve ever read.
Perfect for the true crime, thriller, or mystery lover in your life! Tiffany D. Jackson bases all her suspenseful and unique books on real cases, but fictionalizes them to keep readers mesmerized and guessing. I read this book in five hours and barely stopped to breathe while doing so. Enchanted’s story is enthralling, and the text conversations, flash-forwards, and transcripts throughout keep everything in context. Don’t miss this book!
In Camila’s family, soccer is a man’s game. Her secret: She’s a talented player who yearns to go pro. Just when an international tournament gives her the opportunity to catch scouts’ eyes, tensions at home – and first love – threaten to derail her dreams. Set against the backdrop of Argentina’s burgeoning feminist movement, Furia is an inspiring story of a young woman finding strength on and off the field.
Tiến is not just working through the cultural and language barrier between himself and his mother by reading her fairy tales in English, he’s also trying to make it through as a queer teenager at a Catholic school. A gentle, loving, and gorgeously-illustrated story from local author Trung Le Nguyen—see if you can spot Minneapolis in the backgrounds!
A well-done and touching graphic novel memoir! While visiting America, Robin's mother suddenly announces they will not be returning to South Korea – she's getting married! Angry at her mom and missing everything back home, Robin must quickly adapt while feeling like an outsider at home and school. But it's her beloved Korean comics she misses most and things start looking up when she's enrolled in a comics class.
As a teen mom, Emoni strives to balance motherhood, work, and school while also nurturing her passion and dreams of becoming a chef. Although that dream seems impossible, Emoni is not one to shy away from hard work and must find a way to not let others' expectations nor her own fears get in her way. Beautifully written and quietly inspiring. I strongly recommend!
Thomas (The Hate U Give) once again brilliantly shines her light on the harsh reality of racism. Life in the hood hasn’t been easy for Bri but she’s not about to let that get in the way of her dream to succeed as a rapper. Suddenly at the center of racial tensions, Bri comes to realize that Every. Word. Matters. and that her songs have the power to influence change."
Based upon the true story of Sophie Scholl, a young non-Jew in Nazi Germany, this novel carries a message relevant and necessary to current events. Sophie, and others in the White Rose group, risked their lives to speak up against the horrific acts of their government. This story will hopefully inspire readers to fight against injustices they see not only towards themselves but to ALL others!
Kiera created SLAY, a multiplayer online roleplaying game, as a place for Black gamers like her to celebrate Black culture and be themselves -- not to mention escape the racism rampant in other parts of the gaming world. When a SLAY dispute turns deadly in IRL, Kiera must fight to defend her creation while grappling with issues of race, gender and online ethics. Gamers and fantasy buffs will especially enjoy the scenes set in the richly imagined SLAY virtual universe.
I've always been fascinated by Lady Bathory, the historical figure this book is based on. Lana Popovic's writing is twisting, dark, and totally engrossing. I finished this book at 4 am and couldn't sleep for another couple hours because I was just too wired. If you like gory, gothic historical fiction, let yourself fall down the rabbit hole of this book!
This book is so smart. Though the subtitle brings to mind classic stories about kids being mentored into their magical powers, Echo Brown turns all those on their heads when she mixes fantasy and memoir in this one-of-a-kind book. Brown uses magical realism to uniquely and insightfully represent her younger years, largely in incredibly difficult circumstances, and how she grew through connection, community, and literal Black Girl Magic.
Missing your March Madness basketball? From the opening tip-off to the buzzer-beating ending, Gene Luen Yang’s graphic documentary/memoir--following the Bishop O’Dowd Dragons in their quest for state championship glory--had me on the edge of my seat. Mixing in basketball’s often-complicated history, and Yang’s own efforts to understand and ultimately love the sport, this book will win over life-long fans and newbies alike!
I want everyone to read this book: it's funny, heartbreaking, eye-opening, and so much more. Juliet Milagros Palante is an infectious, pied piper of a character--I felt honored to follow her on her journey of discovery, as she is at turns boosted up by and let down by well-meaning people in her life, ultimately finding her own voice and the will to speak up, even in a world that isn't always ready to listen.
Frank Li has a problem––he’s falling in love with a white girl. But he knows his first-generation Koren-American parents won’t approve. So Frank and his friend Joy devise a plan to pretend to date each other. Beyond the romance, this story explores all forms of love through the lens of race and identity in America. Yoon’s writing is sharp and Frank is a humorously nerdy narrator. This book had me laughing aloud until it moved me to tears.
A refugee story. A cowboy story. A family story. A love story. Butterfly Yellow is all of these, connected through the power of language. When Hang and LeeRoy cross paths in Amarillo, Texas, they have nothing in common and can barely communicate. But after a summer together spent talking, arguing, writing, ignoring, and listening, a bond grows from their fierce determination to understand and be understood. This transformative story is unforgettable.
Ranging from hilarious to heartrending, these twelve stories by notable Jewish writers of young adult fiction feature characters who fall in love for the first time, venture across the globe, grapple with sexuality and mental health, and blunder through the social minefields of adolescence – all while building unique relationships to their Jewish identity. Teen readers of all backgrounds will relate to these tales of young people finding bravery and belonging in unexpected places.Leigh
Usually when I get into bed with a book I’m asleep on the page in less than a chapter. But this book kept me up all night to finish it and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is the perfect balance for a YA book: it simultaneously fulfills the desire for a trope-y romance/coming of age narrative and subverts those tropes with the realities of family, history, and other societal pressures teens face.Linda
Set in 1957 Madrid, this haunting novel centers around Daniel, a young American visiting Fascist ruled Spain. His life soon intertwines with the lives and stories of other young locals and visiting expats. Through these new relationships, Daniel discovers the oppression and fear that grip this country and must navigate his feelings and actions carefully. An engrossing, intricate story that sheds further light upon a lesser-known part of history
It's been a long time since I have been so drawn in by a book! Two unlikely allies find themselves hunting down an old and powerful enemy, even as pieces of their lives they'd rather leave in the past reappear in the present . It's got everything I could ask for in a fantasy adventure--an incredibly imagined and representative world, compelling characters, a brilliant take on magic, and a fast paced plot.
Espionage! Blood feuds! Great representation of a wide variety of races, sexual orientations, and abilities! All set in the magically ever-burning lights of 18th century Paris! If you like historically-based fantasy set in a detailed, puzzle-filled world of aristocratic mystery, join the “acquisition” team from Hotel L’Eden as they use their diverse abilities (magical and otherwise) to topple the international Order of Babel.
This book is unflinching in its depictions of Evan Panos' family, and his awkward, lonely life at school. But Evan is a is a kid worth rooting for, and as he decides in his senior year to take a chance, his struggle to move beyond pain and open up to friends, love and his future, is an honest, heart-wrenching testament to human resilience.
Darius always feels inadequate, especially around his dad, with whom he experiences High Level Awkward Silences. Darius is a Fractional-Persian; his mother is Iranian and he calls his father an Audi-driving Teutonic Übermensch.
Darius fears he will feel even more out of place when his family visits Iran because he can’t speak Farsi, takes medication for his clinical depression, and knows more Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. But things begin to change when Darius befriends Sohrab, who makes even the longest silences comfortable. Hilarious,
heartbreaking, and honest, this book is the perfect companion for a cup of
How do goblin and elfin kingdoms begin to make peace after centuries of bloodshed and war? By catapulting an elf with a gift (inside a barrel) into the heart of the goblin capital, of course—just don’t tell anyone that he’s a spy. Clever text and sharp illustrations follow the adventures of Brangwain Spurge the elf and his
goblin host Werfel as they struggle with the truth of their shared history, how to unite a kingdom, and goblin table manners.
While hiding in a bomb shelter, Evelyn closed her eyes and wished she were anywhere but in a war zone. Her wish was granted, and the three Hapwell siblings were whisked away to a magical world, which became their home…for a while. After returning to their own world, Ev, Phillipa, and Jamie struggle to find a place for themselves in post-World War II Britain. Divided into two narratives, life in the Great Wood and life after the children’s return, this book mixes memory with reality as it investigates the costs of war and poses the question: what does it mean to be home?
When Bina flees family turmoil for the Manhattan boardinghouse her mother once called home, she discovers that the building and its tenants harbor sinister secrets involving a hidden grave, an ominous curfew, and an eerily watchful photograph over the mantle. In the heat of a New York City summer, Bina works to decipher the truths buried within the house’s walls and her mother’s past, only to learn that the darkest truth of all may be the one she’s keeping from herself. In her signature
lyrical style, Nova Ren Suma renders a haunting meditation on women’s
relationships with each other and themselves, one that will leave readers
untangling its many knots long after they turn the final page.
There just aren’t enough books featuring people with disabilities, so this anthology is noteworthy by design. More than noteworthy, however, it is a marvelous, wide-ranging collection, filled with characters who are intriguing, complex, emotional, and true. Told in the authentic voices of authors living with their own disabilities, these tales of friendship, love, struggle, and triumph will resonate with all teens. This is what representation looks like.
Sisterhood is alive and well in this actionpacked first installation of the feminist pirate trilogy you never knew you wanted. Caledonia Styx, the young captain of the all-female crew of the Mors Navis, must navigate the waters controlled by tyrant Aric Athair and his fleet of Bullet ships as she seeks to avenge the deaths of her family and protect her sisters of the sea. A thrilling adventure that will affirm your love for the women who surround you.