Monday, April 11, 2016

Teen Scene: April 2016

Teen Scene
April 2016
"If you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things."
~ from Jeff Zentner's The Serpent King
Recent Releases
Seven Black Diamonds
by Melissa Marr

Fantasy. Lily Abernathy has a dangerous secret, and it's not the fact that her father is a crime lord. In a world where the faerie Queen of Blood and Rage seeks to destroy humanity, it's illegal for humans to have fae heritage. But with her father's protection, half-human, half-fae Lily has stayed safely hidden. That safety is shattered, however, when Lily discovers her violent birthright: she's the last of the Black Diamonds, a fae sleeper cell designed to take down the human world from the inside out. With a potent blend of timeless faerie legends and edgy modern issues, Seven Black Diamonds will captivate fans of author Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series.
Burn Baby Burn
by Meg Medina

Historical Fiction. Summer, New York City, 1977: disco music wafts from radios, arson is on the rise, and a serial killer called Son of Sam is murdering young couples. Amidst it all is 17-year-old Nora López, trying to hold on to both her family and her hopes for the future. Though money is painfully tight and her delinquent brother's abuse is becoming more frightening, Nora's summer still has potential: high school is over, opportunities for women are expanding, and her relationship with "stone-cold Latin fox" Pablo is getting hotter than the sizzling summer air. Loaded with emotion, atmosphere, and pop culture references, Burn Baby Burn is a "uniquely authentic slice-of-life" (Kirkus Reviews).
Thanks for the Trouble
by Tommy Wallach

Fiction. Five years ago, Parker Santé stopped speaking. Since then, he's also stopped caring about most things, except for skipping school and writing in his journal. One day he meets Zelda, a silver-haired girl with a stack of cash, a plan to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, and an outrageous claim that she's 246 years old. Parker's not sure if he believes Zelda's story, but he agrees to her deal: she'll spend her final days (and her final dollars) with him if he applies to college. What follows is a eccentric and bittersweet tale of firsts and lasts from the author of the popular We All Looked Up.
Bluescreen
by Dan Wells

Science Fiction. If you've ever struggled to get a phone or wi-fi signal, "djinni" implants might sound like a dream come true -- djinnis connect the Internet directly to the brain, and they're the norm in 2050 Los Angeles. Seventeen-year-old Marisa lives in L.A.'s Mirador neighborhood, but she spends most of her time gaming with her friends in virtual reality. After Mari's friend Anja has a shocking reaction to Bluescreen, a hot new digital drug, Mari throws herself into a dangerous investigation of Bluescreen's origin. High-stakes action (both online and off) drives this future-noir thriller, the 1st in a series. For a deeper dive into provocative ideas about technology, try M.T. Anderson's Feed or Alex London's Proxy.
The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner

Fiction. Dillard Early Jr. shares a name with his snake-handling preacher father, and with Early Sr. disgraced and in jail, Dill faces bullying and judgment  in his rural Tennessee hometown. Thankfully, Dill has his friends: quirky Lydia, whose popular blog might help her get to college, and kind-hearted Travis, who uses fantasy books as an escape from his father's abuse. Graduation looms for all three high school seniors, laden with the tantalizing hope of freedom…but also the heartbreak of separation. If you like this angsty, sensitive portrait of teens surviving rough circumstances, you may also enjoy The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.
Love, Pain, and Poetry
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero

Fiction. During her tumultuous senior year, Gabi Hernandez's journal becomes her lifeline. In it, she can experiment with her blossoming poetry skills, as well as spill the details of her complicated home (where her mom nags her about her weight and her dad can't kick meth), her best friends Cindy and Sebastian (who are each dealing with their own challenges), and her confusion about love and dating. Filled with "vulgar humor and raw honesty" (Kirkus Reviews), Gabi's insights into family, culture, sexuality, and identity are messy yet utterly authentic and hopeful. For another memorable Latina character weathering a tough year, try Meg Medina's Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.
Kissing in America
by Margo Rabb

Fiction. You can blame it all on poetry and romance novels. It's from reading those (to help soothe the ache of her beloved father's death) that Eva Roth gets her ideas about love -- ideas that lead to an unchaperoned cross-country road trip. After Eva's passionate relationship with understanding Will is cut short by his sudden move from New York to California, Eva and her friend Annie Kim concoct a scheme to travel across the country for a surprise reunion. The unexpected results of their trip are funny, heart-wrenching, and sprinkled with snippets of poetry -- just right for readers who love Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen.
Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets
by Evan Roskos

Fiction. There's no denying it: talking to an imaginary pigeon therapist is weird. But James' parents (aka the Banshee and the Brute) won't let him see a real therapist, and they kicked his sister out of the house, and he's got to talk to someone about his consuming anxiety and depression, right? Barely clinging to his mental health, James takes comfort however he can, whether it's from hugging trees or imitating the "barbaric yawp" of his favorite poet, Walt Whitman. Managing to be thoughtful, poignant, and hilarious all at once, Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets will appeal to fans of John Green's Whitman-infused Paper Towns
Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia
by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Fiction. Loner artist Frenchie Garcia is confused when her secret crush Andy suddenly takes her on a strange all-night date...and that confusion escalates the following morning, when she learns that Andy has committed suicide. Now, months later, Frenchie still can't understand Andy's actions, and the only person she can confide in is an imaginary version of Emily Dickinson, whose bleak poetry echoes Frenchie's own feelings. Will retracing the events of that fateful night help Frenchie find closure? Find out in this authentic, emotionally charged story. For a darker, more lyrical look at a grieving girl finding solace in Emily Dickinson, try Jenny Hubbard's novel-in-verse And We Stay.
Belzhar
by Meg Wolitzer

Magical Realism. Struggling with the traumatic loss of her boyfriend, Jam Gallahue is in good company at the Wooden Barn, a boarding school for "highly intelligent, emotionally fragile" teens. There, she's selected for "Special Topics in English," a class dedicated to studying poet and novelist Sylvia Plath. Each student is given a journal, and Jam and her classmates soon discover that the journals have highly unusual properties which allow each student to revisit -- and maybe recover from -- their past. Readers who like a touch of fantasy with their psychological dramas will be intrigued by Belzhar

Monday, March 14, 2016

Tween Reads

Tween Reads
March 2016
"I like the truth, even when it does trouble me."
~ Juliet Marillier, Wildwood Dancing
Recent Releases
To Catch a Cheat
by Varian Johnson

Fiction. To protect what's left of his reputation, retired eighth-grade con man Jackson Greene will have to pull off one last heist. After Jackson and his crew are framed for a prank they didn't commit, the culprits blackmail Jackson into helping with a bigger job: stealing the answers to Mrs. Clark's famously hard-to-pass history test. It seems like an impossible task, but if anybody can pull it off, it's Gang Greene -- and they'll find a way to expose the blackmailers while they're at it. You don't need to have read The Great Greene Heist to appreciate the diverse characters and pop culture references in this twisty, page-turning sequel. 
Rise of the Wolf
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Historical Fantasy. Though being a Roman charioteer is better than being a slave in the mines, impulsive young Nic is far from free. Now he's at the mercy of the rebellious Praetors, who are holding his mother hostage until Nick helps them find a magical amulet -- an amulet powerful enough to destroy Rome. Refusing to choose between his family and his city, Nic takes a risky gamble that might just save both. Good thing he's used to having the odds stacked against him! To understand the breathless action and complex plot in this 2nd book in the Praetor War series, you'll want to start with book one, Mark of the Thief
Valkyrie
by Kate O'Hearn

Fantasy. Now that she's 14, winged Valkyrie Freya has to take her place as a reaper, collecting the souls of human warriors and bringing them to Valhalla. Unlike her mother and sisters, however, Freya hates violence, and when the first person she reaps turns out to be a reluctant soldier who's worried about his family, Freya promises to help. Risking the wrath of Odin, she sneaks away to current-day Chicago, where she gets a crash course in humanity and starts to realize that heroism extends beyond the battlefield. Combining high-stakes action, realistic angst, and characters form Norse legends, this modern/mythological mash-up is perfect for fans of Rick Riordan.
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
by Pamela S. Turner; illustrated by Gareth Hinds

Biography. Minamoto Yoshitsune was not a likely samurai. Raised in a monastery after his father lost a conflict with a rival family, Yoshitsune didn't have a warrior's usual skills or physical bulk. But after running away as a teenager to rejoin his family in a new bid for power and revenge, he trained hard and soon became notorious for his intensity, intelligence, and recklessness in battle. Peppered with artwork by graphic novel illustrator Gareth Hinds and overflowing with blood and beheadings, this dramatic glimpse into the samurai culture of 12th-century Japan is "pure excitement" (Booklist).
Focus on: Sisters
Wildwood Dancing
by Juliet Marillier

Fantasy. Jena and her four sisters, who live with their merchant father in Transylvania, use a hidden portal in their home to cross over into the Other Kingdom every time the moon is full. For the past nine years, they've joined dwarves, trolls, and other fairy folk in the Dancing Glade for all-night revels. Jena found her best friend -- a talking pet frog -- there, and eldest sister Tati has fallen in love with one of the Night People. But now the sisters' cousin Cezar, who loathes and fears the Other Kingdom, threatens to raze the Wildwood where the kingdom lies. This fast-paced, suspenseful, and romantic tale will keep readers enchanted through the very last page.
West of the Moon
by Margi Preus

Historical Fiction. Imagination is a source of strength in this brutal yet lyrical story from Newbery Honor-winning author Margi Preus. Set in Norway in the 1800s, West of the Moon is the story of Astri, whose aunt and uncle have separated her from her sister, Greta, and sold her to a cruel goat farmer named Svaalberd. Drawing courage from the brave characters of Scandinavian folktales, Astri manages to outwit the wicked Svaalberd, stealing his hidden treasure before rescuing Greta and embarking on a perilous escape to America. Astri is a gutsy, compelling heroine, and her adventure will appeal to those who love historical fiction tinged with fantasy.
Sisters
by Raina Telgemeier

Graphic Memoir. Fans of Smile will be delighted to revisit Raina Telgemeier's real-life adventures in this companion memoir. Sisters tells the story of a fateful family road trip, with a focus on artsy, awkward Raina and her prickly younger sister, Amara. Through the vivid cartoon illustrations, you'll experience all of their funny and bittersweet family drama, as well as a memorable incident with a pet snake that will make you shriek with either horror or laughter (or maybe both). Whether or not you've got siblings of your own, this memoir is a "wonderfully charming tale of family and sisters that anyone can bond with" (Kirkus Reviews).
One Came Home
by Amy Timberlake

Historical Fiction. It's 1871, and Georgie Burkhardt is sure that the unrecognizable body by the roadside can't actually be her runaway sister, Agatha. But since everyone else in her family and their small Wisconsin town is convinced, Georgie -- armed with a single-shot rifle and reluctantly accompanied by Billy McCabe, Agatha's former boyfriend -- sets out to learn her sister's fate, whatever it might be. As she faces cougars, counterfeiters, and firestorms, Georgie's fierce, folksy narration will "capture readers' imaginations" and "hold them hostage until the final page is turned" (Kirkus Reviews). For another bold heroine in a frontier setting, try Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

March Teen Books

Teen Scene
March 2016
"No one wanted to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was."
~ from Ruta Sepetys' Salt to the Sea
Recent Releases
We Are the Ants
by Shaun David Hutchinson

Fiction. Sixteen-year-old Henry Denton has only 144 days to decide whether or not to save the world. The same aliens who have subjected Henry to repeated, mortifying abductions have now given him a choice: press a button and call off the scheduled destruction of Earth…or don't. And honestly, considering that he's tormented at school, his family is a mess, and his boyfriend committed suicide, Henry doesn't see much evidence that humanity is worth saving. If you enjoy books by outside-the-box writers like A.S. King and Andrew Smith, you'll appreciate the deep questions, edgy humor, and unflinching honesty in We Are the Ants
The Mystery of Hollow Places
by Rebecca Podos

Mystery. After her father, a best-selling mystery writer, disappears in the middle of the night, Imogene Scott feels sure that she's meant to follow him. Recklessly hiding some of the clues from the police (and from her stepmother), she launches her own investigation instead. Guessing that her father's disappearance has something to do with her mother's abandonment years earlier, Imogene uses the skills she's learned from fictional detectives to dig into her family's past…and maybe figure out her own future. With a twisty plot, bleak New England atmosphere, and a prickly, persistent heroine, this debut novel is a must-read for mystery fans. 
It's All Your Fault
by Paul Rudnick

Fiction. Caitlin Mary Prudence Rectitude Singleberry has lived up to her straitlaced name for 17 years. So how did she end up tattooed, pierced, and in jail? Obviously, the blame lies with Heller Harrigan, the out-of-control teen celebrity who also happens to be Caitlin's cousin. See, Caitlin was recruited to be Heller's chaperone until the premiere of her first big movie, a Hunger Games-style blockbuster. It was only for one weekend, but it turns out that 48 hours is more than enough time for the mismatched cousins to get into trouble with the law (and blow up on Twitter). Over-the-top situations blend with sharp social satire in this hysterically funny read. 
Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys

Historical Fiction. When the Wilhelm Gustloff sank in 1945, over 9,000 of its passengers lost their lives. Yet before it embarked on that doomed voyage, the Wilhelm Gustloff offered a last chance of escape for thousands of Eastern European refugees fleeing from the brutality of World War Two. Salt to the Sea follows four of the ship's passengers: Joana, a guilt-ridden Lithuanian nurse; Emilia, a pregnant Polish teen; Florian, a secretive Prussian artist; and Alfred, a young Nazi soldier. Similar to Allan Wolf's The Watch That Ends the Night, this gorgeously written tale of a deadly shipwreck is "heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful" (Kirkus Reviews). 
The Memory of Light
by Francisco X. Stork

Fiction. Following a suicide attempt, Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital psych ward feeling empty, and not just because her stomach was pumped. Her family is broken, she's lost the people she's cares about the most, and she just can't pretend to be okay anymore. At least in her therapy group, she doesn't have to pretend: Mona, E.M., and Gabriel may all have different backgrounds, and diagnoses, but they all offer the support (and the challenges) that Vicky needs to face the hard work of living. Readers who relish this intense, emotional exploration of mental illness may also want to try Benjamin Saenz Alire's Last Night I Sang to the Monster.
Focus on: Magical Realism
Love in the Time of Global Warming
by Francesca Lia Block

Apocalyptic Fiction. Earthquake, flood, and an influx of people-eating giants have turned the city of Los Angeles into a rubble-strewn hellscape. Into this perilous wasteland wanders a girl named Pen, desperately hoping to find the family she lost. As she searches, Pen is joined by a crew of other unlikely survivors, including leather-clad Hex, who forges a passionate relationship with Pen despite his claims of heartlessness. Though savvy readers will note certain parallels with The Odyssey, you don't need to have read Homer's epic to enjoy this dark, dreamlike story (which is followed by a sequel, The Island of Excess Love).
Ask the Passengers
by A.S. King

Fiction. Astrid Jones is stuck. Between the narrow-minded, gossipy residents of her small town and her needy, kind of messed-up family, she doesn't know what to do with all of the love she has in her heart. So Astrid lies on her back on a picnic table, staring up at the sky, and sends her love to the passengers in airplanes flying overhead. She doesn't know whether it has any effect, but she has no idea when she'll figure out how to love just one special someone, either. Fans of philosophical, emotional reads about rules, labels, and conformity will be entranced by Ask the Passengers.
September Girls
by Bennett Madison

Magical Realism. Sam thinks of them as "the Girls." These blonde, strangely accented, impossibly beautiful young women seem to be everywhere in the little beach town where Sam, his brother, and his dad have come to spend the summer. Sarcastic, lazy, and prone to drinking, Sam doesn't usually attract female attention (even his mom bailed on him), yet the Girls are inexplicably drawn to him. But who are they? Where did they come from, and what do they have to do with local legends about curses and mermaids? Sam's raunchy narration provides unexpected insights into the haunting themes of love and loss woven throughout this unusual modern fairy tale.
Summer of the Mariposas
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Fantasy. There's a dead body in the swimming hole. After discovering the drowned man near her Texas home, 15-year-old Odilia Garza wants to call the police. Her four younger sisters, however, persuade her to join them on an illicit road trip to return the body to his family in Mexico. Part epic journey and part realistic drama (the sisters confront some hard truths about their family), The Summer of the Mariposas is a unique and unforgettable read.  Want another lyrical, magic-tinged story starring a Latina heroine? Pick up Meg Medina's The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind.
Dope Sick
by Walter Dean Myers

Magical Realism. Injured and on the run after a drug deal gone south, 17-year-old Jeremy "Lil J" Dance ducks into an abandoned building in his Harlem neighborhood. Inside, he discovers Kelly, a strange squatter with an even stranger TV that shows Lil J decisions from his past -- leaving school, failing his pregnant girlfriend, developing a drug habit -- and possibilities for his future. Though Lil J suspects Kelly might a hallucination, he can't help considering the question Kelly asks: "If you could take back one thing you did…what would it be?" Popular author Walter Dean Myers combines magical realism and urban fiction in this complex, gritty, and inventive tale.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Ouachita Parish Public Library
1800 Stubbs Avenue
Monroe, Louisiana 71201
(318) 327-1490

https://www.oplib.org/
March 2016
"No one wanted
Teen Scene
March 2016
"No one wanted to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was."
~ from Ruta Sepetys' Salt to the Sea
Recent Releases
We Are the Ants
by Shaun David Hutchinson

Fiction. Sixteen-year-old Henry Denton has only 144 days to decide whether or not to save the world. The same aliens who have subjected Henry to repeated, mortifying abductions have now given him a choice: press a button and call off the scheduled destruction of Earth…or don't. And honestly, considering that he's tormented at school, his family is a mess, and his boyfriend committed suicide, Henry doesn't see much evidence that humanity is worth saving. If you enjoy books by outside-the-box writers like A.S. King and Andrew Smith, you'll appreciate the deep questions, edgy humor, and unflinching honesty in We Are the Ants
The Mystery of Hollow Places
by Rebecca Podos

Mystery. After her father, a best-selling mystery writer, disappears in the middle of the night, Imogene Scott feels sure that she's meant to follow him. Recklessly hiding some of the clues from the police (and from her stepmother), she launches her own investigation instead. Guessing that her father's disappearance has something to do with her mother's abandonment years earlier, Imogene uses the skills she's learned from fictional detectives to dig into her family's past…and maybe figure out her own future. With a twisty plot, bleak New England atmosphere, and a prickly, persistent heroine, this debut novel is a must-read for mystery fans. 
It's All Your Fault
by Paul Rudnick

Fiction. Caitlin Mary Prudence Rectitude Singleberry has lived up to her straitlaced name for 17 years. So how did she end up tattooed, pierced, and in jail? Obviously, the blame lies with Heller Harrigan, the out-of-control teen celebrity who also happens to be Caitlin's cousin. See, Caitlin was recruited to be Heller's chaperone until the premiere of her first big movie, a Hunger Games-style blockbuster. It was only for one weekend, but it turns out that 48 hours is more than enough time for the mismatched cousins to get into trouble with the law (and blow up on Twitter). Over-the-top situations blend with sharp social satire in this hysterically funny read. 
Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys

Historical Fiction. When the Wilhelm Gustloff sank in 1945, over 9,000 of its passengers lost their lives. Yet before it embarked on that doomed voyage, the Wilhelm Gustloff offered a last chance of escape for thousands of Eastern European refugees fleeing from the brutality of World War Two. Salt to the Sea follows four of the ship's passengers: Joana, a guilt-ridden Lithuanian nurse; Emilia, a pregnant Polish teen; Florian, a secretive Prussian artist; and Alfred, a young Nazi soldier. Similar to Allan Wolf's The Watch That Ends the Night, this gorgeously written tale of a deadly shipwreck is "heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful" (Kirkus Reviews). 
The Memory of Light
by Francisco X. Stork

Fiction. Following a suicide attempt, Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital psych ward feeling empty, and not just because her stomach was pumped. Her family is broken, she's lost the people she's cares about the most, and she just can't pretend to be okay anymore. At least in her therapy group, she doesn't have to pretend: Mona, E.M., and Gabriel may all have different backgrounds, and diagnoses, but they all offer the support (and the challenges) that Vicky needs to face the hard work of living. Readers who relish this intense, emotional exploration of mental illness may also want to try Benjamin Saenz Alire's Last Night I Sang to the Monster.
Focus on: Magical Realism
Love in the Time of Global Warming
by Francesca Lia Block

Apocalyptic Fiction. Earthquake, flood, and an influx of people-eating giants have turned the city of Los Angeles into a rubble-strewn hellscape. Into this perilous wasteland wanders a girl named Pen, desperately hoping to find the family she lost. As she searches, Pen is joined by a crew of other unlikely survivors, including leather-clad Hex, who forges a passionate relationship with Pen despite his claims of heartlessness. Though savvy readers will note certain parallels with The Odyssey, you don't need to have read Homer's epic to enjoy this dark, dreamlike story (which is followed by a sequel, The Island of Excess Love).
Ask the Passengers
by A.S. King

Fiction. Astrid Jones is stuck. Between the narrow-minded, gossipy residents of her small town and her needy, kind of messed-up family, she doesn't know what to do with all of the love she has in her heart. So Astrid lies on her back on a picnic table, staring up at the sky, and sends her love to the passengers in airplanes flying overhead. She doesn't know whether it has any effect, but she has no idea when she'll figure out how to love just one special someone, either. Fans of philosophical, emotional reads about rules, labels, and conformity will be entranced by Ask the Passengers.
September Girls
by Bennett Madison

Magical Realism. Sam thinks of them as "the Girls." These blonde, strangely accented, impossibly beautiful young women seem to be everywhere in the little beach town where Sam, his brother, and his dad have come to spend the summer. Sarcastic, lazy, and prone to drinking, Sam doesn't usually attract female attention (even his mom bailed on him), yet the Girls are inexplicably drawn to him. But who are they? Where did they come from, and what do they have to do with local legends about curses and mermaids? Sam's raunchy narration provides unexpected insights into the haunting themes of love and loss woven throughout this unusual modern fairy tale.
Summer of the Mariposas
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Fantasy. There's a dead body in the swimming hole. After discovering the drowned man near her Texas home, 15-year-old Odilia Garza wants to call the police. Her four younger sisters, however, persuade her to join them on an illicit road trip to return the body to his family in Mexico. Part epic journey and part realistic drama (the sisters confront some hard truths about their family), The Summer of the Mariposas is a unique and unforgettable read.  Want another lyrical, magic-tinged story starring a Latina heroine? Pick up Meg Medina's The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind.
Dope Sick
by Walter Dean Myers

Magical Realism. Injured and on the run after a drug deal gone south, 17-year-old Jeremy "Lil J" Dance ducks into an abandoned building in his Harlem neighborhood. Inside, he discovers Kelly, a strange squatter with an even stranger TV that shows Lil J decisions from his past -- leaving school, failing his pregnant girlfriend, developing a drug habit -- and possibilities for his future. Though Lil J suspects Kelly might a hallucination, he can't help considering the question Kelly asks: "If you could take back one thing you did…what would it be?" Popular author Walter Dean Myers combines magical realism and urban fiction in this complex, gritty, and inventive tale.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Ouachita Parish Public Library
1800 Stubbs Avenue
Monroe, Louisiana 71201
(318) 327-1490

https://www.oplib.org/
to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was."
~ from Ruta Sepetys' Salt to the Sea
Recent Releases
We Are the Ants
by Shaun David Hutchinson

Fiction. Sixteen-year-old Henry Denton has only 144 days to decide whether or not to save the world. The same aliens who have subjected Henry to repeated, mortifying abductions have now given him a choice: press a button and call off the scheduled destruction of Earth…or don't. And honestly, considering that he's tormented at school, his family is a mess, and his boyfriend committed suicide, Henry doesn't see much evidence that humanity is worth saving. If you enjoy books by outside-the-box writers like A.S. King and Andrew Smith, you'll appreciate the deep questions, edgy humor, and unflinching honesty in We Are the Ants
The Mystery of Hollow Places
by Rebecca Podos

Mystery. After her father, a best-selling mystery writer, disappears in the middle of the night, Imogene Scott feels sure that she's meant to follow him. Recklessly hiding some of the clues from the police (and from her stepmother), she launches her own investigation instead. Guessing that her father's disappearance has something to do with her mother's abandonment years earlier, Imogene uses the skills she's learned from fictional detectives to dig into her family's past…and maybe figure out her own future. With a twisty plot, bleak New England atmosphere, and a prickly, persistent heroine, this debut novel is a must-read for mystery fans. 
It's All Your Fault
by Paul Rudnick

Fiction. Caitlin Mary Prudence Rectitude Singleberry has lived up to her straitlaced name for 17 years. So how did she end up tattooed, pierced, and in jail? Obviously, the blame lies with Heller Harrigan, the out-of-control teen celebrity who also happens to be Caitlin's cousin. See, Caitlin was recruited to be Heller's chaperone until the premiere of her first big movie, a Hunger Games-style blockbuster. It was only for one weekend, but it turns out that 48 hours is more than enough time for the mismatched cousins to get into trouble with the law (and blow up on Twitter). Over-the-top situations blend with sharp social satire in this hysterically funny read. 
Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys

Historical Fiction. When the Wilhelm Gustloff sank in 1945, over 9,000 of its passengers lost their lives. Yet before it embarked on that doomed voyage, the Wilhelm Gustloff offered a last chance of escape for thousands of Eastern European refugees fleeing from the brutality of World War Two. Salt to the Sea follows four of the ship's passengers: Joana, a guilt-ridden Lithuanian nurse; Emilia, a pregnant Polish teen; Florian, a secretive Prussian artist; and Alfred, a young Nazi soldier. Similar to Allan Wolf's The Watch That Ends the Night, this gorgeously written tale of a deadly shipwreck is "heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful" (Kirkus Reviews). 
The Memory of Light
by Francisco X. Stork

Fiction. Following a suicide attempt, Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital psych ward feeling empty, and not just because her stomach was pumped. Her family is broken, she's lost the people she's cares about the most, and she just can't pretend to be okay anymore. At least in her therapy group, she doesn't have to pretend: Mona, E.M., and Gabriel may all have different backgrounds, and diagnoses, but they all offer the support (and the challenges) that Vicky needs to face the hard work of living. Readers who relish this intense, emotional exploration of mental illness may also want to try Benjamin Saenz Alire's Last Night I Sang to the Monster.
Focus on: Magical Realism
Love in the Time of Global Warming
by Francesca Lia Block

Apocalyptic Fiction. Earthquake, flood, and an influx of people-eating giants have turned the city of Los Angeles into a rubble-strewn hellscape. Into this perilous wasteland wanders a girl named Pen, desperately hoping to find the family she lost. As she searches, Pen is joined by a crew of other unlikely survivors, including leather-clad Hex, who forges a passionate relationship with Pen despite his claims of heartlessness. Though savvy readers will note certain parallels with The Odyssey, you don't need to have read Homer's epic to enjoy this dark, dreamlike story (which is followed by a sequel, The Island of Excess Love).
Ask the Passengers
by A.S. King

Fiction. Astrid Jones is stuck. Between the narrow-minded, gossipy residents of her small town and her needy, kind of messed-up family, she doesn't know what to do with all of the love she has in her heart. So Astrid lies on her back on a picnic table, staring up at the sky, and sends her love to the passengers in airplanes flying overhead. She doesn't know whether it has any effect, but she has no idea when she'll figure out how to love just one special someone, either. Fans of philosophical, emotional reads about rules, labels, and conformity will be entranced by Ask the Passengers.
September Girls
by Bennett Madison

Magical Realism. Sam thinks of them as "the Girls." These blonde, strangely accented, impossibly beautiful young women seem to be everywhere in the little beach town where Sam, his brother, and his dad have come to spend the summer. Sarcastic, lazy, and prone to drinking, Sam doesn't usually attract female attention (even his mom bailed on him), yet the Girls are inexplicably drawn to him. But who are they? Where did they come from, and what do they have to do with local legends about curses and mermaids? Sam's raunchy narration provides unexpected insights into the haunting themes of love and loss woven throughout this unusual modern fairy tale.
Summer of the Mariposas
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Fantasy. There's a dead body in the swimming hole. After discovering the drowned man near her Texas home, 15-year-old Odilia Garza wants to call the police. Her four younger sisters, however, persuade her to join them on an illicit road trip to return the body to his family in Mexico. Part epic journey and part realistic drama (the sisters confront some hard truths about their family), The Summer of the Mariposas is a unique and unforgettable read.  Want another lyrical, magic-tinged story starring a Latina heroine? Pick up Meg Medina's The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind.
Dope Sick
by Walter Dean Myers

Magical Realism. Injured and on the run after a drug deal gone south, 17-year-old Jeremy "Lil J" Dance ducks into an abandoned building in his Harlem neighborhood. Inside, he discovers Kelly, a strange squatter with an even stranger TV that shows Lil J decisions from his past -- leaving school, failing his pregnant girlfriend, developing a drug habit -- and possibilities for his future. Though Lil J suspects Kelly might a hallucination, he can't help considering the question Kelly asks: "If you could take back one thing you did…what would it be?" Popular author Walter Dean Myers combines magical realism and urban fiction in this complex, gritty, and inventive tale.
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