I am wildly in love with Cashore's Seven Kingdoms trilogy, so when I heard she had a standalone novel coming out, I pretty much lost my mind. This bizarre gem of a book includes — but is not limited to — umbrellas, espionage, wildlife photography, quantum physics, Winnie-the-Pooh, and art fraud. In short, it is an unforgettable adventure that you'll simply have to experience for yourself.
– Madeline S.
Dimple: Wants to be a web designer and not married off by her parents to the "Ideal Indian Husband." Rishi: Wants a perfect marriage like his parents and is happy to have them find the girl for him. “'Hello, future wife,” he said, his voice bubbling with glee. “I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!'” — how can you not root for Rishi after he gets an iced coffee tossed on him for saying this? When Dimple Met Rishi is such an entertaining read and perfect for people looking for a cute, sweet story with adorable characters. I've been recommending the heck out of this to anybody who will listen to me.
– Mecca A.
The Sorias are a family of miracle workers whose gifts have turned sour. The recipients of their miracle-performing stay stuck halfway between the miracle and the darkness that is being drawn out of them, leaving a mass of suffering pilgrims on the Soria ranch. That is, until the day Pete Wyatt shows up at their door, setting off a chain of events that will change everything, from saints to owls to the very nature of what a miracle truly is.
– Aubrey W.
Y'all. This book is so, so, so good. Not only does it paint a realistic picture inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, it is also about family, friendship, dating, socioeconomics, and coming of age in the cross-cultural world that is America. I'm telling you, read it, especially those of you who, like me, didn't grow up in a black home. Angie Thomas is a force to be reckoned with, and this book hits readers where it hurts. Oh, and an extra .5 stars for her main character who is obsessed with Harry Potter.
5.5 stars. I don't care if that's not a thing.
– Andy A.
Do you know where your chocolate comes from? Amadou is a slave in today's Ivory Coast, where his sole concern is for the safety of his younger brother, Seydou. But when the fiery Khadija is brought to the plantation, she stirs Amadou into action, and the three children embark on a heart-stopping, tear-jerking break for freedom. This gripping novel sheds light on the dark secrets of our favorite treat.
– Carrie L.
We Are Okay has such beautiful, riveting prose that I read it in a single day. The story of Marin’s life unfolds from living with her caring grandfather on the California coast to a lonely winter break at a snow-filled New York college campus. Nina LaCour, author of Hold Still and Everything Leads to You, crafts this gorgeous young adult novel about family tragedy, grief, love, and healing that will leave you feeling hopeful for these well-crafted characters.
– Kim T.
Emily Suvada's debut novel, This Mortal Coil, is YA sci-fi at its best. It's got an explosive virus (literally), apps that can alter DNA using implants (and hackers to break into them), and a huge corporation that only allows access to certain apps (for the sake of "purity"). This is a fast-paced book with excellent character-building and a very plausible (and frightening) view of genetic science. While I rarely compare books or authors, if people enjoy science-influenced stories like The Martian, they may want to give this one a shot!
– Beth C.
There's Someone Inside Your House is a ton of fun. It's a horror novel of the teen scream-slasher variety. Think Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend — so, you know, a lot of '90s horror but set in present-day Nebraska. There's a mysterious killer with a motive, jump scares, teenage romance, sarcasm, and a lot of high schoolers dying in gruesome fashion. It's a blast, and pretty much unlike anything else in the YA section.
– Jordan S.
This was my first encounter with Taylor, having somehow managed to avoid the crazy success of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. When I read Strange, I was blown away — not only by the beauty of the writing, but by the world and character-building that take place. I went back and read all of Taylor's other books, and I can say that Strange is my favorite. I will definitely be getting the next book in the series immediately upon release!
– Beth C.
Aza, who suffers from obsessive thought spirals, and her best friend Daisy are in search of a fugitive billionaire and the reward money for his capture. Green tackles mental illness in such an open and honest way, it is sure to connect with many readers. I found the characters to be imperfect and wonderful — I just wish I’d had more time with them.
– Jen H.
Mackenzi Lee's comedic historical novel will take you on a hilarious swashbuckling adventure full of friendship, drunkenness, and gay love. It also tackles issues such as ableism, racism, and feminism — this book has it all.
– Andy A.
Returning to the world Pullman created in the His Dark Materials series is so satisfying and worth the long wait. Malcolm Polstead, son of an innkeeper and helper to the nuns at the Priory of St. Rosamund, takes it upon himself to help baby Lyra when the town experiences a major flood and shady people are after her. Malcolm, Lyra, and Alice head downstream in a boat, La Belle Sauvage, in search of Lyra’s father. Readers of the series will recognize characters from the previous books, but this book stands on its own. It’s a great introduction or return to Pullman’s world. I highly recommend it!
– Jen H.
Sam has enough problems — her parents are divorced and she’s estranged from her father, school is filled with social anxiety, and there’s that little matter of her old shoplifting problem. But when she starts dating an Amish guy and the cyberbullying begins, things really start to fall apart. Samantha Stonesong is a character you fall in love with — shy and awkward, but also super smart and funny — and Debby Dodds writes with a wonderful energy and authenticity. Amish Guys Don’t Call is a sweet, often laugh-out-loud funny novel about love, tolerance, and finding oneself.
– Gigi L.