Many, many, many years ago, in this small Oregon coastal town, the townspeople accused the Swan Sisters of witchcraft and drowned them in the sea. And every summer since, the Swan Sisters have come back to inhabit the bodies of local teenage girls to mesmerize and lure boys into the ocean to kill in revenge. Shea Ernshaw's debut book is such a well-thought-out whodunit, peppering in clues and really sharp story flourishes along the way. It’s... (read more)Recommended by Jordan S.
Kate DiCamillo's new book is incredible — of course it is. It's a companion book to the already outstanding Raymie Nightingale, but you don't have to read it first to love Louisiana — it will just enhance your reading experience. It's at times sad and trying, hopeful and heartwarming, and it's filled with such real characters and told through Louisiana's distinct voice. DiCamillo's books should not only be read by kids, but... (read more)Recommended by Jordan S.
Julián Is a Mermaid was the Best Book of the Year as soon as it was released. The art and colors alone are goosebumps-inducing. It's also a multilayered story, as it can be read in a number of ways: it can be about a boy who loves dressing up; it can be about self-discovery and a boy coming out; and it can be about unconditional love — or all of the above. It'll leave you mesmerized by how incredible it truly is.Recommended by Jordan S.
There's Someone Inside Your House is a ton of fun. It's a horror novel of the teen scream 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... (read more)Recommended by Jordan S.
A lonely kid who loves video games is forced to go outside to play, and ends up having an incredible time in the wilderness and rain. Not only does it turn out to be a lovely story, but Alemagna is doing a lot of interesting and progressive things within it. Her main character is gender neutral (which I noticed one other instance this year in Kate Berube's illustrations for My Little Half Moon), and her illustrations of the character... (read more)Recommended by Jordan S.
This might be blasphemy to say, but... I think All's Faire is even better than Roller Girl. Impy has grown up at the renaissance faire. She quickly sees the nobility she's developed and continues to uphold fly out the window when she's thrown into the ruthlessness of middle school. Soon, she's falling into the wrong crowd, needing to buy certain brands, and the stress of it all is affecting her family and faire life. Can Impy... (read more)Recommended by Jordan S.
Danielle Davis's debut has everything you could ever want in a middle grade read: embracing your creativity, being an understanding friend, communication and handling your emotions healthily, and feeling lost but finding your home. There's a wide-ranging cast of eccentric characters too, and it brims with both humor and heart — a total package reminiscent of the great Kate DiCamillo.Recommended by Jordan S.
This isn't a young adult novel about something as black and white as cancer. All the Bright Places lives in a world of gray. Being mentally unwell — whether it's depression, bipolar disorder, or grief — is difficult for other people to really understand, and it's the difficulty Violet and Finch face each day. Love won't solve anything; it isn't that simple. But to have experienced it, at least, is nice. A fantastic new YA voice who... (read more)Recommended by Jordan S.