“FAR FROM THE TREE” by Robin Benway Y BEN
Three siblings separated as infants reconnect in this National Book Award finalist which fearlessly address the difficulties of family.
“GEM & DIXIE” by Sara Zarr Y ZAR
Two sisters, growing apart with each passing day, struggle through high school, let down at nearly every opportunity by their irresponsible and neglectful parents.
“THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE” by Mackenzi Lee Y LEE
Lee whisks readers to 18-century Europe in a rollicking adventure starring charismatic and quick-witted Henry Montague, who dashes across the continent with his sister and friend (and crush) Percy, staying barely ahead of whatever (self-inflicted) scandal is now nipping at his heels.
“THE HATE U GIVE” by Angie Thomas Y THO
This hard-hitting exploration of police brutality, racial injustice, and the double lives that children of color are so often asked to live is more necessary and relevant than ever.
“I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE” by Maurene Goo Y GOO
A high-achieving Korean-American teenager tries to get a boyfriend by using lessons she’s gleaned from her favorite Korean soap operas in Goo’s hilarious romantic comedy.
“LA BELLE SAUVAGE” by Philip Pullman Y PUL
Lyra Belacqua, the heroine of Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, is just an infant—one whom 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead desperately tries to keep safe, in a story of daemons, Dust, a rampaging flood, and the forces of the Magisterium.
“LANDSCAPE WITH INVISIBLE HAND” by M. T. Anderson Y AND
A masterpiece of understatement, this story follows the fallout from the arrival of the “vuuv,” 1950s-culture-obsessed aliens whose advance technologies have eviscerated the human economy and led to widespread poverty and ruin.
“THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ” by Antonio Iturbe Y ITU
Originally published in Spain, this book draws from the life of real-life survivor Dita Kraus who, as a young teenager, surreptitiously guarded a collection of forbidden books within Auschwitz. A painful but rewarding portrait of resilience.
“LONG WAY DOWN” by Jason Reynolds Y REY
Told through clipped poems, this powerhouse examination of gun violence unfolds over the course of an elevator ride: the victims of gun violence who, somehow, board at each stop force 15-year-old Will to look hard at the revenge he intends to exact.
“A SKINFUL OF SHADOWS” by Frances Hardinge Y HAR
Set as the English Civil War gathers momentum, this haunting fantasy follows a girl named Makepeace who seeks answers about her family after her mother is unexpectedly killed in a riot. What she discovers reshapes what she knows about life as she finds unexpected allies among the dead.
“SPINNING” by Tillie Walden Y B WAL (Biography)
In a graceful graphic memoir, Walden looks back at her youth spent as a competitive figure skater and the attraction to girls that she kept to herself for years. Her spare images, colored in violet with dashes of gold, are ideally suited to the quiet, introspective tone of her writing.
“TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN” by John Green Y GRE
Centering on a missing billionaire and a teenager who anxieties grip her life like a vice, this is a raw, hard-to-forget novel about the power that mental illness can exert over a person’s life and relationships.
“VINCENT AND THEO: THE VAN GOGH BROTHERS” by Deborah Heiligman Y B VAN (Biography)
Heiligman delves into the fraught relationship between brothers Vincent and Theo Van Gogh, “companions in the search for meaning in life and meaning in art.” It’s a thorough study of two highly dissimilar siblings, Vincent’s struggles with mental illness, and the body of work he produced.
“WARCROSS” by Marie Lu Y LU
Virtual reality gaming is all but woven into society’s DNA in this thrilling SF novel. First in a duology, it introduces hacker turned bounty hunter Emika Chen, who competes in a high-profile, high-stakes championship tournament while simultaneously seeking out a rogue hacker.
“WE ARE OKAY” by Nina LaCour Y LAC
Holed up in her empty New York dormitory over Christmas break, college freshman Marin faces a past she longs to forget in this gorgeously melancholic novel, which carefully reveals the reasons that Marin isn’t ready to return to her California home.
“YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR” by Mitali Perkins Y PER
This vivid family saga chronicles several decades in the lives of three generations of Indian women working to reconcile their culture with their American home amid new romances, professional and political awakenings, and tested family relationships.
“AMERICAN STREET” by ibi Zoboi Y ZOB
A richly written look at contemporary immigration and intersections of culture, this book follows Haitian teenager Fabiola Toussaint’s adjustment to life in Detroit—made all the harder by her mother’s being sent to a detention center en route.