Imagine if our lives right now weren’t our only lives, that if after we die, there’s another life. But there’s one caveat, we have to choose a side: Myriad or Troika. One, a world of eternal darkness but luxury beyond your deepest desires. The other, a world of eternal light and joy. If you die before choosing, you’re stuck in the Land of Many Ways: a place where you're rumored to be terrorized for all eternity before eventually experiencing your second and final death. Troika and Myriad are rivals trapped in a bitter, never-ending war, looking to recruit the most souls. Both afterlives are in a race to recruit Tenley Lockwood, but how does she know which is the right choice? This is the afterlife, after all. Once you decide, there’s no going back. Check out Firstlife by Gena Showalter.
Simon Spier has a crush on a guy he's never met, his friend group is undergoing major changes, and he's being blackmailed. Junior year is way more complicated than he thought it would be. I absolutely adore this book. I listened to the audiobook version of this early last year and it remains one of my favorite reads of 2017. Becky Albertalli balances humor, teen angst, and romance to create a fabulous first novel. And if you like Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, there's another book in the Simonverse: The Upside of Unrequited. (A third book, Leah on the Offbeat, comes out later this year.) And—Simon is being made into a movie! It was renamed Love, Simon and hit theaters last week. Now's your chance to read the book before you see the movie.
Joelle Charbonneau’s dystopian novel takes place in the far future and depicts the aftereffects of a nuclear fallout. It asks the question of what makes a good leader. How does a people choose leaders that will act in the best interest of everyone? Leaders who won’t abuse the power they’ve been given and instead help the country flourish under their guidance? The Test that the title refers to hopes to be a solution to this question. There hasn’t been a candidate chosen for the Testing in Cia Vale’s small town in a very long, long time. It’s why it comes as such a surprise that after graduating, she was chosen. Why was it her and not her brothers who were just as qualified (if not more so)? The Testing is action-packed with decent pacing that keeps you wondering what will happen next. There is also some romance without it overwhelming the main plot (and no love triangle!). Journey with Cia Vale as she proceeds through a Test of her own. Part of a trilogy, The Testing is followed by Independent Study and Graduation Day.
Lara Jean Song Covey has written a love letter to every boy she's ever loved. The letters are in her room, in a hatbox, hidden. Until suddenly they are mailed out... Lara Jean is a fantastic protagonist. She's incredibly family-oriented, with very tight bonds to her father and both of her sisters. One of my favorite things about this book series is that while Lara Jean may have a romance, her entire story isn't a romance. She has friends, goals, aspirations, and hobbies besides dating. Both of the romantic possibilities are fleshed-out, and I could see Lara Jean with either of them -- which made it all the more realistic. All three books in the series are out now, so there's no waiting to find out how Lara Jean's story ends. Start with To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved by Jenny Han, then check out P.S. I Still Love You (book 2) and Always and Forever, Lara Jean (book 3).
Bestselling author John Green is finally back with a new book, five years after his international blockbuster hit The Fault in Our Stars. His newest work Turtles All the Way Down focuses on a teenage girl named Aza who is tortured by her own anxieties. Even the smallest events in life are full of panic, worrying about saying the wrong thing, catching an infection, or letting her own dark thoughts overtake her. Things only get more complicated when Aza is dragged along by her best friend Daisy to search for a missing billionaire to claim the reward, in the process reuniting Aza with a childhood crush. Turtles has everything Green fans want: believable teens, love, family, loss, heartbreak, hope, and friendship—plus a tuatara and plenty of Star Wars fanfiction. This is a must-read for not only die-hard fans of the author, but also for anyone who has struggled with mental health or been unable to understand the day-to-day pain of their affected loved ones.
I. W. Gregorio’s novel chronicles the struggles teens can face growing up intersex through the eyes of character Kristin Lattimer. After homecoming, Kristin has relations with a fellow teen only to discover her worst nightmare: her body isn’t what she thought it was. None of the Above is a story of discovery, bullying, and ultimately acceptance of ourselves and others. It also serves as a reminder to always be kind: you never know what someone else is going through.
Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts and she’s got far bigger problems to deal with than falling in love. Daniel is an incurable romantic who puts his faith in fate and poetry. The two teens couldn’t be more different, but when they keep crossing paths, they learn that they may have more in common than they first thought. Alternating chapters between the two characters, with interspersed sections written from an omniscient narrator about the teens, their families, and the universe, this beautifully written YA book tackles big issues like deportation, second-generation immigrants, familial expectations, racism, and the existence of love and fate. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon will make you cry tears of sadness, joy, and laughter, and leave you feeling a little glow in your heart.
Need more Wonder Woman and don’t want to wait two years for the next movie? Worry not, because Leigh Bardugo’s new novel Warbringer is everything you need. Diana knows not to meddle in the affairs of mortals, but against her better judgment and the advice of the Oracle, she saves the life of a young shipwrecked girl, Alia. Alia is a “warbringer,” a woman descended from Helen of Troy, whose blood will bring about a world war if she reaches adulthood. Determined to change fate, Diana takes it upon herself to deliver Alia to Greece where she can be cleansed of the warbringer line—but Alia doesn’t believe in such stories and just wants to return home. The two must learn to trust each other if they are to survive the lies, assassination attempts, divine intervention, and expensive galas as they race against time to save the world. Full of lovable, flawed, and beautifully diverse characters, this action-packed and humorous coming-of-age novel makes a great read and an even better listen with the audiobook, read by Mozhan Marno, which will leave fans desperate for more.
Angie Thomas’ novel is about two childhood friends who were at a party. They hadn’t seen each other for a long time, as they had grown apart and gone their separate ways. Then, they hear gunshots. They leave the party to go home, only to be stopped by a police officer. This stop had tragic consequences for them both. The aftermath is about the surviving friend and how she deals with the death of her friend and the repercussions for not only herself, but her friends, family, and the entire community. The Hate U Give looks at the perception of how people see you versus what you believe about yourself, as well as the difference between right and wrong.
Habo is an albino growing up in Tanzania. He is shunned by his community and even his own family, but the horrors do not begin until Habo and his family move from their rural village to Mwanza. He then finds he needs to stay on the run to avoid hunters who wish to kill him for a bounty because of his condition. The most unbelievable part of this story is that this barbarism exists in Tanzania today. In Golden Boy, Tara Sullivan allows readers to feel Habo's pain and go along on his quest for freedom from the superstitious cruelty of Tanzanian albino hunters.