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New Young Adult Books

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Joanna’s Picks

A list of fun and exciting YA books handpicked by a volunteer at the Library. My tastes tend to run towards the fantasy and adventure kind of books, but I’ve read a lot of YA and these are all my favorites.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

(Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, The Assassin’s Blade)

throne of glass

An expansive, wonderfully written epic fantasy for fans of Game of Thrones. It follows the adventures of the assassin Celaena Sardothien as she escapes from slavery and fights in a competition with fierce thieves and murderers, and the story expands into a tale of politics, romance, and magic.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

(Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring, Gathering Darkness, Frozen Tides)

falling kingdoms

An epic fantasy about three kingdoms struggling for power in a world where myth is becoming reality. The world building, the characters, and the magic all make this book an exciting read. This is a twisting, thrilling story that you will not be able to put down.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

(Seraphina, Shadow Scale)


Who doesn’t love dragons? In this world, human and dragons tensions are high, and Seraphina just happens to be an anomaly- half-human, half-dragon. When people are being murdered in a suspicious dragon-like fashion, Seraphina must learn to balance her two worlds and save relations between the two species. One of the most diverse young adult books out there. The characters and their journey will keep you hooked.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz


A romance that takes place in Texas in the 80’s, this story follows two boys, Aristotle and Dante, as they explore themselves and learn to accept and understand their identities. The writing is amazing, the romance is enchanting, the characters are so very real, and the story carries a weight that makes it so haunting and memorable.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

(The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue, The Raven King)


This is a story about five teenagers on a quest to find a dead Welsh king, whose death is surrounded in legend and mystery. That is the most basic description one could give it, but really, it’s so much more than that. It’s a story about adventure and friendship that is both intoxicating and heartwarming. Each character is well thought out, intelligent, and unique. The story is grounded by the characters, who make the magic of their world seem much more believable with their presence.

Grisha Series by Leigh Bardugo

(Six of Crows, Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising)


In this world, which is heavily inspired by Russian folklore and history, a girl named Alina Starkov discovers she holds a power that could defeat the Shadow Fold, a huge sea of darkness crawling with monsters, and unite her country of Ravka once again. She is whisked to the capital to become a pawn in a game much larger than she expected. The setting is as unique as the country it’s based on. The writing is extraordinary, the plot is fast-paced, and the magic is exciting and new.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


This is a contemporary read about a girl who would rather write fanfiction than go to a party, so possibly one of the most relatable protagonists ever written. She’s just arrived at college, and her new surroundings are overwhelming, to say the least. She’s always used fandom as a crutch to get her through her problems, but she must learn to be more reliant on herself. It’s a light, funny story that any reader can relate to.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


This is about a girl who is angry at the broken state of her family when she spends her winter break in Paris with her father. There, she discovers the diary of a girl who lived two centuries before and instantly feels a connection with her. All history buffs, especially lovers of the French Revolution, will love this book. It’s both entertaining and educational, using real people and people of the author’s creation to tell a tale that is hauntingly relevant and poignant.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken


Etta is a prodigal violin player who, while performing at the Met, travels back to the 18th century. There she discovers she belongs to an ancient family of time travelers, and becomes entrapped in the hunt for the long-lost astrolabe, a device that can find the portals used to time travel. Etta and her new companion Nicholas travel through the centuries in a well researched, complicated world that makes this book amazing. Time traveling can be a tricky thing to write and read about, but this book is thorough in its world building.

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard

(Something Strange & Deadly, A Darkness Strange & Lovely, Strange & Ever After)  


The Dead are rising in Philadelphia, and Eleanor’s family is falling apart. She strains against the harsh rules of mid-19th century America as she struggles to keep her family stable, find her brother, and join a strange trio of people trying to stop the zombies, whose mysterious appearance seems to have a lot to do with her brother. This is perfect for fans of steampunk, Gothic literature, and strong females.

Ash by Malinda Lo


In this retelling of Cinderella, Ash is torn between the fairy Sidhean, who came to take her away from the abuse of her stepmother, and Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, whom Ash learns to hunt with and eventually they fall in love. She must make a choice between her fairy tale dreams and true love in this short but gripping book.

Proxy by Alex London

(Proxy, Guardian)


Syd bares all punishments given to Knox in this futuristic world where class tensions are acutely felt. To beat the system, the two go on the run and discover they have more in common than they thought. This is a thought-provoking novel about debts and choices and unexpected friendship.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Taylor Laini

(Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, Days of Blood & Starlight)


Karou has lived a strange life, going from city to city looking for teeth for her guardian, Brimstone. Her circumstances are peculiar, and she’s never really understood them, but soon is forced to when she is cut off from the creatures who raised her, and must find her way home with the help of Akiva, whose past in inexplicably tied with Karou’s. The writing is gorgeous, the magic is so unique, and the settings, places like Prague, Morocco, and Paris, are enchanting.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

(Red Queen, Glass Sword)

red queen

In this world, blood means everything. Silvers are the elite, wealthy, powerful, and gifted with supernatural abilities. Reds cling to the fringes of society as they fight to survive. Mare is a Red, but when it’s discovered she has a Silver power, she is taken to the capital where she is heralded as a lost Silver princess and is entangled in a struggle for power. In this tale of class struggles, poverty, and rebellion, the action shines through, making it highly potent and exciting.

Worlds of Ink & Shadow by Lena Coakley


This historical fantasy novel draws on the lives of the Bronte siblings: Branwell, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. They all write voraciously, heavily invested in their made-up worlds. But these worlds are more real than just words on a page, and the siblings are able to transport to these worlds through their writing. When they begin to lose their grip on reality, can they give up their one escape for good? Anyone can read this book, even if they haven’t read anything by the Brontes, as the story and the characters are gripping and relatable to anyone.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

(A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows)

A Darker Shade final for Irene

There are four Londons, and Kell is one of the only people who can travel between them. Red London, Kell’s home, is a thriving kingdom where magic runs free. Grey London is an industrial city ruled by a mad King where magic disappeared long before. White London is a pale, dreary place where magic is like a drug and the Dane twins rule with an iron fist. Black London was abandoned long before, after being consumed by magic. When he meets Lila Bard, a pick-pocket who robs him of a dangerous artifact, the two go on a dangerous quest to save the world. The world is rich, complicated, and unique, and characters like Lila and Kell shine in this expansive fantasy.  

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski

(The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime, The Winner’s Kiss)


Kestrel is the daughter of a general in an Empire that enslaves all it conquers. When she purchases the slave Arin, she finds herself growing attached to him. But the two hide secrets from each other, and these secrets may destroy everything the two know. This world of complicated morality is a thought-provoking, stimulating read.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black


Hazel and Ben live in the town of Fairfold where humans and faeries exist side by side. In the forest, a boy sleeps in a glass coffin, never waking. Until he does. Hazel and Ben once fought side by side to vanquish the dangerous magic of the Fae, and they must channel their past as their town is turned upside down by this strange Faerie boy. Holly Black is well known for her faerie tales, which are unlike any other. This book is no exception, providing another stunning story that is hard to put down.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

(Snow Like Ashes, Ice Like Fire)

snow like ashes

Meira is one of the few survivors of the Winterians- a group of people conquered by a neighboring kingdom, and she now lives as a refugee waiting to return home. When she and her fellow refugees think they’ve found the locket that holds the key to Winter’s magic, they begin to look for it. But Meira soon discovers that her destiny is not her own. Meira is a fierce protagonist whose ambition and grit is inspiring.

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

(The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men)


Todd Hewitt lives in a town entirely populated by men, and every one can hear everyone else’s thoughts. A month before Todd officially becomes a “man,” he discovers the town is hiding something dark, so he runs away with his dog. While on the run, he stumbles upon a strange creature whose thoughts he can’t hear: a girl. It’s a sad, gritty story about unlearning everything you know. The characters come to life, each one with a distinctive voice and motivations that leave you reeling.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows


Whether or not you know the history of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-Days Queen, this book is still a hilarious and (mostly) historical novel. In an alternative, fantastical, Tudor England, King Edward, Jane Grey, and her husband Gifford are drawn into a complicated conspiracy and must fight for their lives and the future of England. It was a fabulous adventure that drew both gasps and laughs from my lips. The characters were witty and hilarious, and the authors made me wish this was what really happened.

Summer Art Program for Tweens and Teens

Part of the Tweens and Teens Summer Arts Program this summer at the Englewood Public Library, Singer, songwriter Alice Leon worked with the children to write their own songs and perform the songs. Check out their work from the video!

 2016 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults

Albertalli, Becky. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Harper/Balzer and Bray. 2015. 320p. ISBN: 9780062348678. Simon is falling in love for the first time. Over email, if that’s even possible.

Bardugo, Leigh. Six of Crows. Holt. 2015. 480p. ISBN: 9781627792127. Presented an offer too lucrative to refuse, gang leader Kaz Brekker and his team of convicts, runaways, and thieves set out to smuggle an imprisoned scientist from an impenetrable Fjerdan fortress, only to face treachery and betrayal along the way.

Brooks, Kevin. The Bunker Diary. Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab. 2015. 264p. ISBN: 9781467754200. Sixteen-year-old Linus Weems is kidnapped and transported to an underground bunker, where he is joined by five other kidnapping victims. Where are they? Why have they been taken? And can they survive?

Crowder, Melanie. Audacity. Philomel. 2015. 400p. ISBN: 9780399168994. This novel-in-verse fictionalizes the teen years of Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the leader of the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909. Fleeing from anti-Semitic Russia, the teen and her family struggle to adapt to their new home.

Older, Daniel José. Shadowshaper. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books. 2015. 304p. ISBN: 9780545591614. Sierra Santiago was amped on her summer of painting murals and hanging with friends, before noticing the murals were fading faster than normal. Another street artist named Robbie is the only one who can help her to unlock this mystery.

Reynolds, Jason. The Boy in the Black Suit. Atheneum. 2015. 272p. ISBN: 9781442459502. To deal with his mother’s passing, Matt accepts a job at the local funeral home. Matt meets Lovey at her grandmother’s funeral. The two of them share a bond that will help them both to move past their own respective losses.

Ruby, Laura. Bone Gap. Harper/Balzer and Bray. 2015. 368p. ISBN: 9780062317605. In a small town full of strange happenings, Finn is determined to uncover the mystery of Roza’s disappearance.

Shabazz, Ilyasah and Kekla Magoon. X: A Novel. Candlewick. 2015. 384p. ISBN: 9780763669676. This fictionalized account of Malcolm X’s teen years poignantly presents the young man’s struggles with identity, racism, and crime.

Shusterman, Neal. Challenger Deep. HarperTeen. 2015. 320p. ISBN: 9780061134111. As Caden descends into mental illness, his visions of a descent into the deep waters of a trench take over.

Silvera, Adam. More Happy than Not. Soho Teen. 2015. 304p. ISBN: 9781616955601. After enduring his father’s suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, 16, is already considering the Leteo Institute’s memory-alteration procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.

Looking for a book to read?

Fun & Useful Websites



Learn about literature, economics, civics, digital literacy, U.S. history, and the other key school subjects. Biology, pre-algebra and algebra, Shakespeare, and poetry.

Teen Ink

This is a magazine by teens for teens.  You can write stories, share work, and rate the work of others.  They can use the free resources online.

Habitat for Humanity International

This is probably one of the best known volunteer agencies around.  But their youth programming is stellar, and teens can really stand out by becoming youth leaders.  Their program “Youth United” provides leadership opportunities for kids age 5-25.  Kids can start their own local chapter and host events to raise money and awareness about global housing conditions.


This website for teenagers encourages teens to create and post films that deal with social issues.  The films are pretty impressive, too.  Topics include a full range of hot topics including drugs abuse, teenage pregnancy, and STDs.

Budding Writers Network

Share their writing and get critiques from other teen writers.  While the site is just a discussion board, the activity rate is high and teens seem to be sharing some pretty neat stuff.  Teens offer encouragement to one another, and drafts can be resubmitted for review.

Channel One News is by far the most comprehensive and informative site for teens. Not only does it keep them up with the latest world news, Channel One offers homework help, fun quizzes, music videos and movie reviews.


Find community, games, news and shopping. There is a link called “creativity” where teens can share their poems, stories, photos and artwork.

Teen Stars Online

For Hollywood gossip and news featuring teen stars, this site has everything.


Covers anything health related that has to do with teens. It approaches teen health in a non clinical way incorporating physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Fun Sites Shopping Mall

Teenagers love to shop and Fun Sites has it all. Though not brick and mortar, this site has all the great stores that are in your favorite mall.


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