By Emma Schneider, Lewiston City Library Summer Associate - June 20, 2020
Running with Lions by Julian Winters
This novel follows a high school soccer team: The Bloomington Lions. The team is made of diverse students and the story follows them as they navigate their identities and support one another. I think this book features such a wonderfully positive outlook on identity, self discovery, first love, and friendship - as well as great LGBTQA+ representation.
Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson
This book makes you question everything you know about The United States’ racially defined past and present and how it affects Black lives. I am a big believer in asking questions and creating conversations in order to grow and learn - this is a perfect resource for that. The great book for all the teen activists out there!
Layoverland by Gabby Noone
A YA romance with a touch of Beetlejuice! This book follows the newly deceased Bea as she has to work to help 5000 souls in purgatory (an airport where food is encased in jello) figure out what is keeping them from moving on in order for her to get another shot at going to heaven. One problem - one of the souls is the reason she died, and she kind of likes him. My new favorite rom com novel.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
A fantasy story set on an island where, one by one, 12 sisters in line for the throne begin to die. The story follows Annaleigh as she tries to unravel the mysterious deaths of her sisters before they are all gone. This standalone novel is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses and full of mythological figures and great spooky, fantasy elements! I always enjoy a fantasy novel that can nail it in a single book rather than a long series.
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
The Earth will end in seven days. At least it will if the intergalactic council deems it as a failed social experiment. Rishi’s debut novel follows three teens as they attempt to accomplish their goals before the seven days end. Featuring diverse characters, touching scenes, aliens, and all around chaos - this book is a must read. I laughed and I cried equally throughout the story - also who doesn’t love alien governments and old radios?
The Silence of Bones by June Hur
A fast-paced mystery set in 1800s Korea following a character who has been cursed to “live in interesting times”. Seol is indentured to the police bureau and must work alongside her police inspector to uncover the truth about a politically charged murder. One problem: the inspector is considered the prime suspect for the murder. A wonderful, suspenseful mystery that I enjoyed solving.
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
New York City in the infamous summer of 1977. To set the scene: a boiling hot summer, a blackout across the city, arson, a serial killer on the loose, protests, oh, and disco! This is a novel about family, race, friendship, and facing your fears all told through the eyes of 17 year old Nora Lopez as she learns to navigate the uncertain world around her. Reading this, I wanted to live in the 1970s very badly.
Almost American Girl by Robin Ha
This beautifully illustrated graphic novel tells the author’s personal story of moving from Seoul, Korea to Huntsville, Alabama in the 1990s after her mother marries an American man. It is a story of immigration and the cultural struggle to fit in. This is also, however, a story of the author’s coming-of-age and discovery of her artistic talents through her love of comics. I found it gorgeous and heartwarming.
Run For Your Life by Silvana Gandolfi
The mafia runs the Italian city of Sicily. This is the story (based on true events) of two boys, Santino and Lucio, and their connections to the mafia. Written as a fast-paced action story, this Italian author’s coming-of-age novel truly keeps the reader on their toes and is highly engaging. I couldn’t put it down and it kept me interested to the very end.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
An oldie but a goodie. This paranormal romp has everything: Ley lines, ghosts, psychics, dead welsh kings, and a great group of friends working together to make it through the school year on top of it all. The characters in this series are instantly endearing to the reader, and you can’t help but want to join them on their quest. I definitely wish I was friends with the Raven Boys and Blue!
*To check out these books, or find many other amazing titles year-round, just visit the Lewiston City Library’s Teen Zone!