I really liked Darius (he loves tea; he makes a lot of references to Lord of the Rings and Star Trek; and he's a great big brother to his little sister Laleh). His problems are real, but he faces them with a lot of humor. I also really enjoyed the peak into Persian culture (the food, traditions, and history).
This book has it all -- nonstop action; a great plot; brutal, bloody fights; a cooler than cool main character; and lots of twists and turns. Kind of like The Hunger Games (spectator sports! battles! revolution!) but about a million times better -- and it's in outer space!
Book 1 of the Red Rising Saga
Amazing characters and a plot full of action that does not stop, this one is a must read. If you like adventure stories with a dash of fantasy/supernatural (but completely grounded in a very realistic world) and a plot with more twists and turns than a mountain road, give this one a look.
Book 1 of the Six of Crows duology
This is a gripping quick read that looks unflinchingly at how a family deals with loss and grief and pain -- and also, surprisingly, at race in America. Raw and real.
This is a topical book that examines what's going on in our society today in terms of race and police brutality -- but more importantly, it's a well-written story told from the perspectives of an African-American teen and a white teen, and the authors explore both sides with finesse.
This book was such a fun adventure/survival thrill ride (with a smidgen of romance). The format comprised of interview transcripts, memos, instant-messaging transcripts, diary entries, and more made for a unique read. (Don't let the size fool you -- it's a quick read with a lot of white space around the pictures, text messages, and such).
Book 1 of the Illuminae Files
"A lot of stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don't really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing." Ali's voice is so real that you'll think you're sitting with him and Noodles on the stoop in their Bed Stuy neighborhood as his tale unfolds. A great look into the life of an urban teen on the cusp of manhood as he deals with everything life throws his way.
This book proves that you don't have to read fantasy to enjoy a story with dragons, because other than the dragons, this book depicts the life of a fairly ordinary modern high school student -- one who just happens to have a very special talent.
Book 1 of the Story of Owen Series
Imagine The Fault in Our Stars with a lot less romance and way more boy humor, movie-making, and inter-racial friendship. The narrator, Greg, says this book "contains precisely zero Important Life Lessons, or Little-Known Facts About Love, or sappy tear-jerking Moments When We Knew We Had Left Our Childhood Behind for Good, or whatever," but it will make you laugh a lot more than it will make you cry (and I do mean a lot).
Full of humor and references to great movies, this book will speak to readers who enjoy realistic fiction and smart, funny, honest characters.
This story takes place in modern-day England, where witches live alongside humans. This story deals with the nature of good and evil, and it has lots of action and adventure, making it a good pick for boys, but girls (like me) will enjoy it, too.
Book 1 of the Half Bad Trilogy