All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
This quote from Noor kind of sums it up: “I think about the s$%t we've read in school. Those books all about one problem. A kid who's bullied. A kid who's beaten. A kid who's poor. And I think of us and how we've won the s$%t-luck lottery. We have all the problems.” Noor and Salahudin do have all the problems (and then some), which makes this a brutal read – but it’s also such an incredibly good book that you just keep rooting for them no matter how bleak and bad things get. Amazing!
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Book 1 of the Truly Devious Series
I just finished reading the third and final book in this trilogy, The Hand on the Wall, and the whole series is so much fun! I love Stevie as well as all her new friends and classmates at Ellingham (especially all of Stevie’s housemates: reclusive writer Nate; quirky builder Janelle; mysterious, moody David). Johnson’s use of the flashbacks from the 1930s add so much to the story, and I enjoyed how the mysteries of the past and present come together in the final book.
Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
Ebook in Overdrive
Wow, did this book suck me in, and wow, did I hate Evan at the beginning of the book. Unfortunately, I don't think Evan is all that unusual in his callous treatment of girls (although I wish he were) -- and it's a topic we should be talking about more. Evan's story is a tough, honest, and thought-provoking one that's totally worth reading.
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
I liked the diversity of characters in this story, the blended family, and the LA setting. I especially appreciated the way in which this books deals honestly and realistically with the topics of mental health, sexuality, and family.
One of Us Is Lying by Karen McMaus
This book was so much fun to read that I could not put it down! I enjoyed the alternating chapters from the four main characters' points of view, and each character was relatable and went beyond the high school stereotypes. If you like mysteries, this one is for you.
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).
Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner
I loved the epistolary format (the story is all told in emails), and Brynn's voice is so funny and sharp. Brynn struggles in school and at home, but her friends, her comrades in the Blue room, and even her brother's friend all provide a support system that help Brynn to keep fighting the good fight.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
I was biting my nails all the way through this excellent mystery/thriller, hoping against hope that Sadie and Mattie would get justice and that Sadie wouldn't end up just "another dead girl."
Romance + mystery + slasher plot = a fun, gory read.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This book really speaks to what's going on in our society today about how men treat woman (and boys treat girls) and what is and isn't acceptable. It's an uplifting read that will have you cheering on the girls of East Rockport High School.
This story is more than just a sweet romance: it has diverse and interesting characters, deals with the changing relationship of two sisters, and has a very relateable and hilarious main character. Loved it!
Not only is The Hate U Give an excellent book, but it's also an important and timely one. A must read!
Bang by Barry Lyga
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 heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful book that explores not only the depths of grief, but also the joys and pains of first love and the possibility of healing and starting over. Silvera's first novel, More Happy Than Not, was an excellent book that has stayed with me; this one is equally good.
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.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers
This book is a hard and emotional read but well worth it since it shines light on a society that often blames the victim. It also examines how corruption and power in a small town can keep justice from being served. Compared to other excellent books dealing with sexual assault such as Exit, Pursued by a Bear and Speak, All the Rage holds up well and has it's own point of view.
"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.
I enjoyed Yoon's first novel, Everything, Everything, and loved this one also. The characters are unique (and refreshingly diverse), and immigration is a topic we don't see much in YA literature. If you liked Eleanor & Park, give this one a shot.
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
This is a sequel or companion to Code Name Verity, which I thought was an amazing book; this one is also very, very good. If you like historical fiction or books about the Holocaust and WWII, then this one is for you.
Companion to Code Name Verity
Violet and Finch are characters who will stay with you long after you finish the book. If you like realistic stories that don't shy away from the dark and hard parts of life (such as Eleanor & Park or The Fault in Our Stars), then you should check this one out.
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.
With winning characters, particularly the delicious love interest, Jack, a focus on art, and San Francisco in the background, this is my favorite YA romance read of 2016 (so far).
Another of my top ten favorite books so far this year. In an unflinching and honest book, Hermione shows us the meaning of the word "survivor."
This book has a lot of humor and is an interesting look into the life of an agoraphobe.