Looking for something to read? Our teen services staff are here to help. We’ve selected three teen fiction novels just for you! All titles are available through one or more of our digital collection platforms. Want more recommendations? Visit our Teen Reads page to view genre-specific lists curated just for you.


STAFF PICK: RANDI

BOOK INFORMATION

Genre: Fantasy
First Released: 2016
Part of a Series? Yes
Synopsis:

“Growing up beside her father on a time-traveling ship that ventures to real and imaginary places, 16-year-old Nix struggles to preserve her life when her father obsessively pursues a map in a past time period in ways that threaten her existence.”

Where can I find it?

The Girl from Everywhere (Book 1) and The Ship Beyond Time (Book 2) are available on hoopla.

COMMENTARY

If you could travel through time, where and when would you go? Maybe ancient Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs, July 1969 to the Kennedy Space Center as Apollo 11 rockets to the moon, July 1985 London to see Queen perform at Live Aid or August 1963 Washington, D.C. to hear Martin Luther King speak at the March on Washington? The possibilities are endless and fraught with danger—danger to you as you travel, and to history itself.

In The Girl from Everywhere, 16-year-old Nix is a somewhat reluctant time traveler. She, her father (Captain Slate) and a small crew aboard their ship, the Temptation, use maps to navigate through time to places both real and imaginary. Her father is forever on the hunt for a map that will allow him to travel back to 1868 to save his one true love, Nix’s mother. And once again, Slate believes he has found THE map. But a mysterious shop owner and a dangerous group of men have tricked the crew into arriving 16 years too late. To get the real map, Nix and the rest of the crew are asked to rob $900,000 from the Hawaiian royal treasury. Nix wants to walk away but her father disagrees.

What does this mean for Nix? For the crew? For the King and the people of Hawaii? Can they pull off the theft? Should they? Just for a map that will rewrite history—Nix’s history? To discover the fate of Nix and her crew, read The Girl from Everywhere, a fantastical adventure through history with a great cast of characters.


STAFF PICK: ASHE

BOOK INFORMATION

Genre: Fantasy
First Released: 2011
Part of a Series? Yes
Synopsis:

“Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.”

Where can I find it?:

Books one and two are available on OverDrive.

COMMENTARY

Akata Witch circles around the concept of identity with a giant blinking neon sign because it has identity written all over it. At its core, it’s about discovering your true self and being okay with what we find.

Sunny grew up always knowing she was different. She’s albino. She lives in Nigeria, but grew up in America. So she’s used to people staring. She’s used to carrying an umbrella to protect her from the sun. What she’s not used to is juju, the magic of the Leopard People.

Once she’s gotten to know her neighbors and classmates Chichi, Orlu and Sasha, her life has changed forever. While Sunny’s world has widened limitlessly, juju is not without danger.

Are you ready to delve into the world of Leopard People with Sunny? Are you ready to be enchanted by new lands? And are you ready for evil spellcasters who wish to do you harm? If you answered yes, then you’re ready for Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.


STAFF PICK: JENNA

BOOK INFORMATION

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Family Fiction
First Released: 2018
Part of a Series? Nope, you can read it all by itself!
Synopsis:

“Toby and Luke are best friends, bound by a goal of leaving their hometown for Luke’s wrestling scholarship, but a series of events during their senior year will test their resolve.”

Where can I find it?

Available as an eAudiobook on OverDrive.

COMMENTARY

I stumbled upon We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss one day at work while looking for display titles. The cover is what drew me in initially. A hand-written letter on lined yellow paper being folded into an airplane. That yellow paper took me back in time to doodling on legal pads my mom had lying around the house. When I read the synopsis, I was hooked. A heart shattering tale about two teenagers just trying to survive high school in their poverty-stricken town? Sign me up.

The book opens with a letter from a prison inmate named Luke writing to someone he only addresses as T. It can be inferred from the letter that Luke is currently on death row, and there is a deep connection between himself and this person he calls T.

The book continues, revealing childhood best friends Luke and Toby growing up together—their traumatic life experiences only binding them closer together. Both friends come from abusive families and have their own heavy burdens to bear as young high schoolers.

The book is written from both Toby’s and Luke’s voices as they face their final year of high school in the small town they can’t wait to escape. The boys have planned to rely on Luke’s wrestling scholarship to free them from Toby’s abusive Dad and Luke’s neglectful Mom. Together they learn how quickly life and relationships can change, as things begin to spiral downward and their plans fall to the wayside.

I admit, there were times when I felt like this book teetered a little too close to sports fiction for my liking, but the exploration into complex relationships made it all worthwhile. The way this book ebbs and flows emotionally is really powerful, and I’d recommend it to anyone who may be experiencing similar challenges—especially to those who have no idea what it’s like to live below the poverty line.

This story made me thankful for my own cushy childhood and the ending made me want to hug every child on this earth who is forced to grow up too quickly because of abuse, neglect and alcoholism. If you’re looking for a book to transform your perspective, add this one to your list.