“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.The man who never reads lives only once.”--George R. R. Martin.
This fiction list, created for the Independent Reading English elective at Hamilton-Wenham High School, is organized by genre and author.  Descriptions (sometimes paraphrased) are from the Library's online catalog.
Books listed were presented to the class or are recommended. For a list of nonfiction books, please see the nonfiction page.

 "Never apologize for your reading tastes.--Betty Rosenberg's First Law of Reading.

 Contemporary / Realistic Fiction 
See also this book list on this blog: 
10 Outdoor Adventure/Survival Tales

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2009. Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friend's death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.
Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen, 2006. Isolated from friends who believe the worst because she has not been truthful with them, 16-year-old Annabel finds an ally in classmate Owen, whose honesty and passion for music help her to face and share what really happened at the end-of-the-year party that changed her life.

The Universe versus Alex Woods, by Gavin Extence, 2013. Alex, struck by a meteorite at age 10 and the son of a fortune teller, hasn't had a conventional childhood. When he meets Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count. So when, aged 17, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing.

Conviction, by Kelly Loy Gilbert, 2015. High-school pitching star Braden watches helplessly as cops surround his father, the host of an Evangelical radio show, and arrest him for the murder of a police officer. His father's incarceration forces Braden to question everything he holds to be true. (Baseball)

The Social Code, by Sadie Hayes, 2013. Eighteen-year-old twins Adam and Amelia Dory grew up in foster care relying on each other, but as scholarship students at Stanford University shy Amelia's ingenious computer "app" and gregarious Adam's yearning for a life of privilege lead them to start a new company--and into a world of conflict.
Small Damages, by Beth Kephart, 2012. Eighteen-year-old Kenzie of Philadelphia, pregnant by Yale-bound Kevin, is bitter when her mother sends her to Spain to deliver and give her baby away, but discovers a makeshift family with the rancher who takes her in, his cook, and the young man they have raised together.

Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan, 2013. A chorus of men who died of AIDS observes a cross-section of today's gay teens who navigate new love, long-term relationships, coming out, self-acceptance, and more. The story of 7 boys from the present is told through their narration. The first two, Craig and Harry, are out to break the world's kissing record to protest a hate crime. (GLBTQ)
Pieces, by Chris Lynch, 2013. Eighteen-year-old Eric deals with the loss of his older brother Duane by meeting three of the seven recipients of Duane's organs a year after his death, and pondering who they are to him, and he to them.
Sex & Violence, by Carrie Mesrobian, 2013. Sex has always come without consequences for Evan. Until the night when all the consequences land at once, leaving him scarred inside and out.

Dairy Queen, by Catherine Murdock, 2006. After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her. (First book in Dairy Queen trilogy.) (Football)

Dumplin', by Julie Murphy, 2015. Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.

Sunrise Over Fallujah, by Walter Dean Myers, 2008. Robin Perry, from Harlem, is sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian Affairs Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes him.

I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson, 2014. Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. (GLBTQ) (Printz Award 2015)
This is Where it Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp, 2016. Minutes after the principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama finishes her speech welcoming the student body to a new semester, they discover that the auditorium doors will not open and someone starts shooting as four teens, each with a personal reason to fear the shooter, tell the tale from separate perspectives.

Out of Nowhere, by Maria Padian, 2013. Performing community service for pulling a stupid prank against a rival high school, soccer star Tom tutors a Somali refugee with soccer dreams of his own. (Soccer)
As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth, by Lynne Rae Perkins, 2010. A teenaged boy encounters one comedic calamity after another when his train strands him in the middle of nowhere, and everything comes down to luck.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, 2013. Feeling cast off when her best friend outgrows their shared love for a favorite celebrity, Cath, a dedicated fan-fiction writer, struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words and worrying about her fragile father.

Trouble, by Gary Schmidt, 2008. Fourteen-year-old Henry, wishing to honor his brother Franklin's dying wish, sets out to hike Maine's Mount Katahdin with his best friend and dog. But fate adds another companion--the Cambodian refugee accused of fatally injuring Franklin--and reveals troubles that predate the accident.

Winger, by Andrew Smith, 2013. Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, 14-year-old Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates.

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, by Francisco X. Stork, 2010. Seventeen-year-old Pancho is bent on avenging the senseless death of his sister, but after he meets D.Q, who is dying of cancer, and Marisol, one of D.Q.'s caregivers, both boys find their lives changed by their interactions.
Rats Saw God, by Rob Thomas, 1996. High-school senior Steve York isn't doing well. The former straight-A student is flunking. Now he has only one hope of graduating on time--writing a 100-page paper.

Realistic - Magical Realism

Release, by Patrick Ness, 2017. Struggling with his family's religious beliefs, an employer's ultimatum and his unrequited love for his ex, Adam struggles to move on with a best friend and a new relationship while trying to find the courage to stay true to himself. This dual narrative follows Adam, and the ghost of a classmate murdered by her meth-addicted boyfriend, over the course of one, defining day. (GLBTQ)

Thanks for the Trouble, by Tommy Wallach, 2016. Parker hasn't spoken since he watched his father die five years ago. He communicates through writing on slips of paper and keeps track of his thoughts by journaling. A loner, Parker has little interest in school, his classmates, or his future. But everything changes when he meets Zelda, a mysterious young woman with an unusual request: 'treat me like a teenager.


The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison, 2014. Elevated to the throne when his father and brothers are killed in a suspicious accident, a formerly exiled half-goblin is rapidly overwhelmed by ambitious sycophants and dangerous plots while searching for friendship and love.

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, 2015. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction--if they don't kill each other first.

Dreamhunter, by Elizabeth Knox, 2005. In a world where select people can enter "The Place" and find dreams of every kind to share with others for a fee, a fifteen-year-old girl is training to be a dreamhunter when her father disappears, leaving her to carry on his mysterious mission.

Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, 2012. After she has served a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, Crown Prince Dorian offers eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien her freedom on the condition that she act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. (First book in the Throne of Glass series.)

 Fantasy - Epic 

Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie, 2014. Heir to the throne Yarvi, prompted by the murder of his father, embarks on a kingdom-transforming journey to regain the throne, even though having only one good hand means he cannot wield a weapon. (First book in the Half a King trilogy.)

The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima, 2009. Relates the intertwining fates of former street gang leader Han Alister and headstrong Princess Raisa, as Han takes possession of an amulet that once belonged to an evil wizard and Raisa uncovers a conspiracy in the Grey Wolf Court. (First book in the Seven Realms series.)

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Being the Adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, and his Squire, Egg, by George R.R. Martin, 2015. A century before A Game of Thrones, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros... A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three prequel novellas to George R.R. Martin's ongoing series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Homeland, by R.A. Salvatore, 1990. Drizzt the Dark Elf finds adventure, peril, and awesome magical power as he confronts the underground civilization of the evil race of Drow elves. (First book in the Forgotten Realms: Dark Elf Trilogy.)

 Fantasy - Fairy Tale or Folklore Inspired 

Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge, 2014. Betrothed to the demon who rules her country and trained all her life to kill him, 17-year-old Nyx Triskelion must now fulfill her destiny and move to the castle to be his wife. (Also Romance genre.)

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas, 2015. The human world is in peril. Feyre, a semi-literate girl, hunts for her family’s survival. After she kills an enormous wolf, a fierce fey shows up at her doorstep seeking retribution. Feyre is led to beautiful eternal springs, but the journey is not without danger. Maas masterfully pulls the reader into this new dark fantasy series which feels like a mix of fairy tales, from Beauty and the Beast to Tam Lin.

 Fantasy - Contemporary/Urban 

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, by Stephenie Meyer, 2016. A reimagining of Twilight, with reversed gender roles. In the new book, Bella is Beau, and Edward is now Edythe. All other characters are the opposite genders as well, with the exception of Charlie and Renee.

The Call, by Peadar O'Guilin, 2016. For the last 25 years every teenager in Ireland has been subject to "the call" which takes them away to the land of the Sídhe, where they are hunted for twenty four hours (though only three minutes pass in this world)--handicapped by her twisted legs, Nessa Doherty knows that very few return alive, but she is determined to be one of them.
Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, 2015.  During his last year at Watford School of Magicks, Simon Snow, the Chosen One, faces a magic-eating monster wearing his face, a break-up, and a missing nemesis. (GLBTQ)

The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater, 2012. Blue Sargent's gift seems to be that she makes other people's talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the Aglionby Academy, she discovers that together their talents are a dangerous mix. (First book in the Raven Cycle series.)

Among Others, by Jo Walton, 2011. Seeking refuge in fantasy novel worlds throughout a youth under the shadow of a dubiously sane mother who dabbled in magic, Mori Phelps is forced to confront her in a tragic battle and gains unwanted attention when she attempts to perform spells herself.

Eleanor, by Johnny Worthen, 2014. Shapeshifter Eleanor lives the life of a teenager in rural Wyoming until the only person who knows her secret shows up and challenges her existence and everything she hopes to be. (First book in The Unseen series.)

 Graphic Format Fiction 

The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes; adapted and illustrated by Rob Davis, 2013. A graphic novel adaptation of the Cervantes classic in which Don Quixote de la Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, travel through Spain and become subject to the noble knight-errant's fanciful imagination.

The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet: A Play by William Shakespeare, adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds, 2013. Retells in graphic novel format Shakespeare's tragedy of two star-crossed youths who fall in love despite the tensions between their warring families.

 Graphic Format Nonfiction or Biography 
My Friend Dahmer, by Derf Backderf, 2012. In graphic novel format, the author offers an account of growing up in the same schools as Jeffrey Dahmer, who went on to become one of the most notorious serial killers and cannibals in United States history.

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, by Peter Bagge, 2013. Portrays the life of Margaret Sanger, a birth control activist and advocate for female reproductive rights in graphic novel format.

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey, by Nick Bertozzi, 2014. Presents, in graphic novel format, the adventures of explorer Ernest Shackleton in the Antarctic.

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, by Don Brown, 2015. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under 20 feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. 1,833 people lost their lives.

Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen, by Abby Denson, 2015. A travel guide exploring Japanese culture; takes you on a tour from the streets of Tokyo to the Zen gardens and Shinto shrines of Kyoto, and introduces: Japanese food, the otaku (geek) culture of Japan, Japanese shopping, manga, anime and cosplay festivals, the best travel apps for Japan, and more.

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, by Sarah Glidden, 2010. Glidden, a progressive American Jew who is critical of Israeli policies vis-âa-vis the Occupied Territories, went on an all-expense-paid 'birthright' trip to Israel in an attempt to discover some grand truths at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This memoir tells the often funny story of her utter failure to do so.

Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently--and Succeeding, by Seth Goldman, 2013. In graphic novel format, the co-founders of Honest Tea present the history of the company and provide practical advice on launching a successful business, perseverance, and creative problem-solving.

Steve Jobs, Insanely Great, by Jessie Hartland, 2015. This biography in graphic format presents the story of the ultimateAmerican entrepreneur, who brought us Apple Computer, Pixar, Macs, iPods, iPhones and more, this unique and stylish book is sure to appeal to the legions of readers who live and breathe the techno-centric world Jobs created.

Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War, by Ari Kelman, 2015. A graphic history of the Civil War, told through everyday objects.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley, 2013. Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her thoughtful and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is book-ended with an illustrated recipe.
Feynman, by Jim Ottaviani, 2011. Presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman.

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded, by Jim Ottaviani, 2016. A biography of the mathematician, reveals the story of an eccentric genius, olympic-class runner, and groundbreaking theoretician whose work is still influencing the science and telecommunication systems of the modern world.

Bernie, by Ted Rall, 2016. Discusses the life of the presidential candidate and the decline of leftist politics in the Democratic Party.

Snowden, by Ted Rall, 2015. Presents a graphic novel portrait of the controversial whistle-blower and chronicles the ramifications of his actions.

 Historical Fiction 

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Pox Party, by M. T. Anderson, 2006. Set in Revolutionary Boston, young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers. It is only after he opens a forbidden door that he learns the nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role in them. That truth leads him to question his understanding of himself and the Revolution: if the Patriots can fight for their freedom, why can't he fight for his?

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party, by Skila Brown, 2016. A young survivor of the tragic Donner Party of 1846 describes how her family and others became victims of freezing temperatures and starvation. (Novel in verse.) (Pair with nonfiction: The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party, by Marian Calabro, 1999. Or, with graphic novel: Donner Dinner Party, Nathan Hale, 2013.)

VIII, by H. M. Castor, 2013.  Hal, a young man of extraordinary talents, skill on the battlefield, sharp intelligence, and virtue, believes he is destined for greatness but, haunted by his family's violent past, he embarks on a journey that leads to absolute power and brings him face to face with his demons as he grows to become Henry VIII.

Bog Child, by Siobhan Dowd, 2008. In 1981, the height of Ireland's "Troubles," 18-year-old Fergus is distracted from his upcoming A-level exams by his imprisoned brother's hunger strike, the stress of being a courier for Sinn Fein, and dreams of a murdered girl whose body he discovered in a bog.
Projekt 1065, by Alan Gratz, 2016. Michael, son of the Irish ambassador to Nazi Germany in Berlin, is a spy for the British Secret Service. He has joined the Hitler Youth, and pretending that he agrees with their violence and book-burning is hard enough--but when he is asked to find out more about "Projekt 1065" both his and his parents' lives get a lot more dangerous. (Pair with nonfiction: Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, 2005.)

The Smell of Other People's Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, 2016. Growing up in Alaska in the 1970s isn't like growing up anywhere else: Don't think life is going to be easy. Know your place. And never talk about yourself. Four vivid voices tell intertwining stories of hardship, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation.

Four-Four-Two, by Dean Hughes, 2016. Forced into an internment camp at the start of World War II, 18-year-old Yuki enlists in the Army to fight for the Allies as a member of the "Four-Four-Two," a segregated Japanese American regiment. (Pair with nonfiction: Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II, by Martin W. Sandler, 2013.)

Sweet Madness, by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie, 2015. Bridget Sullivan, a maid in the Borden household, describes the events leading up to the murder of Andrew Borden and his second wife, and how the youngest daughter, Lizzie, was put on trial for the crime. (Pair with nonfiction: The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century, by Sarah Miller, 2016.

Not the End of the World, by Geraldine McCaughrean, 2004. Noah's daughter, daughters-in-law, sons, wife, and the animals describe what it was like to be aboard the ark while they watched everyone around them drown.

Never Fall Down: A Boy Soldier's Story of Survival, by Patricia McCormick, 2012. Based on the life of Cambodian peace advocate Arn Chorn-Pond. Cambodian child soldier Arn Chorn-Pond defied the odds and used all of his courage and wits to survive the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge.

Anastasia and Her Sisters, by Carolyn Meyer, 2015. A novel in diary form in which the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II describes the privileged life her family led up until the time of World War I and the tragic events that befell them. (Pair with nonfiction: The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming, 2014.)

X, by Ilyasah Shabazz, 2015. Follows the childhood of the civil rights leader to his imprisonment at age twenty, where he found the faith that would lead him to his path towards activism and justice. (Pair with biography: Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, by Walter Dean Myers, 1993. and Graphic Biography: Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography, by Andrew Helfer, 2006.)

Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber, 2010. In Missouri in 1926, 15-year-old Iris Baldwin discovers what family truly means when her father hires her out for the summer as a companion to a country doctor's invalid mother.

Black Dove, White Raven, by Elizabeth Wein, 2015. Having moved to Ethiopia to avoid the prejudices of 1930s America, Emilia Menotti, her black adoptive brother Teo, and their mother Rhoda, a stunt pilot, are devoted to their new country even after war with Italy looms, drawing the teens into the conflict.

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic, by Allan Wolf, 2011. Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself. (Novel in verse.) (Pair with nonfiction: Titanic: Voices From the Disaster, by Deborah Hopkinson, 2012.)

 Historical - Fantasy 

Walk on Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson, 2015. Lee, a young woman with the ability to sense the presence of gold, must flee her home to avoid people who would abuse her powers, so when her best friend Jefferson heads out across Gold Rush-era America to stake his claim, she disguises herself as a boy and sets out on her own dangerous journey. (First book in Gold Seer trilogy.) (Pair with nonfiction:
Women of the Frontier: 16 Tales of Trailblazing Homesteaders, Entrepreneurs, and Rabble-Rousers, by Brandon Marie Miller, 2013.)

Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers, 2012. In the 15th-century kingdom of Brittany, 17-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny. (First book in His Fair Assassin trilogy.)

 Historical - Mystery 

These Shallow Graves, by Jennifer Donnelly, 2015. A young woman in 19th-century New York City must struggle against gender and class boundaries when her father is found dead of a supposed suicide, and she believes there is more than meets the eye, so in order to uncover the truth she will have to decide how much she is willing to risk and lose.

Out of the Easy, by Ruta Sepetys, 2013. Josie, the 17-year-old daughter of a French Quarter prostitute, is striving to escape 1950 New Orleans and enroll at prestigious Smith College when she becomes entangled in a murder investigation.

 Historical - Romance 

The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen, 2007. In Manhattan in 1899, five teens of different social classes lead dangerously scandalous lives, despite the strict rules of society and the best-laid plans of parents and others. (First book in the Luxe series.)

Keeping the Castle, by Patricia Kindl, 2012. In order to support her family and maintain their ancient castle in Lesser Hoo, seventeen-year-old Althea bears the burden of finding a wealthy suitor who can remedy their financial problems.

No Shame, No Fear, by Ann Turnbull, 2003. In England in 1662, a time of religious persecution, 15-year-old Susanna, a poor country girl and a Quaker, and 17-year-old William, a wealthy Anglican, meet and fall in love against all odds.

A Mad, Wicked Folly, by Sharon Biggs Waller, 2014. In 1909 London, as the world of debutante balls and high society obligations closes in around her, seventeen-year-old Victoria must figure out just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.


A few authors in the Young Adult collection who write horror fiction are:
Joseph Delaney, Kami Garcia, Tonya Hurley, Daniel Kraus, Darren Shan, R.L. Stine, Brenna Yovanoff

Little Dead Man, by Jake Bible, 2014. Decades after the zombie apocalypse, 17 year old Garret just wants to be a normal teenager. As if dealing with the zombies isn't hard enough, his annoying twin brother refuses to leave him in peace. And it's not like Garret can just go to his room and shut the door to get away. His brother Garth is a zombie and conjoined to the top of Garret's spine. Good times.

Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake, 2011. For three years, 17-year-old Cas Lowood has carried on his father's work of dispatching the murderous dead, traveling with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat, but everything changes when he meets Anna, a girl unlike any ghost he has faced before. (Sequel: Girl of Nightmares, 2012.)

Lucid, by Jay Bonansinga, 2015. Lori Blaine is not your average  17-year-old high school student—she's cool and iconoclastic in her dreadlocks and natty thrift shop garb. With an IQ that’s off the charts, she is the ersatz leader of the eclectic Goth group of Valesburg Central High School. But Lori Blaine has two problems--lack of sleep, and The Door.

The Girl with all the Gifts, by M. R. Carey, 2014. Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl. Apocalyptic fiction.

The Girl From the Well, by Rin Chupeco, 2014. Okiku has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the innocent ghosts of the murdered-dead and taking the lives of killers with the vengeance they are due, but when she meets Tark she knows the moody teen with the series of intricate tattoos is not a monster and needs to be freed from the demonic malevolence that clings to him. (Sequel: The Suffering, 2015.)

The Walking Dead Book 1: a continuing story of survival horror, by Robert Kirkman, 2006. Police officer Rick Grimes is shot on the job and wakes up a month later to find that the world that he knows is gone. Zombies have taken over and are killing and eating those who are still alive. He sets out toward Atlanta in the hope that his family is still alive and endures many horrors along the way. Graphic format.

And the Trees Crept In, by Dawn Kurtagich, 2016. Arriving in their aunt's blood-colored manor, sisters Silla, seventeen, and Nori, four, wonder at dark secrets and the identity of people who nobody else can see while the surrounding woods creep closer and closer, trapping them away from the outside world.

The House, by Christina Lauren, 2015. Told in their separate voices, Gavin, a loner outcast, and Delilah, back in small-town Kansas after years at a Massachusetts boarding school, reconnect their senior year, but as their relationship deepens, it is clear that the eerie house Gavin dwells in will do anything to keep the two apart.

Sweet, by Emmy Laybourne, 2015. The luxurious celebrity cruise launching the trendy new diet sweetener Solu should be the vacation of a lifetime. It takes a horrifyingly wrong turn when the gig becomes an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu.
This Dark Endeavor, by Kenneth Oppel, 2011. When his twin brother falls ill in the family's chateau in the independent republic of Geneva in the 18th century, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein embarks on a dangerous and uncertain quest to create the forbidden Elixir of Life described in an ancient text in the family's secret Biblioteka Obscura. (Sequel: Such Wicked Intent, 2012.)

The Devil and Winnie Flynn, by Micol Ostow, 2015. While working as a production assistant on her aunt's television show about the paranormal, a 17-year-old girl discovers a psychic ability of her own, which may provide clues to her mother's death.

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke, 2015. An anthology of short stories inspired by classic horror tales with contributions by leading suspense and young adult authors, including Stefan Bachmann, Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

  Horror/Paranormal - Romance  

A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray, 2004. After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world. (First book in Gemma Doyle trilogy.)

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey, 2009. Seventeen-year-old Jessica, adopted and raised in Pennsylvania, learns that she is descended from a royal line of Romanian vampires and that she is betrothed to a vampire prince, who poses as a foreign exchange student while courting her.

Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers, 2012. In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, 17-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny. (First book in His Fair Assassin series.)

Alice in Zombieland, by Gena Showalter, 2012. Alice Bell must learn to fight the undead to avenge her family and learn to trust Cole Holland who has secrets of his own. (First book in White Rabbit Chronicles series.)

My Boyfriend is a Monster, I Love Him to Pieces or My Date is Dead Weight or He Only Loves Me for My Brains, by Evonne Tsang, 2011. St. Petersburg High school juniors Dicey Bell, a baseball star, and Jack Chen, who loves science and role-playing games, discover a mutual attraction when paired for a project, but on their first date, a zombie-producing fungus sends them on the run. (Graphic format. First book in My Boyfriend is a Monster series.)

Afterworlds, by Scott Westerfeld, 2014. In alternating chapters, 18-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world, and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy's novel, slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love. Contemporary/realistic and a Paranormal-Romance (A novel within a novel.) (GLBTQ)

Edgar Awards - Named after Edgar Allan Poe. Each Spring, Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar Awards, which include a Young Adult category.

Reality Check,by Peter Abrahams, 2009. After a knee injury destroys 16-year-old Cody's college hopes, he drops out of high school and gets a job in his small Montana town, but when his ex-girlfriend disappears from her Vermont boarding school, Cody travels cross-country to join the search.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, 2003. Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother. (Alex Award 2004.)

The Art of Secrets, by James Klise, 2014. When some quirky art donated to a school fundraising effort to help a Pakistani American family, victims of a possible hate crime, is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous outsider artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, adults and teenagers alike debate who should get the money and begin to question each other's motivations. (Young Adult Edgar Award 2015.)

Shine, by Lauren Myracle, 2011. When her best friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, 16-year-old Cat sets out to discover the culprits in her small North Carolina town.

After the Woods, by Kim Savage, 2016. On the eve of the year anniversary of the Shiverton Abduction, two former best friends grapple with the consequences of that event.

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall, by Judy Sheehan, 2016. Sixteen-year-old Sarah wakes up dead at the Mall of America only to find she was murdered, and she must work with a group of dead teenagers to finish up the unresolved business of their former lives while preventing her murderer from killing again. Paranormal fiction.

Jasper Jones, by  Craig Silvey, 2011. In small-town Australia, teens Jasper and Charlie form an unlikely friendship when one asks the other to help him cover up a murder until they can prove who is responsible.

Trouble is a Friend of Mine, by Stephanie Tromly, 2015. After her parents' divorce, Zoe Webster moves from Brooklyn to upstate New York where she meets the weirdly compelling misfit, Philip Digby, and soon finds herself in a series of hilarious and dangerous situations as he pulls her into his investigation into the kidnapping of a local teenage girl which may be related to the disappearance of his kid sister eight years ago.

The Space Between the Trees, by Katie Williams, 2010. When the body of a classmate is discovered in the woods, sixteen-year-old Evie's lies wind up involving her with the girl's best friend, trying to track down the killer.

Also see this book list on this blog: Dating Customs

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli, 2015. 16-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of exposure. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn't play wing man for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone's business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he's been emailing, will be compromised. (GLBTQ)

Never Always Sometimes, by Adi Alsaid, 2015. Resolving to avoid high school cliches, friends Dave and Julia maintain a list of everything they vow to never do, but he has already broken a rule by secretly pining for her, a situation complicated when Julia suddenly decides to break every rule.

Red Girl, Blue Boy: an If Only novel, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, 2015. As Katie's father and Drew's mother vie for the Presidency, the 16-year-olds start--and end--a romance, but the press finds out, both candidates' poll numbers rise, and the two are asked to flaunt their former relationship.

Love and Other Perishable Items, by Laura Buzo, 2012. A 15-year-old Australian girl gets her first job at a local supermarket, and first crush on her unattainable university-aged coworker, as both search for meaning in their lives.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, 2010. Told in the alternating voices of Dash and Lily, two sixteen-year-olds carry on a wintry scavenger hunt at Christmas-time in New York, neither knowing quite what--or who--they will find. Sequel: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily, 2016.

I'll Meet You There, by Heather Demetrios. 2015. Skylar Evans, 17, yearns to escape Creek View by attending art school, but after her mother's job loss puts her dream at risk, a rekindled friendship with Josh, who joined the Marines to get away then lost a leg in Afghanistan, and her job at the Paradise motel lead her to appreciate her home town.

Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen, 2009. When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents' divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, by Sara Farizan, 2014. High school junior Leila's Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates at Armstead Academy, and if word got out that she liked girls life would be twice as hard, but when a new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. (GLBTQ)
My Life Next Door, by Huntley Fitzpatrick, 2012. When Samantha, the 17-year-old daughter of a wealthy, perfectionist, Republican state senator, falls in love with the boy next door, whose family is large, boisterous, and just making ends meet, she discovers a different way to live, but when her mother is involved in a hit-and-run accident Sam must make some difficult choices. (Sequel: The Boy Most Likely To, 2015.)
Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances, by John Green; Maureen Johnson; and Lauren Myracle, 2008. In three intertwining short stories, several high school couples experience the trials and tribulations along with the joys of romance during a Christmas Eve snowstorm in a small town.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before, by Jenny Han, 2014. Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent. (Sequel: P.S. I Still Love You, 2015.)

Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler, 2011. Sixteen-year-old Min Green writes a letter to Ed Slaterton in which she breaks up with him, documenting their relationship and how items in the accompanying box, from bottle caps to a cookbook, foretell the end.

Kissing in America, by Margo Rabb, 2015. When she falls for a boy who moves to California without any warning, sixteen-year-old Eva and her best friend, Annie, set off on a road trip to the West Coast to see him again, confronting the complex truth about love along the way.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz, 2012.  Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before. (GLBTQ)

Geography of You and Me, by Jennifer E. Smith, 2014. Sparks fly when 16-year-old Lucy Patterson and 17-old Owen Buckley meet on an elevator rendered useless by a New York City blackout. Soon after, the two teenagers leave the city, but as they travel farther away from each other geographically, they stay connected emotionally, in this story set over the course of one year.

Beatle Meets Destiny, by Gabrielle Williams, 2010. When superstitious eighteen-year-old John "Beatle" Lennon, who is dating the best friend of his twin sister, meets Destiny McCartney, their instant rapport and shared quirkiness make it seem that their fate is written in the stars.

  Science Fiction  
Hugo Awards - Presented annually by the World Science Fiction Society.

Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi, 2010. In a futuristic world, 17-year-old Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl. (Companion Book: The Drowned Cities, 2012.)

The Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow, 2015. In order to keep the peace, an artificial intelligence called Talis takes the children of world leaders hostage because if any leader starts a war their child will be killed. Things get shaken up when a new hostage named Elián doesn't accept the system and shows duchess and crown princess Greta the truth about the world they live in. (First book in Prisoners of Peace series.)

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown, 2014. A tale set in a bleak future society torn by class divisions follows the experiences of secret revolutionary, 16-year-old Darrow, who after witnessing his wife's execution by an oppressive government joins a revolutionary cell and attempts to infiltrate an elite military academy. (First book in Red Rising trilogy.)

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, 2011. Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, 18-year-old Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world's creator.

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, 2008. After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, 17-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state where everyone is suspect, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right. Cyber-thriller. (Sequel: Homeland, 2013.)

Jumper, by Steven Gould, 1992. Blessed with the unusual ability to "jump"--to teleport himself to any place on Earth that he has been to before--Davy is determined to locate others like himself, but interference from the government could prevent him from doing so. (First book in Jumper series.)

Exo, by Steven Gould, 2014. (Fourth book in Jumper series; sequel to Impulse.) Cent can teleport. So can her parents. This is not as great as you might think it would be--sure, you can go shopping in Japan and then have tea in London, but it's hard to keep a secret like that. And there are dangerous people, who work for governments and have guns, who want to make you do just this one thing for them. But Cent isn't easily daunted, she's going to make some changes in the world.

Zeroboxer, by Fonda Lee, 2015. As 17-year-old Carr 'the Raptor' Luka rises to fame in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, he learns a devastating secret that jeopardizes not only his future in the sport, but interplanetary relations.

Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, 2011.  Amy, a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed, is nearly killed when her cyro chamber is unplugged fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing. All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again--and she doesn't know who she can trust on a ship ruled by a tyrant. (First book in the Across the Universe trilogy.)

Lockstep, by Karl Schroeder, 2014. 17-year-old Toby wakes to find himself lost in space, separated from his family, and orbiting a frozen and sunless planet. He's been asleep for 14,000 years. Welcome to the Lockstep Empire. Toby is shocked to learn that the Empire is ruled by its founding family: his own, and that his brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. With the help of Corva, a lockstep girl, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization.

Scythe, by Neal Shusterman, 2016. In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ('gleaned') by professional reapers ('scythes'). Two teens must compete with each other to become a scythe--a position neither of them wants. The one who becomesa scythe must kill the one who doesn't.

Unwind, by Neal Shusterman, 2007. In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs--and, perhaps, save their own lives. (First book in Unwind Dystology.)

Game Slaves, by Gard Skinner, 2014. A highly intelligent group of video game enemy non-player characters (NPC) begins to doubt they are merely codes in a machine. Their search for answers leads them to a gruesome discovery.

MARTians, by Blythe Woolston, 2015.  In a near-future consumer dystopia, Zoè Zindleman must choose from limited, bleak housing options, including a converted strip-mall refuge that offers safety and proximity to her new place of work, ALLMART.


The Raft, by S. A. Bodeen, 2012. Robbie's last-minute flight to the Midway Atoll proves to be a nightmare when the plane goes down in shark-infested waters, but the real terror begins when the co-pilot Max pulls her onto the raft.

The Killer in Me, by Margot Harrison, 2016. Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows's unsettling connection with a serial killer leads her on a potentially deadly manhunt.

Method 15/33, by Shannon Kirk, 2015.  From the moment she is kidnapped, a 16-year-old pregnant girl feels a calm desire to not only save her unborn son but to also exact merciless revenge. Leaving nothing to chance, and secure in her timing and practice, she considers what her assets are and waits for the perfect moment to strike. Method 15/33 is what happens when the victim is just as cold as her abductors.

A Madness So Discreet, by Mindy McGinnis, 2015. Near the turn of the nineteenth century, Dr. Thornhollow helps teenaged Grace Mae escape from the Boston asylum where she was sent after becoming pregnant by rape, and takes her to Ohio where they put her intelligence and remarkable memory to use in trying to catch murderers.
How to Lead a Life of Crime, by Kristen Miller, 2013. A teenage pickpocket, haunted by the ghost of his brother killed by his father, is recruited for Mandel Academy, a school for criminals where only one student survives each semester.

Panic, by Lauren Oliver, 2014. In the poor town of Carp, New York, a group of teens enters a high-stakes game that involves a series of secretive, possibly deadly challenges throughout the summer, with the winner receiving more than $50,000--enough money to start a new life.

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, 2002. Looking down from heaven, 14-year-old Susie Salmon recounts her rape and murder and watches her family as they cope with their grief and "the lovely bones" growing around her absence.

Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick, 2010.  In an isolated cabin in an Arctic wilderness, 15-year-old Sig is alone with his father's frozen corpse. Then, out of the Arctic darkness comes a stranger: a rough giant of a man who claims Sig's father owes him a share of a horde of stolen gold and is threatening terrible violence if Sig doesn't reveal its whereabouts.

Alex Awards - This award, sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust, honors ten adult books with special appeal to teens. 
Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults -  A list provided by YALSA of notable audio recordings significant to young adults from those released in the past two years.
Best Fiction for Young Adults - YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee presents fiction titles published for young adults in the past 16 months that are recommended reading for ages 12 to 18.
Great Graphic Novels for Teens -  A list of recommended graphic novels and illustrated nonfiction for ages 12-18, prepared yearly by YALSA. 
Massachusetts Book Awards - The Massachusetts Center for the Book recognizes important works of Massachusetts including children's/young adult literature. Books must have been written by authors residing in Massachusetts or must present themes of particular and specific importance to the Commonwealth if their authors are not residents.
National Book Award - An annual award that includes a Young People's Literature category.
Nonfiction Award - The YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award honors the best nonfiction written for teens each year. 
Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learner - This list, administered by YALSA, is updated every 5 years and is primarily intended for students in grades 9-12 who wish to enrich and strengthen their knowledge of various subject areas in both classic and contemporary literature.
Stonewall Award - Annual award, administered by American Library Association, given for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered experience. 
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Teens' Top Ten -  A teen choice list, where teens choose their favorite books of the previous year. Readers age 12-18 can vote online for their favorites August 15 - September 15. The 10 titles with the most votes are announced during Teen Read Week, the third week in October.

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