Best of 2017: Books for Young Adults

We continue our list of the Best of 2017 as recommended by library staff today with a bunch of great titles from the world of Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction and Graphic Novels. Enjoy and make sure to check out the Library Newsletter for all of our recommendations.

Young Adult Fiction

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

Princess Anya is an orphan and second in line to the throne. Her stepstepfather is an evil wizard, the frog population in the moat is growing, and visiting princes keep vanishing. The royal dogs send Anya on a quest for a potion to reverse her stepstepfather’s spells.

A bitingly funny fractured fairy tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously and even pokes gentle fun at the genre.  –Emily

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

After learning that her deep voice is keeping her from being cast in plays at her exclusive performing arts school, Jordan Sun, junior, disguises herself as a boy and auditions for an all-male octet hoping for a chance to perform internationally.

What I thought would be a quick romp or just a comedy of errors was surprisingly insightful and at times a total gut-punch. As they discovered and explored new truths about themselves, these characters kept me up all night reading.  –Carol

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel meet at a Stanford University summer program, Dimple is avoiding her parents’ obsession with “marriage prospects,” but Rishi hopes to woo her into accepting arranged marriage with him.

The best romantic comedy of the summer, and also a book I want to read over and over again. Adorable, quirky, and full of heart: this book will have you cheering out loud, and maybe swooning. Fantastic debut from a talented new Indian-American voice.  –Carol

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A historical action/adventure/comedy/romance. When a reckless decision turns his Grand Tour of Europe into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything Monty knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Spoiler: Monty is completely horrible for the first couple hundred pages (the vice). Get through it and be rewarded with his redemption story (the virtue)! Monty’s struggle with being bisexual in a time that doesn’t allow for it made me cry and cheer.  –Carol

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

Ariel’s mother abandoned her when she was still a toddler, and she’s been on the move with her hard-drinking, hard-loving father for as long as she can remember. When they finally settle in California, she begins to discover home, love, and, eventually, answers.

Plenty of drama and dysfunction, along with strong characters, keep readers engrossed. A parallel story of a woman and her troubled marriage sometimes seemed out of place until the stories intertwine.  –Elizabeth

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

A summer house is carefully shared by a bitterly divided family, assuring the two groups never meet. Although they’ve never met, Ray and Sasha, both children of second marriages, share a room, and for many years have wondered about each other.

You know they are going to meet up, you can’t wait for it to happen, but how and when, and what will they think of each other? The anticipation coupled with a compelling story of family love, hate, and the possibility of healing make for a great read.  –Elizabeth

The Art of Starving by Sam Miller

Sixteen- year-old Matt is gay and friendless in a small, backward town. To add to that misery, his beloved sister has just left mysteriously, his mom may lose her job, and he has a serious eating disorder. He believes starving enhances his perceptions.

While things are looking pretty bad for Matt, he finds love in the most unexpected place. Despite major struggles, I felt strangely hopeful for his outcome.  –Elizabeth

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Before Adri launches on a one-way trip to the experimental Mars colony, she’s told to say her goodbyes and find closure. As an orphan who never knew her family, she assumes this won’t be necessary. She is wrong.

This story combines two of my favorite genres in one book: sci-fi and historical fiction. Adri meets a long-lost cousin and discovers letters and diaries from pioneering young women in the early 1900s.  –Emily

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Six teenagers from a small town in Ireland are having a typical summer. Drunken parties. Hooking up. Breaking up. The discovery of a spell book and mysterious pages from a stranger’s journal turns everything upside down.

Untwisting this story is like unraveling a tangled mass of yarn. The middle must be unknotted to figure out the end and the beginning.  –Emily

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

On a desolate ranch, there lives a saint. It’s a strange place, where pilgrims receive the miracle they deserve, not necessarily the miracle they want. The teens growing up on the ranch start a pirate radio station, hoping for a miracle of their own.

Set in the early 1960s, the author weaves together strands of folklore, fable, legend, and historical fiction. The language and imagery is reminiscent of authors such as Clive Barker, Tom Robbins, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  –Emily

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

When the creator of a high school gossip app mysteriously dies in front of four high-profile students, all four become suspects. It’s up to them to solve the case.

Part Breakfast Club, part Agatha Christie, part Gossip Girl, this ridiculously entertaining whodunit will keep you guessing to the end. The audiobook is especially well-performed by an ensemble cast.  –Alan

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

It begins like a traditional “orphan sent to grand manor house, discovers mystery” story. But this one has five endings. Did one ending actually happen? Or did all of them?

The five scenarios touch on just about every genre: contemporary realism, romance, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction. But with a twist or two.  –Emily

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter lives in two worlds: the underserved neighborhood she lives in and the affluent prep school she attends. These worlds clash when Starr is the sole witness to the death of an old friend, an unarmed young black man shot by the police.

Thomas has written a book that is both timely and compelling. Starr Carter’s narrative gives the reader an important view into the life of a young black woman navigating a treacherous world.  –Jesse

Young Adult Graphic Novels

One-Punch Man Vols 10, 11, 12 by ONE

The mis-adventures of the “hero for fun” keep getting better with each volume, and the overall story arc across volumes is finally starting build beyond Saitama questing for recognition as the world’s greatest hero.

I can’t stop giggling at the contrast of unassuming Saitama’s appearance and his overwhelming strength. The development of top-level nemeses in these later volumes rewards returning readers and makes now the best time to start this series!  –Zac

The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

In this new expanded edition based off of a web series, this comic follows Superhero Girl, a young woman with extraordinary powers and extraordinarily annoying problems, from her all-too-perfect brother to incompetent nemeses AND BEYOND!

Superhero Girl’s adventures are clever, hilarious, and delightfully illustrated. This book does an incredible job of capturing both the wonderful silliness of many superhero stories and the crippling angst of teenage life.  –Jesse

Young Adult Non-Fiction

Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager

This book is a collection of 23 mini-biographies of LGBTQ people throughout history, including a Roman Emperor, a First Lady, artists, actors, and many more. Perfect for activist, allies, and anyone curious about hidden history.

Many of these stories are inspiring accounts of public figures who were out and helped shape their time, but I was even more delighted to learn more about the surprising private lives of well-known individuals  –Jesse

Undefeated : Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football team by Steve Sheinkin

Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner are two towering figures of the sports world. This book finds them before they were household names, when Thorpe, a young Native American, and Warner revolutionized football and humbled the sport’s powerhouse teams.

Sheinkin manages to weave an incredible underdog sports story together with an account of the unforgivably shameful ways Native Americans have been maltreated by the United States. — Jesse

Because I was a Girl: True Stories for Girls of All Ages edited by Melissa De La Cruz

This volume features nearly forty stories told by successful women between the ages of 10 and 87. By taking the reader on their journeys, these incredible figures reveal their thoughts as they overcame obstacles to achieve great things.

These accounts are fascinating, inspiring and include impactful figures with lesser known stories. I also love the presentation of this volume, with full page quotes, beautiful photos, and decade by decade summaries of important achievements by women.
— Jesse

A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human by Kay Frydenborg

Frydenborg dives deep into the thousand plus year relationship between canines and humans, exploring not just how humans have influenced the evolution of the dog, but also how dogs have slowly changed us.

As a dog lover, it was fascinating to gain insight into our shared history with canines. Frydenborg also does a masterful job connecting the distant past to our current dynamic with these animals, showing how our relationship evolved along with us. — Jesse

Best of 2016: Young Adult Fiction & Graphic Novels

We continue our daily coverage of the Staff Picks Best of 2016 List with our choices from young adult fiction and graphic novels. For a full list check out the Library Newsletter.

Young Adult Fiction

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Running Girl by Simon Mason
Garvie Smith is 16 with a genius level IQ, who cannot be bothered with school; he smokes and hangs out with the bad boys. But when 15 year-old Chloe Dow is murdered, Garvie comes up against the ambitious D.I. Singh–and both are determined to solve the murder.

I was so ready for a mystery I could devour, and was surprised to find myself flying through this page-turner. Garvie is an unlikeable main character, but that was actually part of his charm. If that doesn’t make sense, you need to read this! -Carol’s pick

As Old as Time by Liz Braswell
What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?
That tagline was all I needed to know–I had to read this book, so that’s all I’m giving you.

I read this fresh take on “Beauty and the Beast,” one of my favorite tales of all time, completely in one day (literally could not sleep until I’d read the last page). -Carol’s pick

Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley
Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

A dystopian novel for those (like me) who dislike dystopian novels. I was so invested in Blanca’s story that I didn’t want it to end. The author will be here in 2017 as part of Everett Reads! So read this while you can! -Carol’s pick

A Study in Charlotte: a Charlotte Holmes Novel by Brittany Cavallaro
Charlotte and Jamie, descendants of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and students at a Connecticut boarding school, team up to solve a murder mystery.

Anything relating to Sherlock Holmes is always a sure bet with me. What made this book stand out was how real the characters felt and how the author handled addiction. -Carol’s pick

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Experiencing dreams about her soul mate all of her life, Alice meets the real boy, Max, when she moves to a new school and finds that their real relationship is more complicated than their dream one.

I’ve always been obsessed with the fantasy that you could dream about real people without having ever met them, and maybe even communicate with them in the dream. This book explores that idea, with a twist you won’t see coming. -Carol’s pick

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Every day in chemistry class Lily Abbott is finding notes left to her by a mystery boy, love letters really, and she hopes they are from Lucas, her crush. So when she finds out who really wrote them, she’s shocked and unsure about how to respond.

I used to pass notes when I was younger, and so I’m predisposed to enjoy stories like this. While high school tropes abound, I was surprised at the twist at the end and want a re-read. If you want to swoon, read this book! -Carol’s pick

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Eden is a freshman in high school when her brother’s best friend sneaks into her room at night and rapes her, turning her life upside down. She knows she should tell someone but the time is never right, so she attempts to deal with it on her own.

Eden’s efforts to toughen herself and test her level of damage by experimenting with an older boy ring true and accurate. Told in four sections that represent her four years of high school, Eden’s story, all too common, is so important to hear. -Elizabeth’s pick

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Tessa travels back to her childhood hometown to visit her father who is very ill in prison, but instead gets entangled in a murder mystery in which she played a part 10 years before. Did she and ex-friend Callie help convict the wrong man?

In addition to plenty of suspense and mystery, I enjoyed Tessa’s seemingly average character who, despite her challenging past, shows real determination to once and for all learn the true identity of the Ohio River Monster. -Elizabeth’s pick

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The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Every 12 years, the settlers of the colony of Canaan lose their memories. Otherwise, life on their beautiful planet would be almost perfect.

I’m always on the lookout for unique science fiction for teens. Something that varies from the current dystopian “formula.”  -Emily’s pick

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Solomon, a teenager with severe anxiety and agoraphobia has figured out what he needs to do to survive— never leave the house. It’s all going fine until Lisa bursts into his life, bent on helping Solomon, and winning a college scholarship in the process.

This novel manages to tell a very funny coming of age story about friendship, love, and all the awkwardness of being a teenager while also talking about mental illness in a respectful and enlightening manner. -Jesse’s pick

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Nix has the power to sail anywhere: to the future, the past, and even into mythical worlds. Now she must decide whether to help her father sail back in time and save her mother’s life, even if doing so might threaten Nix’s very existence.

This book has such a fresh, creative premise. It is a joy to slowly unpeel the layers of Nix’s past in this story that is one part swashbuckling adventure and one part historical mystery. -Jesse’s pick

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
A struggle between a tyrannical empire and a rebel army, who are separated by blood. The sequel to an equally compelling series beginner, Glass Sword showcases the best and worst of people in the tragedies of war, in ways both honest and heart-wrenching.

Amazing characters, engaging plot, and it takes place in a truly unique world. 10/10 would recommend. -Sammy’s pick

Young Adult Graphic Novels

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Giant Days by John Allison
Best friends Susan, Esther, and Saisy are rounding out their first semester at university where they find out college is more than academics. Add pub-hopping, hookups, breakups and political scandal–this might be the most eventful semester ever.

The ongoing saga of friendship and personal discovery with laugh-out-loud humor (or humour, since John Allison is English) never fail to impress me and capture my undivided attention. If you’ve never read a comic book, start at volume 1 and thank me later! -Carol’s pick

Goldie Vance by Hope Larson
Goldie wants to one day become the in-house detective at the resort where she lives with her dad, the manager. When the current detective encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery.

Goldie is the girl I always wanted to be: she gets to work with her best friends, drive other people’s cars (she’s a valet), and solve mysteries on the side. Mix adventure, mystery, and a dash of 1960s Florida– Welcome to the Crossed Palms Resort! -Carol’s pick

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat Volume 1: Hooked on a Feline by Kate Leth
Patsy Walker returns to the spotlight in her first solo ongoing series since the 60s!

I know literally nothing about the old-school Patsy Walker. But I do know that our modern lady works as a PI for lawyer She-Hulk and fights crime as Hellcat. There are tons of fun and puns thanks to legend Kate Leth. Lighthearted and witty– pick this up today. -Carol’s pick

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
In this standalone story, Squirrel Girl will encounter her most unbeatable, powerful, and dangerous enemy–herself!

If you haven’t read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, this is your chance to try it out without having to know what’s what. Funny and outrageous, Squirrel Girl will leave you in stitches. -Carol’s pick

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One-Punch Man by ONE
An ordinary guy decides to be a hero and discovers that he can defeat anyone with just one punch. Unfortunately, no one takes him seriously or believes that he got his powers by sticking to a simple training routine.

The series uses a lot of deadpan humor and is very self-aware. Each volume is a very quick read (20-30 minutes maximum), which for me, is a definite plus. -Zac’s pick

Birth of Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki (translated by Zack Davisson)
This volume introduces Kitaro and includes a few additional stories in a very accessible format. Kitaro, created in the late 1960s and a mainstay in Japanese culture, exists in a world of Japanese folklore.

The detail and explanation of yokai and Japanese folklore is both entertaining and highly informative. Mizuki’s storytelling is a treat for readers of all ages. -Zac’s pick

Best of 2015: Teen Fiction & Graphic Novels

We continue our Best of 2015 list today with the ever popular category of fiction and graphic novels for teens. Don’t let the teen label throw you. Plenty of adults love these titles as well.

Fiction for Teens:

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Madly by Amy Alward

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure!

Magic, mystery, romance–what’s not to love? The world has magical rules that are vague enough to be believable, and I loved meeting another strong female heroine. Sam Kemi will be back in book 2–can’t wait to see what happens next! -Carol’s pick

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

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 investigations.

The fast-paced adventure was only surpassed by the quick wit. And I haven’t looked it up yet, but reading the ending makes it obvious that a sequel demands to be written. Or at least I am demanding one. I picked this book up on a whim, and I’m so glad I did. -Carol’s pick

Reawakened by Colleen Houck

A visit to an Egyptian exhibit brings teen Lilliana Young face to face with a recently awakened mummy-turned-handsome-sun-god as she gets caught up in an adventure with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

This book brings ancient Egyptian mythology into the modern age in an engrossing way. Liliana’s journey, both around the world and inside her heart, is a fast-paced adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat. -Carol’s pick

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Fifteen-year-old Caden Bosch is traveling against his will on a ship bound for the deepest part of the ocean with an evil captain and trickster parrot. Or is it that he’s slipping from his typical teenage life into the depths of madness?

By switching back and forth between the real and imagined stories, Shusterman expertly propels the reader into Caden’s mind and its swirling, confusing, and terrifying thoughts. Brendan Shusterman’s drawings add greatly to the chaos. -Elizabeth’s pick

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Messy, earthy Agnieszka expects to lose her friend to “The Dragon”, a wizard who periodically takes a village girl for unknown purposes, only to be taken herself. She quickly becomes involved fighting the evil Wood, and learns to trust her budding powers.

This Polish fairy tale is at times very dark and the quest seems hopeless, but there are enough bright and funny parts to keep hope alive. I loved the totally creepy feeling to the Wood and all of its bizarre creatures brimming with evil intentions. -Elizabeth’s pick

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

Claire and Ella have been best friends since elementary school, and Ella has become intensely important to Claire. During a campout at the beach the group meets mysterious Orpheus, whose hypnotic music draws them all in, especially Ella.

A modern day retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Ella Grey is likely to make you seek out other versions of the story and other books by Almond. Beautifully written, atmospheric, and full of teen angst and passion. Tragic and lovely! -Elizabeth’s pick

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

The much-anticipated sequel to Seraphina (2012). In a world where dragons can assume human form, there are children who are half human and half dragon. Seraphina can communicate with others of her kind by diving deep into her subconscious mind.

While this tale is inspired by other fantasy series about dragons, the characters are endearing and the pacing keeps those pages flying. -Emily’s pick

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

She could bear the beatings, but she couldn’t bear life on the farm without books. After her father forbids her to attend school, 14-year-old Joan runs away to Baltimore. After all, it’s 1911! A modern girl should be able to make it on her own, right?

There is no shortage of historical fiction about girls running away from home to seek their fortunes. This story portrays the tensions between Jews and Gentiles in the early 20th century from the point of view of a young “Goy” working in a Jewish home. -Emily’s pick

Graphic Novels for Teens:

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

In this printing of the popular, award-winning web comic, a villain adopts a sidekick with incredible powers and a mysterious past.

Colorful, intelligent, and insightful to human behavior and relationships, Nimona is everything you want a graphic novel to be: at once impactful, complex, and accessible. Iconographic and character-driven, this graphic novel is terrific for all ages. -Alan’s pick

Batgirl Volume 1: Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher

It’s Batgirl as you’ve never seen her before! Big changes are here for Barbara Gordon as she moves across Gotham City to begin a new chapter in her ongoing fight against crime as Batgirl.

Who doesn’t love Batgirl? This collects volumes #35-40 of the Batgirl comics, which have been my re-introduction to DC and one that was a random selection at Everett Comics! -Carol’s pick

Bob’s Burgers Volume 1 by Various

The compilation of Bob’s Burgers comics #1-5. Read about the Belcher family (parents Bob and Linda, and their children Tina, Gene, and Louise) with brand-new in-canon stories created by the TV show’s producers, writers, animators, and  the series creator.

I hop and skip for joy every time I pick up the newest issue of Bob’s Burgers at Everett Comics. Jennifer H. got me to take a chance on the TV show a year ago, and the comics totally live up to the show’s quality humor. -Carol’s pick

Captain Marvel Volume 2. Stay Fly by Kelly Sue DeConnick

A compilation of stories that originally were published as the Captain Marvel comics #7-11.

Carol Danvers isn’t just cool because of her awesome first name. She’s a woman setting her own course, even if that means leaving everyone she loves behind and going on an intergalactic adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy. -Carol’s pick