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
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.
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