The best young adult books of the year, as selected by LAPL staff. Perfect for holiday gift-giving!
Sequel to Crewel. Aldelice is a newly minted "spinster" of a dystopian reality. In Altered, we pick up where we left Adelice, Jost and Erik—on Earth, just after fleeing Arras. In Crewel, readers were completely swept up in the futuristic world of Arras. Altered unfolds on a rougher terrain—Earth is not in great shape, and we quickly find out it’s nothing like the place we call home.
The first of two companion graphic novels about the Boxer Rebellion in China. Boxers tells the story of Little Bao, a farmer's son who joins the rebellion, while Saints is told from the point of view of Four-Girl, a young Chinese girl who has visions of Joan of Arc and converts to Christianity. The difference in perspectives adds a greater depth to the story and makes for a very compelling read.
Prickly 14-year-old Madeleine is trying to get used to a new life with her mysteriously ill mom in Cambridge, England. The almost too excellent 15-year-old Elliott lives in the Kingdom of Cello, where the seasons come and go unpredictably and roving bands of colors can kill people. A crack between their two worlds allows the two to pass notes and become friends. Quirky, romantic and delightful.
Twelve-year-old Willow Chance is very smart, but a little socially awkward. When tragedy strikes her family, she is left to create a new life and family for herself. Although the circumstances are sad, Willow’s story is not. She is an incredible young woman, who manages to change and inspire everyone she meets. This is one of the most uplifiting and special stories of 2013, that readers of all ages will treasure.
Eleanor is the awkward new girl in school and she finds herself sitting next to Park on the school bus. An uneasy friendship forms and eventually blossoms into first love. Their relationship, fueled by attraction, a mutual love of music and comic books becomes a safe haven for Eleanor in the midst of her unstable family life. A perfectly imperfect vignette of first love.
Sequel to The Selection and has been described as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. In America Singer’s world, a bride is chosen for the prince through an elaborate televised competition. But is it Prince Maxon—and life as the queen—she wants? Or is it Aspen, her first love? Does she hear gunfire at the gate?
"Finishing" School takes on a new meaning when Sophronia faces flying bandits and other perils on the journey from her home to board a floating school for young ladies. Fortunately, she is a resourceful teen and rises to the occasion, making friends in unlikely places along the way. This is a refreshing YA adventure prequel to the Parasol Protectorate series.
Identical twin sisters, Cath and Wren, start their first year of college. While Wren can't wait for the college experience, Cath wants nothing more than to remain a hermit inside her dorm, immersing herself in writing Simon Snow fan fiction. Once inseparable, now Cath has to learn how to handle her freshman year at college by herself. Witty and funny, Fangirl is about forging friendships, experiencing first love, and making your own way in life.
A fun non-fiction graphic novel with primitive but functional panel cartoons that challenge the illogic behind belief based institutions or ideas such as homeopathy, certain conspiracy theories, and climate change denial. Each chapter introduces a new topic and the author succinctly presents the genesis and ways in which the ideas conflict with rational thought, scientific practice, and accredited research with surprising humor.
Allyson is on the last days of a chaperoned European tour, a graduation gift from her controlling parents. When she finds herself meeting enigmatic backpacker Willem not once but three times over two days, she breaks away from the rigid rules she’s so accustomed to and impulsively agrees to travel with him to Paris for one day. That one day changes both their lives forever, over the course of two engaging, romantic and thoughtful books. This book is continued by Just One Year, which is also a LAPL Best Teen Book of 2013.
Allyson is on the last days of a chaperoned European tour, a graduation gift from her controlling parents. When she finds herself meeting enigmatic backpacker Willem not once but three times over two days, she breaks away from the rigid rules she’s so accustomed to and impulsively agrees to travel with him to Paris for one day. That one day changes both their lives forever, over the course of two engaging, romantic and thoughtful books. This is the continuation of Just One Day which is also a LAPL Best Teen Book of 2013.
Good kid James made a terrible mistake when he did a favor for his beloved older brother and ended up in a juvenile detention center. Now he must learn to survive in this new, strange and dangerous world, where kindness is often mistaken for weakness.
Sequel to the award-winning The House of the Scorpion. 14-year-old Matteo Alacrán returns home as the new Lord of Opium. His backdrop is a vividly imagined future world full of fascinating characters and moral themes.
March is popping up all over the place on best graphic novel lists for 2013, and rightfully so. This is the first book in a planned trilogy that tells of the struggle of Congressman John Lewis, his first hand experience of the Jim Crow South, and his experience living through segregation and choosing to fight against it through his participation in key Civil Rights moments, such as the March on Washington and the Selma-Montgomery March. Fantastic assignment book for teachers looking for an engaging document to bring the struggle for racial equality for African Americans to light.
Seth wakes up in the English village of his childhood, but it’s been abandoned, and is covered in dust and weeds. How did he get here? (And since the book opens with his death by drowning, how did he get anywhere, for that matter?) Where is everyone, and what’s that black coffin doing in his bedroom? A terrifically twisty story about friendship, reality and fantasy, and the lies we tell to make the pain more bearable.
Rafe Goldberg has been openly gay since middle school, but he’s tired of being known only as “the gay kid.” When he’s accepted at an all-male boarding school, he sees it as a chance to reinvent himself and decides to let his classmates assume he’s straight. Full of memorable characters, hilarious dialogue, and an incredibly romantic love story.
In 2056, a hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast has been walled off from the rest of the country, a pandemic rages, and fearless 17-year-old Fen is determined to smuggle her best friend’s newborn baby over the wall before she becomes infected with Delta Fever. Fen is an unforgettable narrator, and the action never stops in this spectacular dystopian novel.
Recovering from his wounds, Froi sets out to find Quintana and to secure her safety and that of her unborn son, the future king of Charyn. A strong finale to Marchetta’s epic fantasy, The Lumatere Chronicles, that began with Finnikin of the Rock (2010) and followed by Froi of the Exiles (2012).
In this companion book to Code Name Verity, we follow the story of Rose, an 18-year-old American poet and pilot, who decides to join the war effort by joining the British ATA. Things take a turn for the worse when she is captured by the Germans and imprisoned at Ravensbruck concentration camp. Once again, Wein manages to beautifully tell a World War II story from an unusual perspective. This book is highly recommend to young adults and adults alike.
Part II of The Lunar Chronicles. Cinder, the beautiful lunar cyborg mechanic (based on the Cinderella fairy tale), is back, this time with a story line which includes the Little Red Riding Hood character Scarlet. Combination of SF, romance and action.
In the sequel to last year's Shadow & Bone, Alina is still hunted by the Darkling, but finds a way to use her powers as a Grisha (mage) to fight back. However, as her influence in the Ravkan empire grows, will she lose the thing she holds most dear? With a rich fantasy world reminiscent of imperial Russia and a marvelous heroine, driven by ambition and love, this series is well worth checking out. And the genre? Fans of the series call it Tsarpunk.
This is a fantastically brief and humorous book about writing techniques and methods using the trope of the three blind mice and variations of the theme to explain the concepts. The book covers upper level concepts such as leitmotif and picaro, and the drawings are charming and snarky. If books like this were recommended in AP English classes, teachers might wind up with classes full of aspiring writers.
One weekend in the lives of several gay teenagers, narrated by a ghostly Greek chorus, the generation of young men lost to AIDS. Those narrators, who understand so well how far the current generation has come, and how quickly it can all be gone, make the book a celebration of life, and they demand that we live that life to the fullest while we still have the chance. Deeply profound and moving.
In this final book of the Gallagher Girl series, Cammie Morgan faces her most dangerous mission yet. She must stop the Circle of Cavan, an international terrorist group, from succeeding in their deadly master plan. United We Spy is filled with jam-packed action as Cammie, her friends, and her boyfriend, Zach, all race against the clock to save the world.
Join Ryan Dean West, one of teen literatures most memorable characters, in his humorous yet painful junior year in private school. He dares to love one of the most popular girls in school and stands up to the biggest bully. A roller coaster ride you will be glad you took.