Whether you're a teen, have a teenager in your life, or just enjoy teen reads, these titles are for you! Each month LPLS staff create a list of new releases that they recommend.
“Punching Bag” by Rex Ogle
Rex Ogle, who brilliantly mapped his experience of hunger in Free Lunch, here describes his struggle to survive; reflects on his complex, often paradoxical relationship with his passionate, fierce mother; and charts the trajectory of his stepdad’s anger. Hovering over Rex’s story is the talismanic presence of his unborn baby sister.
Through it all, Rex threads moments of grace and humor that act as beacons of light in the darkness. Compulsively readable, beautifully crafted, and authentically told, Punching Bag is a remarkable memoir about one teenager’s cycle of violence, blame, and attempts to forgive his parents―and himself.
“Ashes, Ashes” by Jean-David Morvan
In a post-Apocalyptic future, all traces of technology have seemingly disappeared from the surface of the Earth. Two surviving bands face off against each other in tribal combat, while the Patriarch of the larger clan plans his attack to destroy the "infernal machine" designed by his opponent. Because he remembers how technology made humanity weak, and how it almost wiped us out 100 years before...
Flashback to the year 2052, An unexplained and unexpected natural phenomenon causes electricity itself to simply fail. And in its disappearance, civilization falls to its knees, almost instantaneously.
“The Storm of Echoes” by Christelle Dabos
The distrust between them has been overcome and now Ophelia and Thorn love each other passionately. However, they must keep their love hidden. Only in this way can they continue their journeys toward an understanding of the indecipherable code of God and the truth behind the mysterious figure of the Other, whose devastating power continues to bring down entire pieces of arks, plunging thousands of innocents into the void.
Ophelia and Thorn arrive at the observatory of the Deviations, an institute shrouded in absolute secrecy and overseen by a sect of mystical scientists who secretly conduct terrifying experiments. There, Ophelia and Thorn hope to discover truths that will halt the destruction and death and bring the world back into balance.
“Squad” by Maggie Tokunda-Hall and Lisa Sterle
When the new girl is invited to join her high school’s most popular clique, she can’t believe her luck—and she can’t believe their secret, either.
When Becca transfers to a high school in an elite San Francisco suburb, she’s worried she’s not going to fit in. To her surprise, she’s immediately adopted by the most popular girls in school. At first glance, Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are perfect. But at a party under a full moon, Becca learns that they also have a big secret.
Becca’s new friends are werewolves. Their prey? Slimy boys who take advantage of unsuspecting girls. Eager to be accepted, Becca allows her friends to turn her into a werewolf, and finally, for the first time in her life, she feels like she truly belongs.
But then things get complicated. As their pack begins to buckle under the pressure, their moral high ground gets muddier and muddier—and Becca realizes that she might have feelings for one of her new best friends.
“Everything Within and In Between” by Nikki Barthelmess
For Ri Fernández’s entire life, she’s been told, “We live in America and we speak English.” Raised by her strict Mexican grandma, Ri has never been allowed to learn Spanish.
What’s more, her grandma has pulled Ri away from the community where they once belonged. In its place, Ri has grown up trying to fit in among her best friend’s world of mansions and country clubs in an attempt try to live out her grandmother’s version of the “American Dream.”
In her heart, Ri has always believed that her mother, who disappeared when Ri was young, would accept her exactly how she is and not try to turn her into someone she’s never wanted to be. So when Ri finds a long-hidden letter from her mom begging for a visit, she decides to reclaim what Grandma kept from her: her heritage and her mom.
But nothing goes as planned. Her mom isn’t who Ri imagined she would be and finding her doesn’t make Ri’s struggle to navigate the interweaving threads of her mixed heritage any less complicated. Nobody has any idea of who Ri really is—not even Ri herself.
“Black Birds in the Sky” by Brandy Colbert
In the early morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob marched across the train tracks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and into its predominantly Black Greenwood District—a thriving, affluent neighborhood known as America's Black Wall Street. They brought with them firearms, gasoline, and explosives.
In a few short hours, they'd razed thirty-five square blocks to the ground, leaving hundreds dead. The Tulsa Race Massacre is one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in US history. But how did it come to pass? What exactly happened? And why are the events unknown to so many of us today?
“Our Way Back to Always” by Nina Moreno
Luisa (Lou) Patterson grew up across the street from Sam Alvarez in the small, quirky town of Port Coral. They used to be inseparable—spending every holiday together, shooting silly YouTube videos, and rescuing stray cats. But then middle school happened, including the most disastrous (and embarrassing) serenade ever, and Lou and Sam haven't talked in the four years since. Sam is now the golden boy with plenty of friends, while Lou is an introverted romantic who's happy playing video games and writing fan fiction. But it's also the summer before their senior year, and life is knocking on Lou's door.
With her older sister having given up a scholarship to Princeton to have a baby and work at the local botanica, all of their mother's expectations are now riding on Lou's shoulders. She's retaking her SAT's, signed up for way too many AP classes, and her sights set on colleges with fancy names like Duke and Vanderbilt. But when she finds the bucket list she and Sam wrote together as kids, before Sam's father was diagnosed with cancer, she's shocked to see that she hasn't accomplished any of the goals she'd set for herself. Go to a party? Nope. Pull the greatest prank of all time? Still no. Learn how to be a really good kisser? Definitely not.
Torn between the future that her mother, sister, and younger self planned for her, Lou sets out to finish the list, and in a stroke of destiny or fate, Sam decides to tag along. Still trying to stay afloat amid the grief of losing his father, Sam himself is staring down a future that feels all too close, and is coming far too fast. But with the bucket list to guide them, Sam and Lou might just be able to find a way through the future, and also a way back to each other.
“When Night Breaks” by Janella Angeles
The competition has come to a disastrous end, and Daron Demarco’s fall from grace is front-page news. But little matters to him beyond Kallia, the contestant he fell for who is now missing and in the hands of a dangerous magician. Daron is willing to do whatever it takes to find her. Even if it means unearthing secrets that lead him on a treacherous journey, risking more than his life and with no promise of return.
After falling through the mirror, Kallia has never felt more lost, mourning everything she left behind and the boy she can’t seem to forget. Only Jack, the magician who has all the answers but can’t be trusted, remains at her side. Together, they must navigate a dazzling world where mirrors show memories and illusions shadow every corner, ruled by a powerful showman who’s been waiting for Kallia to finally cross his stage. But beneath the glamour of dueling headliners and never-ending revelry, a sinister force falls like night over everyone, with the dark promise of more―more power beyond Kallia’s wildest imagination, and at a devastating cost.
The truth will come out, a kingdom must fall, hearts will collide.
And the show must finally come to an end.
“The Color of Dragons” by R.A. Salvatore and Erika Lewis
Magic needs a spark.
And Maggie’s powers are especially fickle. With no one to help her learn to control her magic, the life debt that she owes stretches eternally over her head, with no way to repay it.
Until she meets Griffin, the king’s champion, infamous for hunting down the draignochs that plague their kingdom.
Neither has any idea of the destiny that they both carry, or that their meeting will set off a chain of events that will alter every aspect of the life they know—and all of history thereafter.
“Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World” by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
“The Violent Season” by Sara Walters
After Wyatt Green's mother was brutally murdered last Fall, she's convinced that the November sickness plaguing Wolf Ridge isn't just a town rumor that everyone ignores...it's a palpable force infecting her neighbors. Wyatt is going to prove it, and find her mother's murderer in the process. She digs up every past brutal act she can find from Wolf Ridge's past―from car wrecks, suicides, and unnamed victims turning up in rivers―and even reaches out to an out-of-state journalist that seems to believe her. But all of her digging leads to nowhere. Everyone in Wolf Ridge accepts that the November sickness is real, and absolutely no one will talk about it.
As Wyatt's best friend Cash turns on her, and her friend is almost killed in a tragic accident, Wyatt panics―how can she keep her friends safe, and find her mother's murderer, when no one believes her?
As the evidence stars to disappear, Wyatt wonders: is she just imagining everything? Is the sickness real, or are the people of Wolf Ridge just naturally prone to doing bad things?
Can Wyatt and her friends come out of the Violent Season unscathed, or is one of them going to be the next victim?
“Why We Fly” by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
With a rocky start to senior year, cheerleaders and lifelong best friends Eleanor and Chanel have a lot on their minds. Eleanor is still in physical therapy months after a serious concussion from a failed cheer stunt. Chanel starts making questionable decisions to deal with the mounting pressure of college applications. But they have each other's backs―just as always, until Eleanor's new relationship with star quarterback Three starts a rift between them.
Then, the cheer squad decides to take a knee at the season's first football game, and what seemed like a positive show of solidarity suddenly shines a national spotlight on the team―and becomes the reason for a larger fallout between the girls. As Eleanor and Chanel grapple with the weight of the consequences as well as their own problems, can the girls rely on the friendship they've always shared?
“Robin Hood: The Shadows of Sherwood Forest” by Tilman Roehrig
When peasant John Little witnesses the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men destroying his village for John’s crime of poaching deer to feed his people, he flees into the tangle of Sherwood Forest with the only other survivor, his young foster daughter Marian. But dangers lurk there, too: the outlaw Robin Hood soon catches them and takes them prisoner.
Robin Hood does not quite match the heroic stories that are already told about him. For all Robin’s dazzling bravado and clever tricks, the reality of his fight against oppression by the Norman nobility is a rough and dirty life in the forest, outlawed and constantly hunted.
As the newly dubbed Little John gets an education in how to fit into Robin’s dangerous band, Marian, too, grows into a force to be reckoned with. Thrust into life in a world of fearless bandits, uncertain allies, and merciless vendettas, Little John and maid Marian earn their place—and build an unshakable friendship with Robin Hood.
“The Call of Antarctica” by Leilani Raashida Henry
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest, driest, and most remote part of the world. It’s the world’s largest polar dessert. Antarctica is a true wilderness.
Author Leilani Raashida Henry, daughter of George W. Gibbs, Jr., the first person of African descent to go to Antarctica, recounts her father’s expedition while educating readers on the incredible geography, biodiversity, and history of the continent. Using diary entries from Gibbs' expedition, “The Call of Antarctica” takes readers on a journey to the rugged Antarctic landscape to learn its history, its present, and the importance of protecting its future.
“Fullmetal Alchemist: A New Beginning” by Makoto Inoue
Somewhere between magic, art and science exists a world of alchemy. And into this world travel Edward and Alphonse Elric—two brothers in search of the Philosopher's Stone, the ultimate alchemical treasure!
Winry, childhood friend of the Elric brothers, is ecstatic to advance her training as an automail mechanic in Rush Valley. Her passion and skills are tested when she crosses paths with a boy who lost a leg and can’t get back on his feet. Meanwhile, Edward and Alphonse Elric just can’t seem to stay out of trouble, even when they’re trying to get noticed for doing good deeds!
“Tiny Dancer” by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel
All her life, Siena has dreamed of being a ballerina. Her love of movement and dedication to the craft earned her a spot at the School of American Ballet, with hopes of becoming a member of George Balanchine’s world-famous New York City Ballet company. Siena has worked hard for many years to be a professional ballet dancer, but injury and doubt are starting to take their toll.
Maybe it’s time to look beyond the world of dance—but Siena’s whole identity has been shaped by ballet. When you have spent your entire life working toward something, how do you figure out what comes next? And how do you figure out who you are without the thing that defined you? This is a moving and beautifully drawn memoir of a dancer struggling to find her next step—and a young woman finding her true footing in the world.