- Alive – Chandler Baker – Stella Cross has received a heart transplant, but it has not stopped her emotional suffering. Then a mysterious boy named Levi Zin comes into her life. Stella’s pain goes away whenever she’s around Levi. However, Stella finds out a terrible secret about Levi. Can it be true?
- All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven – Death plays a big role in the lives of high schoolers Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. He is constantly on the verge of suicide, and she is battling grief after her sister’s death. The Indiana teens come together to work on a project and soon develop a bond, showing each other what it’s like to live.
- The Game of Love and Death (The Hero Agenda series)– Martha Brockenbrough – Set in Seattle in the 1920s, a romance develops between Flora, who is African American, and Henry, who is white. Despite some differences, the pair has much in common, including a shared love of jazz music. However, it turns out that Flora and Henry actually are pawns in a game played by two other characters – Love and Death. This book is full of intrigue and is, at times, heartbreaking, and will have the reader racing to the final pages.
- Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo – Young criminal genius Kaz Brekker is offered the chance to pull off a dangerous theft that can make him rich. He recruits a gang of six dangerous misfits to help him with the heist. The book follows the crew’s crazy adventure and features plot twists, betrayals, and schemes aplenty.
- Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon – Maddy is a teenager with a serious autoimmune disease that prevents her from leaving the house. Yet, she seems content to stay home and read books. That is until a boy named Olly moves in next door. The two meet, and their quirky relationship is chronicled through emails, journal entries,
- Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone – Samantha McAllister seems to have it all: she is beautiful, bright and part of the popular crowd in high school. But looks can be deceiving, and she is hiding the fact she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Samantha’s life changes after she visits a place at school called Poet’s Corner and she begins hanging out with new friends like Caroline and AJ.
- The Novice: Summoner: Book One of The Summoner Trilogy – Tran Matharu – A blacksmith’s apprentice named Fletcher discovers he can summon demons from another world. He soon gets chased out of his village for a crime he did not commit, ending up at an academy for adepts, where he is trained to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. Eventually, Fletcher discovers the fate of the Empire is in his hands.
- Illuminae (The Illuminae Files series) Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Kady and Ezra have just broken up, and then their planet is bombed by a megacorporation. The pair escapes to a government ship, but must put their differences aside in order to survive and stop a plague that has resulted from the use of a bioweapon.
- When – Laurie Victoria – High school junior Maddie Fynn has special powers that allow her to see numbers above a person’s forehead, which she soon discovers are death dates. She identifies the death date of a young boy, but is unable to prevent his disappearance. Then, Maddie becomes a suspect in a homicide investigation.
- Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls – Lynn Weingarten – June and Delia were best friends who grew apart. Then, Delia commits suicide. Or, at least that’s what others have been told. June believes her former best friend has been murdered, and she goes on a quest to find the truth . . . which, it turns out, is very complicated.
Like Water on Stone is a verse novel written by Dana Walrath. It deals with the attempted genocide of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century. You will sometimes hear it called the Armenian Holocaust.
This story tells of the struggles of three orphaned Armenian children: Shahen Donabedian, his twin sister Sosi, and their little sister Mariam. Before the attack on their village, Shahen's father had counted both Turks and Kurds among his best friends. All three ethnic groups, the Turks, the Kurds, and the Armenians, had lived together in peace.
When the Turks attack before dawn, the children's parents hurry them out of the house with urgent instructions to go to the high hills where the sheep graze and hide there until their parents come for then. If their parents don't come, they are told not to return to the village, but to stay high in the mountains and head south to Aleppo, a Syrian city that is frequently in the news today, and then find a way to get to their uncle in New York.
The savagery of the genocide is described in sickening detail, but it also shows that kindness and hope can still prevail.when we find our common humanity. (Author speaking on the origins of the book in her own mother's life.)
If you want to read more about this genocide, we have the following books in the TA library:
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadow is the first book I have read that was a collaboration of three authors. I have read other "solo" books by Cynthia Hand and by Jodi Meadows, a writer from the Shenandoah Valley and enjoyed them. I was concerned about the style and flow of the story with three authors; however, I wanted to read the book because Lady Jane Grey has long been of interest to me. In fact she, or rather her ghost, was one of the characters in the first play I directed "Ladies of the Town," about noble women had died or were executed in the Tower of London.
I was very pleasantly surprised that the book was really good. The Lady Janies, as the authors call themselves, did an excellent job on the actual history of Lady Jane and her nine-day reign as the Queen of England up to a point that they "...revise a bit of history..." by allowing Jane and her husband to escape from the Tower before their scheduled executions. In addition to revising history, they also added some fantasy to the mix. In their version, some people are blessed, or cursed depending on your point-of-view, with the ability to change from their human form to that of an animal and back again. One feature I really enjoyed was when the authors would interject their own amusing comments on the characters and the story. Book Trailer from Epic Reads
If you are looking for a more traditional historical fiction book, try Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi. Rinaldi is one of the best writers of well-research historical fiction.
Awards & Honors:
I am a former high school English teacher and now a high school librarian.