Throwback by Maurene GooStarring: 16-year-old Samantha Kang, who doesn’t understand the "all-American" dreams her first-generation Korean American mother Priscilla has for her.
History repeats itself: Desperate to get away from her mom, Samantha uses a rideshare app that magically transports her to the 1990s, where she meets Priscilla as a 17-year-old. And falls for a football player!?
Why you might like it: This heartfelt novel explores inherited trauma and the immigrant experience within a sparkling romantic comedy.
Stars and Smoke by Marie LuWhat it is: a suspenseful, romantic adventure pairing Winter Young, a Chinese American pop star, with Sydney Cossette, a 19-year-old spy hiding her fatal lung condition.
What happens: To gather intelligence on a notorious crime boss, Winter performs at a private party while Sydney plays bodyguard. As their mission unfolds, Winter and Sydney's grudging respect turns into something deeper.
Author alert: Fans of author Marie Lu's action-packed Skyhunter, Legend, and Warcross series will enjoy this glamorous and thrilling series opener.
Into the Light by Mark Oshiro
The set-up: The Sullivans adopt Manny and Elena, ending the siblings' years in foster care. But after Manny is sent to -- and kicked out of -- a manipulative religious leader's camp called Reconciliation, he's alone in the wilderness.
The journey: Manny connects with the kind Varela family to solve the mystery surrounding the body found outside Reconciliation. Is it Elena?
How it's told: This compelling thriller's nonlinear structure, offering shifting points of view and flashbacks, mimics Manny's disorienting experiences.
While You Were Dreaming by Alisha RaiTo the rescue: Sonia Patil saves her crush James Cooper when he falls into a canal. Because this happened on the day of a Comic-Con, Sonia was in full superhero cosplay.
Behind the mask: Sonia’s rescue goes viral, threatening her family's low profile. Her mom has been deported, her sister is undocumented, and Sonia would rather stay in her daydreams than face reality.
Read it for: a thought-provoking exploration of immigration policies and toxic social media alongside a romantic coming-of-age story.
A Door in the Dark by Scott ReintgenMeet: Ren, a talented scholarship student at Balmerick University. She'll graduate with magical skills, but finding work after graduation will take the right connections too.
What happens: A botched spell lands six students in dangerous wilderness, one already dead. Ren can prove herself, if the group's tangled secrets or the lurking monsters don’t kill them first.
Is it for you? This compelling fantasy blends a magic school setting like Naomi Novik's A Deadly Education with a twisty mystery like Karen McManus' One of Us is Lying.
We Didn't Ask For This by Adi AlsaidLocked in: The privileged students at the Central International School look forward to their annual lock-in. The night promises new friends, memorable adventures, and possibly even romance.
Speaking truth to power: When student activist Marisa Cuevas refuses to let anyone leave until her environmental protest's demands are met, the lock-in stretches over multiple days.
How it's told: This engrossing novel dives into the inner lives of the six students who form an unlikely alliance protecting Marisa from furious students.
Bitter by Akwaeke EmeziWelcome to: Eucalyptus, the school for gifted artists where Bitter lives. After many difficult years in foster care, Bitter simply wants to find safety in her art.
Creative power: Outside Eucalyptus, the city of Lucille is ravaged by monsters, inequality, and violence. When Bitter's art conjures a magical creature who could end injustice, Bitter can no longer avoid the conflict.
Prequel alert: This emotionally intense and thought-provoking novel about generating hope is a companion to author Akwaeke Emezi's acclaimed Pet.
I Miss You, I Hate This by Sara SaediLockdown: When a fictional virus shuts down society, the isolation forces besties Parisa and Gabriela to reevaluate their whole lives.
Under pressure: The pandemic intensifies already simmering issues. High-achieving Iranian American Parisa's anxiety spikes; Mexican American Gabriela feels the distance between her two moms and her extended family acutely. Is there hope in all this uncertainty?
How it's told: with alternating perspectives, including texts and emails reminiscent of the communication breakdowns and time warps many experienced in the early COVID-19 pandemic.
Golden Boys by Phil StamperSummer plans: The summer before senior year marks the first time four best friends, all gay, will be apart since preschool.
Their destinations: Gabriel is working for an environmental nonprofit in Boston, and Sal has a congressional internship in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Reese is studying fashion in Paris, and Heath is working at his aunt's arcade in Florida. These life-changing experiences might change their friendships, too.
Sequel alert: The other half of this angsty duology, Afterglow, is already available.
Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen HaganStarring: best friends Jasmine and Chelsea, who are so frustrated by the sexism at their supposedly progressive NYC high school that they form their own Women’s Rights Club.
What happens: Their poems, blogs, and videos draw a following of young revolutionaries, even as they lead to backlash at school.
Further reading: For further affirming, thought-provoking books about student activists, pick up Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie or Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift.
Contact your librarian for more great books for age 14 and up!