Chasing Lucky by Jenn BennettWelcome to: Beauty, the gossipy New England town to which aspiring photographer Josie Saint-Martin and her mom have just returned after years of drifting.
What happens: Despite the supposed curse that makes Saint-Martin women unlucky in love, Josie is irresistibly drawn to her childhood friend Lucky, who's now a rebel with a bad reputation.
You might also like: Nina Moreno's Don't Date Rosa Santos, another romantic tale featuring a family curse and tons of small-town atmosphere.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai ChimWhat it's about: With school, working at the family restaurant, caring for her younger siblings, managing her mentally ill mother, and a new boyfriend, 16-year-old Anna Chiu is just barely holding it together. Then her mom's condition changes, and Anna's careful balancing act begins to fall apart.
Read it for: an unflinching coming-of-age story with an authentic Chinese Australian main character.
Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee CorthronWhat it's about: In 1962, Evie Deschamps is learning to control the gift of Jubilation, protective magic passed down through the women in her family.
Why you might like it: Starring a powerful Black girl living amidst the violent racism of the Jim Crow South, this fast-paced historical fantasy is equal parts disturbing and enchanting.
For fans of: Justina Ireland's Dread Nation series.
Instant Karma by Marissa MeyerThe setup: Perfectionist overachiever Prudence and her lazy, irresponsible classmate Quint end up working together at a coastal animal rescue, much to Pru's annoyance.
The twist: Pru suddenly gains the ability to exact karmic justice on anyone she deems deserving -- anyone except Quint, who defies her expectations every time.
Why you might like it: A hating-to-dating romance and a hint of magic make it a breeze to read this latest book from the author of the Lunar Chronicles.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le NguyenWhat it's about: Vietnamese American Tiến loves reading fairytales with his mom to help her learn English, but even with their shared language of storybook magic, Tiến can't find the words to tell his mom he's gay.
Art alert: It's easy to follow the layered stories in this warm and hopeful graphic novel, since the intricate, manga-influenced artwork appears in three color palettes: red for the present, brown for the past, and blue for fairy tales.
2020 Books You Might Have Missed
When We Were Magic by Sarah GaileyStarring: high school senior Alexis, who accidentally kills a boy on prom night.
What happens: Alexis knows she's got to hide what happened or try to make it right. To do either, she'll need help from her five closest friends and the powerful magic they all share.
Is it for you? While this story's dark humor might not be for everyone, it'll hook readers who crave stories about diverse characters dealing with complicated friendships (not to mention that pesky murder cover-up).
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah JohnsonWhat it's about: Despite being a gifted musician and dedicated friend, Liz Lighty is considered too poor, too Black, and too awkward to become prom queen at her snobbish high school. But with a crucial scholarship on the line, she has no choice but to enter the race for the crown.
Read it for: a smart and endearing heroine; her adorkable romance with fellow prom queen competitor Mack; and a pitch-perfect mix of drama and feel-good vibes.
Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada; illustrated by Ko Hyung-JuThe setting: South Korea, 1983, where college student Hyun Sook just wants to study literature and avoid the protests against the oppressive regime of President Chun.
The tipping point: After joining a banned book club, Hyun Sook finds a new understanding of the violence and injustice around her, spurring her to risky acts of rebellion.
Did you know? With a gritty art style and a thought-provoking story to match, this graphic memoir describes the real-life experiences of co-author Kim Hyun Sook.
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. MorrowIn a world... where mythical beings exist alongside and among humans, teen siren Tavia longs to proudly claim her identity, even though sirens are demonized for their powerful voices; meanwhile, Tavia's best friend/chosen sister Effie wonders if the curious symptoms she's having might reveal a powerful heritage of her own.
Try this next: Darcie Little Badger's Elatsoe, another contemporary tale that uses a fantasy lens to sharpen its focus on prejudice, marginalization, family, and solidarity.
Scavenge the Stars by Tara SimWhat it is: a twisty, fantasy-infused retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo.
What happens: When 17-year-old Amaya is offered freedom from her captivity on a debtor's ship and a chance to unleash vengeance on the person who wronged her family, she seizes the opportunity. Her scheme hits a snag, however, when she begins falling for Cayo, the son of the man she plans to ruin.
Series alert: Scavenge the Stars is the 1st in a duology.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!