Going Bicoastal by Dahlia AdlerThe set-up: Natalya Fox can spend the summer with her dad in New York, a familiar place with the bonus possibility of connecting with her crush, whom she calls Redhead. Or she can go to Los Angeles, where there’s an internship -- and a cute intern, her mom says -- awaiting her.
Her choice: Both, please!
How it’s told: This joyful romance, inspired by 1990s romcom Sliding Doors, jumps between parallel narratives following how each option plays out.
You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn BayronAt Camp Mirror Lake: attendees pay to live out the plot of a 1980s slasher movie.
The final girl: Charity, who decides if anyone “wins” this immersive terror game. When some coworkers are mysteriously absent, she realizes it’s no longer a game at all. And she’s unwilling to submit to the horror trope of the Black person dying first.
Who it’s for: fans of cult horror movies and author R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series.
Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi BurtonWhat it is: an engrossing fantasy novel about 17-year-old siren Saoirse. In the fae-ruled kingdom of Keirdre, sirens are hated and presumed extinct. Saoirse hides her heritage while moonlighting as an assassin for hire.
What happens: Saoirse receives a letter threatening to expose her secret. Despite her distaste for royals, she takes a position guarding Prince Hayes, hoping to identify her blackmailer and protect her sister.
Read it for: a twisty plot, imaginative world-building, and simmering romantic tension.
Invisible Son by Kim JohnsonStarring: Andre Jackson, released from juvenile detention after taking the fall for his friend Eric’s crime.
Clearing his name: Andre goes to confront Eric, but he’s gone missing. Eric’s adoptive parents aren’t answering questions, and his sister doesn’t believe he’s run away, so Andre launches his own investigation.
Who it’s for: This powerful, gripping mystery, set amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests surrounding George Floyd’s murder, is perfect for fans of Angie Thomas and Tiffany D. Jackson.
Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien PhamMeet: Pham, who fled Vietnam at age five. As a refugee, can he find his place in America without losing his connection to Vietnam?
How it’s told: Each chapter details a food central to Pham’s memories, like the rice ball he ate after pirates attacked the ship his family took leaving Vietnam.
Try these next: For more moving graphic memoirs from Asian American authors, check out Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do or Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese.
Medusa by Jessie BurtonWhat it is: a haunting, thought-provoking retelling of Greek myth. After Medusa’s sexual assault, Athena cursed her with living snakes for hair and exiled her to a deserted island.
Enter: Perseus, a lost sailor. Separated by a cave wall, Perseus and Medusa pour their hearts out to each other. But if you know the myth, you know why their potential romance is doomed.
What sets it apart: the compassionate portrayal of Medusa, underscoring the power of reclaiming your narrative.
Across a Field of Starlight by Blue DelliquantiIn a galaxy far, far away: young explorer Lu finds Fassen, the sole survivor of an Ever-Blossoming Empire attack on a resistance craft.
What happens: Lu bends their scientific community’s policy of neutrality to help Fassen rejoin the Fireback Brigade. The two develop a friendship as they also begin to question their roles in the intergalactic conflict.
Why you might like it: This action-packed space opera boasts likable nonbinary characters, charming art, and thoughtful exploration of imperialism and revolution.
Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice OsemanWhat it's about: the initial spark and deepening relationship between shy, anxious Charlie and outgoing rugby player Nick.
Why you might like it: Delicate illustrations and on-point dialogue capture the excitement and uncertainty of first love; also, fans of the popular Netflix adaptation (season 2 drops this month) will relish the familiar characters.
You might also like: Kevin Panetta’s Bloom, another graphic novel featuring quiet romance and artwork in black, white, and teal.
Crumbs by Danie StirlingAt Marigold’s Bakery: unusually gifted seer Ray always chooses the pastries enchanted with romance spells, so it’s no surprise she falls for Laurie, an aspiring musician and the bakery’s barista.
Do they have a future? Because Ray’s gift only allows her to see the true present, she and Laurie must look inside themselves and work together to create a path forward.
Read it for: a cozy and sweet romance with delicate pastel artwork and cottagecore vibes.
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen YangWhat it it’s about: Graphic novelist and self-proclaimed comic book geek Gene Luen Yang delves into sports, history, and memoir in an illustrated account of the year he spent with the Dragons, a diverse high school basketball team striving to become state champions.
Art alert: With clean lines and vivid colors, Yang’s artwork emphasizes the humor, exhilarating sports action, and true-to-life details in this unconventional nonfiction read.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!