Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa AlbertLike mother: Years ago, tough-as-nails teen Dana invited a beguiling rich girl promising magic into her friend circle. They cast a disastrous spell, altering their lives forever.
Like daughter: 17-year-old Ivy, Dana’s daughter, cannot ignore her bizarre, gruesome, possibly supernatural encounters. When she confronts her mother, she discovers how she’s intertwined with her mother’s history with dark magic.
Author alert: Fans of author Melissa Albert’s Hazel Wood series will enjoy this creepy standalone fantasy.
Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca BarrowWelcome to: Parris, a heavenly island escape accessible only to the wealthy. The island’s curse is the stuff of childhood stories. Or is it?
Meet: Luca, a relatable, queer, mixed-race teen struggling since her best friend drowned, supposedly by accident, three years ago. When Luca’s sister Whitney is found dead after a party, she’s determined to find some answers.
Is it for you? This haunting thriller incorporates themes of mental health and sexual violence alongside its compelling and satisfying investigation.
Jumper by Melanie CrowderWhat it is: the riveting story of 19-year-old Blair Scott, determined to prove herself to her fellow wildfire fighters and become a smokejumper, someone who parachutes into fire zones.
What happens: Blair hides her type 1 diabetes despite pleas from family and her best friend Jason, further endangering herself in the grueling conditions of Montana’s fire season.
Author alert: This action-packed adventure is inspired by author Melanie Crowder’s time attending firefighting camp and working for the Forest Service.
Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVosThe dream: Alex is spending spring break with six friends in Romania, making her Dracula-inspired short film in Castle Prahova. Vlad Dracul, the inspiration for the original vampire tale, once called the castle home.
The nightmare: Alex is the only one who makes it out alive.
How it’s told: This creepy and action-packed tale unfolds with cinematic storytelling interspersed with the criminal reports detailing what went wrong in the menacing castle whose twisted hallways hide a cloaked stranger.
The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna HoWhat it is: a timely, moving novel tackling the rise in racism against Asian Americans, the model minority myth, loss, and healing.
What happens: Chinese Taiwanese American Maybelline Chen loses her Princeton-bound brother Danny to suicide. Criticism flares, accusing Maybelline’s parents of pushing Danny too hard. May, an aspiring writer, fights back against that criticism despite her parents’ wishes not to make waves.
What sets it apart: complex characters, intense dialogue, and a vital message about speaking truth to power.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-ÍyímídéWhat it's about: Shortly after they both become prefects, Chiamaka and Devon -- the only two Black students at Niveus Academy -- are targeted by an anonymous texter called Aces. Somehow, Aces knows their deepest secrets, and as the stakes shift from devastating to deadly, Devon and Chi have to band together to make it through.
For fans of: dark academia, breathtaking twists, and socially conscious thrillers inspired by the real-life menace of racism.
Grown by Tiffany D. JacksonStarring: Enchanted Jones, whose singing dreams come true when R&B superstar Korey Fields takes her under his wing.
What happens: As Korey's behavior becomes disturbing, Enchanted begins to fear the price of fame -- and that's before she wakes up with Korey's blood on her hands.
Is it for you? While Grown's unflinching look at abuse and exploitation might not be for everyone, readers in search of an intense, socially aware thriller won't be able to put it down.
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria LeeA fresh start: Felicity Morrow called her ivy-covered boarding school Dalloway home until the tragic death of her girlfriend Alex. After some time away, she’s returned to finish her thesis.
Enter: writing prodigy Ellis Haley. She convinces Felicity to help research the Dalloway Five, alleged witches murdered centuries ago. As the two grow closer, Felicity is unsure whether she’s being haunted by past deaths or manipulated by Ellis.
For fans of: unreliable narrators, morally gray characters, and dark academia.
The Girls I've Been by Tess SharpeWhat it is: a captivating thriller following Nora, her girlfriend, and her ex, all taken hostage during a bank robbery. Nora, the daughter of a con artist, must rely on her past in order to survive.
How it’s told: in alternating chapters detailing Nora’s previous personas, showing how she acquired the skills she uses to con the robbers.
Adaptation alert: Millie Bobbie Brown from Stranger Things is set to star in the Netflix adaptation of this heart-pounding story.
Monday's not coming
by Tiffany D. Jackson
What it's about: When her friend Monday Charles goes missing and Monday's mother refuses to give her a straight answer, Claudia digs into her disappearance
For fans of: gripping mysteries with depth and morally gray characters.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
L.E. Smoot Memorial Library
9533 Kings Hwy
King George, Virginia 22485