Be Dazzled by Ryan La SalaWhat it's about: Geeky perfectionist crafter Raffy has his sights set on winning this year's Controverse cosplay championship. Not only because it could offer a way into art school, but also because it might help him get over his ex-turned-competitor, Luca.
Reviewers say: "a sequin-filled romance that’s also a love letter to the craft and creativity of cosplay" (Publishers Weekly).
You might also like: Cecil Castelluci's Don't Cosplay with My Heart, another pop culture savvy story about relationships, fandom, and creation.
One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza MouliteWhat it's about: After activist and up-and-coming YouTuber Kezi dies as a result of police violence, her shattered sisters join her best friend and her secret girlfriend on a road trip that Kezi planned using a vintage copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book.
Read it for: multiple perspectives on family, loss, connection, and so-called respectability.
Try this next: For another own voices journey through grief and sisterhood, try Elizabeth Acevedo's Clap When You Land.
Hold Back the Tide by Melinda SalisburyWhat it's about: Ever since her Da murdered her Ma, Alva Douglas has longed to escape her small Scottish village. Her plans shift abruptly, however, when vicious monsters called òlanfhuil emerge from the loch, forcing Ada to step into her inherited role as the Naomhfhuil, the village's protector.
Who it's for: Featuring an atmospheric setting rife with dread and bloody mayhem, Hold Back the Tide is perfect for horror fans who want an immersive escape from the here and now.
Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia BuckinghamFeaturing: viral video star Delilah, ambitious YouTuber Fiona, former child actress Jasmine, and Instagram celebrity Scarlet.
What happens: A murder only complicates the swirling rumors, fierce competition, and shocking betrayals the girls face online and in person.
About the authors: In this gossipy mystery, Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard teams up with 17-year-old internet personality Lilia Buckingham to take readers inside the merciless world of influencers.
Concrete Rose by Angie ThomasWhat it's about: As the son of one of Garden Heights' most notorious King Lords, Maverick Carter has a legacy to uphold. But when he's hit by fresh tragedy and unexpected fatherhood, Maverick has to decide what kind of man he wants to be.
Book buzz: Set in the 1990s, this prequel to the mega-popular The Hate U Give is bound to make a splash.
On the hold list? Try books by Coe Booth or Tupac Shakur (author Angie Thomas' inspiration) while you wait.
Sometimes You Have to Laugh
Strangers Assume My Girlfriend Is My Nurse by Shane BurcawWhat it is: A hilarious and honest memoir from Shane Burcaw, who writes about life with muscular dystrophy and how he navigates family, work, love, sex, drugs, and condescending people who pat him on the head.
Why you might like it: With raw humor and sharp insight, Burcaw skewers ableist assumptions.
About the author: Burcaw is also the co-founder of a nonprofit and co-creator of the Squirmy and Grubs YouTube channel, which he runs with his wife, Hannah.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooStarring: troublemaker Clara Shin, who thinks everything's a joke.
What happens: Forced to spend the summer working in her dad's Korean Brazilian food truck alongside her overachieving nemesis, Rose, Clara finds unexpected friendship, as well as hesitant romance with a super-sincere guy named Hamlet. Maybe some things are worth taking seriously?
You might also like: Julie Murphy's Puddin', another funny, angsty, and ultimately upbeat story about bonding with a former enemy.
Heretics Anonymous by Katie HenryWhat it's about: After mouthing off to a nun on his first day at Catholic school, new student (and avowed atheist) Michael is welcomed into Heretics Anonymous, a group for misfits such as Eden (pagan), Avi (Jewish, gay), Max (fashion outlaw), and Lucy (feminist, aspiring priest).
What happens: As Michael and Lucy grow closer, the Heretics decide to quit complaining about their school and take action.
Why you might like it: Believers and nonbelievers of all kinds can appreciate the witty dialogue and non-judgmental tone of this debut novel.
Layoverland by Gabby NooneWelcome to: the Memory Experience Department in Layoverland, an airport-like purgatory where recently deceased souls can unpack their emotional baggage and try to catch a flight to heaven.
What happens: Cynical, sharp-tongued Bea learns that in order to get to heaven, she’ll have to help 5,000 other souls get there first, starting with Caleb, the guy who caused her fatal accident.
For fans of: TV’s The Good Place, and other snarky yet heartfelt stories about second chances in the afterlife.
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben PhilippeStarring: smart, sarcastic, hockey-loving Montreal transplant Norris Kaplan, who's sweating through eleventh grade in Austin, Texas, as the only Haitian French Canadian person in his class.
Read it for: Norris' fish-out-of-water observations and sitcom-based stereotypes about Americans (which might just make you question your own assumptions about the people around you).
Book buzz: This 1st book by Canadian author Ben Phillipe won the 2020 William C. Morris Award for a debut novel; if you like this one, don't miss Philippe's equally funny follow-up, Charming As a Verb.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!