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.
Perfectly Parvin by Olivia AbtahiThe mission: To disprove her ex-boyfriend's accusations of being "too much," high school freshman Parvin sets out to score a hot Homecoming date.
The method: "Operation Act Like a Rom-Com Heroine," in which Parvin (against her friends' advice) tries to tame her voice, her attitude, and her hair to make herself more attractive to guys.
Why you might like it: Parvin's journey from revenge makeover to self-acceptance is packed with unruly humor and contagious wit.
Aetherbound by E.K. JohnstonWhat it's about: Abused by her family who view her as a useless waste of resources, gene-mage Pendt Harland flees from their generation ship and joins up with Fisher and Ned Brannick, two brothers trying to escape the controlling grip of the Stavenger Empire.
Who it's for: fans of science fiction and space operas who value complex characters as much as compelling world-building.
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'DonoghueWelcome to: St. Bernadette's, a Catholic school in Ireland where troublemaker Maeve has just discovered an old pack of tarot cards, along with a talent for reading them.
What happens: The readings become popular at school until an eerie new card, The Housekeeper, surfaces during a reading for Maeve's former friend Lily...and then Lily goes missing.
Read it for: paranormal suspense, an inclusive cast of characters, and a setting that blends modern mysticism with traditional Irish folklore.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola YoonThe setup: After being disillusioned by her parents' divorce, former romantic Evie develops the magical ability to know a couple's beginning and end when she sees them kiss.
The complication: While investigating her new power, Evie gets caught up in a ballroom dance competition -- and in her inconvenient feelings for dance partner Xavier.
Book buzz: This winsome, fantasy-tinged romance is the first book from author Nicola Yoon since 2016's The Sun Is Also a Star.
For Fans of Comics and Graphic Novels
Flamer by Mike CuratoStarring: Aiden Navarro, a Catholic Boy Scout spending the summer before high school at camp, where the other guys torment him for being gay even though Aiden doesn't think he is -- how could he like boys when so many of them are destructive and cruel?
Art alert: Black-and-gray illustrations with pops of fiery color capture Aiden's lows (fear, abuse) and highs (moments of peace and inner strength).
Reviewers say: "Flamer offers real hope -- not just rainbows" (NPR).
Faith: Taking Flight by Julie MurphyWhat it is: an origin story novel featuring Faith Herbert, an unapologetically fat and fannish 17-year-old who just wants to hang with her family and friends, flirt with a cute actress, solve a string of disappearances, and figure out her new superpowers.
Wait, it's not a graphic novel? Nope, but it's inspired by Jody Houser's Faith comics (about adult Faith), and it's full of heart and fast-paced superhero drama.
Look for: the follow-up, Faith: Greater Heights, in November 2021.
Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds; illustrated by Danica NovgorodoffWhat it is: a graphic novel version of Jason Reynolds' award-winning verse novel, featuring illustrations by artist Danica Novgorodoff.
What it's about: When 15-year-old Will boards an elevator with a gun in his waistband, he's ready to avenge his brother's murder. But can his resolve outlast the supernatural surprises of his ride to the ground floor?
Read it for: spare, gut-punching poetry and murky, moody watercolor art that uses negative space to enhance the story's sharp sense of loss.
The Avant-Guards: Volume One by Carly Usdin; illustrated by Noah Hayes and Rebecca NaltyWhat it's about: When loner Charlie transfers to art college, she's not looking to find friends or play basketball again, but she ends up doing both thanks to an endlessly enthusiastic classmate named Liv and a charming, ragtag squad of players.
Series alert: Packed with bright, energetic illustrations, this friendship-focused graphic novel kicks off a series.
For fans of: Ngozi Ukazu's Check, Please! series and John Allison's Giant Days comics.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!