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You've Reached Sam

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Having spent 15 weeks on the New York Times young adult bestseller list, You’ve Reached Sam starts out as a feel-good story about two teens, Sam and Julie, who are very much in love and have their future planned out together.  The fact that the story doesn’t end there is what sets this young adult novel apart from the average romance.

One day, on the way to pick up Julie, Sam dies in a tragic car accident.  Julie deals with her overwhelming grief b...

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Medusa

Medusa by Jessie Burton with illustrations by Olivia Lomenech Gill

“If I told you that I’d killed a man with a glance, would you wait to hear the rest?”  That is the opening line of this amazing young adult novel, and if one does indeed stick around to hear the rest, an amazing journey ensues.  Someone you have thought of as monstrous transforms before your eyes into someone heartbreakingly human, with a past so painful and tragic that you want to weep for her.  That is the magic of this feminist retelling of the...

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Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

If you haven’t read one of the best books of 2021 yet, what are you waiting for? Although Firekeeper’s Daughter was published as a young adult novel, it’s a rich story that adults can appreciate, too.

The author, Angeline Boulley, is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Her protagonist, Daunis Fontaine, is a recent high school graduate who has always felt like she’s lived between the worlds of her mother’s rich, white family and her late father’s Ojibwe relatives. Daunis had been looking forward ...

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Furious Thing

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (Young Adult Novel)

15-year-old Lexi’s anger is out of control. She does not want to break or throw things, but she just cannot seem to get a grip on her emotions. She has no friends, her grades are bad, and she is always making her stepfather angry. If only Lexi could push down her anger, then perhaps her family (and everyone else) would be happy with her. Is she really the monster her younger sister claims she is, or is the monster outside of her? Someone is shattering her sense of self-worth, and just mayb...

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Truly Devious

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is one of the newest students at the remote mountaintop boarding school that was the scene of one of the most famous kidnapping and murder cases of the 20th Century. Ellingham Academy was founded by an eccentric millionaire as a sanctuary for gifted students – but the educational utopia almost didn’t survive its first term. Shortly after opening, two Ellingham family members disappeared and a student was killed. Though the school eventually reopened, the mysteries swirling around campus have kept amateur detectives...

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I Am Still Alive

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

A great summer read for fans of survival fiction like Gary Paulsen’s Hatchett. 

Following a tragic auto accident in which she was severely injured and her mother was killed, Jess is sent to live with her father in Alaska - but he’s not really in Alaska.  He’s hiding out in a cabin deep in the Canadian forest in an area so remote it is only reachable by air. 

After just a few short weeks, another tragedy occurs and Jess is left alone in this strange wilderness still reeling from loss and injury.  She kn...

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The Center of the Universe

The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros

Grace is in High School and she really loves astrophysics. Her mother, GG, is a well-known local reporter who always looks “put together.” Grace doesn’t think the two of them have much in common. For one thing, her mother spends a lot of time at work. When she is at home, she is often on her cell phone and not really paying attention. Grace resents that complete strangers act as if they know GG, but they only know the side she shows the camera. One afternoon, GG disappears. At first, it seems she is working...

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Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

First, you take Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Add in the flavor of Victoria and The Rogue by Meg Cabot with a heavy dose of Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. Sprinkle in a little of Will and Elizabeth from The Pirates of the Caribbean and voila! Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon is formed!

To survive her harsh childhood in London's underworld, Olivia is raised as Oliver and finds friendship in a group of street urchins, led by Jack, the Artful Dodger. Tragedy separates the childhood friends, but fate brings them back together as Olivia and Jack reunite in the realm of polite London soc...

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The Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi and Tamim Ansary

The Other Side of the Sky (originally published as The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky) is the true story of a young girl's life, starting in war torn Kabul and ending up as a refugee in the United States. Farah Ahmedi loses a leg stepping on a land mine and half of her family when a bomb hits her home. Ahmedi travels to Germany for rehabilitation and returns to Afghanistan seeing her childhood home through different eyes. When the opportunity comes to relocate to the United States as a refugee, she is excited to go. With the help of a few who reached...

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African American History Month Teen Reads

Roots by Alex Haley

When I was in 10th grade, we were asked to study the works of a great American author and defend its inclusion in the school’s curriculum. I studied Alex Haley and subsequently read Roots. 10 years later, I still advocate for its inclusion in every teen reader’s library of must-reads. Roots is a book that I have read only once and still remember vividly. To this day, passages of text and detailed descriptions have remained ever present in my mind. This absorbing, intense, emotional, moving, sometimes graphic and always memorable saga of Alex Haley&rsqu...

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Young Adult Programming Survey

Attention 6th-12thgraders! If you print and fill out this survey between February 1-28, you will be entered into a raffle to win a brand new copy of X: A Novel (Ilyasah Shabazz)! Return the completed form to the Zauel Reference Desk. Winners will be notified March 1.

Name:                                                     &nb...

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Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

I have a confession. I do not normally read graphic novels. I have a second confession to make. I read a graphic novel… and it’s seriously great! For fans of beautiful art, coming of age stories and female empowerment, read Pashmina! History students, first and second generation Americans, travelers, dreamers, read Pashmina! If you don’t fit any of the above categories… read Pashmina! Nidhi Chanani’s debut novel is a sweet story of a teenager named Priyanka who finds a magical pashmina scarf that connects her to her Indian heritage in fantastic ways. As Priya...

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Miss E by Brian Herberger

Fans of Across the Universe and The Mixed-Up Files of Basil E Frankweiler are encouraged to read the story of Bets and her mysterious friend “Miss E”. History, mystery, conspiracy and fun are woven together into this delicious tale that, I must admit, I consumed in one sitting! Elizabeth aka “Bets” is a teenage girl in 1967. She is a new girl, an army brat and a young adult about to embark on a series of changes in her life. When given an assignment to identify important figures of American history, Bets notices an incredible likeness between a defiant spunky aviatri...

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Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Vincent and Theois a well-researched presentation of the special bond shared by the Van Gogh brothers. Inspired by their letters, Heiligman recreates Vincent and Theo’s lives from birth to death by using their very own words and sentiments. At just about 400 pages, this book is a bit slow to start. The shorter, almost fragment- like sentences scattering the early pages make for an interesting read that builds anticipation, but borders on driving the reader crazy by wishing that something would happen! However, if the reader hangs on, they are in for quite a treat. Vincent and Theo&rsq...

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