Macy Queen. 16 years old, 8 weeks of summer, 5,000 SAT flashcards. Dessen crafts the tale of a young girl hoping to gain control of her grief through hyperplanning the future, but this summer isn’t all the SAT prep she’s been hoping for. Enter Wish Catering, the new job she’s taken on for some extra cash, and the beautifully complex coworkers she meets there. In classic Dessen-ence, Macy’s life changes for the better when she joins Wish Catering and meets Wes - the boy who changes the way Macy sees herself, pushes her outside that pesky comfort zone, and helps her become her true self. Dessen pushes beyond the typical high school romance in a love story that grows naturally, through Truth, adventure, and grief. See how a simple game of Truth could change your life.
“Sometimes wild is buried deep, and it seems like the whole world is clean and paved, orderly and tidy.” This sweet read, with its luscious illustrations, shows readers how to embrace Wild on a daily basis. From weeds growing out of the pavement to forests hidden amongst our concrete jungles, Wild stands strong waiting for you to enjoy it!
A Series of Unfortunate Events meets The Princess Bride. Told as a bedtime story, this tale follows two sisters as they deal with sibling rivalry. What happens when you fight with your twin sister? Usually your parents don’t send you away to live with your creepy great-Aunt Priscilla, but that’s exactly what happens to Henrietta. Antisocial cats, fish stew, a journey with a giant!
If you’ve never read a book about spontaneous combustion, start with this one! Mara Carlyle’s retelling of senior year shines a light on what it’s like to live through your classmates disappearing (or rather, combusting) left and right. Though morbid, Starmer’s take on the hormonal transition out of high school is downright hilarious.
Just Listen offers lessons to people of all ages, but especially teenagers. At an age when you’re creating yourself and becoming independent, we are reminded that we do not have to do everything alone. Annabel’s relationship with her sisters is flawed, loving, and realistic. Struggling with high school clique dynamics, and feeling alone in the cafeteria could ring true for any reader. Owen, the class outcast, allows Annabel to be her true self and serves as a catalyst for change. While Annabel is not a damsel in distress, Owen offers assistance through friendship and honesty. I learned a lot about myself after reading this book, and I hope you do too!
Another Emma retelling? YES. I enjoyed this book from start to finish - Jane Austen meets Sarah Dessen. After her ex-boyfriend leaks some unflattering photos online, Kate Hamilton is uprooted from her life in Washington D.C. to Red Dirt, Texas. As the daughter of a congressman, Kate’s been raised as a “campaign brat.” She’s snarky with a dry sense of humor, so everything you’d want from the protagonist of a young adult novel. Even equipped with the tools of meddling and manipulation, Kate’s new life in Red Dirt doesn’t go as planned. Never fear. Failed attempts at matchmaking can’t keep Kate from pursuing her goals: beating her ex for volunteer hours and getting her photography portfolio together. True to its inspiration, Interference shows how Kate transforms into a more understanding and well-meaning character.
"Climb into someone else's skin and walk around it."
Written in both prose and poetry, Citizen beautifully illustrates instances of racial micro-aggressions from the grocery line to Wimbeldon. Rankine gives us a chance to imagine daily life in someone else's skin, bringing to light many psycholoogical effects of discrimination (whether intentional or not). I recommend this book for anyone interested in our current social and political climate. Read it with an open heart, and you will understand.