These recommendations come from resources like The Horn Book, Scholastic, and the Association of Library Service for Children. Each child learns to read at their own pace and these lists are suggestions for the age level indicated. The titles on each list are just a starting point and not meant to be exhaustive.
Use the links below to browse each category:
For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown. So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean Mercury Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights — plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it. Until they’re not.
Quarantine: A Love Story by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc, available as eBook
Oliver wants a girlfriend, and there’s a girl back home who might be interested in him. The problem is, he has to spend his spring break on a volunteer trip in the Dominican Republic. Flora, on the other hand, isn’t really looking for a boyfriend. She just wants to end a miserable spring break visiting her dad and her new stepmom in the D.R.The solution to both their problems? Get back home to New York ASAP. Sadly, they won’t be getting there anytime soon. Their hopes are dashed when Flora’s impulsiveness lands them in quarantine — just the two of them. Now, the two teens must come together in order to survive life in a bubble for 30 days. In that time, love will bloom. But is it the real thing, or just a placebo effect? In her debut novel, Katie Cicatelli-Kuc delivers an introspective and witty story about finding love in the most unexpected place.
As a summer heatwave blankets New York City, the lights go out. The city is thrown into confusion – and a different kind of electricity sparks. People reveal hidden truths. Love blossoms, friendship transforms, and possibilities take flight. And their stories shine a bright light through the darkness.
My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen, available as Print
It’s 1830s England, and Culinarians – doyens who consult with society’s elite to create gorgeous food and confections – are the crème de la crème of high society. Helena Higgins, top of her class at the Royal Academy, has a sharp demeanor and an even sharper palate – and knows stardom awaits her if she can produce greatness in her final year. Penelope Pickering is going to prove the value of non-European cuisine to all of England. Her contemporaries may scorn her Filipina heritage and her dishes, but with her flawless social graces and culinary talents, Penelope is set to prove them wrong. Elijah Little has nothing to his name but a truly excellent instinct for flavors. London merchants won’t allow a Jewish boy to own a shop, so he hawks his pasties for a shilling a piece to passersby – but he knows with training he can break into the highest echelon of society. When Penelope and Helena meet Elijah, a golden opportunity arises: to pull off a project never seen before, and turn Elijah from a street vendor to a gentleman chef. But Elijah’s transformation will have a greater impact on this trio than they originally realize – and mayhem, unseemly faux pas, and a little romance will all be a part of the delicious recipe.
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined, every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute, and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
In this adaptation of the fairy tale Snow White, the huntsman follows the queen’s order to kill Sophie, but the princess is brought back to life by the seven men of the woods, who, along with other brave friends, help Sophie overcome the story’s true villain and reclaim her throne.
Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta, available as Print
A life-long speech competitor, Leela loves nothing more than crushing the competition, all while wearing a smile. But when she meets the incorrigible Firoze Darcy, a debater from an elitist private school, Leela can’t stand him. Unfortunately, he’ll be competing in the state league, so their paths are set to collide. But why attempt to tolerate Firoze when Leela can one-up him? The situation is more complicated than Leela anticipated, though, and her participation in the tournament reveals that she might have tragically misjudged the debaters — including Firoze Darcy — and more than just her own winning streak is at stake…her heart is, too.
The Life I’m In by Sharon G. Flake, available as Print
Charlese Jones, with her raw, blistering voice speaks the truths many girls face, offering insight to some of the causes and conditions that make a bully. Turned out of the only home she has known, Char boards a bus to nowhere where she is lured into the dangerous web of human trafficking.
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jenny Ferguson, available as Print
Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll be working in her family’s ice-cream shack with…her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago…But when she gets a letter from her biological father…Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him…While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer…when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever.
Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson, available as Print
Lydia has been creating her AI, Henry, for years–since before her little brother died in the accident that haunts her nightmares; since before her dad walked out, leaving her and Mum painfully alone; since before her best friend turned into her worst enemy. Now, Henry is strong, clever, loving and scarily capable: Lydia’s built herself the perfect boyfriend in a hard-drive filled with lines of code. But what is Henry really–and how far is he willing to go to be everything Lydia desires?
Sixteen-year-old indentured beastkeeper Koffi and seventeen-year-old warrior candidate Ekon forge an unusual alliance and venture into the Greater Jungle to hunt down a monster that has been menacing their city for a century.
Liz Lighty has always done her best to avoid the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed midwestern high school, after all, her family is black and rather poor, especially since her mother died; instead she has concentrated on her grades and her musical ability in the hopes that it will win her a scholarship to elite Pennington College and their famous orchestra where she plans to study medicine–but when that scholarship falls through she is forced to turn to her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen, which plunges her into the gauntlet of social media which she hates and leads her to discoveries about her own identity and the value of true friendships.
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali is looking forward to going to Caltech and getting away from her conservative Muslim parents’ expectation that she will marry, especially since she is in love with her girlfriend Ariana–but when her parents catch her kissing Ariana, they whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh and a world of tradition and arranged marriages, and she must find the courage to fight for the right to choose her own path.
K-Pop Revolution by Stephan Lee, available as Print
She thought that debuting in a K-Pop band was the finish line, but it was only the beginning. Because now it’s not only her company judging her – it’s the entire world. If K-Pop Confidential was about finding your voice, K-Pop Revolution is about finding the courage to stand by your beliefs, even when powerful forces are trying to shame and silence you.
A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts. A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow. A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy. A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes. Welcome back to the Sinclair family. They were always liars.
This Might Get Awkward by Kara McDowell, available as Print
For the first time, Gemma has everything she’s ever wanted: friends, big family dinners, and Griff–a boy who she can be herself around. But how can she embrace her new dream life when everything is built on a lie?
Lakelore by Anna-Maria McLemore, available as Print
Two non-binary teens are pulled into a magical world under a lake – but can they keep their worlds above water intact? Everyone who live near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water. But Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who’ve been there. Bastián grew up both above the lake and in the otherworldly space beneath it. Lore’s only seen the world under the lake once, but that one encounter changed their life and their fat. Then the lines between air and water begin to blur. The world under the lake drifts above the surface. If Bastián and Lore don’t want it bringing their secrets to the surface with it, they have to work together. There’s just one problem: Bastián and Lore haven’t spoken in seven years and working together means trusting each other with the very things they’re trying to hide.
Biracial twin sisters – one who presents as black and the other as white – are determined to put the ghosts of the past to rest and uncover the truth behind their parents’ murders in the Jim Crow South.
Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school. Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge. As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love…but time is running out, and fate will have its way.
Sorry Not Sorry by Jaime Reed, available as Print
Janelle and Alyssa used to be friends. Best friends. They knew each other’s deepest secrets and went through the hardest times together. But that was then. Now? Their status is somewhere between frenemies and full-on rivals. Janelle is all about making a difference in her community, while Alyssa reigns over the shallowest girls in school. Until the day Alyssa collapses and is rushed to the hospital. Suddenly, everyone knows about her declining health and race against time. And, in a stunning twist of fate, the only person who might be able to save Alyssa’s life — is Janelle. But will the girls’ bitter past get in the way of their futures? With a fresh, unforgettable voice, Jaime Reed spins a riveting and empowering story of female friendship and how the difficult choices we make — or don’t make — can change our lives.
The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero, available as Print
Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez – a biracial Jewish girl – finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career. When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague, where ghosts walk the streets and their kisses have warmth. But Benjamin isn’t the only one interested in Ilana. Rudolph Wasserman, a man with no shadow, has become fascinated with her and the music she plays. He offers to share his magic, so Ilana can be with Benjamin and pursue her passion for violin. But after Ilana discovers the truth about Wassermann and how Benjamin became bound to the city, she resolves to save the boy she loves, even if it means losing him – forever.
Why Would I Lie? by Adi Rule, available as Print
Viveca North is determined to be the valedictorian at her prep school, but when the new boy Jamison Sharpe, whom she is convinced is a fraud, threatens her goal, she sets out to uncover the truth behind his deceit.
High school seniors Aristotle and Dante find ways to spend time together despite being at different schools, having to keep their love secret, and nightly news of gay men dying from AIDS.
Ronan, Hennessy, and Bryde are dreamers; Ronan’s dreams always seem to end in random destruction, using up the power of the ley lines he cannot even sense; Hennessy makes multiple copies of herself, dreaming them into reality in search of her own fragile identity, and Bryde dreams of power and reordering his companions and the world to his own specifications; their families and duplicates are the collateral damage of their dreams–and meanwhile they are hunted by the “Moderators,” led by Carmen Farooq-Lane and the “Visionary” Liliana, determined to destroy the dreamers and save the world.
On the Hook by Francisco X. Stork, available as Print
Hector has always worked hard and minded his own business. He wants to be captain of his school’s chess team, go to college, and help his family make their way to a better life someday. Until Joey singles him out. Joey, whose older brother, Chavo, is head of the Discípulos gang, tells Hector that he’s going to kill him: maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday. And Hector, frozen with fear, does nothing. From that day forward, Hector’s death hangs over his head every time he leaves the house. He tries to fade into the shadows, to drop off Joey’s radar, to become no one. But when a fight between Chavo and Hector’s brother Fili escalates, Hector is left with no choice but to take a stand. The violent confrontation lands Hector in a reform school where he has to live side-by-side with his enemy, Joey. There, it’s up to Hector to choose whether he’s going to lose himself to anger and seek revenge or get back to the hard work of living.
Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao, available as Print
Seamlessly toggling between past and present, this funny graphic memoir follows a queer Chinese American’s immigration to Texas where she just wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why she is attracted to girls.
Nonfiction and Biographies
The Race of the Century: The Battle to Break the Four-Minute Mile by Neal Bascomb, available as Print
There was a time when running the mile in four minutes was believed to be beyond the limits of human foot speed. In 1952, after suffering defeat at the Helsinki Olympics, three world-class runners each set out to break this barrier: Roger Bannister was a young English medical student who epitomized the ideal of the amateur; John Landy the privileged son of a genteel Australian family; and Wes Santee the swaggering American, a Kansas farm boy and natural athlete. Spanning three continents and defying the odds, these athletes’ collective quest captivated the world. Neal Bascomb’s bestselling adult account adapted for young readers delivers a breathtaking story of unlikely heroes and leaves us with a lasting portrait of the twilight years of the golden age of sport.
Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming, available as Print
How did two teenagers brutally murder an innocent child…and why? And how did their brilliant lawyer save them from the death penalty in 1920s Chicago? In 1924, eighteen-year-old college students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb made a decision: they would commit the perfect crime by kidnapping and murdering a child they both knew. But they made one crucial error: as they were disposing of the body of young Bobby Franks, whom they had bludgeoned to death, Nathan’s eyeglasses fell from his jacket pocket.