If you thought you were sick of vampire novels, you'll have to reevaluate. Black has created a truly delicious and original world of vampires with a heroine who is loyal, brave, and all-around fierce! Characters are individual and complex, and the themes range everywhere from morality to personal responsibility to mortality.
After a weird incident 3 years ago, Poughkeepsie has never been the same. Meat puppets populate the buildings, animals went wonky, and tornados of everyday objects hang in suspended motion. Despite the danger, Addison braves the quarantined zone to capture photos of these sci-fi wonders to sell on the black market. When a patron comes to her with a dangerous proposal to retrieve something from the zone, Addison must decide if a cool $1 mil is worth gambling with the zone's unearthly phenomena. SO GOOD.
Don't be fooled by this novel's lack of length - it packs a serious punch. Stone tackles heavy and important topics - police brutality and racial profiling - in a nuanced and innovative way. The main character Justyce writes letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to process the racial tensions at his prep school and his (and our) society at large. A timely and honest book with unmistakable voice and heart.
Can you imagine not knowing what a book is or looks like but somehow still understanding how powerful an object it is? Enter Sefia, whose father entrusted her with such a rectangular object before he was murdered. Then, her aunt gets kidnapped and Sefia begins to unlock the mysteries and magic of reading this book, which might be the only way to save her aunt and uncover the details behind her father's death. This self-reflexive read will leave you enthralled.
Ladycastle is part comic, part musical (!?), part genderbent Knight's Tale, and all awesome. Frankly, it's also suitable for most ages, and it has less to do with physical combat and more to do with changing the status quo according to the strengths (and there are many: blacksmithing, etiquette- and chivalry-teaching, horiticulturing, practicing medicine, and library-keeping) of the individuals in this excellent series. Please read now.
Jess and Angie are best friends, so when Angie comes out and starts dating Margot, a rich girl from a different high school, Jess tries to be supportive. Jess has secretly loved Angie for a long time - and she doesn't plan on losing their relationship to the shark-infested waters of Angie's new, cliquish social circle so easily. But then a girl goes missing after a wild house party, with Jess and Angie right in the middle of it. And both of them are lying. Spooky, contemporary queer YA packed with morally complex female characters!
After Will's brother Shawn was shot and killed, Will knows that the rules of his neighborhood dictate that he must exact revenge on his brother's murderer. As Will takes the elevator down to complete his deadly task, a victim of gun violence from his past boards the elevator at each floor. Reynolds, who might be YA literature's modern-day Shakespeare, crafts a masterful verse novel that readers will read quickly but ponder deeply, especially after the powerful final line.
Join 12 year old Sunny Nwazue as she uncovers her hidden magical abilities, gets inducted into a secret society where knowledge truly is power, and boldly faces off against all of the dark creatures the spirit world throws at her. Oh, and eats lots of fufu and egusi soup. Honestly, what's a good fantasy series without incredible feasts?
Ghost Busters meets Gilmore Girls, Fangirl meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maggie Cunningham comes from a long line of monster hunters, but before she can get her journeymans monster hunting license, she has to lose her virginity, because DUH virginity is like catnip for vampires.
Super creepy and weird. Very Stranger Things-esque. Addison is hardcore AF and the things she is willing to put herself through in order to make it in this incredible post-apocalyptic world that Westerfeld has made had my palms sweating with anxiety.
Did I mention the twisted spirit-wolf-creature? Yeah. Totally awesome and terrifying. Ditto with the distorted color palette and reality in the Spill Zone. Definitely a modern cult classic -- I can't wait for the next book to come out!