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10 Empowering Titles for Your Long Weekend

The long weekend is coming up, and that means a lot of reading time. To help you find the perfect stack, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite titles. We’ve got strong ladies, steamy romances, and girls who aren’t afraid to break the rules.

And who doesn’t love a pink cover?











 

 

SLJ Teen Webinar 2018

Thousand Words

Thousand Words coverThousand Words

By Jennifer Brown

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Personal Development: Friendship, Teen Life: Personal Development, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grade: 10-12

 

Educator Guide

 

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest that she text him a picture of herself—sans swimsuit—to take with him. Before she can change her mind, Ashleigh has snapped a photo and hit “send.”

 

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb forwards the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. In the midst of the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone— until she meets Mack at community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo and didn’t look.

 

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a gripping novel about honesty, betrayal, redemption, and friendship, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn’t always tell the whole story.

 

PRAISE

★ “Thousand Words is a powerful, timely, and compulsively readable story…This is an excellent choice for book discussions and a must-purchase for all libraries.” —VOYA

 

Little & Lion

Little & Lion cover

Little & Lion

By Brandy Colbert

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Mental Illness; LGBT; Alternative Family; Siblings; Girls & Women; Prejudice & Racism

Grades: 10 & up

 

When Suzette returns to Los Angeles from the boarding school where she was forced to spend the past semester, she’s uncertain of whether she wants to return to Massachusetts or stay in California. CA is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil); and her step-brother Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. When Suzette and Lionel begin to fall in love with the same girl, however, Lionel’s disorder takes a turn for the worse and spirals out of control, forcing Suzette to confront her own demons. Having betrayed a secret girlfriend in her boarding school, allowing her to take the brunt of homophobic bullying, Suzette must face her own past mistakes, come to terms with her bisexuality, and find a way to help her brother, before he hurts himself–or worse.

The Hearts We Sold

The Hearts We Sold cover

The Hearts We Sold

By Emily Lloyd-Jones

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Action & Adventure; Science Fiction; Horror; Social Themes: Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance

Grades: 10 & up

 

Dee Moreno is out of options. Her home life sucks (to put it mildly), and she’s about to get booted from her boarding school–the only place she’s ever felt free–for lack of funds. But this is a world where demons exist, and the demons are there to make deals: one human body part in exchange for one wish come true.

 

When Dee finally summons the courage to make a deal with one of these devils, she finds it may be more than she bargained for. The demon she approaches quickly informs her that he doesn’t trade in the usual appendages, he’s only interested in her heart. He’ll put her body in a kind of stasis for two years, and she’ll become part of his crew of “heartless”–teen soldiers sent to the demons’ home world to fight their enemies. All of the heartless have their reasons for making this deal, but it begs the question: what are you willing to give up to achieve your heart’s desire?

The Unlikelies

The Unlikelies cover

The Unlikelies

By Carrie Firestone

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Humorous Stories; Romance; Social Themes: Class Differences; Diversity & Multicultural

Grades: 9 & up

 

Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.

 

Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?

 

This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

Bang

Bang cover

Bang

By Barry Lyga

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Guidance/Health: Death, Personal Development: Loss, Personal Development: Character Development, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality, Teen Life: Family

Grades: 7 & up

Discussion Guide LB School Podcast

 

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one–not even Sebastian himself–can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

 

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend–Aneesa–to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.

 

Now he needs a gun to get out.

 

Unflinching and honest, Bang is as true and as relevant as tomorrow’s headlines, the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed.

 

PRAISE

★ “Heartbreaking and brutally compelling. ” —Kirkus

 

★ “It’s a raw exploration of persistent social stigmas, a beautiful study of forgiveness, and an unflinching portrait of a parent’s worst nightmare.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Lyga tackles a number of relevant issues in this heartbreaking novel, including gun control, suicide, and religious and racial prejudice. The pain and anguish Sebastian feels every day are raw and chafing, and the chemistry between Sebastian and Aneesa is tender and realistic.” —School Library Journal

Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars coverDefy the Stars

By Claudia Gray

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Science Fiction, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality, Personal Development: Self-Discovery

Grades: 10 & up

 

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

 

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

 

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

 

PRAISE

★ “Nuanced philosophical discussions of religion, terrorism, and morality advise and direct the high-stakes action, informing the beautiful, realistic ending. Intelligent and thoughtful, a highly relevant far-off speculative adventure.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Gray’s characters are nuanced, her worldbuilding is intelligent, and the book’s conclusion thrills and satisfies while defying expectations.” —Publishers Weekly

Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer cover

Strange the Dreamer

By Laini Taylor

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy

Grades: 10 & up

 

Read an Excerpt

 

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

 

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

 

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by Laini Taylor, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage. Welcome to Weep.

 

PRAISE

★ “This has distinct echoes of Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011), though ultimately it’s a cut above even that: characters are carefully, exquisitely crafted, the writing is achingly lovely, and the world is utterly real. While a cliffhanger ending will certainly have readers itching for book two, make no mistake— this is a thing to be savored.” —Booklist

 

★ “Gorgeously written in language simultaneously dark, lush, and enchanting, the book will leave readers eager for the next.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “It has all the rich, evocative imagery and complex world-building typical of Taylor’s best work…  This outstanding fantasy is a must-purchase for all YA collections.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEOS

 

Cloudwish

Cloudwish coverCloudwish

By Fiona Wood

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Personal Development, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grades: 7 & up

 

For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.

 

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality-keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably (possibly magically) comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, confounding parents and confusing friends, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

 

PRAISE

“Offers insight into conflicts emerging from the clash of old and new values, the traumas refugees face, and the struggles of the children of first-generation immigrants. It’s an inspiring story with a sympathetic heroine, who will especially appeal to those who feel pressured to follow paths they don’t want to travel.” —Publishers Weekly

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ŸLB School Podcast with author Fiona Wood

Bookish Friends Podcast about Cloudwish

Radio National interview

Sydney Morning Herald interview

Alpha Reader interview