• We drove to Maine this summer for vacation, so I had plenty of time to read ... on my Kindle App. I worked my way through the alphabet, focusing primarily on Young Adult fiction, and I would recommend these books to any of my students. I enjoy reading books about diverse young people because it makes me more empathetic to the challenges young people from all walks of life face every day.

  • Allusion

    by Andi Hydahl Year Published:

    A surprisingly wonderful coming-of-age mystery ... an odd combination, but an engrossing story about Lucy's search for her past.

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  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean

    by Jenny Han Year Published:

    This is the third book of the "Lara Jean" trilogy, a fun romance with a main character who is smart and funny.

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  • The Beautiful Lost

    by Luanne Rice Year Published:

    Maia embarks on a road trip to Maine with a mysterious boy in a search to find her estranged mother.

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  • The Color of Our Sky

    by Amita Trasi Year Published:

    Two worlds collide in India (1986) when a servant girl and her master's daughter become friends, but a cruel twist of fate sends the girls down different paths. Follow their incredible journeys that strains the bonds of friendship over time and distance and destiny. A powerful tale!

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  • Dread Nation

    by Justina Ireland Year Published:

    An imaginative historial fantasy where young black women are recruited into an elite army following the Civil War -- to kill the undead! The setting was unusual, but I was swept into the adventures of the sassy and smart main character.

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  • Eleanor and Park

    by Rainbow Rowell Year Published:

    Moments of humor as the relationship between Eleanor and Park unfold -- of all places -- on the school bus (!!) contrast with the sad and sometimes dark challenges that Eleanor faces. Very memorable characters and an engaging plot!

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  • First and Then

    by Emma Mills Year Published:

    This is another coming-of-age story, but the main character's voice totally got to me, right from page 1! Sarcastic and funny and smart!

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  • The Great Alone

    by Kristin Hannah Year Published:

    Technically writing for adult audiences, Kristin Hannah's main character is a young girl whose father relocates her troubled family to the wilds of Alaska ... and survival becomes much more challenging. A fascinating read!

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  • How to Hang a Witch

    by Adriana Mather Year Published:

    Set in modern-day Salem, Massachusetts, a group of high school students confront the past as present-day descendants of the historic Salem Witch Trials. Part ghost-story, part mystery with a little romance sprinkled it -- a fun summer read!

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  • I'll Give You the Sun

    by Jandy Nelson Year Published:

    The narration in this story alternates between Jude and her twin brother Noah. Noah's story starts a year ago, when the twins were inseparable. Jude's story reveals how they grew apart. What can bring them back together after all the secrets? Fresh, powerful narrative voices made this a great book!

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  • Little and Lion

    by Brandy Colbert Year Published:

    The two main characters in this book, a brother and sister in a blended, mixed race family, struggle with issues of identity and love and growing up and growing apart.

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  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest

    by J. Ryan Stradal Year Published:

    This is another title that is probably meant more for adults, but many of the characters are young adults struggling to find their way, so I think 8th-grade readers could find plenty of ways to connect to (and learn from) these characters.

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  • Love, Hate, and Other Filters

    by Samira Ahmed Year Published:

    Maya must find her way between competing desires: wanting to please her traditional Indian parents and wanting to forge her own path as an independent young woman. In the aftermath of a horrible act, she is confronted by Islamophobic attitudes. 

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  • Midnight at the Electric

    by Jodi Lynn Anderson Year Published:

    This story spans more than a century, with backdrops of WWI, the Great Depression, and America in 2065, and the lives of three young women are surprisingly linked as they story unfolds. 

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  • The Night Circus

    by Erin Morgenstern Year Published:

    A duel between young magicians is at the center of this imaginative story featuring a memorable cast of characters.

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  • Olivia Twist

    by Lorie Langdon Year Published:

    I will admit, I've never read Charles Dickens, but this clever retelling of his classic novel Oliver Twist was pure pleasure. I loved the strong, smart main character and the historical world in which she lived.

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  • The Poet X

    by Elizabeth Acevedo Year Published:

    This is another of my TOP PICKS of the summer! Told in verse, this novel follows the main character's search for identity and independence. Loved it! When I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about the character as if she were a real person!

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  • Quentins

    by Maeve Binchy Year Published:

    This is probably geared toward adults, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! For over 30 years, folks in Dublin have enjoyed dining at Quentins ... and oh, the stories those walls can tell!

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  • Refugee

    by Alan Gratz Year Published:

    This is probably the MOST MEMORABLE book I read this summer! Follow the lives of three young people -- a boy in Nazi Germany, a girl in Cuba in the 1980s, and a boy in modern-day Syria -- as they seek refuge from the horrors in their homelands. I couldn't put it down!!

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  • Solo

    by Kwame Alexander Year Published:

    Nothing seems to be going right for Blade, and when his dad ruins graduation with an unforgivable stunt, Blade takes off ... to Africa. This novel-in-verse is a compelling coming-of-age story! Loved it!

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  • Turtles All the Way Down

    by John Green Year Published:

    With her friend Daisy, the main character, Aza, seeks to solve a mystery and collect a big reward, all while dealing with OCD. 

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  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea

    by Tahera Mahi Year Published:

    A Muslim-American girl isolates herself from her peers in the years following the 9/11 attacks until she unwittingly attracts the attention of her biology lab partner. Strong characters and a compelling conflict.

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  • Warcross

    by Marie Lu Year Published:

    An addictive, creative tale about a young woman who finds herself hacking into a virtual world with dangerous consequences. A fun, fast read!

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