Here’s a treat for readers who enjoy listening to music while reading: authors Angeline Boulley and Cassandra Hartt have shared specially crafted playlists to accompany their books, Firekeeper’s Daughter and The Sea is Salt and So Am I. Click the banners to see the playlists and song annotations from the authors!
The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced the 2021 Youth Media Award winners at its annual midwinter conference. These awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.
Awards specifically for young adult books include:
Other awards – such as the Pura Belpré Award, the Stonewall Book Award, and more – are awarded to multiple categories of books including young adult titles.
To find out more about each award presented and this year’s award winners, click here!
Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim (The Count of Monte Cristo)
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Night Spinner by Addie Thorley (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Before the massacre at Nariin, Enebish was one of the greatest warriors in the Sky King’s Imperial Army: a rare and dangerous Night Spinner, blessed with the ability to control the threads of darkness. Now, she is known as Enebish the Destroyer―a monster and murderer, banished to a monastery for losing control of her power and annihilating a merchant caravan.
Guilt stricken and scarred, Enebish tries to be grateful for her sanctuary, until her adoptive sister, Imperial Army commander Ghoa, returns from the war front with a tantalizing offer. If Enebish can capture the notorious criminal, Temujin, whose band of rebels has been seizing army supply wagons, not only will her crimes be pardoned, she will be reinstated as a warrior. Enebish eagerly accepts. But as she hunts Temujin across the tundra, she discovers the tides of war have shifted, and the supplies he’s stealing are the only thing keeping thousands of shepherds from starving. Torn between duty and conscience, Enebish must decide whether to put her trust in the charismatic rebel or her beloved sister. No matter who she chooses, an even greater enemy is advancing, ready to bring the empire to its knees.
I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick (Rebecca)
When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected–and that she knows what happened to her.
Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?
Ruinsong by Julia Ember (The Phantom of the Opera)
In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding. But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.
Jane by April Lindner (Jane Eyre)
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.
But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (Frankenstein)
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend. Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.
But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (“The Importance of Being Earnest”)
Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep.
What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?
Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody (Les Miserables)
When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing. Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…
Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spying on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.
Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a traitor. Groomed to command by his legendary grandfather, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when he discovers a cryptic message that only one person, a girl named Alouette, can read.
Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.
Once & Future by A.R. Capetta, Cory McCarthy (The Once and Future King)
When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.
Pride by Ibi Zoboi (Pride & Prejudice)
Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
Can you recognize the basic elements of books you love—with the awe-inspiring epicness removed? Give this quiz a try – good luck guessing your favorite novels based on the most boring description possible!
As I Descended by Robin Talley (“Macbeth”)
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them. Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.
What Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.
But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.
Exit Pursued By a Bear by E. K. Johnston (“A Winter’s Tale”)
Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.
But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels – ones she never imagined:
Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.
Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Oliver’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.
Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake (“Twelfth Night”)
The Larkin family isn’t just lucky—they persevere. At least that’s what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn’t drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.
But wrecks seem to run in the family. Tall, funny, musical Violet can’t stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.
Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family’s missing piece – the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson (“Much Ado About Nothing”)
Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West down to number four. Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s – after all, the war of Watson v. West goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on–and they might not pick the same side.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (“Romeo & Juliet”)
It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (“King Lear”)
Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives. But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady and her cousins grow increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, but the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act.
Enter Three Witches by Caroline B. Cooney (“Macbeth”)
Three girls witness the action of Shakespeare’s play firsthand – and their lives are forever changed because of it.
Lady Mary is a ward of Lord and Lady Macbeth whose life is forever changed when her father, Lord Cawdor, betrays the Scottish king – and is hanged as a traitor. In an instant, Mary has lost both her father and future. Now she’s trapped in a castle with a power-hungry couple who will do anything to get what they want – and are willing to crush anyone in their way. Including Mary. As the murderous events of Shakespeare’s play unfold around her, Mary must struggle to survive – and do what she can to prevent more deaths. But can a lone girl save lives when a legion of Scottish lords cannot?
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge (“Romeo & Juliet”)
When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched. The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.
Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Storm-Wake by Lucy Christopher (“The Tempest”)
Moss has grown up on the strangest and most magical of islands. Her father has a plan to control the tempestuous weather that wracks the shores. But the island seems to have a plan of its own once Callan — a wild boy her age — appears on its beaches. Her complex feelings for Callan shift with every tide, while her love for the island, and her father, are thrown into doubt…
And when one fateful day, a young man from the outside world washes up on the beach, speaking of the Old World, nothing will ever be the same.
OMG Shakespeare series
In this book series, “Romeo & Juliet”, “Macbeth”, “Hamlet”, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are hilariously reimagined as a series of text messages and social media updates.
There are so many books out there, but there are a few that are so iconic that everyone—even non-readers—can recognize! As much as it is a testament to the book and story itself, it’s also a testament to the time and effort that the designer(s) put into the cover.
Take this quiz to see how many books you can recognize just from a small snippet of its cover!
Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.
The Companion by Katie Alender
The other orphans say Margot is lucky. But it wasn’t luck that made the prestigious Sutton family rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was hand-picked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha – and getting to know her handsome older brother – seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons… and herself.
Contagion by Erin Bowman
After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission. But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies. As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
The dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. Jane McKeene is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, she is set on returning to her Kentucky home. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.
The Glare by Margot Harrison
After ten years of living on an isolated, tech-free ranch with her mother, 16-year-old Hedda is going back to the world of the Glare-her word for cell phones, computers, and tablets. Hedda was taught to be afraid of technology, but now she’s going to stay with her dad in California, where she was born, and she’s finally ready to be normal. Then Hedda rediscovers the Glare—the real Glare, a first-person shooter game from the dark web that scared her when she was younger. As Hedda starts playing the so-called “death game”, she realizes the truth behind her nightmares is even more twisted than she could have imagined.
Horrid by Katrina Leno
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move to the dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she begins making friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all – it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux
After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, 17-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. The house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved. Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?
The Loop by Ben Oliver
It’s Luka Kane’s 16th birthday and he’s been inside The Loop for over two years. Every inmate is serving a death sentence with the option to push back their execution date by six months if they opt into “Delays”, scientific and medical experiments for the benefit of the elite in the outside world. But rumors of a war on the outside are spreading amongst the inmates, and before they know it, their tortuous routine becomes disrupted. The government issued rain stops falling. Strange things are happening to the guards. And it’s not long until the inmates are left alone inside the prison…
Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far. But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends – and their cameras – following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive.
The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart
Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings. Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact. As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realize that the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them.
The Wilder Girls by Rory Power
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. The Tox started slow: first the teachers died one by one, then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence.
Created by Abigail Hsu, Young Adult Librarian at Morristown & Morris Township Library
You have been given the task of stealing three items from a wealthy merchant in the city of Ketterdam. Do you have what it takes to pull off this heist?
Created by Abigail Hsu, Young Adult Librarian at Morristown & Morris Township Library
You are competing to be your gang’s next thief of secrets and must steal a pair of priceless revolvers to pass the test.
Created by Abigail Hsu, Young Adult Librarian at Morristown & Morris Township Library
You are a human who has accidentally stumbled into the Spirit World. Night has fallen and you are unable to return to the Human World…
Created by Abigail Hsu, Young Adult Librarian at Morristown & Morris Township Library
It’s your first time at a K-Pop convention and you have the chance to win a ticket to the convention concert! All you need to do is complete an immersive trivia game…
Created by Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA
It is your first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and you could not be more excited. As you head into the cozy common room, the house prefect announces that you have a fun team building activity to complete before you get too settled into your new digs…
Created by the Manchester Community College Library in Manchester, NH
An old bounty hunter friend needs your help to rescue someone…
Created by by Karen Liu (Salt Lake County), a Teen Librarian at The County Library’s Riverton Branch
The Minotaur lies in the heart of a labyrinth and you must make your way to it. You are the demigod Theseus, son of Poseidon and heir to Aegeus. You offered yourself as a tribute, in hopes of killing the monster within…
Created by Amy German, a Youth Services Librarian at Round Rock Public Library
Your name is Katniss Everdeen and you have volunteered as tribute for the 74th Hunger Games…
Created by Celeste Trottier, Teen Services Librarian at the St. Albert Public Library
You are a Level 4 Junior Forest Scout. While gathering wood for a fire, you discover an empty cabin in the woods…
Created by Portia Carryer for San Leandro Public Library’s Staycation 2020
As you’re clicking through the library website to borrow an e-book, your phone screen flickers, goes black, and then flashes bright white light. When your eyes adjust, you’re no longer in your house…
Created by Jenny Hansen of the Dover Area Community Library
You, Finn, Rey, and BB-8 are on a special mission from General Leia Organa when a First Order Star Destroyer captures your ship. You resist but the next thing you see is a bright light from a blaster and then darkness. You wake up hours later in a small dark cell…
Created by Youth Services Staff at Rita and Truett Smith Public Library
General Aedion has given you the the task of a simple delivery mission through Oakwald Forest to Allsbrook castle…
[More activities to come soon!]