A Song Called Home by Sara Zarr
Receiving a mysterious guitar the night before she leaves the city to live with her mom and new stepdad, Lou believes that if she learns how to play it, she can bring a piece of her old life home.
A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser
It’s June’s first day at Huey House, and as if losing her home weren’t enough, she also can’t bring her cherished viola inside. Before the accident last year, her dad saved tip money for a year to buy her viola, and she’s not about to give it up now. Tyrell has been at Huey House for three years and gives June a glimpse of the good things about living there: friendship, hot meals, and a classical musician next door. Can he and June work together to oppose the government, or will families be forced out of Huey House before they are ready?
Moonwalking by Zetta Elliott and Lyn Miller-Lachmann
In 1980s Brooklyn, new student JJ Pankowski, an autistic, punk-rock-lover, befriends Pie Velez, an Afro-Latinx math geek and graffiti artist.
Karthik Delivers by Sheela Chari
One summer during the Financial Crisis, fourteen-year-old Karthik Raghavan makes deliveries for his father’s ailing Indian grocery, but he is secretly cast in a play about the young Leonard Bernstein. Includes author’s note.
Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos (Graphic Novel)
A wordless graphic novel in which twelve-year-old Marisol must adapt to a new life 1960s Brooklyn after her parents send her to the United States from Cuba to keep her safe during Castro’s regime.
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
Fifteen-year-old Najwa Bakri is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend and Scrabble Queen, Trina, a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.
Oathbound by Victoria McCombs (The Royal Rose Chronicles, Book One)
Emme has spent her life avoiding anything to do with pirates, but the fates are cruel, and now a hidden sickness leads her to partner with pirates for the one thing that can cure her–rumored to be on an island none are certain exists. The captain’s obligations are tinged with betrayal, his secrets darker than the deep, and just as lethal.
Dead Girls Can’t Tell Secrets by Chelsea Ichaso
Piper Sullivan was in a strange hiking accident last month and has been in a coma ever since. Her older sister, Savannah, can’t pretend to be optimistic that she will ever wake up, and be able to tell her what exactly happened. But then Savannah finds a note in Piper’s locker inviting Piper to a meeting of their school’s wilderness club. But who would have wanted to hurt the perfect Piper Sullivan–and why?
Diamond Park by Phillippe Diederich
When four Mexican-American teenagers from Houston travel to Diamond Park to buy a 1959 Chevy Impala from Magaña’s godfather, something goes very wrong, and one of them, Susi, ends up arrested for murder. Convinced that the real killer is a drug trafficker called Anaconda, Flaco and Magaña head to Mexico hunting for him to clear Susi’s name–but in the process of kidnapping Anaconda Flaco discovers how little he understands about what really happened in Diamond Park.
Another Castle by Andrew Wheeler (Graphic Novel)
Misty is a princess, but does that make her a damsel or a leader? Misty has a prince, but does that make him the hero? When the mystical sword that can defeat Beldora’s longtime enemy, Lord Badlug, king of Grimoire, is stolen by his witch princess of Beldora, Princess Misty decides to go on a mission to retrieve it. Misty knows her mission is to destroy Lord Badlug, but what happens to the country of Grimoire afterward?
The Zee Files by Tina Wells (The Zee Files, Book One)
California girl Mackenzie “Zee” Blue moves with her family to London and attends The Hollows, a boarding school for the creative arts, but with a distant roommate and challenging classes, plus the most popular boy in school paying attention to her, Zee discovers life across the pond has more than a few surprises in store for her.
Lifeling by Kirsty Applebaum
Twelve-year-old Lonny Quicke and his younger brother finally leave their hidden forest home and venture into the nearby town of Farstoke, where Lonny discovers that, at first glance, the people of Farstoke are not cruel and selfish, but as he debates revealing his secret ability, he wonders whether his new friends are really as kind as they seem.
The Grave Thief by Dee Hahn
Twelve-year-old Spade is a grave thief that gets caught up in a royal heist. Along the way, he meets Ember, the queen’s niece, and together they race to solve the mystery of the legendary Deepstones and their connection to the Woegon, the queen, a missing king and the mysterious pebble Spade finds in the Wyndhail cemetery.
Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese
Seventh-grader Charley Decker’s mother is on vacation with her boyfriend, and Charley plans to spend the weekend watching movies with her best friends Wade and Oona and her older brother, Greg; but Greg has a date and takes their mother’s boyfriend’s expensive, rare automobile, than manages to get it towed; Charley and her friends hatch a plan to get the car back–but things go seriously wrong when they discover somebody called Mitch hiding from a pair of scary dudes in the trunk of the car, and the three friends find themselves on the wildest ride of their lives.
Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee
Fifteen-year-old Tam Ling Fan disguises herself as her twin brother, journeys from her village in China to California, and works as a laborer on the Transcontinental Railroad–where she faces danger on multiple fronts–to earn the money her family desperately needs.
And They Lived… by Steven Salvatore
Chase Arthur is a hopeless romantic, but he’s also struggling to figure out his gender identity and recover from an eating disorder. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and will have to learn to love–and be enough for–himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.
Okoye to the People by Ibi Zoboi
When her first mission brings her to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville, Okoye, discovering the truth about a manipulative real-estate mogul, is torn between fulfilling her duty to Wakanda or listening to her own heart and standing up for the people of Brownsville.
Unbetrothed by Candice Pedraza Yamnitz
Around Agatha Sea, princesses are poised, magically gifted, and betrothed. So, when seventeen-year-old Princess Beatriz still fails to secure a betrothal, her parents hold a ball. Forming an alliance could mean the difference between peace and war, but Beatriz is in love with her best friend, Prince Lux. It’s a silly dream as long as she has no magical gift. Princess Beatriz will do whatever it takes to obtain a touch of magic, including making a deadly oath to go on a quest to Valle de Los Fantasmas.
Practical Demonology by Clare Rees
When plague strikes the citadel, Non and the other students are evacuated to the ruined Cirtop Castle, and while there, she has the chance to study the demons that infected and killed her mother.
So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens
Arek has managed to fulfill the prophecy and save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler, but the quest is not over because until they free the princess locked in one of the towers he has to assume the crown himself; only the princess proves to be very dead, and Arek is stuck as king; then he discovers that magic requires him to find a bride before his eighteenth birthday or wither away–but none of his female companions are interested, he does not want to marry a stranger, and anyway the only person he is attracted to is Matt, aspiring wizard, best friend, and secret crush.
What About Will by Ellen Hopkins
Trace always looked up to his older brother Will, who was smart, popular, a great athlete, and an even greater brother. Then Will took an especially hard hit in a football game, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury. Nothing has been the same since that day. Their mother has left and their father works long hours. And Will has become almost like a stranger, sneaking out of the house, skipping school, and being aloof or even cruel. Trace becomes more and more worried about Will’s new friends and the pills he sees him taking, but no one else seems to believe there’s anything wrong. Until something very bad happens.
This novel in verse explores many difficult topics with careful consideration. Recommended for readers in middle school and up.