How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation by Maureen Johnson

resistThis is an outstanding collection of personal stories, poems, music, and interviews from some of the most influential icons in music, acting, politics, sports, and writing, etc… of the 21st century. Although marketed for YA, anyone can read this and get inspired. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.



The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

poet xXiomara appears to be a tough as nails high school student but this Afro-Latino young lady has a much softer side to her. She loves poetry and in a school where drugs, crime, and sex happens all too frequently, X (as known by friends) keeps her passion close to her heart. Xiomara’s beloved teacher helps her to free herself by encouraging her to join a poetry club. For the first time and not under the thumb of her mother, school, or God, she becomes The Poet X. I loved how the author read this audiobook.


Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

harbor meWhen a group of young Brooklyn students are given the opportunity to gather together in a safe, adult free classroom, they begin an explorative journey through dialogue, poetry, revelation, and storytelling. Jacqueline Woodson taps into the most current challenges that many our youth face today with such unbridled courage and sheer eloquence.




Title: Exposed

Author: Kimberly Marcus

Summary: Juniors Liz “Photo Girl” and Kate “Mistress of Modern Dance” have always called themselves forever friends.  However, everything changes one “Saturday Night Slumber” after Liz accuses Kate of being afraid to take chances because Kate is considering giving up dance and has settled (according to Liz) for a boyfriend who always lets her have her way.   Liz storms off to sleep in her room, leaving Kate to sleep alone on the couch where something unthinkable happens.  Now, Kate is avoiding Liz and no one will look Liz in the eye anymore.  Everything Liz counted on – family, friends, and photography- is now uncertain and Liz doesn’t know how to cope with the idea of losing what she loves the most. 

Who will like this book?: Fans of emotionally-driven, realistic fiction who enjoy free-verse poetry format. 

If you like this, try this: Anything by Ellen Hopkins or Sonya Sones

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian


Title: Identical

Author: Ellen Hopkins

Summary:Once there was a happy family with a loving Mom and Dad and two perfect identical twin daughters, Kaeleigh and Raeanne. Their perfect home was filled with love and laughter. Then the accident happened. Now only anger, fear, perversion, and self-destruction reside in that perfect house. The loving mom has become a politician who prefers the campaign trail to home. And the loving father, a tough, but respected district-court judge, becomes another man at home.  He’s a lonely man who seeks comfort from the bottle and in controlling his most pliant daughter Kaeleigh with perverse attention.  

While Kaeleigh silently struggles with her father’s abuse and the efforts to maintain her prim outer facade at school; Raeanne loudly bristles at the way her Dad ignores her and plays ‘favorites,’ rebelling against the loneliness by turning to drugs, alcohol, and sex.  Both girls are sprialing toward self-destruction, but it isn’t until the end of the story that everyone discovers the toll keeping such secrets has on a family. 

Who will like this book:  With its’ themes of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol use, cutting, and promiscuity this is definitely a book for mature teen audiences.  That being said, this is a well written book that will take the reader into the minds of its’ troubled characters in a way that few books do.  If you like a gritty, raw, emotional story, this is the book for you.   

If you like this, try this: Anything by Ellen Hopkins, Cut by Patricia McCormick, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous,  Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Teen Librarian

I Heart You, You Haunt Me


Title: I Heart You, You Haunt Me

Author: Lisa Schroeder

Summary: Written in verse, this short novel is a moving story about loss, grief, and the power of love. Ava’s boyfriend Jackson died suddenly in a terrible accident at the end of the school year. As Ava grieves, she thinks she sees Jackson’s face when she looks in the mirror, although she knows it’s just her guilt and grief. But then Ava begins to sense his presence – a blast of cold air in the room, the CD player turning on. Soon, she can even hear his voice and see him in her dreams. Ava is being haunted.

Ava’s friends and family urge her to move on and live her life, while she is determined to spend as much time with Jackson as she can. But what kind of relationship can you have with a ghost?

Who will like this book?: Fans of ghost stories and impossible romances. Readers of verse novelists like Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins. People looking for a quick read with a good story.

If you like this, try this: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. For a more intense ghost story, check out A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know


Title: What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know

Author: Sonya Sones

Summary: The good news for Robin: Sophie, the beautiful, popular girl of his dreams, is his girlfriend, even after school break is over. The bad news? Now Sophie is just as unpopular as he is, dumped by her best friends. Even though Sophie stands by Robin, relationships are never easy when you are 14 and all you can think about is kissing your girlfriend and what could happen next…as Robin learns when he begins taking art classes at nearby Harvard, with a group of college kids who accept him for who he truly is: a smart, funny, talented artist.

This terrific sequel can be read on its own. It is a novel in verse – so even though it looks like a long book you can read it in less than two hours. While not many people could stand up to their friends and classmates the way Sophie and Robin do, it’s nice to see that even a guy whose last name is slang for ‘loser’ might secretly be the coolest kid in (the college) class. So don’t be a Murphy – read this book!

Who will like this book?: Fans of the first story about Sophie and Robin, told from her point of view: What My Mother Doesn’t Know, and guys looking for a quick, funny story.

If you like this, try this: Other books by Sones, like One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies. Or try something by Ellen Hopkins, if you want something written in the same style, but way, way, way more edgy, dark, and intense.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian