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YA Book Love

This week, we’re thrilled to have librarian Lisa Teixeira with us to share some titles that will no doubt appeal to high school students. Lisa has been leading book discussions with her school book club—Better Than Oprah—playing literacy games with visiting English classes, teaching information literacy to students, and reading lots of wonderful YA literature.

The following 7 books (7 is her lucky birthday number, which she actually shares with her favorite YA author, Sherman Alexie) are her favorites from the past year.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Realistic Fiction. Young Adult, high school.

Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak and Wintergirls, returns with another poignant novel about a teenager with an unfairly complicated life, The Impossible Knife of Memory, the story of a girl coping with the effects of her veteran father’s Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome while trying to navigate a new high school and first love. This book packs a huge emotional punch.

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

Realistic Fiction.  Young Adult, high school.

Kate Hattemer’s very clever and laugh-aloud funny first novel, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy is reminiscent of John Green, Amy King, and other YA writers who really know how to write witty, realistic dialogue.  Selwyn Academy is an arts high school that Ethan and his friends believe has sold its soul to a reality tv show blurring the line between art and pop culture.  But, Ethan and his crew devise a covert plan to rid their school of the tv scourge, in the process learning about themselves, the meaning of friendship, and gray areas in life.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

Immigrant Fiction. Adult, high school.

Set in Delaware, right over the border from Pennsylvania, this bittersweet novel intertwines the stories of a group of Latin American immigrants who end up living in the same Delaware apartment building.  Yet, the intertwined stories all connect to Maribel Rivera, the newest arrival from Mexico, and Mayor Toro, her neighbor from Panama.  These two teens fall in love, but through a combination of bad luck, bad communication, and bad decisions, their blossoming romance ends in tragedy.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Magical Realism. Young Adult, high school.

Glory O’Brien and her best friend Ellie drink a bat which gives them the ability to see the past and the future, a dystopic, misogynistic world in which Glory figures prominently.  Despite the weird premise, this is a very believable story about growing up and growing into one’s self.  Glory is a strong feminist role model who transcends her stalled life, paused since her mother’s suicide when she was 4, to find meaning and purpose for her dad, and most importantly for herself.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Historical/Realistic Fiction. Young Adult, high school.

A story of first love set in 1986, and told alternately between Park, half Korean and working hard to remain under the radar, and new girl Eleanor, struggling poverty and an abusive step-father.  The two bond over alternative 80’s music and a love of comics, and slowly overcome their obstacles to find acceptance, romance, and friendship with one another, but can their love withstand peer pressure, bullying, and escalating familial violence?

Rose Under Fire  by Elizabeth Wein

Companion to Code Name Verity.  Historical Fiction. Young Adult, middle and high school.

Rose Justice is an American pilot shuttling planes to France from England when she is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck Concentration camp.  Through poetry and her journal entries (the journal was given to her by Maddie from Verity), Rose shares her ordeal, and that of the other women prisoners, ensuring that the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis on the women at Ravensbruck will never be forgotten. While strong female characters, historical accuracy, and a brave escape will keep you reading, the resiliency and hope in the midst of terror and despair will stay with you long after the last page has been read.

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

The second in The 5th Wave series.  Science Fiction.  Young Adult, high school.

Rick Yancey’s highly anticipated sequel to the 5th Wave came out last year.  The Infinite Sea has Cassie and her cohort of teens and children fighting against the alien Others while they struggle to maintain their humanity through the “infinite sea” of blood and tears.  This sequel provides backstory to help us better understand Cassie’s group of heroes as they fight for the survival of the human race, a real page turner.


Lisa Teixeira received her Master’s Degree from Drexel University’s College of Information Studies in 1989.  She worked at Drexel and Widener Universities, and at Bayard Taylor Memorial Library before becoming a school librarian, and has been at Kennett High School since 1997. When not reading, Lisa loves to travel and spend time with her cats, grand-doggies, friends, and adult children, not necessarily in that order.

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