Teen Picks

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2014 Printz Award

The Michael L. Printz Award is an American Library Association literary award that annually recognizes the "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit."

Winner: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool


In the wake of tragic lovers Marc Antony and Cleopatra’s deaths, their twins Selene and Alexander kneel before the new emperor Octavian. In the foreign land of Rome, the siblings learn to navigate the treacherous diplomacies behind the all-too-wide smiles and honeyed lies. As Cleopatra’s children, they represent a significant claim to power…when they’re together. As new love and opportunities arise to pull Alexander away from Selene, this brave young woman defies tradition and endures  stinging rebukes to escape from the decadent trappings of Rome. Freedom and a return to her ancestral lands are her goals but who can she turn to in this city of deceit? Her allies may be closer than she thinks and they would do anything to see her rise to power. Bringing ancient Rome to vivid life, this historical fiction novel is a great read for teens and adults. Check Our Catalog

She could feel it worming its way up her throat, choking her, scraping her esophagus, digging relentless into her uvula. Athena pushed back her gag reflex, reached into her mouth and yanked the bloody feather out. Surveying it with narrowed grey eyes, she knew that another feather would soon grow past the open sore in her throat. They were filling her lungs – these feathers – and they would suffocate her one day. The reign of the gods had ended, but she never expected that they would all begin to die, each in their own way. Her brother Hermes is thinning by the day, his body being eaten from the inside out. Her stepmother Hera is slowly turning to stone, while her sister Aphrodite has been driven insane with the madness of love. The most monstrous of them all is Poseidon, polluted as the world’s oceans and relying on cannibalism to sustain his grotesque body. As Athena rushes to find a cure, Demeter imparts her last piece of advice – the answer lies with Cassandra, the prophetess that Athena fought against in the Trojan War. A great young adult novel for fans of Greek mythology! Check Our Catalog

176…177…178…Wren’s eyes wrench open, revealing eerie blue irises not altogether human. The doctors halt in their tracks, not entirely sure how to handle this…creature. No one had stayed dead that long …and came back to tell the tale, that is. Wren is the latest child to be “rebooted” – having succumbed to the viral plague and fallen dead for 178 minutes before reviving. Now more machine than human and nigh indestructible, Wren-178 is chained and dragged off to the facility to await training as part of the government’s elite reboot army. The years pass and she rises from novice to master, in turn teaching the newly rebooted. Cold and apathetic, Wren’s entire world flips when she agrees to train Callum-22, a reboot whose short deadtime has retained almost all of his human effusiveness and warmth. Just as her frozen exterior begins to crack, Wren has to choose between following the little humanity she has left and following orders as she has always done. An interesting dystopian novel for teens! Check Our Catalog

The glass castle has many more secrets steeped in its transparent walls. When Celaena Sardothien emerged victorious as the King’s Champion and new royal assassin from the previous book’s competition, she never imagined her life would be as dismal as the slave mines at Endovier. Forced to kill rebel leaders, Celaena offers them a deal – either die at her blade or fake their death and flee the country. In her small acts of rebellion, she uncovers a larger plot to overthrow the king. Growing closer to the gruff Captain Chaol while balancing her tenuous friendship with Prince Dorian, Celaena’s personal relationships soon become the least of her problems. As she discovers the root of the corrupt king’s power over the land, she must embrace her true identity and come into her birthright to topple the empire. A beautifully written world comes to life with this young adult novel. Check Our Catalog

In the land of the seven kingdoms, a person born with two different colored eyes possesses a unique ability, from speaking with animals to manipulating fire. Katsa is blessedly cursed with the Grace of killing and she serves her uncle as the royal assassin. On an ambassador visit, she meets Prince Po from the neighboring kingdom. He is blessed with a grace not seemingly apparent until he begins answering her unspoken questions…As Katsa comes to terms that her thoughts are no longer private, both of them will have to work together to uncover the greatest corruption in the seven kingdoms, one that’s been lurking beneath their feet for decades. Katsa must confront her own bloody heritage and reevaluate her grace to save the kingdoms from the one person who is closest to her. Check Our Catalog

Beauty and the Beast taken up a few lines of latitude in a sweet retelling of the classic story, mixed with elements of Bluebeard’s tale. Rose is a loved member of her small family, especially dear to her ailing father. In return for medicine and supplies for her family, Rose agrees to follow an enormous polar bear king straight from her childhood stories to his castle in the north. She grows affectionate for the bear who keeps her company during the day, and curious for the stranger who rests at the foot of her bed every night. As she realizes the dual state of her keeper, can she break his curse and restore him to his rightful throne? Check Our Catalog

Aria’s world is a safe, synthetic cocoon protecting her from the horrors of a storm-ravaged ravaged earth. But when the Reverie Dome begins to tremble and break down, Aria is cast out of her haven and into the unwilling arms of Peregrine, an outsider who is searching for his kidnapped nephew. As Aria compiles her mother’s scientific study of outsider genes and her recent disappearance with Perry’s experience of outsider children being taken by the Reverie patrols, they discover a shocking genetic study that could potentially allow Reverie citizens to coexist outside the Dome using outsiders’ natural immunity. But neither race is capable of withstanding the brutal storms that traverse the earth’s surface. Can they reach a solution before the Reverie Dome is destroyed?  Check Our Catalog

Centuries after Edgar Allan Poe died of mysterious circumstances, Varen Nethers picks up an old notebook and begins to write. His words spin the diaphanous dreams of a lonely boy, isolated and achingly vulnerable to the devil’s whispers. Soon enmeshed into a net he can no longer untangle, Varen struggles to keep demon Lilith at bay and away from Isobel, a girl that has come too close to the truth… and too close to him. In a dream world where Poe’s twisted imagination brings nightmares to life, Varen and Isobel struggle to overcome their own reality and return home safely, but Lilith is not one to take lightly. She plays for keeps…

A beautifully dark tale that evokes the gothic air of Poe’s works, Nevermore is an unusual young adult book remarkable for its imagery and literary references. 

Ash Fisher lives without a heart, literally. He simply doesn’t need one – the symbiotic bacteria in his blood exchange gases with the environment and perform circulation all on their own. They also charge his hair with electricity and fill the poison sacs behind his fangs – which are both perks of being a half-Darkling. In a post-apocalyptic world, Darklings and humans war for blood and money, kept separate by a nearly useless wall. To support his stricken human father and plague-ridden Darkling mother, Ash deals hallucinogenic Haze from his fangs, but his dark world is shattered when an inexplicable thrum begins in his chest during one of his nightly jobs. Check Our Catalog

Gaia has ninety minutes to take the newborn child from his mother. Fifteen minutes to make tea to calm the mother. Ten minutes to mark four freckles on the baby’s ankle – a tribute to her lost brothers. Five minutes to explain how her baby would be advanced to a better life inside the Enclave as part of every midwife’s monthly quota – three tributes sent inside the wall. Thirty minutes to deliver the baby, with half an hour left to spare. Only everything shatters when she returns home to find her parents gone and Sargent Leon Grey waiting to interrogate her for crimes of treason against the Enclave. As she manages to breach the wall and come to the Protectorate’s attention, Gaia begins to question the Enclave’s motives and to see the true decadence inside the wall’s façade – a rising consolidation of recessive genetic disorders resulting from a limited gene pool.

In a gripping story set in a dystopian future, Gaia Stone strives to circumvent the Enclave to rescue her parents, but just what did her mother and father do to incite the Protectorate’s wrath and does it have something to do with those four distinctive freckles?  Check Our Catalog

Kelsey Hayes always knew there was something strange about the circus’s white tiger. But when the perfect opportunity presents itself – a once in a lifetime trip to India to help release Ren back into the wild – Kelsey cannot resist. However, his caretaker neglected to mention Ren is an Indian prince under a 300 year old curse that keeps him captive in the body of a tiger. From there commences an epic adventure through the hidden forests of India to seek the favor of the Hindu goddess Durga, who holds the secret to lifting Ren’s curse. Ren and Kelsey soon discover that the curse is only a part of an ancient prophecy, only one battle in a long war. Will they be able to break his curse?

An atypical love story set in the beautiful jungles and folklore of India, The Tiger’s Curse is a great start to a series for teens.  Check Our Catalog


Art student Karou harbors a dark secret: her fantastical sketches of mismatched, bestial creatures – women with snake tails, parrots with fingers, humanoid gazelles with bat wings – are real. And these chimeras are in grave danger, locked in a war of eons with the seraphim, who have long wanted to exterminate them. When her only semblance of a family is forever locked away by the heavenly fire of a scorched handprint, Karou scours the world for a portal back to her home and finds it with some unlikely help from an angel. Strangely enough, Akiva seems familiar…as if she had known him a lifetime ago…in a different body.

A refreshingly innovative and intriguing take on the classic dichotomy of seraphic and demonic warfare, and an artful blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a great read for young adults. Check Our Catalog

Rhine Ellery lives in a world where females die of "the virus" shortly after their 20th birthday and males die at 25. Society is in chaos: an overabundance of hungry orphans, crime, poverty, and girls who disappear to become young, child-bearing brides for rich men. Ellery is stolen by Gatherers and becomes a prisoner in an elaborate mansion with three other brides, while her twin brother is left to defend their family home alone. If you've been looking for a new YA dystopian series (this is the first book of three in the Chemical Garden Series), look no further! Check our Catalog

Rating: 4/5 stars

An infernal storm is stirring in steampunk, Victorian England and Tessa Gray is the key to unraveling the maelstrom. Kidnapped on her way to visit her brother, Tessa is at once plunged into a Downworld where the spawn of nightmares converge beneath the unknowing eyes of humankind. Tessa shelters with the Nephilim, the children of angels, where she meets cursed, brooding Will and the ethereal James whose existence is ebbing away with every passing day. In attempts to save her brother, Tessa faces off against the Pandemonium Club, headed by Axel Mortmain. For reasons unknown, his plans for the domination of the Downworld revolve around Tessa, and nothing will stop him and his automaton army from wresting control of the Downworld from the Nephilim. Exploring themes of coming of age and family, Clockwork Angel mixes fantasy, steampunk, and young adult genres for a highly enjoyable read. Check Our Catalog

3.5/5 stars

Butterflies. Delicate, beautiful, innocent...lethal. Convicted criminal Yelena knows all too well the fatal effects of Butterfly's Dust, a poison so calculatedly potent that its victim dies in convulsive seizures on the second day after ingestion – all without feeling a thing until the death hour. But this seems like a small price to pay for her life spared from the noose – the position of official food taster for the Commander of Ixia. Now bound to the kingdom by her daily dose of antidote, she soon becomes involved in a network of spies for Ixia's Chief of Security – a deadly assassin by the name of Valek – and an underground community of magic – a practice punishable by death in Ixia – in order to save the kingdom and return to her homeland. As a young adult novel with themes of trust, loyalty, and perseverance, this adventure–fantasy story is a wonderful read for both teenagers and adults. Check Our Catalog

Amber lives on a bus with her Mom, who drinks too much, and her very loyal dog Bobby Big Boy. She’s homeless and a self-proclaimed freak, but that doesn’t deter her unyielding optimism. She finds hope everywhere and along the way she lifts up those around her—from the old folks she visits at the nursing home to her autistic math genius best friend. Life’s tragedies keep coming at her and Amber struggles to keep her title as the Princess of Hope. If you’re feeling a little grumpy, read this because it’ll most likely cheer you up or at least make you smile. Check our Catalog

If your name is Katherine, then there’s a good chance that Colin will find you attractive. If your name is Katherine and you’ve dated Colin Singleton, then you’ve probably dumped him. Colin--a prodigy, but not a genius--has just been dumped by his nineteenth Katherine, so he and his best friend Hassan go on a road trip, but find themselves stuck in a small town in Tennessee. It is there that Colin begins working on a mathematical formula that will predict the outcome of any relationship. If you like math, read this book. If you don’t like math, skip over those parts because the rest of the story is great. Check Our Catalog

Fourteen-year-old June loves medieval history, Mozart, and fine art. She’s not a typical teenager and she doesn’t have many friends. Her closest friend is her Uncle Finn. To her, he’s the only person who fully understands her. When Finn dies of AIDS, she feels lost and broken. Her mother is keeping secrets about Finn and her sister is mean to her for reasons June doesn’t understand. It’s also 1987, a time when the disease came with a stigma. Then June strikes up a secret friendship with a man who knew Finn well and perhaps knew him better than anyone else. This friendship teaches June some important things about love and compassion. This book was not published as a young adult title, but would certainly be enjoyed and appreciated by teens as well as adults. Check Our Catalog


Hazel and Augustus share a sense of humor, sarcasm, wit, love, and cancer. And once Hazel shares her favorite book, Augustus shares that too. Both read the novel multiple times, finding it comforting and frustrating—it ends mid-sentence. They love it most because the main character has cancer, but it’s not a cancer book, just like Green’s novel isn’t a cancer book. While Hazel and Augustus are technically sick—Hazel needs an oxygen tank and Augustus has a prosthetic leg—they are still just teenagers who have crushes, have their hearts broken, fear fitting in, and are frustrated with adults. Together they decide on a plan to meet their favorite author and along the way they fall in love. This book is a sob fest. You will probably laugh out loud and will most certainly cry, but it’s worth it. The writing is wonderful and you will adore the characters. Warning: Don’t read the end of this book in public. Check Our Catalog

© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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