List

2018 Staff Picks: Teens

By Skokie Staff Bibliocommons Youth Services

Our experts select the best books of 2018 for teens.

  • A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

    2018 by Abawi, Atia

    This books really brings home how cruel war is. Follow Tareq's escape from war-torn Iraq.

    Recommended by Gudrun Priemer

    Get this item
  • Children of Blood and Bone

    2018 by Adeyemi, Tomi

    In Zélie's world, the ancient magic that preserved peace and harmony has been driven out by a cruel king. Zélie and her companions embark on a quest to return the magic before it's gone forever. The story is so exciting and engrossing that I couldn't put this book down.

    Recommended by Laura Antinossi

    Get this item
  • Illegal

    2018 by Colfer, Eoin

    If you've ever wondered what it is like to be refugee, this graphic novel will tell you. Twelve-year-old Ebo leaves Ghana to find his brother and sister who have emigrated to Europe before him. He has no help, no resources, and no documentation, yet he is determined. Follow along as he makes his way from the teeming slums of Tripoli to the dangers of the open sea.

    Recommended by Mary Michell

    Get this item
  • Unclaimed Baggage

    2018 by Doll, Jen

    Three teens meet working in a store which sells unclaimed airline baggage. Great story about finding oneself among other people's lost objects! One of the teens has an alcohol problem.

    Recommended by Mary Michell

    Get this item
  • American Road Trip

    2018 by Flores-Scott, Patrick

    Teodora Avila, a junior in high school, is thrilled when his brother Mannie comes home from a tour in Afghanistan, but shocked to find his brother suffering from PTSD. Their sister comes to the rescue with a siblings road trip to visit extended family.

    Recommended by Mary Michell

    Get this item
  • Dry

    2018 by Shusterman, Neal

    Alyssa turns on the kitchen tap, but there is no water. This ripped-from-the-headlines tale depicts the horrific consequences of a California water shortage.

    Recommended by Mary Michell

    Get this item
  • The Sacrifice Box

    2018 by Stewart, Martin J.

    Creepy story about five teens in 1982 who seal treasured objects in a stone box buried deep in the woods in a ritual involving a solemn vow. Then weird stuff starts to happen.

    Recommended by Mary Michell

    Get this item
  • Wild Bird

    2017 by Van Draanen, Wendelin

    Want to know what happens when you're a teen and you really mess up? Wren knows--she's taken from her house in the middle of the night and ends up in a survivalist camp in the middle of the desert.

    Recommended by Shelley Sutherland

    Get this item
  • The Opposite of Innocent

    2018 by Sonya Sones

    Written in verse, Sones tells the story of a teen girl slowly and masterfully lured by a 30-year old family friend who manipulates her, controls her, and sexually assaults her over the course of many weeks. The story is realistic, heartbreaking, and chilling. Sones shows how predators/abusers exploit vulnerabilities in their targets to get what they want from them and make them feel helpless to escape.

    Recommended by Jarrett.

    Get this item
  • American Heart

    2018 by Laura Moriarty

    Originally vilified on Twitter for being a "white savior narrative," (it was almost pulped by the publisher after the uproar), Moriarty's book has some world-building shortcomings, but is beautifully written, full of terrifying suspense and horrifying scenes of all-too familiar bigotry and violence, and presents a believable story of what it means to use one's privilege to be an ally to marginalized people whose lives are threatened in times like our own.

    Recommended by Jarrett.

    Get this item
  • My Plain Jane

    2018 by Cynthia Hand

    This is the second installment in the Lady Jane series and both are favorites (the first was about Jane Grey). Offering a new spin on the classic Jane Eyre, this is witty, imaginative, and even has a dose of supernatural thrown in the mix. It is a delightful way to spend a few hours.

    Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • The Unbinding of Mary Reade

    2018 by Miriam McNamara

    I have always loved a good pirate yarn, especially if there's a female dressing and acting as a male in order to get on board a ship. This installment of the Anne Bonney pirate story does not disappoint. It is historically correct: set in 18th century England when young folks really did take to the sea to help their families. There are sub-issues relating to gender (a girl raised as a boy) and it could be considered LGBTQ+ fiction with a positive slant.

    Recommended by Mary.

    Get this item
  • What If It's Us

    2018 by Becky Albertalli

    Cool beans! Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) teamed up with popular YA author Adam Silvera, and the result is a charming, funny, sincere love story. I particularly enjoyed the dual narrative that switches between the two main characters, Arthur and Ben. I felt involved and always eager for the next chapter.

    Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Sadie

    2018 by Courtney Summers

    Told through a podcast-type format, Sadie is the story of a teenage girl who goes missing after her sister is murdered. I recommend listening to the audiobook, especially if you are a fan of the podcast Serial, it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end!

    Recommended by Denise.

    Get this item
  • Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

    2018 by Preston Norton

    Maybe it's because I am a high school teacher (and understand just how difficult this time period can be for teens) but I found this to be a very humorous and realistic book of fiction about high school life. Happy Valley is the setting, but happy it is not for the characters involved. There is great character development and it is funny and well-plotted, well-paced and thought provoking.

    Recommended by Mary.

    Get this item
  • Just Mercy : a true story of the fight for justice

    2018 by Bryan Stevenson

    Just Mercy is one my favorite reads and I was thrilled when they announced the release of a young adult version. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer who works as an advocate for those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes. It is a powerful read and I am anxious for teens to read about his work.

    Recommended by Denise.

    Get this item
  • Dread Nation

    2018 by Justina Ireland

    Both a exhilarating good and scary zombie tale and also a smart allegory for examining race, sexism and bigotry. When I finished it, I immediately wanted to discuss it. I imagine that Jane McKeene and Buffy would be BFFs, hunting shamblers and vampires together. I can’t wait for the sequel!

    Recommended by Lynnanne

    Get this item