2023 Staff Picks: Teen

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Nightbirds

    2023 by Armstrong, Kate J.

    Excuse me while I go read about four powerful women taking back their world from the patriarchy, owning (and healing from) their repressed traumas, and reclaiming their magic from the privileged upper class. Bonus points for the romance (including a gorgeous queer relationship) that doesn't define them nor hold them back. I thought this young adult book was lush. Suggested by Grace.

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  • Saints of the Household

    2023 by Tison, Ari

    I read this book in January and it has stayed in my mind the whole year. Ari Tison's writing about the two brothers is powerful, and she chooses two different styles (prose for one brother, poetry for another). The art styles change as they move through their lives. Staggering, beautiful, an incredible book! Suggested by Amanda.

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  • Chloe and the Kaishao Boys

    2023 by Coyiuto, Mae

    Chloe, a Chinese Filipina, is about to leave Manila to attend the University of Southern California, having been accepted into their competitive animation program. First, her family wants to throw her a traditional debut for her 18th birthday, and that means being set up on lots of dates that could lead to romance, some difficult choices, and taking chances. I was completely won over by this funny, heartwarming book. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Blood Debts

    2023 by Benton-Walker, Terry J.

    I really enjoyed this rich and compelling debut fantasy that had a sprawling cast of characters and that intertwined magic with history. There were some surprising plot twists that I did not see coming and I'm definitely going to pick up the sequel to find out what happens next. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Rana Joon and the One & Only Now

    2023 by Etaat, Shideh

    This passionate, honest novel touches on grief, identity, friendship, family, and poetry in equal parts. I was sad when it ended. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Warrior Girl Unearthed

    2023 by Boulley, Angeline

    If you loved the author’s debut Firekeeper’s Daughter, you'll want to read this too. It takes place 10 years after the events in the previous book and in the same community. It’s a heist/thriller with plenty of suspense, thought-provoking issues, and great characters. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed

    2023 by Slater, Dashka

    This is a page-turning narrative nonfiction book that stirred several emotions in us and gave us a lot to think about. Suggested by Amanda and Rummanah.

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  • The Next New Syrian Girl

    2023 by Shukairy, Ream

    I loved this debut novel that tells the story of two very different Syrian teens, Syrian American Khadija and Syrian refugee Leene, as they pursue and create a sense of belonging for themselves. I love how the author allowed space for both teens to be fully nuanced characters. A powerful story of friendship, family, healing, trauma, and war. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Divine Rivals

    2023 by Ross, Rebecca

    I was enchanted by this historical romance. I loved the natural progression from enemies to lovers between two students who are connected through magical typewriters. Suggested by Elise.

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  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute

    2023 by Hibbert, Talia

    Talia Hibbert is one of our favorite romance authors, and her first young adult romance does not disappoint! Celine and Bradley are relatable characters and their banter is on point. We were rooting for them to get together from page one. Suggested by Brenna, Rummanah, and Sharon.

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  • You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight

    2023 by Bayron, Kalynn

    This book is both my dream-come-true and worst nightmare--it was bloody, suspenseful, genuinely scary--but also funny, exciting, and like all good horror, a wonderful mystery. It reminded me of Fear Street, Scream, or the original campfire slasher, Friday the 13th. I loved the thrills and chills! Suggested by Grace.

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  • Promise Boys

    2023 by Brooks, Nick

    I enjoyed this fast-paced and complex mystery with social justice themes. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • This Time It's Real

    2023 by Liang, Ann

    Eliza, whose high school essay about a secret (i.e., made up) boyfriend goes viral, and Caz, a popular actor in need of some positive relationship-themed press, strike an irresistible “fake dating” deal. It’s all completely charming and I couldn't put it down. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Throwback

    2023 by Goo, Maurene

    A Back to the Future premise and a setting that dunked us into '90s nostalgia, we couldn't put this down. A definite win! Suggested by Caitlin and Grace.

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  • Ryan and Avery

    2023 by Levithan, David

    The first 10 dates between Ryan and Avery--it’s a story about falling in love. I caught all the feelings with this swoon-worthy LGBTQIA romance. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • A Study in Drowning

    2023 by Reid, Ava

    Fantasy meets dark academia with a slow-burn, rivals to lovers romance. I was absolutely swept away in this story. Highly recommended for fans of Divine Rivals, Holly Black, and Erin A. Craig. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • When the Vibe Is Right

    2023 by Dass, Sarah

    I loved the author's first novel Where the Rhythm Takes You and couldn’t wait to get my hands on her second. I’m happy to say that it’s another wonderfully heartwarming read. Here are just a few of the many things I enjoyed: the hating/dating characters Tess and Brandon, being transported to Trinidad and Tobago, plus learning about Carnival costumes. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Their Vicious Games

    2023 by Wellington, Joelle

    You better clear your schedule because once you start this book, it will be impossible to put down. Not only is the premise both delightfully tropey and refreshingly unexpected (I know, a paradox!) but the pace is as fast as a horse race through a death hedge maze. Suggested by Grace.

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  • Tilly in Technicolor

    2023 by Eddings, Mazey

    I enjoyed this adorable contemporary romance between two neurodivergent characters in which they learn about speaking up for themselves and showing others that their 'differences' are a part of them but it don’t identify them. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Her Good Side

    2023 by Weatherspoon, Rebekah

    I found Rebekah Weatherspoon's young adult debut to be an absolute delight! This book delves into insecurities, rumors, and the importance of having a strong support system. Suggested by Amber H.

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  • Imogen, Obviously

    2023 by Albertalli, Becky

    I am a big Becky Albertalli fan and I loved this book. This is the most intimate and personal story told by Becky Albertalli yet. A reminder that sexuality is not rigid and there is no exact timeline to come out. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Seven Minutes in Candyland

    2023 by Wasson, Brian

    Entrepreneurial Kalvin has found a new side hustle--providing therapy to his classmates. With an emphasis on mental health, I loved the message in this book and found the main character to be relatable. Suggested by Amber H.

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  • Invisible Son

    2023 by Johnson, Kim

    I loved this suspenseful mystery that balances hard truths and social awareness. I would highly recommend it for fans of Tiffany D. Jackson. Suggested by Rummanah.

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