Teen Picks April 2016
Best Books for Teens April 2016 Picks


So the eternal, epic question is… What do you do when you want to read 8-ish (or, in fact 80-ish) books at once?  Because there are soo many on my gotta read (squeal!) list right now.  I have a friend who can read three books at once – as in, line them up on the floor and read a page of one, a page of the next, and a page of one more.  She can remember exactly everything from each one, even the page number of a phrase of text.   I would need some cyborg parts for that.  Someday my friends, someday.  :D

So first off, The Raven King… If you visit this site regularly, you’ll know that I don’t generally include series books, unless it’s book one of the series.  I figure that if someone orders a book without noticing that it’s part of a series, it would annoy at the very least.  The Raven King is the finale in the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater and this series is so absolutely freaking awesome that it’s worth setting aside that particular guideline.


If I had to categorize this series, I don’t know what I’d say exactly.  It’s fantasy, but without any of the usual elements like castle and dragons.  There’s magic, but there’s no wand waving or bubbling potions.  There’s a degree of romance, but nothing over the top.  There’s mythology, but no Greek or Norse gods.  It’s a friendship series, a class difference series, a private school series.  There are so many traps of genre stereotype that these books could have fallen into, but they didn’t.  The result is that it’s layered and textured and full of originality and heart. 

I am also so looking forward to reading The Passion of Dolssa.  It’s a historical novel about a wealthy teen girl who is a mystic.  She is discovered by the Church during the Inquisition.  She is sentenced to death, but escapes the pyre and finds refuge and friendship in another town.  Still, she can’t stay hidden forever.  (eeeh! )  Sounds so good.

I excited about The Star-Touched Queen .  It’s a fantasy about a girl trying to escape an arranged marriage.  The Otherworld that she flees to is home to characters from Hindu folklore and mythology.  Much is at stake when a mystery stretching over worlds and reincarnated lifetimes  undermines Otherworld.  On top of all this awesome, there is also a horse sidekick character that is apparently reminiscent of Mogget from Sabriel by Garth Nix.  (Didn’t read Sabriel?  Gasp!  Oh you have to.  Here’s an Amazon link.)

 So the Passion of Dolssa crosses paths with religious history.  The Star-Touched Queen touches on religious folklore.  Yet another intriguing book on this list that brushes shoulders with religion is The Lie Tree, which looks splendidly mysterious and fascinating.  A girl named Faith, who chafes under the restrictions of life as a young woman in the mid-1800s is uprooted from England with her family when her father is invited to join an archeological dig.  Soon she is caught up in what she suspects is the murder of her father – the famous Reverend Sunderly.  As she struggles to untangle the circumstances of her father’s death, Faith is repeatedly pulled back to a tree at the center of the archeological dig.  According to her father, the Mendacity Tree pulls its strength not from sunshine, but from lies.  The tree would reveal great truths to a person who ate its fruit.  To discover the truth about her father’s death, Faith begins feeding the tree lies and finds herself treading beyond anything that can be explained by science or religion.  Aww yeah!  Amazing!

**This post was mentioned on Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Literary Musing Mondays, and The Homeschool Nook

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

 Seeing stars?  Professional book reviewers only award a star to exceptional books.  More than one star means experts from multiple organizations felt the book was outstanding. 

The Way I used to Be Book Cover
The Way I Used to Be
by Amber Smith
published March 22, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal

New York Times bestseller!

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her...READ MORE

The Great American Whatever Book Cover
The Great American Whatever
by Tim Federle
published March 29, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

From the award-winning author of Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and Better Nate Than Ever comes “a Holden Caulfield for a new generation” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course,...READ MORE

Girl in the Blue Coat Book Cover
Girl in the Blue Coat
by Monica Hesse
published April 5, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

"Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us--including young adults--have to make in wartime....READ MORE

The Glittering Court Book Cover
The Glittering Court
by Richelle Mead
published April 5, 2016

The Selection meets Reign in this dazzling trilogy of interwoven novels about three girls on a quest for freedom and true love from #1 internationally bestselling author Richelle Mead.

"Brilliant and original, Mead’s new series starts off with a bang and will leave readers on the edge of their seats until the very end."

School Library Journal

The Lie Tree Book Cover
The Lie Tree
by Frances Hardinge
published April 19, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image  Horn Book Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Read this thought-provoking, critically acclaimed novel from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Book of the Year and Costa Children's Book Awards.

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith...READ MORE

The Passion of Dolssa Book Cover
The Passion of Dolssa
by Julie Berry
published April 12, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it. 


Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all. 


Symptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin
published February 2, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting...READ MORE

When We Collided Book Cover
When We Collided
by Emery Lord
published April 5, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal

Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up...READ MORE

The Star-Touched Queen Book Cover
The Star-Touched Queen
by Roshani Chokshi
published April 26, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Publishers Weekly

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow...READ MORE

The Raven King Book Cover
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4)
by Maggie Stiefvater
published April 26, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Publisher's Weekly Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure...READ MORE


Great list of books. Sharing on my book blog social media - I'll have to add some of these to my wishlist.

Hi Julie! Thank you so much for sharing this on social media. I just found you on Twitter. :D I love your profile comment about needing to become immortal to keep up with your reading list. Ha! :) So true.

Speak is one of my favorite reads for YA...while it sits on the shelf waiting for my littles to grow up, I can pick up a few of these to indulge my love (and sometimes homesick feeling for middle school teaching reading) of YA fiction. Thank you for the recommends!

Hi Heather! I need to read Speak! I understand it's a truly outstanding book. It has a pretty amazing power to stand the test of time with teens. When I was a teen librarian, I used to lament the need to discard books that weren't getting checked out because they had become irrelevant within a few years. I never had to even look at Speak for possible discard, even though it's almost 20 years old.
I just checked out your site. Can't wait to look further into the apps you recommend. I spend a lot of time driving and it helps to have some learning apps for my 3-year-old.

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Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of two -- a teen daughter and a preschooler son.  We love to play outdoors... and read.  :)

This site is all about discovering great books to share with kids and teens. ...Read more

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