These great titles were hand-picked for teens by the staff at Columbus Metropolitan Libary.
Tales of the Madman Underground
By John Barnes
Karl Shoemaker is starting his senior year in 1970s small-town Ohio with one goal: to be normal. Over the next six days that turns out to be harder than he thought, as Karl deals with his crazy, out-of-control mother, his cast of troubled friends, the Madman Underground, and way too many cats. Reviewed by Laura Nawojchik.
By Kristin Cashore
Kristin Cashore's Fire lives up to Graceling beautifully! The only character in both books is Leck, but in Fire he is a young child instead of a king. The first chapter gives us King Leck's much-anticipated background story. Fire is the last of her kind. She is a human monster. Besides her unnatural beauty and hair the color of fire, she has the ability to enter and control the minds of those near her. Kristin Cashore has created another strong female character for teens. Reviewed by Kristina Mahoney-Hickey.
How to Steal a Car
By Pete Hautman
Kelleigh Monahan, age 15, never meant to become a car thief. She is at the mall with a friend when a man in front of her drops his keys and walks away without noticing. She naturally stops and picks up the keys intending to give them back. At the last second, she decides to keep the keys and takes his car for a spin. If you can steal a car once, Kelleigh figures, you can steal a car twice. Auto theft becomes her therapy. As her life fills with family problems, friendship problems and boyfriend problems, she deals with the stress by stealing cars. Although Kelleigh is making bad decisions, her character comes across as very funny and charming. Reviewed by Cassandra Barok.
Love Is The Higher Law
By David Levithan
The first few chapters are a very realistic and emotional retelling of the events of September 11th through the eyes of three teens - Claire, Peter and Jasper. Young readers can see the events through the eyes of characters their own age. The three bond in hope and deep friendship as they navigate through the year after the attacks. David Levithan's description of the day's events is authentic, both in detail and emotion. He reminds us that we share humanity with the entire world, and that post-9/11 events should bring us together instead of tearing us apart. Reviewed by Kristina Mahoney-Hickey.
I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President
By Josh Lieb
Peppered with footnotes, photographic evidence and newspaper clippings, this teen read is the work of a television producer who can list The Simpsons and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart among his achievements. Our evil genius, Oscar, is a seventh-grader who has convinced the people around him that he is harmless while simultaneously manipulating the stock market, purchasing land, and becoming ridiculously and secretly wealthy. All of this power has taught Oscar that he can have and do anything he wants; but after setting his sights for student council, he is forced to confront his limitations. Like the other forms of entertainment the author has helped produce, Lieb's book is humorous, satirical and packed with layers of comic meaning. Reviewed by Melissa Fischer.
The Carbon Diaries 2015
By Saci Lloyd
In England in the near future, the effects of global warming, along with energy and water shortages, are bringing about drastic changes. Sixteen-year-old Laura would love to focus on classes, boys and her band, but that's hard to do when her family, her country, and the whole world seem to be falling apart. Reviewed by Laura Nawojchik.
One of the Survivors
By Susan Shaw
When a fire kills a classroom of students and their teacher, a community turns the two students who escaped tragedy into targets of suspicion and torment. In an unforeseeable turn of events, everyone finds out what really happened when Joey and Maureen left that classroom, why Joey has always been skittish about fire, and what it's been like for them to survive when everyone else couldn't. Publishers recommend the title for 10- to 14-year-olds, but this well-written and universally appealing story will be worthwhile for older teens and adults as well. Reviewed by Melissa Fischer.
By Maggie Stiefvater
Since she was a child, Grace has been captivated by the yellow-eyed wolf that saved her from its pack long ago. Sam leads two lives: In winter, he lives in the cold forest as a wolf with his pack. In summer he has a few months of being human ... until the cold makes him shift back again. The longer Sam is a wolf, and the less time he spends in human form, means eventually he will stop shifting and remain a wolf. After years of being infatuated with each other at a distance, Sam and Grace finally meet. Sam is injured during a wolf hunt, becomes temporarily human and Grace takes care of him. One look into his yellow eyes and Grace knows that he is her wolf. Now as the weather becomes colder, Sam struggles to stay human - or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. Reviewed by Cassandra Barok.