This year’s best books were full of heartfelt romances, weary travels, and thought-provoking questions about our society. As 2015 comes to a close, EW will roll out gift guides for the very specific bookworms in your life. (Take a look at the best books for folks who love big fat novels and pop culture). Next up: seven amazing new books for teens.
Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Why? Mikey’s town is crawling with zombies, vampires, and monsters who eat your soul, but Ness’ story about ghouls and ghosts is more about coming of age than fighting apocalyptic nemeses. Mikey’s not a Harry Potter nor a Katniss Everdeen. He’s just your average kid, learning to deal with alcoholic parents, anxiety disorders, unrequited love and general angst, which is why The Rest Of Us Just Live Here is one of the year’s most poignant looks at growing up … even when your world is literally falling apart. Read our review here.
Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows
Why? Bardugo’s latest crew of teenage misfits is made up of hardened criminals and desperate thieves who travel to Ketterdam to rescue a scientist and gain a handsome reward. Six of Crows ends on a massive cliffhanger, setting readers up for the next installment due out not soon enough. Read our review here.
Where to buy it: Amazon
Rainbow Rowell, Carry On
Why? Rainbow Rowell writes a book within a book for her excellent follow-up to Fangirl, which followed the creation of fan fiction about the magical Simon Snow. Here, Carry On is set in only Snow’s world, where Rowell fleshes out her meta made-up characters to make them feel actually real.
Where to buy it: Amazon
Andrew Smith, The Alex Crow
Why? Fifteen-year-old war refugee Ariel ends up adopted by an American family in West Virginia, and has to navigate his new family, the Burgesses, which includes their artificially intelligent pet crow, Alex. Ariel and his new brother, Max, go off to summer camp for tech-addicted kids, but Smith’s story evolves into a worldly tale about everything from a psychotic bomber to an 1880s Arctic expedition that leaves readers mesmerized. Read our feature here.
Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything
Why? Maddy is quite literally allergic to everything in the world and hasn’t left her house in 17 years. But she risks everything when she falls in love with her next door neighbor, Olly. Read our review here.
Estelle Laure, This Raging Light
Why? Seventeen-year-old Lucille has had to take care of her little sister since her mom left the family, but when she falls in love with her best friend’s brother, everything changes and, for once, Lucille’s life becomes the good kind of messy.
Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep
Why? Shusterman won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for this novel, which follows Caden Bosch, a teen boy battling mental illness whose imagination makes him a reader’s hero. Based on his son Brendan’s experiences, Challenger Deep is heartbreaking and sensitive, a must-read not just for teens.