Tundra Telegram: Books to Geek Out Over

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we draw on topics that we’re all fanboying and fangirling over, and recommend some books to keep the excitement onward and upward.

Unless you have curated a completely geek-free social media feed, you know that last weekend the San Diego Comic-Con took over southern California, wrapping up on July 24, and previewing the biggest and newest things in comic books, science fiction, video games, and much more. Whether you were more thrilled to see the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever or Sarah Michelle-Gellar making a surprise appearance at the Teen Wolf panel, the return of Comic-Con had a little something for everyone.

To mark the occasion, we’re recommending books that are not comic books themselves, nor do they feature comic characters (like the great DC Icons YA series). Instead, they are books about comic books, RPGs, and fandoms. Get your geek on, and find your next great read below!

PICTURE BOOKS

For some comic book fans, no matter their age, there are few words as thrilling as There’s a Superhero in Your Book, which is the title of a book by Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott. Even better, this picture book is interactive, so young readers can enjoy tapping, stretching, and whizzing this book around as they help the superhero defeat the villain and save the day – while discovering the real superpower of kindness.

If that sounds a bit too stimulating for your young reader, we can recommend Even Superheroes Have to Sleep by Sara Crow and Adam Record. Little kids will enjoy this rhyming story that tricks lulls them into bedtime with the promise that all their heroes are getting tucked into bed, too. (You know Sleepwalker loves his shut-eye!) And there’s a companion book called Even Superheroes Use the Potty where you can (maybe?) learn how Iron Man goes to the washroom in that suit!

If the young readers in your life are wild about superhero movies and games, they may relate to the main character of Max and the Superheroes by Rocio Bonilla and Oriol Malet. Max and his friends love learning about superheroes and their superpowers. Everyone has a favorite, and Max’s is Megapower: she’s brave, tames animals, has x-ray vision, is super smart, can fly – and just happens to be Max’s mom. (So it’s perfect for Mother’s Day, as well.)

And for something a little different, you can learn about the origins of gaming with Blips on a Screen by Kate Hannigan and Zachariah OHora. It’s a picture book biography about Ralph Baer, a Jewish refugee who pioneered home video games and launched a worldwide obsession. Considered the “Father of Video Games,” there’d be no Xbox or Nintendo Switch without him!

CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE

Where would the MCU be without Stan Lee, the writer who co-created many of Marvel’s signature characters? Find out more, true believers, in Who Was Stan Lee? by Geoff Edgers and John Hinderliter, a book that chronicles how a kid from the Bronx created a comic book empire (with more than a little help from Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and a roster of talented artists).

What if you’re at the stage that you want to start – like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby – to make your own comics? You might like Doodleville by Chad Sell. Yes, it is a graphic novel, but it’s also about young artists in the school’s art club and the power of creativity: specifically, how one member’s (Drew’s) artistic creations come to life and wreak havoc on the other kids’ drawings of heroes.

Or maybe they would like Stephen Shaskan’s Pizza and Taco: Super-Awesome Comic, in which the beloved anthropomorphic foodstuffs decide to collaborate on a comic book, but must overcome their deep-seated artistic differences to make a great story.

But if your young readers would like something a little more hands-on, you’ll want Jess Smart Smiley’s Let’s Make Comics: An Activity Book to Create, Write, and Draw Your Own Cartoons. This is this an honest-to-goodness, all-ages activity book that makes use of humorous and informative one-page comics and exercise prompts to guide young readers through easy-to-master lessons on the skills needed to make comics. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a bunch of short comics under your belt – and it even comes recommended by Narwhal and Jelly creator Ben Clanton!

What’s more appropriate than a novel that takes place at a comic convention? Marthe Jocelyn, Richard Scrimger, and Claudia Davila’s book Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book opens at the Toronto comic-con, where two very different kids – geek Wylder Wallace and aloof Addy Crowe – find themselves drawn (literally) into the fantastic world of a hit comic book.

Vera Vance: Comics Star by Claudia Mills and Grace Zong, spotlights a third-grader who signs up for a comics camp after-school program, much to the chagrin of her mother. But Vera loves everything comics and starts making her own with the encouragement of friends and the teachers of her camp. And in an inversion of Viminy Crowe, it all leads up to a local comic convention, in which Vera hopes to enter an original comics contest – if only her mother will let her go!

In Stink: Superhero Superfan by Megan McDonald and Peter H. Reynolds, the popular character discovers a box of old comics about a superhero he’s never heard of: Super Gecko! Before long, Stink becomes Super Gecko’s biggest fan. Then he starts receiving mysterious notes signed by Super Gecko himself. Can Stink do some detective work worthy of S.G. and find out who is sending the letters before the Gecko gets a dark and gritty reboot?

A contemporary graphic novel that combines OCD with AD&D, Just Roll with It by Veronica Agarwal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie follows Maggie, who is shy, doesn’t know anyone at her school, and deals with anxiety and OCD. She also loves Dungeons and Dragons (and other role-playing games), so her twenty-sided die (D20, for those in the know) helps her make decisions – just like Two-Face and his lucky quarter in the Batman comics!

And for the young nonfiction comic fan, check out Comics Confidential by Leonard S. Marcus, an anthology of interviews and original comics by today’s foremost graphic novelists (Kazu Kibuishi, Gene Luen Yang, Hope Larson), who talk all about the highs and lows of making comics! It has lots of great advice for young comic writers and illustrators!

YOUNG ADULT

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner is like a comic-con Twelfth Night (or She’s the Man, if you prefer). Cameron is a cosplay wizard and aspiring fashion designer. When her costumes win a competition, male fans troll her, accusing her of not being a “real” fan. After a move, she discovers the local comic shop, managed by the exact kind of male gatekeeper who forced her to flee the online world. So she borrows her twin brother’s clothes, poses as a boy, and easily enters the local nerd inner sanctum (and their ongoing D&D game). And things get even more complicated when she develops a crush on one of those D&D adventurers!

If comic-con-adjacent romances are your thing, you need to read Geekerella by Ashley Poston, a fan-fic twist on the Cinderella story about geek girl Ellie Wittimer, the worlds’ biggest fan of sci-fi TV series Starfield who wins a trip to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and gets to meet a teen actor from the new film reboot, Darien Freeman. Will Ellie hit it off with her Federation Prince? Or will her stepsisters ruin things for her again?

And if you enjoy Geekerella, you might like the follow-up, The Princess and the Fangirl, a geeky take on The Prince and the Pauper! Imogen Lovelace is a fangirl who doesn’t want her favourite Starfield character, Princess Amara, to get killed off. Jessica Stone is the teen actress who plays Amara and wants out of the franchise. And – coincidentally – they look a lot like each other. Parent Trap-style, a deal is struck, but will fans catch on to their scheme?

For more geek love, you need Melissa Keil’s Life in Outer Space, in which self-described, seventeen-year-old Sam Kinnison (no relation) loves horror movies and World of Warcraft and his loser friends. Then a cool girl named Camilla Carter enters his life – she also loves W.O.W., and wants to be Sam’s friend, which throws his life upside-down is this funny love-letter to geeks.

If you want to read some nonfiction from a famous geek girl, then you want The Fangirl’s Guide to the Universe by Sam Maggs, author of numerous comics and video games (and former on-air host for Nerdist). This handbook is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for girls into geeks stuff, including how to make nerdy friends, how to rock cosplay, to defeat internet trolls (very important), and how to attend your first con. It includes advice from Sam as well as other fangirl faves like Danielle Paige, Rainbow Rowell, and Preeti Chibber!

See you all in the funny pages!

Camp Penguin: Kids’ Comic Strips

Earlier this month, we held a special Camp Penguin virtual event for kids on creating comics with Canadian comics creators Cale Atkinson (Simon and Chester: Super Detectives) and Jade Armstrong (Scout Is Not a Band Kid) and hosted by our own senior marketing and publicity associate, Sam Devotta.

If you didn’t have the chance to experience it live, you can watch the recording (minus the chat) here. The comics workshop, which received glowing reviews from young comic makers, ended with a collaborative comic from Cale and Jade. They each drew one panel of a camp-related comic strip and invited attendees to finish by writing and drawing a third panel.

Two strips were selected as winners and the young creators – Allison S. and Ellie K. – will be sent special graphic novel prize packs. But a number of attendees granted us permission to share their incredible (and often quite funny) creations on the Tundra blog, so we’ve posted them here for all of you to enjoy!

*WINNER 1* ALLISON S.

*WINNER 2*: ELLIE K.

And a number of honorable mentions …

ELIZABETH W.

ASHLEY C.

HENRY B.

CORA V.

JACK B.

SARAH

SOMA L.

PIETER H.

Five Fantasies for Summer 2022

Every year blesses us with so many amazing YA fantasy books, it’s impossible to pick our faves . . . but we’re gonna try! Here are five fantasies from 2022 you must read this summer!

Beasts of Ruin
By Ayana Gray
496 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593405710 | Putnam BFYR
Koffi has saved her city and the boy she loves, but at a terrible price. Now a servant to the cunning god of death, she must use her newfound power to further his continental conquest, or risk the safety of her home and loved ones. As she reluctantly learns to survive amidst unexpected friends and foes, she will also have to choose between the life – and love – she once had, or the one she could have, if she truly embraces her dangerous gifts. Cast out from the only home he’s ever known, Ekon is forced to strike new and unconventional alliances to find and rescue Koffi before it’s too late. But as he gets closer to the realm of death each day, so too does he draw nearer to a terrible truth—one that could cost everything. Koffi and Ekon – separated by land, sea, and gods – will have to risk everything to reunite again. But the longer they’re kept apart, the more each of their loyalties are tested. Soon, both may have to reckon with changing hearts – and maybe, changing destinies.

Castles in Their Bones
By Laura Sebastian
528 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593118160 | Delacorte
Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes. Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides – because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal – to bring down monarchies – and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria. The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans – and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers. Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone – not even each other?

Echoes & Empires
By Morgan Rhodes
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593351659 | Razorbill
Josslyn Drake knows only three things about magic: it’s rare, illegal, and always deadly. So when she’s caught up in a robbery gone wrong at the Queen’s Gala and infected by a dangerous piece of magic – one that allows her to step into the memories of an infamously evil warlock – she finds herself living her worst nightmare. Joss needs the magic removed before it corrupts her soul and kills her. But in Ironport, the cost of doing magic is death, and seeking help might mean scheduling her own execution. There’s nobody she can trust. Nobody, that is, except wanted criminal Jericho Nox, who offers her a deal: his help extracting the magic in exchange for the magic itself. And though she’s not thrilled to be working with a thief, especially one as infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) as Jericho, Joss is desperate enough to accept. But Jericho is nothing like Joss expects. The closer she grows to Jericho and the more she sees of the world outside her pampered life in the city, the more Joss begins to question the beliefs she’s always taken for granted – beliefs about right and wrong, about power and magic, and even about herself. In an empire built on lies, the truth may be her greatest weapon.

Hotel Magnifique
By Emily J. Taylor
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593404515 | Razorbill
All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town. The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel – appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets. With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa – and the other staff – from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.

Violet Made of Thorns
By Gina Chen
368 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593427538 | Delacorte
Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased – and not always true – divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer – unless Violet does something about it. But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom – all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus. Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom – or doom them all.

Tundra Telegram: Books that’ll Make You Sweat

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we simmer on topics that we’re all stewing on, and recommend some scalding stories to generate further discussion.

Much of Europe and North America and several provinces in China are in the middle of a massive heat wave. And while that sounds like fun and a good excuse to get ice cream, this is not the fun kind of heat. This is catastrophic heat that’s breaking records, cancelling rail travel, killing people, and contributing to massive wildfires in what some are calling a “heat apocalypse.”

The best course of action, should you be in the middle of a heat wave (and many of you reading this are), is to stay hydrated, limit your exertion, and – if needed (and possible) – get to a local cooling station. But if you want to read some books that are just as sweltering as the weather (the same kind of rationale as drinking coffee in the heat), get ready to sizzle – we’ve got hot books, books about how the earth is heating up, and books with the hottest summers ever recorded – so far.

PICTURE BOOKS

If you think you’re hot, imagine what it would be like in this heat as a long-haired dachshund! That’s the predicament the hero of Hot Dog by Doug Salati faces: this is a wiener pup who is overheated and overwhelmed. He’s had enough of a sizzling city summer, so his owner hails a cab and finds them so relief on the beach!

A book of value to anyone in a heat wave is Too Hot? Too Cold?: Keeping Body Temperature Just Right by Caroline Arnold and Annie Patterson. In easy-to-understand writing, young readers will discover the many different ways humans and animals adapt to heat and cold. Have you ever wondered why you sweat when you’re hot? Or why dogs pant in the heat? These burning questions and more are answered within.

How can young readers prevent this summer’s heat wave from being the first of regular occurrences? Climate Action: The Future Is in Our Hands by Georgina Stevens and Katie Rewse has a few ideas! Not only does this book outline for young readers the causes of climate change and how it is affecting our world, it provides some innovative ideas for tackling climate breakdown, inspired by the positive stories from young people effecting change all around the (currently very hot) globe.

CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE

If you’re looking for books about the causes of the incredible heat and how climate change contributes to it, but for a slightly older reading level, there are several great books to choose from. What Is Climate Change? by Gail Herman and John Hinderliter presents all sides of the climate change argument in this fact-based, fair-minded, and well-researched book that looks at the subject from many perspectives, including scientific, social, and political. And it has a polar bear on the cover, who we currently envy (even if its ice floe is looking mighty small!).

Once you’ve figured out what climate change is, and want to do something about it, you’ll want to read This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate by Isabel Thomas and Alex Paterson, which offers 50 different ways to “cut pollution, speak up, and protect the planet” from bartering to assigning school some eco-homework. (No word on if anything will immediately turn the temperature down, but every bit helps!)

Want more ammunition on cooling the climate? Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stefoff’s How to Change Everything has what you need. As the book notes, temperatures are rising all over the world, leading to wildfires, droughts, animal extinctions and ferocious storms (and that’s just this week). Using examples of change and protest from young activists around the world, Klein shows we can help make things better – if we’re willing to change everything.

For something (mostly) fictional in the same vein, try Carrie Firestone’s The First Rule of Climate Club, in which eighth grader Mary Kate Murphy starts a podcast on climate activism and rallies her friends to create lasting change in their small suburban town. (It’s like the kids in this book read How to Change Everything!)

You may identify with the protagonist of our next book: Penelope March Is Melting by Jeffrey Michael Ruby. Set in a frozen town, Glacier Cove, that sits atop a literal iceberg, it seems like the book’s resident bookworm Penelope March need not worry about heat waves. But when the iceberg begins to melt, Penelope and her friend Miles must set out on an adventure.

And it wouldn’t be a heat wave without deadly forest fires. Cue Canadian Iain Lawrence and his forthcoming novel, Fire on Headless Mountain, in which eleven-year-old Virgil is separated from his siblings in the midst of a disastrous forest conflagration, and must use his wits and mother’s lessons to survive on his own.

YOUNG ADULT

Moving from forest fires to another kind of heat, Kasie West’s YA romance Sunkissed finds Avery spending a hot summer at a family resort, with – surprise, surprise – an even hotter resort staff member, Brooks. This swoony love story won’t give you heat exhaustion, but it will make you sweat.

And Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli emanates a similar heat, as Rachel Walls spends a sweltering summer saying “yes,” to everything – yes to new experiences, yes to spontaneous road trips with crushes. Let’s just hope she also says “yes” to drinking plenty of fluids and finding shade.

Summer Fires by Giulia Sagramola is a graphic novel that depicts summer heat so well in its color palette and its characters languid movements, you’d think you’ve been transported to southern Italy. The book, translated from the Italian, follows two sisters faced with impossible choices of teenaged life, which mirror the massive forest fires (again!) in the surrounding hillsides of the town. Turn on the ceiling fan and dive in!

Speaking of forest fires, Julie Buxbaum’s Year on Fire uses fire season in Wood Valley as a backdrop for changing friendships as a single kiss with new boy Rohan shakes the foundation of the connection among twins Arch and Immie and their best friend, Paige. There’s even an arson in the school bathroom, if you need more heat!

There are few things better to beat the heat than ice cream. Melt with You by Jennifer Dugan is a funny and heartfelt queer YA rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck. Former best friends Fallon and Chloe haven’t talked since a fateful summer they hooked up. But a year later, a series of unfortunate events mean they’ll be working an ice cream truck together through a heated road trip. Not since the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today” music video has an ice cream truck been filled with such angst!

As Bruno Mars noted in “Uptown Funk,” there’s not much hotter than a dragon’s breath – at least we think that’s what he’s talking about when he croons, “Too hot. Make a dragon wanna’ retire, man.” E.K. Johnston agrees, as her book The Story of Owen: The Dragon Slayer of Trondheim combines the heat of dragon fire with the heat of climate change. See, sixteen-year-old Owen is training to be a dragon-slayer in modern-day Canada, so he (and his friend and bard Siobhan) can protect his rural town from dragons who feed on fossil fuels. Yes, in this world dragons feed on carbon emissions (!).

Sure it’s hot now, but is it horses-combusting-into-flame hot? Then you need to read Ashlords by  Scott Reintgen, an epic fantasy story about three “phoenix riders” who compete in a multi-day horse race in which the horses, made of ash and alchemy, are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. (Kentucky Derby, time to up your game.)

Stay cool, stay hydrated, and enjoy some hot reads!

Teen Top Ten: June 2022

Wanna know what everyone else has been reading and loving lately? Every month we’ll post our list of top ten bestselling YA books that we publish and sell in Canada. Here are the Teen Top Ten titles for the month of June 2022 – how many have you read?

1. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
By Holly Jackson
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984896360 | Delacorte Press
Everyone in Fairview knows the story. Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town. But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer? Now a senior herself, Pip decides to re-examine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

2. Girl in Pieces
By Kathleen Glasgow
448 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101934746 | Delacorte Press
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

3. We Were Liars
By E. Lockhart
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780385741279 | Delacorte Press
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

4. Good Girl, Bad Blood
By Holly Jackson
416 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984896407 | Delacorte Press
Pip is not a detective anymore. With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her. But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared, on the very same night the town hosted a memorial for the sixth-year anniversary of the deaths of Andie Bell and Sal Singh. The police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way . . . and this time everyone is listening. But will she find him before it’s too late?

5. Family of Liars
By E. Lockhart
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593485859 | Delacorte Press
The thrilling prequel to the TikTok phenomenon and New York Times bestseller We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.
A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.
Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars . . . .

6. One of Us Is Lying
By Karen M. McManus
416 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524714680 | Delacorte Press
Pay close attention and you might solve this. On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who is still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

7. As Good As Dead
By Holly Jackson
464 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593379851 | Delacorte Press
Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars. Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself – or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle . . . and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears . . . .

8. Iron Widow
By Xiran Jay Zhao
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269934 | Penguin Teen Canada
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected – she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​ To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way – and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

9. All the Bright Places
By Jennifer Niven
416 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780385755917 | Knopf BFYR
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for – and manages to find – something to keep him here, and alive, and awake. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school – six stories above the ground – it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

10. The Outsiders
By S. E. Hinton
224 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780140385724 | Viking BFYR
The 45th anniversary of a landmark work of teen fiction. Ponyboy can count on his brothers and his friends, but not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids who get away with everything, including beating up greasers like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect – until the night someone takes things too far. Written forty-five years ago, S. E. Hinton’s classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was written.