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Book Recommendations

Has anyone else been challenged to reach a reading goal by the end of the calendar year?

(Does anyone else have no clue what to read?)

Let me encourage you that even though it may seem like a lot to deal with, especially when being balanced with school and extracurricular activities, it’s made a lot easier by choosing the right books to read.

So, what are “the right books”?

Simply put, the books that will help you reach your goal (and, hopefully, a prize!) at the end of the year are the books you enjoy. Even if you don’t tend to read for enjoyment, there are books out there that will cater to your interests.

To help you find said books, I’ve provided a list of a few of my favorite books, organized by genre/theme.


“One of Us Is Lying” by Karen McManus: this book revolves around a group of young teenagers, suspects of a murder of a kid at their school. However, there’s more to this crime than meets the eye – can they find the murderer before they’re convicted?

“A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” by Holly Jackson: the case of a small-town murder was closed years ago, the murderer found and convicted. But when a high school student chooses the case as the topic for her final year projects, she begins to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. Is the murderer still on the loose?

“The Cheerleaders” by Kara Thomas: a serial killer has struck Sunnybrook. The cheerleaders at Sunnybrook High have been murdered, one by one. Monica’s older sister went so far as to commit suicide to avoid a gruesome death at the hands of another. Five years later, the little details that never fell into place begin to make sense as Monica discovers them, one by one. Who’s next?


“Caraval” by Stephanie Garber: a traveling circus, a series of elaborate performances, the place you can only get into with an invitation: Caraval. It’s surrounded by mystery and intrigue. Stephanie and her little sister see it as the perfect opportunity to escape their abusive father. After receiving their invitations, they believe they’re finally free. But then Stephanie’s little sister, Tella, is kidnapped, and they have to find a way to escape all over again.

“Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi: Zélie’s mother is dead, the magic stripped from the world of Orïsha, and a cruel tyrant is now ruling the country. When she sees a chance to undermine the monarch and possibly bring back magic, she takes it. She didn’t count on having a rogue princess on her side, let alone falling in love with the son of her mortal enemy.

“Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard: the Reds, the commoners with no magical abilities, are condemned to suffer poverty and injustice at the hands of the Silvers. The Silvers are the elitists, the ones with magic in their blood and cruelty in their hearts. When Mage is taken as a servant in the Silver Palace, it’s discovered that although she is a Red, she has dangerous powers of her own that threaten to flip the power structure on its head. As they attempt to hide her by declaring her a long-lost Silver Princess, she does her best to covertly help the rebellion while juggling complicated obligations and her feelings running haywire.


“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Sáenz: two boys, the polar opposites of each other, navigate the treacherous waters of life as a teenager while breaking down the walls surrounding the other’s heart. The only way to reach the other side is to believe in each other, and that is exactly what they intend to do.

“I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson: Jude and her twin brother Noah are the best of friends. Noah falls in love with the boy next door and Jude is extravagant enough to do the talking for both of them. But when tragedy strikes both of them in different ways, a rift develops between them. In order to move on together, they have to allow themselves to communicate – and as we all know, acknowledging that you were wrong is one of the hardest things to do.

“They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera: September 5 turns out to be a fateful day for Mateo and Rufus – the day they both learn that they’re going to die. After connecting with each other through an app, the Last Friend, they manage to have one more meaningful adventure, this time with each other, in order to attempt to live a lifetime in a single day.

I’ve been careful to include books of all kinds that have been enthusiastically recommended by fellow teenagers, so I hope there’s something here that will help you reach your goal by the end of the year. If there isn’t, I encourage taking a trip to your local library and having a look around – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! 😊

By Lucia Abduhl

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