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Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
Selected by the Books for Youth editors, the following titles constitute the year’s best personal reading for teenagers among adult books published in 2017. More on each book’s content and suggested audience can be found in the full-length Booklist review.
The Best We Could Do. By Thi Bui. Illus. by the author. Abrams ComicArts, $24.95 (9781419718779).
In expressive panels rendered in inky brush strokes and ochre washes, Bui pieces together the deeply felt, complicated story of her parents, who fled Vietnam as refugees in 1976. An exceptional graphic memoir.
Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life. By Chelsea Martin. Soft Skull, $16.95 (9781593766771).
Chronicling her coming-of-age, beginning with memories of her first sexual arousal and ending with making a life-changing decision as a young adult, Martin’s unabashed essays are brash, sweaty, uncomfortable, and utterly enchanting.
Girl Up: Kick Ass, Claim Your Woman Card, and Crush Everyday Sexism. By Laura Bates. Touchstone, $16 (9781501169199).
This essay collection reads like a love letter to teenage girls, sharing frank, searing advice about being a young woman growing up in a patriarchy. Laugh-out-loud funny and totally empowering.
Norse Mythology. By Neil Gaiman. Norton, $25.95 (9780393609097).
Beloved storyteller Gaiman works his usual magic on Norse mythology here. His striking retelling of these ancient stories, spanning from life’s origin to Ragnarok’s destruction, will enthrall any intrigued by Thor and Valhalla.
Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin. By Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. Random, $26 (9780812997231).
Trayvon Martin’s parents offer a remarkably candid and affecting chronicle of the aftermath of his murder in this volume, and politically aware teens will come away both moved and deeply informed by their words.
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. By Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith. Illus. by Zach Weinersmith. Penguin, $30 (9780399563829).
In this whip-smart, enthusiastic look at the world of emerging technologies, the Weinersmiths present scientific advances and ethical considerations in a compelling, accessible combination of comics and text. Popular science has never been so fun.
The Bear and the Nightingale. By Katherine Arden. Del Rey, $27 (9781101885932).
Gracefully threaded with Russian fairy tales, Arden’s debut tells the story of Vasya, daughter of a supposed witch, in the northern reaches of medieval Russia. A bewitching, earthy story of folk magic and hubris.
The Doll Funeral. By Kate Hamer. Melville, $25.99 (9781612196657).
After a severe beating, 13-year-old Ruby runs away and finds refuge with three siblings who have been abandoned by their eccentric parents. Her search for belonging unfolds through evocative prose, brushed with the supernatural.
The Gargoyle Hunters. By John Freeman Gill. Knopf, $27.95 (9781101946886).
In 1974 New York City, 13-year-old Griffin emerges as a Caulfieldesque hero, who joins his estranged father’s architectural salvaging business. Couched in intrigue, Gill’s imaginative bildungsroman tenderly captures the complexity of their father-son relationship.
Ginny Moon. By Benjamin Ludwig. Park Row, $26.99 (9780778330165).
Evoking Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), Ludwig’s unforgettable debut is narrated by autistic teen Ginny as she embarks on a quest to find her birth mother and little sister.
A Good Country. By Laleh Khadivi. Bloomsbury, $27 (9781632865847).
When Reza Courdee—a well-off, Iranian American teen—is befriended by a charismatic Muslim boy, he’s awakened to the world’s injustices. Khadivi’s timely novel illustrates how the perfect storm of teenage cruelty, racism, and tragedy can create an extremist.
Gwendy’s Button Box. By Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. Cemetery Dance, $25 (9781587676109).
In this ominous coming-of-age novella, Gwendy must keep a box safe that could unleash worldwide devastation. As she grows from 12-year-old to college grad, Gwendy’s time as the box’s steward raises questions of power and free will.
History of Wolves. By Emily Fridlund. Atlantic Monthly, $25 (9780802125873).
Loneliness and foreboding pervade Fridlund’s story of 14-year-old Linda, the daughter of erstwhile cult-member parents. Her life is shaken up when her teacher is fired and her babysitting job takes a sinister turn.
The Impossible Fortress. By Jason Rekulak. Simon & Schuster, $26 (9781501144417).
In 1987, 14-year-old Billy’s obsession with learning computer programming hits a fever pitch when he meets Mary, who’s way above his skill level. Crude humor and misfit characters make this an unexpected delight.
Little Fires Everywhere. By Celeste Ng. Penguin, $27 (9780735224292).
Ng’s stunning, multilayered examination of identity, family, and friendship, centered on a Shaker Heights, Ohio, neighborhood, features five strong teenage protagonists, who will guide teen readers through young love and budding idealism.
The Power. By Naomi Alderman. Little, Brown, $26 (9780316547611).
Teen girls’ sudden ability to manifest electricity and wield it as a weapon opens the door to a major power shift between the sexes, especially when they start awakening the same ability in older women.
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