Best Teen Fiction of 2021!

Another year is almost over, and with it came a lot of new and incredible Teen Fiction! Here are the titles that we think were the best of the best in the genres of mystery/suspense, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and coming of age stories. There is still time to pick them up from your closest CPL branch and check them off your reading list before we count down the end of 2021! Linked book titles will take you to our brand new catalogue which will officially be launching on December 20th. You can still place holds using the new catalogue, simply use your existing library card and pin to create an account. Happy Reading!

Mystery/Suspense

coverart, the firekeeper's daughterThe Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her fragile mother.  The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, a charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team. As sparks fly, something about Jamie just doesn’t add up, and Daunis suddenly finds herself a witness to a shocking murder. Reluctantly, she agrees to go undercover but secretly starts her own investigation to track down the criminals.

 

 

 

 

cover art, the girls I've beenThe Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when her mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:

#3: Right after they enter the bank, two guys start robbing it.

 

cover art, the hawthorne legacyThe Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Barnes

Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the beloved bestselling The Inheritance Games. The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions–including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons. With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, Knives Out -like family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike.

 

 

 

Fantasy

cover art, six crimson cranesSix Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim 

After unleashing forbidden magic, being banished by her stepmother and unable to speak or her brothers will die, Shiori’anma must find a way to save them with the help of a paper bird, a mercurial dragon and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

 

 

 

 

cover art, once upon a broken heartOnce Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber 

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another. Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy….

 

 

 

cover art, the gilded onesThe Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity-and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki-near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be-not even Deka herself.

 

Science Fiction

cover art, iron widowIron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

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.

 

cover art, The darkness outside usThe Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

Two boys, alone in space. After the first settler on Titan trips her distress signal, neither remaining country on Earth can afford to scramble a rescue of its own, and so two sworn enemies are installed in the same spaceship. Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor, with no memory of a launch.

There’s more that doesn’t add up: Evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing his own sister. In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust one another… especially once they discover what they are truly up against.

 

 

cover art, Aurora's endAurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When team of misfits Squad 312 get one last chance to rewrite their ending and defeat an ancient evil, they make friends, enemies and history—but to pull off saving the galaxy, they’ll need a miracle. The squad you love is out of time. Prepare for the thrilling finale in the epic, best-selling Aurora Cycle series about a band of unlikely heroes who just might be the galaxy’s last hope for survival. 

 

 

 

Romance

cover art, instructions for dancingInstructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Evie Thomas experiences something strange when she witnesses a couple kiss and is overtaken with a vision of how their romance began and how it will end. As Evie tries to figure out why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. They are entered in a ballroom dancing competition even though they have just met. Evie does not want to fall for X because of her visions of heartbreak, but as they are drawn towards each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love.

 

 

 

cover art, how moon fuentez fell in love with the universeHow Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquex Gilliland

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible.

Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen. Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was. Could this summer change Moon’s life as she knows it?

 

cover art, last night at the telegraph clubLast Night at the Telegraph Club by Malindo Lo

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the feeling took root–that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.

But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father–despite his hard-won citizenship–Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

 

 

Coming of Age

cover art, fat chance charlie vegaFat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado 

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

 

cover art, american betiyaAmerican Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in–his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art–make him her mother’s worst nightmare.

They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver’s troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself–and what’s really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.

 

 

 

cover art, concrete rose

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

A gang leader’s son finds his effort to go straight for the sake of his child challenged by a loved one’s brutal murder. This poignant exploration of Black coming-of-age is set seventeen years before the events of the award-winning The Hate U Give.