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2023 Staff Picks for Teens


Middle-school firsts, fish-shaped spaceships, cryptid-fueled murder mysteries, dystopian resorts. These are just some of what you’ll find in this year’s list of recommended reads for teens. With titles that span all genres, we hope there’s something for everyone!

Be sure to also check out our Staff Picks lists for Adults and Kids to find new reads for the whole family. And if you’re looking for more recommended reads for 2024, try our My Next Read service to receive a custom list of recommendations from one of our librarians!

  • A First Time for Everything: A True Story by Dan Santat – recommended by Amanda S. at Library Administration and Aimee H. at Glen Allen
    • A really delightful and heartfelt graphic novel memoir of the author's junior high trip to Europe. Santat perfectly captures how insecure one feels in middle school. Shenanigans and a series of "firsts" ensue during his trip to Europe, and Santat gains the confidence to like himself for the first time. – Amanda S.
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir – recommended by Courtney M. at North Park
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games prequel) – recommended by Tori N. at Tuckahoe
    • In time for the movie, I re-read this book and found I liked it even better the second time around.  Who doesn't love a villain origin story? When coupled with Collins's complex futuristic world, it really does intrigue and make one think!
  • Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino (Manga) – recommended by Drew C. at Gayton
    • When a young calligraphy prodigy gets burned out in his professional life, he decides to move from a big Japanese city to a small island in order to get some peace and quiet and to reconnect with his inspiration. What this grumpy outsider does not expect, however, is that the entire rural village on the island thinks his arrival is something to celebrate! A fun examination of small-town life in Japan and the importance of community.
  • Bittersweet in the Hollow by Kate Pearsall – recommended by Trisha K. at Fairfield
    • Who doesn't love witches in Appalachia plus a murder mystery with cryptids woven in?? I was transported and sucked in until I finished it!
  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – recommended by Tiffany A. at Libbie Mill
    • I enjoyed the continuation of world building and character development first introduced in Six of Crows. There were points when I was reading quite fast because I had to know what was coming next, since Bardugo loves a good plot twist. 
  • Dark Rise by C. S. Pacat – recommended by Alisha H. at Gayton
  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller – recommended by Marie R. at Gayton
    • If you are in the mood for action and adventure with a hint of romance, this book is for you!
  • The Davenports by Krystal Marquis – recommended by Alicia A. at Library Administration
  • Dear Medusa by Olivia A. Cole – recommended by Ashby C. at Gayton
  • Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross – recommended by Barbra S. at North Park
    • This well-crafted fantasy world with likeable characters has whet my appetite to learn more about this world in the next book!
  • Fable by Adrienne Young - recommended by Gina F. at Gayton
  • Forever is Now by Mariama J. Lockington – recommended by Naila P. at Tuckahoe
    • A hopeful, inspiring read about a young Black teen who helps uplift her community and finds unexpected romance whilst overcoming her anxiety and newly-diagnosed agoraphobia.
  • The Getaway by Lamar Giles – recommended by Tracey B. at Tuckahoe
    • This YA dystopian novel is captivating. It follows a group of teens who live and work in an exclusive resort. As conditions in the outside world worsen, those who can afford it want the protection and resources available in the resort. The teens discover that there are more sinister forces at work and they most uncover the plot and stop it to save their community. 
  • Hungry Ghost by Victoria Ying - recommended by Beth C. at Fairfield
    • An extraordinary work of art for anyone who struggles/struggled with an eating disorder and how it can turn your life even more upside down when you’re faced with heartbreak.  
  • Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli – recommended by Dee D. at Libbie Mill
    • I really enjoyed this book because it is an LGBTQ+ book that deals with a topic not often addressed: when someone doesn’t obviously “look” like they are LGBTQ+ and how that perception affects how others perceive them as well as how they perceive themselves. Plus, this book includes other coming-of-age issues like leaving home for college and dealing with a fall-out with a friend.
  • Nimona by ND Stevenson – recommended by Elizabeth P. at Libbie Mill
  • Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson – recommended by Kristyn S. at Fairfield
  • On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden – recommended by Lisa K. at Glen Allen
    • This graphic novel about a found family takes place in a universe of floating-building worlds and fish-shaped spaceships.
  • Primer: A Superhero Graphic Novel by Jennifer Muro & Thomas Krajewski – recommended by Kristina C. at Library Administration
    • This is such a fun story with a great heroine. The artwork is great too.
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier – recommended by Jamie C. at Library Administration
  • Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens – recommended by Barbie B. at Tuckahoe


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2023 Staff Picks for Kids
2023 Staff Picks

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