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The Awesome

Eva Darrows (Rebellion/Ravenstone)

Maggie Cunningham is preparing to follow in her mother's footsteps as a monster-hunter, but first she really needs to lose her virginity—vampires tend to get a bit frenzied around virgins, so it's non-negotiable, as Maggie's "asskicker" mother makes absolutely clear. Edgy, wisecrackingly irreverent, and an all-around blast, Darrows's novel is perfect for readers who don't mind sex in their fiction (bad sex, included) and think they've seen it all where vampires are concerned.


Emmy & Oliver

Robin Benway (HarperTeen)

When Emmy's onetime neighbor Oliver returns to town years after being kidnapped by his father, it gives the teenagers a chance to reconnect with each other and to explore the tentative possibility of romance. Benway's story realistically and sensitively traces how these two teens attempt to bridge the time, distance, and circumstances that have come between them. It's a summer read with real depth.


Finding Audrey

Sophie Kinsella (Delacorte)

Plenty of teens have already found their way to Kinsella's bestselling books for adults, but she's writing for them specifically as she introduces a 14-year-old British girl, Audrey, who has taken to wearing dark glasses and staying at home following an incident at school. Luckily, Audrey has the support of her tumultuous but loving family—a bunch as memorable as Audrey herself. Watching her emerge a stronger, better person is both rewarding and entertaining.


I Am Princess X

Cherie Priest, illus. by Kali Ciesemier (Scholastic/Levine)

Part comic, part novel, and packed with emotion and adventure, Priest's story follows 16-year-old Seattle resident May as she tries to discover whether her childhood friend Libby, who died in a car accident, might still be alive. How else to explain the comics popping up online and around town that feature Princess X, a character the two girls created? It's a fast-paced yet thoughtful thriller, and Ciesemier's comics sequences both ground the story and amp up the excitement.



Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)

Having originated online, Stevenson's graphic novel arrives in print with an existing fan base, but it's hard to imagine the reader who won't want to join their ranks after spending time in this wonderfully imagined modern-meets-medieval world. Complex characters, sharp banter, and a nuanced take on ideas of heroism and villainy are just a few of the treats that await those who get to know fiery shapeshifter Nimona and the disgraced knight Lord Ballister Blackheart.


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