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Like No Other

Una LaMarche (Razorbill)

LaMarche’s second novel is a thrilling Brooklyn romance—Crown Heights, to be specific. Yes, the excitement of first love is a big part of that thrill, but so are the stakes: for Devorah, her Hasidic family’s traditions mean that she shouldn’t even be speaking to a boy like Jaxon, let alone allowing him into her heart. The relationship that develops between two teenagers who live mere blocks apart yet worlds apart tests their friendships, faith, and families, as LaMarche explores persistent prejudices, crises of conscience, a hunger for independence, and the potential for love to beat the odds.


Love and Other Foreign Words

Erin McCahan (Dial)

Readers in the mood for serious laughs need look no further than McCahan’s story about 15-year-old Josie Sheridan, who is determined to break up her older sister Kate’s impending marriage. Kate's fiancé, Geoff, is an awkward librarian who grates on Josie’s last nerve (and whose personality is perhaps more familiar than Josie would care to admit). Josie is certain that Kate can’t possibly love Geoff, but she’s on less solid ground when it comes to the men in her own life, and whether love might be possible with any of them. There are some very funny family dynamics at play, but it’s Josie’s analytical, overthinking narration and knack for delivering truly lacerating quips that will have readers sticking by her side.


This One Summer

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki (First Second)

The cousins behind 2008’s Skim return with a moody, contemplative graphic novel that homes in on women at critical stages in their lives. The primary focus is on Rose and Windy, whose families spend time together every year at the same lakeside Ontario cottages. But even as Rose seems to be outgrowing Windy, causing tension, the struggles of their parents and some older local teenagers loom large, underlining the idea that actions don’t occur in a vacuum. Printed in the rich blue ink of a clear night sky, Jillian Tamaki’s illustrations powerfully evoke both the strong emotions at play and the intimacy (and claustrophobia) of a vacation town.


We Were Liars

E. Lockhart (Delacorte)

Now here’s a novel that people will be talking about long after the beaches have cleared for another season. The trick, for readers of any age, will be tearing through it fast enough to avoid having any of its twists spoiled, either online or in real life. Set on a private island off Cape Cod, Lockhart’s story unfolds through the unreliable narration of Candace Sinclair Eastman, as she tries to unlock family secrets through the haze of lingering brain injuries in the wake of an accident. Hers is a journey that’s painful, heartbreaking, and hard to forget.


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