For Fans of John Green
If you love the realistic fiction of John Green, try these other well-written tales of contemporary teen life. (All annotations (c) Castilleja School Library.)
(Grades 9+) Danyal is good looking, but he’s never been that academically talented, much to his parents’ chagrin. Still, somehow he gets chosen to represent his school in a history competition, which he takes as an opportunity to impress his long-time crush, fashionable and brilliant Kaval. But the college freshman he recruits to tutor him opens his eyes to a lot more than his history classes have before. A mix of teen drama, humor and serious insights into colonialism and identity.
(Gr 8+) Marin left her home with her phone, her wallet, and a picture of her long dead mother. Avoiding anything from home, she stays in the dorms over winter break and ignores overtures from her best friend Mabel. Her reasons for her isolation slowly unfold in this beautiful and introspective novel.
(Grades 10 and up) Jude is used to being bullied. He has built a fantasy life to deal with it, imagining that he is a movie star bothered by the paparazzi rather than a regular high school student. Click to read about the heartbreaking story that inspired the author.
(Gr 9+) Military brat Gabi is looking forward to going back to the U.S. to attend college when her older brother, Lucas, is badly wounded in Afghanistan. Gabi promised her brother she would walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain if he were ever wounded. Unfortunately, the promise included her brother’s best friend Seth, someone Gabi despises. Will Gabi keep her promise and, if so, will the trip be the nightmare that Gabi envisions?
(Gr 7+) Lou, has some of the fastest swim times in Britain but after she fails to qualify for Olympics training, she must reimagine her life. She ends up, weirdly, coaching a boys’ synchronized swim team that is not only comprised of the “cool kids”, but is in direct competition with Lou’s old swim team in this hilarious debut novel.
(Gr 8+) 16 year old Jesse is still reeling from her brother’s death during the 9/11 attacks when she makes a destructive choice and must face the past. In 2001, proud Muslim Alia goes to argue with her dad, at his office in the Towers. When the attack comes, she must trust a strange boy if she is to survive.
(Gr 9+) Willa leaves a small town in Iowa to attend a prestigious East Coast prep school – not her idea, but she has a plan that will mean she won’t stay long. When Willa gets to school, she is definitely a misfit. However, she soon befriends wealthy, charismatic, ultra hip Remy. A close friendship in this very privileged enclave lures Willa to abandon her plan, but instead to jeopardize the future she didn‘t know she cared about. The novel explores the nature of friendship and privilege.
(Gr 9+) In this epistolary novel, Connor and Izzy meet as teen instructors at an art camp in the Pacific Northwest. They soon become close friends, and correspond after they return to their respective homes. Connor is actually in love with Izzy, but grows to realize that Izzy’s emotional states can be extreme. Increasingly worried about Izzy, Connor must decide whether and when to intervene.
(New adult) Adulthood is not what Jonathan was lead to expect. His boss is nuts, his apartment is less than legal and his girlfriend has found him wanting in the money department. But when his brother goes to Dubai for work, Jonathan agrees to look after his dogs, and finds that maybe answers can be found on the end of a leash.
(Gr 9+) Zephyr is a talented field hockey player with great friends who has her life figured out. Alec is the cute new guy who shares her interests and charms his way into her heart. Rom-com perfect, right? But Alec begins to manipulate Zephyr, cutting her off from her friends, demanding all her time and energy. Can Zephyr end the relationship before it escalates into something already worse than it is?
(Gr 10+, ebook) Best friends Reagan Forrester and Victoria Reyes want out of their small town in Kansas, away from crazy families and bad memories, and into college--together. But as they start on their college visits, they realize just how different they are, how different what they want is, and the secrets they have been hiding from each other.
(Gr 9+) You know those kids who are just naturally the protagonists? The kids who are always falling in and out of love with vampires, or being abducted by aliens, or falling into alternate dimensions, or blowing up the school? This book is not about those kids. This book is about everyone else. And we LOVE it.
(Gr 9+) Into the Dangerous World stars Ror, who was raised in a commune by her father, its leader. When Ror's father burns the commune down with himself inside, she ends up in Manhattan and falls in love with Trey, the leader of graffiti crew Noise Ink. Ror's loyalties are divided between her love of street art and Trey, the wishes of her deceased father, who wanted her to study classic art, and a teacher who encourages her to go to college.