“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor

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Karou spends half her time living as a girl attending art school in Prague, drawing fanciful creatures, hanging out with her friends and avoiding a conniving ex-boyfriend. What her friends don’t realize is that the creatures she draws and the stories she “makes up” about them are all true — and that these creatures are the closest things she has to a family. When she’s not pretending to be an ordinary human, she spends her time working for a minotaur-like creature who can magically send her all over the world collecting, of all things, teeth.

Karou realizes that something is going on when people with super-human strength begin following her wherever she goes, burning handprints into the doorways she uses to travel from place to place. And when the doorway that led her to her family is destroyed, she will do anything to find them again — even confront her dangerous stalkers in battle.

This book is amazing. Even if you have given up on paranormal romance, even if you are tired of angel/demon stories, please don’t pass this one up. Incredible world-building, wonderfully drawn characters, beautiful romance, lots of humor, lots of passages that will take your breath away with surprise. This book is such a pleasure to read, I can’t recommend it enough.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

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“The Unquiet” by Jeannine Garsee

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Rinn Jacobs has bipolar disorder. Before she started taking medication to control her condition, her moods — and her life — swung wildly out of control. When her actions indirectly led to the death of her grandmother, she attempted suicide. Rinn and her mother left California to return to her mother’s hometown in Ohio. Now it’s Rinn’s job to get her disorder under control while her mother and stepfather are separated and dealing with the aftereffects of her step-grandmother’s death.

But it’s hard to be normal when you’re renting a house and sleeping in a room where a woman hanged herself. It’s hard to be normal when a creepy hallway and an abandoned swimming pool at school seem to be haunted by Annaliese, the ghost of the hanged woman’s granddaughter. And it’s especially hard to be normal when tragedy falls on everyone who experiences paranormal activity in the eerie corridor.

Rinn becomes convinced that Annaliese is haunting her and preying on her friends and her mother. But will people believe her, or just think it’s her bipolar disorder talking?Give this book to horror fans who are looking for a genuinely creepy, page-turning ghost story.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“Try Not to Breathe” by Jennifer R. Hubbard

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Returning to school after a suicide attempt and a stint in a mental institution is hard on sixteen-year-old Ryan. Every day he has to deal with his parents’ understandable paranoia and worry, strange looks from his classmates, and the reality of deciding to live again after attempting to take his own life. He befriends a girl named Nicki who asks him frank questions about his suicide attempt. Her father also committed suicide, and she wants to understand how he felt before he decided to do the unthinkable.

Ryan accompanies Nicki as she visits mediums, trying to contact the spirit of her father and come to terms with his death. As he does this, he begins to understand his own motivations better and move on from the in-between life he created at the mental institution where he recovered. Slowly, he and Nicki reveal more details about their own scarred pasts, working from deception to truth as their relationship deepens.

This book felt very real to me. I especially appreciated Ryan’s growing maturity as he realized how out of proportion his suicide attempt was in response to the event that triggered it. With compassion and without condescension, Jennifer Hubbard captures the all-consuming feelings that often swamp teenagers. This would be a great book for teens who could relate to it personally, but also an enjoyable read for anyone who likes relationship-driven stories or problem novels.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“How to Save a Life” by Sara Zarr

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Seventeen-year-old Jill is still grieving over the death of her father when her mother decides to adopt a baby. To make things even worse, the pregnant teen mother, Mandy, is going to come live with them until she delivers the baby. Sara Zarr deftly paints a picture of the difficult, evolving relationships in this book: between Jill and Mandy, the two girls and Jill’s mother, Jill’s on again/off again boyfriend Dylan, and Jill’s new friend Ravi.

Told in alternating viewpoints between Jill and Mandy, this is a thought-provoking, emotional story about grieving, loss, friendship, family and love. This would make an excellent pick for a teen book discussion group.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky