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YALSA RECOMMENDATIONS: Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Literature & Language Arts

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The lover's dictionary

Levithan, David.


In simple dictionary entries a story of friendship, passion, and love comes to life.

Thrice told tales

Lewis, Catherine.


One nursery rhyme is used to explain nearly one hundred elements of literature and writing in a fun, clever way.

The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks : a novel

Lockhart, E.


When fifteen-year-old Frankie finds out her boyfriend is lying to her, she vows to infiltrate and take down his boys-only secret society to prove what a girl can really do.

Finnikin of the rock

Marchetta, Melina, 1965-


Ten years after the royal family of Lumatere is brutally murdered, nineteen-year-old Finnikin sets out on a journey to discover whether or not the rumors of a surviving heir are true.

Under the mesquite

McCall, Guadalupe Garcia.


When Lupita’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, it falls to Lupita to care for the rest of her Mexican-American family. In this free-verse novel, Lupita comes of age and finds strength in sharing her thoughts and opinions.

The song of Achilles

Miller, Madeline.


Achilles and Patroclus have been through many tough situations as they’ve grown up together. The battle at Troy may be their final challenge. This beautiful retelling of their story brings the Iliad to life.

No crystal stair : a documentary novel of the life and work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem bookseller

Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux.


Through the use of illustrations, photos, and newspaper clippings, the struggle and triumph of Lewis Michaux’s passion to get people to read led him to found the National Memorial African Bookstore, which became the intellectual hub and the place to be during the Harlem Renaissance.

October mourning : a song for Matthew Shepard

Newman, Lesléa.


Through different points of view and different forms of poetry, Newman explores both the crime and tragedy of Matthew Shepard’s death.


Rowell, Rainbow.


As a college freshman, Cath struggles to find her place as she tries to balance her chaotic home life, her fan-fiction writing, and school, while discovering what life is like without her twin sister.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore

Sloan, Robin, 1979-


This story of complex code breaking, global conspiracy, and adventure all starts with a lonely bookstore and one unemployed web designer.

The Scorpio Races

Stiefvater, Maggie, 1981-


Every November, riders attempt to stay on their water horses long enough to win the Scorpio Races. Puck Connolly is the first girl to ever compete and she is in no way prepared for the race or the returning champion, Sean Kendrick.

The curiosities : a collection of stories

Stiefvater, Maggie, 1981-


Three young adult authors challenged each other to write a piece of short fiction every week. The Curiosities is a collection of their stories, with comments from each author about their writing.

Imaginary girls

Suma, Nova Ren.


Chloe adores her big sister Ruby, and lives to win Ruby’s approval. In fact, Ruby seems to have this effect on everyone in their little town. But just what is the power that Ruby holds over them? The author’s use of language may keep us from seeing the truth in this eerily compelling story.


Teller, Janne, 1964-


When Pierre Anthon announces that nothing matters, his classmates set out to prove him wrong, with chilling consequences.

American born Chinese

Yang, Gene Luen.


Intertwining three very different stories, this graphic novel tackles the problems young Chinese-Americans face when trying to adapt to popular culture.

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