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      Infinity Son

      by Adam Silvera

      Apr 2020

      High-Interest High Plus

      Ever since they were young, brothers Emil and Brighton have idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to protect the world from specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials were born with supernatural powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures. A gang of specters is growing bolder by the day, and the fear they sow is making it harder for anyone with powers to live peacefully and openly in the world.

      Shortly after their eighteenth birthday, Emil and Brighton are attacked by a specter, and, in trying to defend his brother, Emil manifests a power that shouldn’t be possible: phoenix fire—a power that only a specter could have. Convinced that he is the key to finally ending the war, the Spell Walkers want Emil to join their ranks, and they’re willing to take Brighton too if that’s his condition. For Brighton—even if he’s powerless—the chance to fight specters with his heroes is a dream come true. For Emil, the constant fighting—and the painful new power—is a waking nightmare. Much as they hate to admit it, the brothers are faced with an undeniable fact: one of them has what it takes to be a hero, but it’s not the one who desperately wants it.

      Loveboat, Taipei

      by Abigail Hing Wen

      Mar 2020

      High-Interest High Plus

      “Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.”

      And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict, educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop. But not every student is quite what they seem:

      Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.
      Rick Woo is the Yale-bound, child-prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.
      Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.
      And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.

      When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

      Author’s note.

      Jackpot

      by Nic Stone

      Feb 2020

      High-Interest High Plus

      Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ’n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she—with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan—can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?

      Slay

      by Brittney Morris

      Jan 2020

      High-Interest High Plus

      By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer: not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the black man.”

      But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination. Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically black in a world intimidated by blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

      Frankly in Love

      by David Yoon

      Dec 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo—his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance—“Date Korean”—which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful—and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love—or himself—at all.

      Permanent Record

      by Mary H. K. Choi

      Nov 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans.

      Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon, and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, step-and-repeats, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them.

      When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter, it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Lee and Pab turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.

      Symptoms of a Heartbreak

      by Sona Charaipotra

      Oct 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      Most 16-year-olds cause at least some damage on their path to adulthood. But Saira Sehgal has vowed to first do no harm. A girl genius, she’s the youngest MD in America—and she hasn’t picked an easy specialty: She’s working on the cancer ward.

      Saira’s always been good at getting what she wants, but she’s new to adult challenges—like getting out from under the thumb of her doting mother, who works at the same hospital; like proving herself to coworkers who don’t take her seriously; and crushing on a cute boy who happens to have stage-two leukemia.

      Turns out “heartbreak” is one ailment Saira still doesn’t know how to treat.

      Symptoms of a Heartbreak goes from romantic comedy highs to tearjerker lows and is the ultimate cure-all for readers needing an infusion of something heartfelt.

      Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

      by Guillermo del Toro

      Oct 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      This book is not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit. It’s not for skeptics who don’t believe in fairy tales and the powerful forces of good. It’s only for brave and intrepid souls like you, who will stare down evil in all its forms.

      Inspired by the critically acclaimed film written and directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and reimagined by New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke, this haunting tale takes readers to a darkly magical and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous men, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.

      Perfect for fans of the movie and readers who are new to del Toro’s visionary work, this atmospheric and absorbing novel is a portal to another universe where there is no wall between the real and the imagined. A daring, unforgettable collaboration between two brilliant storytellers.

      Virtually Yours

      by Sarvenaz Tash

      Sep 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      How bad can one little virtual lie be?

      NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal.

      It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right?

      Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL.

      Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love?

      With the Fire On High

      by Elizabeth Acevedo

      Aug 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for their trip to Spain—and certainly can’t follow her dreams of working in a real kitchen someday. But even with all the rules she has for her life—and all the rules everyone expects her to play by—once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

      Internment

      by Samira Ahmed

      Jul 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp's Director and his guards. Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

      Author’s note. Resources.

      On the Come Up

      by Angie Thomas

      Jun 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral… for all the wrong reasons.
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