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Aurora Rising

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Knopf)

In Kaufman and Kristoff’s space opera set in 2380, Aurora Academy’s decorated cadet Tyler Jones inadvertently trades his carefully planned future for a squad of misfits when he rescues a human girl from a ship that has been missing for 200 years.

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Brave Face: A Memoir

Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon Pulse)

YA author Hutchinson explores with raw honesty the travails of coming into his sexuality as a gay person in the early 1990s, sharing passages from his diaries to present the truth as he saw it and the turmoil he experienced.

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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (First Second)

This graphic novel set in Berkeley, Calif., introduces Laura Dean and her on-again, off-again girlfriend Frederica in an exploration of toxic relationships and social dynamics that is—like its largely queer and physically and ethnically diverse cast—sharp and dazzling.

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Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Tiffany D. Jackson, with Malik “Malik- 16” Sharif (HarperCollins/Tegen)

After an aspiring teen rap artist becomes the victim of an apparent street shooting, his sister and best friends hatch a plan: they will pretend that he is still alive in order to turn him into a rap superstar. Jackson scores a bull’s-eye with her passionate homage to black city life in the late ’90s.

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The Rest of the Story

Sarah Dessen (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Emma Saylor remembers the stories her late mother told her about growing up on the shores of a lake. When she is sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family, Emma discovers two communities (one working class, one wealthy), a boy named Roo, and pieces of herself and her past.

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Stepsister

Jennifer Donnelly (Scholastic Press)

"Cinderella" has seen many variations, but few detail what happens beyond the royal marriage, and even fewer cast a light on Cinderella's family. In this feminist retelling that follows "ugly" stepsister Isabelle, Printz-winning author Donnelly does both, adding in plenty of fateful adventures and advocating autonomy and empowerment.

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With the Fire on High

Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)

In this stunning sophomore novel from National Book Award– and Printz– winner Acevedo, high school senior Emoni Santiago lives in Philadelphia with her grandmother and two-year-old daughter, balancing school, work, and motherhood and developing her cooking abilities.

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