Expand your reading list with these 9 must-read crossover books that will enchant both adults and young adults alike.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Now a #1 LibraryReads pick for July!
A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale from the bestselling author of Uprooted.
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.
But when an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered.
The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety.
In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
A mesmerizing debut set in Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar’s violent reign about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both.
Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.
When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona’s mysterious ways. But Petrona’s unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls’ families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal.
“When women tell stories, they are finally at the center of the page. When women of color write history, we see the world as we have never seen it before. In Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras honors the lives of girls who witness war. Brava! I was swept up by this story.”—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson
In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.
Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told. This is not that fairy tale. There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened. And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.
There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.
Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais
The Secret Life of Bees set in Johannesburg. A perceptive and searing read about Apartheid South Africa, as told through the story of one unique family brought together by tragedy.
Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation, but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Their meeting should never have occurred . . . until The Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, leaving Robin’s parents dead and Beauty’s daughter missing.
In the aftermath, Beauty is hired to care for Robin, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty reunites with her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences.
The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by A. E. Hotchner
A heartwarming amateur detective story set in Depression-era St. Louis from beloved author A. E. Hotchner.
Street-savvy, almost-thirteen-year-old Aaron Broom is guarding his father’s car when he witnesses a robbery gone wrong in a jewelry store across the street. To Aaron’s shock, his father, a travelling watch salesman in the wrong place at the wrong time, is fingered as the prime suspect in the murder. Despite seeing the real killer flee the scene, Aaron can’t do much to help in the moment—no one will take a kid’s word for it. Undaunted, Aaron enlists an unlikely band of friends and helpful adults to clear his father’s name.
In his search for justice, Aaron draws upon the resources of a world-weary paperboy, an aspiring teen journalist, a kindly lawyer, and a neighborhood friend with a penchant for baking. And as they dig into the details of the case, these unconventional detectives reveal a cover-up that goes much deeper than a jewelry-store heist gone sour.
Minecraft: The Crash by Tracey Baptiste
When a new virtual-reality version of Minecraft brings her dreams—and doubts—to life, one player must face her fears.
Bianca has never been good at following the plan. She’s more of an act-now, deal-with-the-consequences-later kind of person. But consequences can’t be put off forever, as Bianca learns when she and her best friend, Lonnie, are in a terrible car crash.
Waking up in the hospital, almost paralyzed by her injuries, Bianca is faced with questions she’s not equipped to answer. She chooses instead to try a new virtual-reality version of Minecraft that responds to her every wish, giving her control over a world at the very moment she thought she’d lost it. As she explores this new realm, she encounters a mute, glitching avatar she believes to be Lonnie. Bianca teams up with Esme and Anton, two kids who are also playing on the hospital server, to save her friend.
But the road to recovery isn’t without its own dangers. The kids are swarmed by mobs seemingly generated by their fears and insecurities, and now Bianca must deal with the uncertainties that have been plaguing her: Is Lonnie really in the game? And can Bianca help him return to reality?
Girls Resist! By Kaelyn Rich; Illustrated by Giulia Sagramola
An activism handbook for teen girls ready to fight for change, social justice, and equality.
Take on the world and make some serious change with this handbook to everything activism, social justice, and resistance. With in-depth guides to everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to running dispute-free meetings, promoting awareness on social media, and being an effective ally, Girls Resist! will show you how to go from “mad as heck about the way the world is going” to “effective leader who gets stuff done.” Veteran feminist organizer KaeLyn Rich shares tons of expertise that’ll inspire you as much as it teaches you the ropes. Plus, quotes and tips from fellow teen girl activists show how they stood up for change in their communities.