The Glass Town Game by Catherynne Valente
Valente’s prose is always magical. It feels knowing and wise, and it brings out secret fears, hopes, and dreams. It makes life feel a little wonderful and a little dangerous. And it brings to life worlds readers have never seen before. The Glass Town Game introduces just such a world, one where a man can be made of books and suitcases can come to life. And it’s all based on the juvenalia of the Bronte siblings.
The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
This is one of two novels Montgomery wrote for adults. As a result, it feels a little more sad and knowing than some of her other works. Twenty-nine-year-old Valancy Stirling has to find a way to break free from her repressive relatives and live her last year with joy–before she succumbs to a fatal heart defect.
The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messener
Messner writes all her books with keen empathy. This one tells the story of a boy and his mom who briefly lose their apartment and must live in a homeless shelter. Messenger’s stories helps teachers see that the students who come unprepared are not always “trouble,” but sometimes dealing with difficult situations.
Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas
This is a fresh new fantasy series that seems to be inspired by role-playing games. The protagonist must collect magical objects and assemble a team in order to stop the evil book eaters.
Cousin Phyllis by Elizabeth Gaskell
A short novel about a young woman’s first time falling in love. It is a simple story, but a beautiful one. A nice introduction for readers new to Gaskell.
Slider by Pete Hautman
Hautman’s original story focuses on a boy who wants to get into competitive, even though his family does not always understand his dream. It also beautifully depicts the ways in which sibling relationships can be simultaneously complicated and wonderful.
Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery
A moving look at the Candadian homefront during WWI, this book focuses on Anne Blythe’s youngest daughter as she learns to stop worrying about frivolous things and giving of herself to others.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Sanderson always builds incredibly complex and magical worlds. The Reckoners trilogy introduces readers to a fun world where superheroes are actually supervillains who must be stopped by ordinary individuals.
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien ed. by Humprhrey Carpenter
Reading a book of letters might seem dull, but Tolkien’s provide lively insight into his life, his work, and his philosophy. It’s full of musings on the characters of LotR, Tolkien’s insights into the morality of his created world, and fun facts you probably didn’t know!
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
This is the start of a fun fantasy adventure that will probably actually appeal to fans of Harry Potter. It has a complex magical world, plenty of mystery and danger, and a cast sure to win your heart.