The Offsides Dilemma (YA)

by Michelle MacQueen

She’s in training for a figure skating championship. He’s the star of the high school hockey team her father coaches. Their team needs desperate help, and he’s convinced she’s the best person to give it, even though her father has declared her off limits.

This was an adorable sweet romance. I loved that the actual sports details felt accurate, like the author is actually a hockey fan. The plot was predictable, but I liked the characters enough that I didn’t mind.

The Blue Castle (YA)

by L.M. Montgomery

Valancy Stirling is already considered an “old maid” at twenty-nine. She’s been a quiet, obedient daughter all her life, but when she receives a letter from her doctor predicting an imminent end to her life, she decides to make the most of her last year. Can she shake off her family’s controlling grip and find the life she was meant for before it’s too late?

Despite the somewhat morbid premise, this book is happy, hopeful, and fun. I love Valancy’s attitude and snarky wit. It is one of the sweetest romances I’ve read in the last year, and it’s definitely going on my list of books to read again.

Instructions for Dancing (YA)

by Nicola Yoon

Evie’s faith in love has been shaken by her parents’ divorce (and the secret knowledge of her father’s prior affair). A strange encounter at a Little Free Library leads to a startling discovery: when Evie sees a couple kiss, she can see their whole romance, start to finish. As she seeks answers, she finds herself at a ballroom dance studio. Can she let go of her fears and learn to dance with a handsome stranger? Can she regain her faith in love and in her family?

I loved this book, start to finish, but I’ll warn you: there are definite tear-jerker moments. I legit cried. It’s worth it, but be prepared.

Tuesdays at the Castle (MG)

by Jessica Day George

Castle Glower changes every Tuesday, throwing out a new wing or redecorating a room or changing the destination of a staircase. When Princess Celie’s family goes missing and treacherous men try to take over the kingdom, Celie and her siblings step up to the task of defending themselves, their people, and the castle that loves them as much as they love it.

I loved Castle Glower from the first page, and Celie is a delightful heroine. The characters are fun, and their defense strategy had me giggling. The ending felt a bit abrupt, but overall it’s a great book.

Dear Hero (YA)

by Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat

After losing their respective nemeses for various reasons, hero Cortex and villain Vortex are both in the market for a new one. They meet on Mega-Match, the not-dating app that matches heroes and villains (and sidekicks and henchmen). But what happens when they realize that there’s not such a huge difference between them after all?

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. The whole thing is told in private messages and group chats. The dialogue and characters are awesome, and the whole concept was so much fun. It reminded me of the animated movie Megamind, except with 18-year-olds and a much higher body count (and yes, there are deaths, but they’re not gruesome).

Merci Suarez Changes Gears (MG)

by Meg Medina

Merci Suarez starts 6th grade with big hopes of joining the soccer team and having a great year. But things don’t go as planned, and she must navigate unsettling family health issues and friends who are suddenly more interested in boys than in sports.

This story felt so real to me, even though I come from a different background. I loved Merci and her family, and by the end, I’d laughed and cried with them. It’s a fantastic book to help with those awkward times when everything is changing and you feel like you’re the only one left.

Children of Blood and Bone (YA)

by Tomi Adeyemi

When a strange girl grabs Zelie in the capital city’s market and begs her help to escape, Zelie is pulled against her will into a war to save magic and empower her people, who have been oppressed almost to the point of genocide. Can she learn to harness her own magic in time? Can she save those she loves?

This book is insanely powerful. The writing is incredible; the characters are intense and so, so real. I loved so much about it. Seeing oppression, cruelty, and racism in this context brought so many things home to me in a whole new way—it was a strong kick to my privilege. Downsides: there is a ton of blood, death, and violence, so if you’re squeamish, it may not be your cup of tea. Also, though I loved most of the book, certain events (which I saw coming and wished they wouldn’t) soured the end for me. I don’t think I’ll read the sequel because of that.

The Crossover (MG)

by Kwame Alexander

Told entirely in short poems/rap, this is the story of Josh Bell and his family—including his twin brother and their basketball star father.

I’m not big on basketball or poetry, but this was an incredibly cool way to tell a story, and a lot of the poems were really poignant. I loved the characters and their relationships. This book deals with some big issues, and I definitely cried, but it’s well worth the read. (It’s also a really quick read.)


She must destroy the most powerful magical object of the age… or the dragons will destroy her family.

Four hundred years ago, a hero with an enchanted sword defended the kingdoms from increasingly violent dragons. Their numbers decimated, the dragons forged a treaty with the fairies to entrap the Dragon-killer and destroy the sword. But fairies are nothing if not treacherous…

The sword, as powerful and dangerous as ever, has fallen again into the claws of the dragons. In return for their help rescuing her sister, Zia has rashly promised to destroy it. Unfortunately, she has no idea how.

Together with her sister Meri and the all-knowing Talking Dog, Zia must find a way to finish off the sword for good, navigating fairies, wizards, love, magic, and another unwanted prophecy. If she doesn’t, she’ll never see her parents or younger siblings again…

This is the third and final book in the completed Charmwood Chronicles trilogy, which should be read in order. The two previous books are Sabryn and Firstborn.

Mairelon the Magician (YA)

by Patricia C. Wrede

Kit, a street thief in London, is hired to sneak into a magician’s wagon and snoop around. When she took the job, she didn’t expect the magician to be an actual, practicing wizard. Soon Kit is involved in a mixed up adventure in search of a magical artifact.

This magical romp in Regency England is so much fun. I read it in high school, and I loved it just as much again on this reread. The sequel, Magician’s Ward, is also fantastic.