Beck Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda took the book world by storm when it was published in 2015 earning Albertalli a National Book Award nomination. and winning the William C. Morris YA Debut Award in 2016. The movie adaptation (retitled “Love, Simon”) will hit theaters in March 2018 and Albertalli’s companion novel Leah on the Offbeat will release in April. Any fan of this book knows you can’t have too much Simon, but in the meantime these books can fill that Simon shaped hole in your heart until 2018 rolls around.
If You Want a Book with Blackmail or Mystery:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus: All of them were caught using cell phones during school hours. All of them claim they were framed. On Monday afternoon the five of them walk into detention at Bayview High. Only four of them walk out alive.
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (2009 Teens’ Top Ten, 2009 Michael L. Printz Award, 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners): Frankie embarks on a path of unprecedented mischief, mayhem, and intrigue during her sophomore year at boarding school.
- The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby: Charlie and John have nothing in common except for art and ambition. They are both determined to win and they won’t let anything stand in their way. Not a soul-killing job at Salad Stop or an unsympathetic girlfriend. Not a dad’s girlfriend’s drug-addicted ex-boyfriend. And definitely not a very minor case of kidnapping.
- The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed: They start as nobodies. Three misfits trying to find their way. Bound together by shared outrage new girl Grace, queer punk girl Rosina, and nerdy loner Erin become the Nowhere Girls as they try to seek justice and change in their small Texas town in the aftermath of Lucy’s attempt to report her gang rape–a crime most of the town chooses to ignore.
If You Want a Book with a Musical (or a Play):
- The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Quinn doesn’t know how to deal with his sister’s death but his best friend insists that it’s time for Quinn to rejoin the living. One haircut later Quinn meets a hot guy at his first college parts and starts to think the movie version of his life might have a happy ending after all.
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (2011 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2011 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production, 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Two boys, one name, and one collision course that sets both Wills on the path of love, friendship, and an epic high school musical.
- Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills: Already on the wrong side of her school’s worst mean girl, Claudia doesn’t know what to think when they’re both forced to try out for the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But mandatory participation might be exactly what Claudia needs to broaden her horizons.
- Anything Could Happen by Will Walton: Tretch knows his dads will support him if he comes out. But he’s not sure what it would mean for his quiet small town life, or his painful crush on his straight best friend. But practicing dance routines alone can only go so far. Tretch will have to put himself center stage if he wants to get his due.
If You Want a Book with Pen Pals:
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (2015 Teens’ Top Ten): No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
- In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah thinks the Nick she’s known online can’t be that different from Nick in real life. But she only has one night in Vegas to figure that out and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
- The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty: When Cassie, Emily, and Lydia join their school’s pen pal project they don’t expect to make friends–let alone fall for–they boys they’re writing to at a neighboring school. But taking their written correspondence to real life proves more challenging than any of them realize and might even put the rest of the pen pal project at risk.
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone: Justyce hopes to find some answers in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after he is profiled and unfairly detained by the police. But as Jus tries to follow his teachings and writes to Dr. King to try and make sense of his life, Justyce starts to wonder if those teachings have any place in the modern world where boys like Justyce are still dying.
If You Want a Funny Story:
- Openly Straight by Bill Konigsburg (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults): When Rafe moves to a new all boys’ boarding school he decides to start with a clean slate where he isn’t “the gay kid.” Except keeping a secret like that isn’t easy. Especially when he might also be falling in love.
- Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornbough: Nattie is fine with blending in, joking with her friends, and possibly, sort of, flirting with Zach the Anarchist. But when local pop star Sebastian writes a hit single called “Natalie,” Nattie suddenly finds herself at the center of speculation about “Natalie’s” identity and wondering if she might have a future in the limelight, after all.
- The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne: Enthusiastic Daisy is more than ready to support her best friend, Hannah, when she comes out. But Daisy’s can-do attitude backfires when her efforts to end her school’s ban on same-sex dates at dances goes viral and pushes Daisy’s efforts to support her best friend to the sidelines.
- Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde: Three friends, two love stories, one wild convention, and fandoms galore.
If You Want a Story About This Crazy Thing Called Love:
- One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva: Alek Khederian’s summer school nightmare starts to look up when he meets confident, irreverent Ethan and realizes he might be exactly what Alek needs.
- You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan (2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults): Mark and Kate don’t know each other beyond adjacent seats in class. They’re both in love, they’re both scared, and they just might be able to help each other face what comes next.
- I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015 Michael L. Printz Award): Both Noah and Jude are haunted by old ghosts and past mistakes. With the help of a curmudgeonly artist and a spectacularly messed-up boy, Jude thinks she can put the pieces of her family back together. Except she only has half of the pieces. It will take both Jude and Noah, together, to make things right.
- Fan Art by Sarah Tregay: As senior year wraps up, Jamie is forced to admit he has a problem: he’s fallen hard for his best friend. Jamie might be able to get together with Mason with help from the girls in his art class. But is the chance at romance enough to risk a lifelong friendship?
— Emma Carbone, currently reading Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali