John Green dedicated "The Fault in our Stars" to Esther Earl. Credit: Provided
"This Star Won't Go Out" by Esther Earl
Just so you can't say we didn't warn you, "This Star Won't Go Out" will make you sob (unless you don't have a soul). But it will also make you smile, as one of those rare books that will change the way you look at the world. The true story of Esther, a teen with cancer, this book is a compilation of her essays, short fiction, journal entries and family photos. You might not expect a 16-year-old with a terminal illness to be funny, but Esther is cleverly so while eschewing bitterness.
Author John Green got to know Esther after meeting her at a Harry Potter convention, and they formed a meaningful friendship. So meaningful, in fact, that he dedicated "The Fault in Our Stars" to her and wrote the foreword to this book. Just released, "This Star Won't Go Out" is one book that will stick with you long after you finish it.
"When I Was the Greatest" by Jason Reynolds
Set in the New York City enclave of Bed Stuy, this novel follows a teen named Allen who does his best to stay out of trouble, despite the drugs and violence ubiquitous in his neighborhood. He's focused on school, boxing and his family, but the same can't be said for his best friend Noodles, who is always getting into trouble. Allen tries to be there for his friends while trying to stay out of trouble himself, a conflict that is a reality for many urban teens across the country. Allen eventually gets himself in over his head, and you'll keep reading to find out what will happen to him.
"OCD Love Story" by Corey Ann Haydu
Almost everyone can relate to meeting someone who is totally right for you, but lusting after someone so wrong for you instead. Imagine that, plus having obsessive compulsive disorder. And being a high school senior. Welcome to Bea's world. In this novel, Bea meets a quirky-cool guy in her therapy group who also has OCD. For once, here's a guy who knows exactly what she's going through. Unfortunately, she's obsessed with a married musician, tracking his every move. If you struggle with anxiety or compulsive disorder, you'll be able to relate to Bea's attempt at normalcy. But even if you don't, her struggle to balance everything is universal.