Check It Out Category: Lists

Calling All Mystery & Puzzle-Loving Teens!

Did you successfully crack the codes of our recent Teen Escape Rooms? Do you have a talent for guessing the culprit in any mystery you are reading or watching? If so, we have the reads for you! Experience a puzzle or locked-room mystery between the pages of our favorite keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat whodunits. Try to solve the mystery before the final pages reveal the answer.

In the Hall with the Knife book cover

In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund

Who: A motley crew of prep school kids

Where: Snowed in a remote house in Maine

Mystery: Who killed the headmaster?

The Inheritance Games book cover

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Who: Avery Grambs who inherits billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s entire fortune

Where: Secret passage-filled Hawthorne House

Mystery: Why did Avery inherit the fortune? She must solve puzzles, riddles, and clues to find out.

you're so dead book cover

You’re So Dead by Ash Parsons

Who: Plum, Sofia and Marlowe, three online influencers

Where: An art-and-music festival for influencers on a private Caribbean island

Mystery: Who is killing off people at the festival one by one?

ace-of-spades book cover

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Who: Devon and Chiamanka, Senior Class Prefects

Where: Niveus Private Academy

Mystery: Who is sending anonymous texts to the entire school about the prefects’ deepest, darkest secrets?

one of us is lying book cover

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Who: A group of five high school students who have all been featured on a school gossip blog

Where: Detention

Mystery: Why did the creator of the school’s gossip blog die?

all your twisted secrets book cover

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

Who: A random group of high school students

Where: A fancy scholarship dinner

Mystery: Who locked everyone in a room together with threats of death?

Gender Equality Fiction to Celebrate International Women’s Day

For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has celebrated all women who contribute to the workplace and to society, often without equal recognition or reward. Though every life is its own story, common themes of strength, perseverance, and stubborn optimism unite women’s experiences across time and place. Choose from below to find a fascinating read that explores gender equality through the lens of fiction.

New Fiction in March

new fiction in March

Make room for these fresh titles on your to read list! Spring into a good book with the March release books we’re most excited about or explore additional, but equally tantalizing, options using our New Fiction in March list here.

Looking for more personalized suggestions? Fill out this form for titles curated just for you, or feel free to give us a call at 847/590-4070. 

Under Lock and Skeleton Key book cover

Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Tempest Raj, while visiting her dad’s latest renovation project, discovers the body of her former stage double and wonders if she was the original target, and as she dives into this impossible mystery, she wonders if the Raj family curse has finally come for her.

Mystery / Quirky main character / Enchanting

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Run, Rose, Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson

Every song tells a story. She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her.

Country-music thriller / Suspenseful / Features 12 songs written by Dolly Parton

woman on fire book cover

Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr

Tasked with locating a painting called Women on Fire stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier, rising young journalist Jules Roth teams up with the artist’s grandson to find it before a cunning gallerist, who gets everything she wants, does.

Art scene thriller / Fast-paced / Action-packed

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Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron

For Kamila Hussain, life is good. She’s got plenty of friends, a doting father, and her dog has more Instagram followers than most reality stars. But when she notices her longtime friend Rohan is spending much more time with another woman, Kamila wonders for the first time if a little self-improvement might be in order. But it suddenly seems like the more she tries to plan, the more things are starting to unravel. She’d always assumed that Rohan never saw beyond her matching dog sweaters and color-coordinated kitchen appliances. But is it possible Rohan always thought Kamila was more than enough, just the way that she was?

Romantic comedy / Heartwarming / Sweet slow-burn

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Chorus by Rebecca Kauffman

The seven Shaw siblings have long been haunted by two early and profoundly consequential events. Told in turns from the early twentieth century through the 1950s, each sibling relays their own version of the memories that surround both their mother’s mysterious death and the circumstances of one sister’s scandalous teenage pregnancy. As they move into adulthood, the siblings assume new roles: caretaker to their aging father, addict, enabler, academic, decorated veteran, widow, and mothers and fathers to the next generation.

Historical fiction / Character-driven / Sweeping

murder at the porte de versailles book cover

Murder at the Porte de Versailles by Cara Black

When her friend Michou’s partner is accused of bombing the police laboratory, Parisian PI Aime Leduc, in an effort to prove his innocence, is drawn into a dangerous world of political intrigue and terrorist threats linked to a cold case of her father’s.

Historical mystery / Richly detailed / Sassy main character

wild and wicked things book cover

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

In the aftermath of WWI, Annie, while on Crow Island — a place rumored to be rife with magic — to settle her father’s estate, is drawn into a glittering, haunted world when she is tempted by her new neighbor, a woman surrounded by rumors of witchcraft.

Historical fantasy / Complex / Lush scene-setting

Black Literature: Classics, Contemporaries, and Current Reads

Explore Black voices through the decades during Black History Month and beyond!

The Classics: 20th Century

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Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Twelve-year-old Sophie Caco is removed from her impoverished village and sent to live in New York with her mother, a woman she barely knows. There she learns about a terrible truth that shadows her family.

Relationship fiction / Lyrical prose / Emotional

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Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

1948, Los Angeles: The mortgage payment’s coming due, so Easy Rawlins accepts the assignment of finding Daphne Monet, a blonde torch singer with a penchant for jazz and criminal black consorts. In his search through a sleazy, fearful city, he is lucky to be under the protection of the murderous Mouse who wants a piece of the action.

Historical mystery / Hard-boiled / Gritty

Their Eyes Were Watching God book cover

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

When Janie Starks returns home, she seeks identity and independence as the small southern black community buzzes with gossip about the outcome of her affair with a younger man.

Southern literary fiction / Moving / Engaging

The Contemporaries: 21st Century

transcendent kingdom book cover

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice.

Psychological fiction / Eloquent / Quietly poignant

libertie book cover

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her mother, a physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie will go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it-for herself and for generations to come.

Historical fiction / Richly detailed / Immersive

Vanishing Half book cover

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Twin sisters, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

Relationship fiction / Sharp and rich writing / Character-driven

Current Reads:

What Fiction Staff are Loving Right Now

Blacktop Wasteland book cover

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Compelled by poverty to agree to a lucrative final heist that will allow him to go straight, a skilled getaway driver finds his efforts complicated by racial dynamics and the ghosts of his past.

Crime fiction / Atmospheric / Action-packed

black cake book cover

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to ‘share the black cake when the time is right’?

Family fiction / Engrossing / Lush

the love songs of W.E.B. Du Bois book cover

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

To come to terms with who she is and what she wants, Ailey, the daughter of an accomplished doctor and a strict schoolteacher, embarks on a journey through her family’s past, helping her embrace her full heritage, which is the story of the Black experience in itself.

Coming-of-age story / Richly layered / Haunting poignancy

18 Teen Reads Celebrating Black Joy

Black History Month (and any month!) offers a great time to add books featuring Black protagonists to the top of your reading list. We suggest these 18 page-turners of all genres, featuring joyful moments and happy endings. Click on any cover that strikes you for full book information.

Looking for other books featuring Black characters written by Black authors? Check out these lists: Black Voices in YA Fiction or Black Voices & Black Stories – YA Nonfiction.