is also a rape story, but unlike Emma, Hermione has a solid network of adults and friends to rely on. Her experience is no less
harrowing, but the contrast between these novels emphasizes
how critical support can be for victims of rape.
• Infinite Sky. By C. J. Flood. 2014. Atheneum, $17.99
(9781481406581). Gr. 9–12.
When Iris befriends an unwelcome newcomer to her
town, her neighbors start gossiping and her family starts to
crumble. Flood’s novel is a study in the taut, sometimes toxic
dynamics of small towns, echoing the competitive, snide
atmosphere of Emma’s community, particularly after the
townsfolk turn against her.
The Passion of Dolssa, by Julie Berry
In a chorus of voices, Berry tells the story
of a thirteenth-century girl, who’s been
branded a heretic, as she hides out with
• The Betrayal of Maggie Blair. By Elizabeth Laird. 2011. HMH,
$16.99 (9780547341262). Gr. 8–11.
Whereas Berry’s novel suggests true divine intervention,
in Laird’s story, about a girl and her grandmother accused of
witchcraft in seventeenth-century Scotland, there are no otherworldly influences. And yet, the upshot is the same: frenzied
believers targeting innocent people and inciting all-too-human
• Incantation. By Alice Hoffman. 2006. Little, Brown, $10
(9780316154284). Gr. 9–12.
Hoffman’s novel of a secret community of Jews at the turn
of the sixteenth century in Spain touches on many of the same
things as Berry’s book: the Inquisition and religious persecution,
secretive religions, rich historical context, and young women at
the center of key moments in history.
• The Inconceivable Life of Quinn. By Marianna Baer. 2017.
Abrams/Amulet, $18.95 (9781419723025). Gr. 9–12.
When Quinn discovers she’s pregnant, despite never having had
sex, rumors start spreading that she’s carrying the second coming
of Christ, and followers congregate on her Brooklyn stoop. Baer’s
thought-provoking, magic-realist novel examines doctrinaire religious fervor, faith, and free will in a contemporary setting.
Scythe, by Neal Shusterman (Simon &
Shusterman’s brainy, compelling story of a
postmortal Earth poses a thought-provoking
question: In world without death, what becomes of life?
• Away We Go. By Emil Ostrovski. 2016. Greenwillow, $17.99
(9780062238559). Gr. 9–12.
In a future world, where most teens contract a life-ending vi-
rus, Noah is quarantined at a special school that offers education
and enrichment, despite its students’ truncated life expectancy.
The messy struggle to thrive when survival is impossible is an
evocative complement to Scythe.
• The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, v.1: At the Edge of
Empire. By Daniel Kraus. 2015. Simon & Schuster, $18.99
(9781481411394). Gr. 9–12.
Although Kraus’ vainglorious narrator dies, he certainly doesn’t
stop living, and as he experiences historic moments firsthand,
as a slowly rotting corpse, he takes on such big questions as the
meaning of life, the purpose of death, and good versus evil.
• Never Let Me Go. By Kazuo Ishiguro. 2005. Knopf, paper, $16
(9781400078776). Gr. 10–12.
As in Shusterman’s novel, Ishiguro’s story involves a world
where death is uncommon. His protagonists, clones raised to
be organ donors, have much shorter, prescribed lifespans, but
as their destinies approach, they ponder the same sort of questions as those explored in Scythe.
The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
Yoon weaves swirling threads of connection in this story of one New York City day,
but Natasha and Daniel’s chance meeting is
the strongest of all.
• Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz. 2012. Simon & Schuster, $16.99
(9781442408920). Gr. 9–12.
Like Natasha and Daniel, Aristotle and Dante struggle with the
weight of their parents’ expectations and undue responsibility.
Ari and Dante’s relationship unfolds over a longer period and
with more obstacles, but it’s no less empowering than Natasha
• Eleanor & Park. By Rainbow Rowell. 2013. St. Martin’s/Griffin,
$18.99 (9781250012579). Gr. 9–12.
The touching relationship that grows between beleaguered
Eleanor and half-Korean Park as they share comics and music
in the back of the school bus shares many elements of Yoon’s
novel—alternating voices, swoonworthy romance, and poignant
conversations about identity.
• Little & Lion. By Brandy Colbert. 2017. Little, Brown, $17.99
(9780316349000). Gr. 9–12.
Although romance isn’t at the forefront of Colbert’s novel,
Suzette’s relationship with Emil is steamy, and her struggle to
reconcile her responsibility to her brother, Lion, with her personal desire recalls Natasha’s reluctance to get swept up with
Daniel while she strives to protect her family from deportation.