New YA Reads for Your Book Club

Book clubs help readers find exciting books to devour and discuss! To help make the next choice a little bit easier, we’ve rounded up some our new favorite YA reads, all with downloadable discussion guides. Happy reading!

Holding Up the Universe

Holding Up the Universe By Jennifer Niven

Ages 14 & Up

From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel.

The Weight of Zero

The Weight of Zero By Karen Fortunati

Ages 14 & Up

A novel about one teen’s triumph over depression and suicide, this is a story of loss and grief and hope and how the many shapes of love—maternal, romantic, and platonic—impact a young woman’s struggle with mental illness.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disorder, has almost triumphed once, propelling Catherine to her first suicide attempt. With Zero only temporarily restrained by the latest med du jour, she knows time is running out before the mania and depression come again. In an old shoe box, Catherine stockpiles medications, preparing to take her life before Zero can inflict its living death on her again. But Zero’s return is delayed due to unexpected and meaningful relationships that lessen Catherine’s sense of isolation. These relationships along with the care of a gifted psychiatrist alter Catherine’s perception of her diagnosis as a death sentence.

Being Jazz

Being Jazz By Jazz Jennings

Ages 12 & Up

One young woman’s extraordinary and very public transgender journey will transform the way we think about gender, sense of self, and acceptance of the differences that shape who we are.

Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At age five, with the support of her parents, Jazz began living as a girl. Her journey has been remarkable for its openness and positivity. She has been in the public eye ever since her first Barbara Walters interview at age six, and has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, and more—becoming one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens and adults. Being public about her experiences has led to bullying and mistreatment from those who don’t understand her, but Jazz remains committed to using her own story to inspire people to accept the differences in others as they embrace their own truths.

This is the Part Where You Laugh

This is the Part Where You Laugh By Peter Brown Hoffmeister

Ages 14 & Up

One summer in the life of a teenage boy as he navigates first love, addiction, basketball, gang violence, and a reptilian infestation in a trailer park in Eugene, Oregon.

High school sophomore Travis plans to spend the summer as follows:

—Practicing basketball with his best friend, Creature
—Reading excerpts of Creature’s novel-in-progress: The Pervert’s Guide to Russian Princesses
—Paddling around the lake, trying to catch a glimpse of the beautiful girl who just moved in
—Trying to catch a glimpse of the monster that has been gobbling up the neighbors’ pets
Not shoplifting, not getting into trouble
—Searching the homeless encampments for his mother, with a jar full of cash to help her get back on her feet

The summer takes a dark turn when Creature is attacked by a gangbanger in a pick-up game. He survives, but the attack sets in motion a chain of events that threatens both boys’ futures. . . .

Random House Teachers and Librarians