Golden Arm by Carl Deuker
Here is sports fiction with a likeable underdog, swift action, short chapters, and epic play-by-play descriptions, that also doesn’t shy away from questions about poverty and affluence.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Lady Jane Grey’s history gets a wacky retelling involving animal shapeshifters. It’s funny and impossible to describe, but it’s a breezy delight for fans of romance, fantasy, and inaccurate historical fiction.
The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf
Not for the faint of heart, this quick-moving novel-in-verse retells the Donner Party’s doomed tale through the perspective of eight of its travelers with harrowing detail and immediacy. If you like your historical fiction with a serious side of horror, this one’s for you.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Put an ancient secret society on a modern day college campus, and add demons, magic, romance, unexpected heroes, and a reckoning with racial prejudice, and you have a suspenseful Arthurian retelling that is both timeless and utterly new. A North Star ‘21-’22 nominee.
Fallout: Spies, Superbombs and the Ultimate Coldwar Showdown by Steve Sheinkin
If you like non-fiction that reads like fiction, then Steve Sheinkin is your man. Fallout is my favorite non-fiction of 2021, weaving ten years of Cold War tensions into page-turning history, but turn to any of Sheinkin’s titles to find reliably zippy non-fiction.
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
The “meet-cute” in this romantic comedy takes the form of a scavenger hunt in New York City at Christmas time. Sink into the magical feel of the holiday season with this one. When you’re done, watch the Netflix version and joyfully compare!
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
This graphic novel is a nonfiction account of the 2014-2015 boys’ varsity basketball season at Bishop O’Dowd High School in California. With fast action, current issues, and beautiful coloring, this graphic novel appeals even to non-sports fans (like the author himself!).