2022 Illinois Teen Choice Award

These 20 books are nominated for a statewide readers' choice award. High school students across Illinois will read the books, then vote for their favorites in February.

The LMC has print copies of each title, plus ebook and audiobook copies available on Sora.

Color brochure available in the LMC.

Past year's nominated books: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018

Allegedly cover imageAllegedly by Tiffany Jackson

Genre: realistic

Summary: A young girl, convicted of murder as a child, serves her sentence only to be placed in a group home, where, upon her release, she must grapple with starting over and an unplanned pregnancy.
 

 

Brazen cover imageBrazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu; English translation by Montana Kane.

Genre: graphic, non-fiction

Summary: In graphic novel format, this book looks at the lives of twenty-nine charismatic women in history, including Josephine Baker, Betty Davis, Cheryl Bridges, and many others.

 

 

Catfishing on Catnet cover imageCatfishing on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer

Genre: action/thriller

Summary: How much does the internet know about you? What if the internet knows everything about you? What if it knows you better than you know yourself? What if the internet were a sentient A.I. who loves cat pictures? Steph hasn't stayed in one place longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet--a social media site where users upload cat pictures--a place she knows she is welcome. What Steph doesn't know is that the admin of the site, CheshireCat, is a sentient A.I. When a threat from Steph's past catches up to her and ChesireCat's existence is discovered by outsiders, it's up to Steph and her friends, both online and IRL, to save her.

 

The Companion cover image

The Companion by Katie Alender

Genre: horror

Summary: The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family. Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night. And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate. But it wasn't luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha--and getting to know her handsome older brother--seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot'smind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself. Margot's bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha - but the real nightmare has just begun.

 

The Dark Matter of Mona Starr cover imageThe Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Lee Gulledge

Genre: graphic

Summary: Sometimes, the world is too much for Mona Starr. She's sweet, geeky, and creative, but it's hard for her to make friends and connect with other people. She's like a lot of sensitive teenagers;but in the hands of graphic novelist Laura Lee Gulledge, Mona's struggle with depression takes on a vivid, concrete form. Mona calls it her Matter. The Matter gets everywhere, telling Mona she's not good enough, and that everyone around her wishes she would go away. But through therapy, art, writing, and the persistence of a few good friends, Mona starts to understand her Matter, and how she and readers can turn their fears into strengths.

 

Dig cover imageDig by A. S. King

Genre: realistic

Summary: The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family's maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they've declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. "Because we want them to thrive," Marla always says. What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby's drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamiaca between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a doublewide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grandchildren gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
 

Field Guide to the North American Teenager cover imageThe FIeld Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Genre: realistic

Summary: Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and, quite possibly, too smart for his own good. A black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs. Yet, against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris. Be it loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making. He even starts playing actual hockey with these Texans. But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.
 

Frankly in Love cover imageFrankly in Love by David Yoon

Genre: relationships

Summary: High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo – his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance – “Date Korean” – which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful – and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love –or himself –at all.
 

Girl Made of Stars cover imageGirl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Genre: realistic

Summary: When Mara's twin brother Owen is accused of rape by her friend Hannah, Mara is forced to confront her feelings about her family, her sense of right and wrong, a trauma from her past, and the future with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie.

 

 

If I Was Your Girl cover imageIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Genre: relationships

Summary: Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.

 

 

The Inheritance Games cover imageThe Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Genre: mystery

Summary: Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

 

Moxie cover imageMoxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Genre: realistic

Summary: In a small Texas town where high school football reigns supreme, Viv, sixteen, starts a feminist revolution using anonymously-written zines. Vivian Carter is fed up with a high school administration that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv is fed up with always following the rules. Her mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

 

#notyourprincess cover image#notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Genre: story collection

Summary: An eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change.

 

 

Ordinary Hazards cover imageOrdinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

Genre: verse, memoir

Summary: In her own voice, author and poet Nikki Grimes explores the truth of a harrowing childhood in a memoir in verse. Growing up with a mother suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and a mostly absent father, Nikki Grimes found herself terrorized by babysitters, shunted from foster family to foster family, and preyed upon by those she trusted. At the age of six, she poured her pain onto a piece of paper late one night - and discovered the magic and impact of writing. For many years, Nikki's notebooks were her most enduing companions. In this memoir, Nikki shows how the power of those words helped her conquer the hazards - ordinary and extraordinary - of her life.

 

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef SalaamPunching the Air cover image

Genre: realistic

Summary: "The story that I thought was my life didn't start on the day I was born." Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he's seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. "Boys just being boys" turns out to be true only when those boys are white. "The story that I think will be my life starts today." Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal's bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.

 

Sorcery of Thorns cover imageSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson\

Genre: fantasy

Summary: All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them. As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

 

Stamped cover imageStamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibrahm X. Kendi

Genre: non-fiction

Summary: A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from Kendi's National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.

 

 

Stepsister cover imageStepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Genre: fantasy

Summary: Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood. When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant. Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

 

We are Not From Here by Jenny Torres SanchezWe Are Not From Here cover image

Genre: realistic

Summary: Pulga has his dreams. Chico has his grief. Pequea has her pride. And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they've grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the trio knows they have no choice but to run: from their country, from their families, from their beloved home. Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, they follow the route of La Bestia, the perilous train system that might deliver them to a better life—if they are lucky enough to survive the journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and desperation drumming through their hearts, Pulga, Chico, and Pequea know there is no turning back, despite the unknown that awaits them and the darkness that seems to follow wherever they go.

 

With the Fire on High cover imageWith the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Genre: verse, realistic

Summary: With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she doesn't have enough time for her school's new culinary arts class, doesn't have the money for their trip to Spain---and certainly can't follow her dreams of working in a real kitchen someday. But even with all the rules she has for her life---and all the rules everyone expects her to play by---once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.