2024 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.
Explore these titles with this interactive slide show.
#murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
Genre: sci-fi, horror
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
Summary: Lahore, Pakistan. Then. Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start. Juniper, California. Now. Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever. When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst. From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.
The Assignment by Liza Wiemer
Summary: SENIOR YEAR. When an assignment given by a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution, a euphemism used to describe the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people, Logan March and Cade Crawford are horrified. Their teacher cannot seriously expect anyone to complete an assignment that fuels intolerance and discrimination. Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand. As the school administration addressed the teens' refusal to participate in the appalling debate, the student body, their parents, and the larger community are forced to face the issue as well. The situation explodes, and acrimony and anger result. What does it take for tolerance, justice, and love to prevail?
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
Summary: Lost in the Great Smoky Mountains, rising high school senior Ashley Hawkins must fight for survival without any tools, growing in awareness that the world is not tame, and neither are people. When Ashley goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. Catching her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends Ashley running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she is alone-- and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest, with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: realistic, verse
Summary: In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives. Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance -- and Papi's secrets -- the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder
Genre: graphic, Lives
Summary: Part poignant cancer memoir and part humorous reflection on a motherless life, this debut graphic novel is extraordinarily comforting and engaging From before her mother's first oncology appointment through the stages of her cancer to the funeral, sitting shiva, and afterward, when she must try to make sense of her life as a motherless daughter.
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
Genre: sports, graphic, memoir
Summary: Gene Luen Yang understands stories -- comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins. But Gene doesn't get sports. As a kid, his friends called him 'Stick' and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it's all anyone can talk about. The men's varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that's been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championship. Once Gene meets these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he's seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn't know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons' lives, but his own life as well.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Summary: Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat. People sometimes have a problem with that last one -- especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it's hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight-loss shakes on her dresser doesn't help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. But there's one person who's always in Charlie's corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing -- he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? Because it's time people did.
The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe
Summary: Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape. For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems: #1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris. #2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because: #3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it. The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage.
Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
Summary: When Michael walks through the doors of Catholic school, things can't get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow atheist at that. Only this girl, Lucy, isn't just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest. Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare's outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school's hypocrisies one stunt at a time. But when Michael takes one mission too far; putting the other Heretics at risk; he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.
Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy
Genre: graphic, Lives
Summary: Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl. Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can't rely on her hijab to define her anymore. She has to define herself. So she tries on a bunch of cliques, but she isn't a hijabi fashionista or a hijabi athlete or a hijabi gamer. She's not the one who knows everything about her religion or the one all the guys like. She's miscellaneous, which makes her feel like no one at all. Until she realizes that it'll take finding out who she isn't to figure out who she is.
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
Genre: relationships, realistic
Summary: Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny. But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes. On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square. Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
Summary: Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force. Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe. Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?
In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner
Summary: Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He’s been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen. But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he would have to leave behind.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Summary: Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway. But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson. Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Summary: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone. Or does he?
We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson
Summary: This is the vibrant story of George, Garrett, Rall, and Rasul—four children raised by Nanny, their fiercely devoted grandmother. The boys hold one another close through memorable moments at the family barbershop, early brushes with racism, sibling spats, whoopings, and first loves and losses. And with Nanny at their center, they are never broken. Chapter by chapter, bestselling author and activist George M. Johnson tenderly captures the unique experience of growing up Black in America, and their rich storytelling is interspersed with touching letters from the grandchildren that pay tribute to Nanny. Celebrating Black boyhood, brotherhood and matriarchal love, this striking memoir is destined to become a modern classic of emerging adulthood.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
Summary: When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation—Maddy did it. An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she's dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington. After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High's racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school's first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it's possible to have a normal life. But some of her classmates aren't done with her just yet. And what they don't know is that Maddy still has another secret—one that will cost them all their lives.
You Know I'm No Good by Jessie Ann Foley
Summary: Mia is officially a Troubled Teen--she gets bad grades, drinks too much, and has probably gone too far with too many guys. But she doesn't realize how out of control she seems until she is taken from her home in the middle of the night and sent away to Red Oak Academy, a therapeutic girls' boarding school in the middle of nowhere. While there, Mia is forced to confront her painful past at the same time she questions why she's at Red Oak. If she were a boy, would her behavior be considered wild enough to get sent away? But what happens when circumstances outside of her control compel Mia to make herself vulnerable enough to be truly seen?
You'd Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow
Summary: For all of Emory's life she's been told who she is. In town she's the rich one--the great-great-granddaughter of the mill's founder. At school she's hot Maddie Ward's younger sister. And at home, she's the good one, her stoner older brother Joey's babysitter. Everything was turned on its head, though, when she and Joey were in the car accident that killed Candy MontClaire. The car accident that revealed just how bad Joey's drug habit was. Four months later, Emmy's junior year is starting, Joey is home from rehab, and the entire town of Mill Haven is still reeling from the accident. Everyone's telling Emmy who she is, but so much has changed, how can she be the same person? Or was she ever that person at all? Mill Haven wants everyone to live one story, but Emmy's beginning to see that people are more than they appear. Her brother, who might not be cured, the popular guy who lives next door, and most of all, many ghostie addicts who haunt the edges of the town. People spend so much time telling her who she is--it might be time to decide for herself.