With summer finally fading behind us, it’s time for a change of scenery. From those big adventures and dramatic plots to cozier, closer stories, our November must-reads are all about figuring it out. From finding love to finding your voice, chasing your dreams or getting swept away in the day-to-day, these books are all about character growth.
The Only Girl in Town by Ally Condie
“Soma Kear’s verses have gone viral. Trouble is, she didn’t exactly think her slam poetry video through. All she knew was that her rhymes were urgent. On fire. An expression of where she was, and that place…was a hot mess.
Following her Ba’s deportation back to Cambodia, everything’s changed. Her Ma is away trying to help Ba adjust to his new life, and her older sister has taken charge with a new authoritarian tone. Meanwhile, Soma’s trending video pushes her to ask if it’s time to level up. With her school’s spoken word contest looming, Soma must Is she brave enough to put herself out there? To publicly reveal her fears of Ba not returning? To admit that things may never be the same?
With every line she spits, Soma searches for a way to make sense of the world around her. The answers are at the mic.”
Up in Flames by Hailey Alcaraz
“Gorgeous, wealthy, and entitled, Ruby has just one single worry in her life—scheming to get the boy next door to finally realize they’re meant to be together. But when the California wildfires cause her privileged world to go up in flames, Ruby must struggle to find the grit and compassion to help her family and those less fortunate to rise from the ashes.
At eighteen, Ruby Ortega is an unapologetic flirt who balances her natural aptitude for economics with her skill in partying hard. But she couldn’t care less about those messy college boys—it’s her intense, brooding neighbor Ashton who she wants, and even followed to school. Even the fact that he has a girlfriend doesn’t deter her . . . whatever Ruby wants, she eventually gets.
Her ruthless determination is tested when wildfires devastate her California hometown, destroying her parents’ business and causing an unspeakable tragedy that shatters her to her core. Suddenly, Ruby is the head of the family and responsible for its survival, with no income or experience to rely on. Rebuilding seems hopeless, but with the help of unexpected allies—including a beguiling, dark-eyed boy who seems to understand her better than anyone—Ruby has to try. When she discovers that the fires also displaced many undocumented people in her town, it becomes even more imperative to help. And if she has to make hard choices along the way, can anyone blame her?”
Rez Ball by Byron Graves
“These days, Tre Brun is happiest when he is playing basketball on the Red Lake Reservation high school team—even though he can’t help but be constantly gut-punched with memories of his big brother, Jaxon, who died in an accident. When Jaxon’s former teammates on the varsity team offer to take Tre under their wing, he sees this as his shot to represent his Ojibwe rez all the way to their first state championship. This is the first step toward his dream of playing in the NBA, no matter how much the odds are stacked against him. But stepping into his brother’s shoes as a star player means that Tre can’t mess up. Not on the court, not at school, and not with his new friend, gamer Khiana, who he is definitely not falling in love with. After decades of rez teams almost making it, Tre needs to take his team to state. Because if he can live up to Jaxon’s dreams, their story isn’t over yet.”
The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne by Shannon Takaoka
“It’s 1987, and sixteen-year-old Gracie Byrne wishes her life were totally different. Shy and awkward, she has trouble fitting in at her new school, she’s still reeling from her parents’ divorce, and her grandmother Katherine’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse. So when Gracie finds a blank journal in Katherine’s vanity drawer, she begins writing stories about herself—a more popular version of herself, that is. But then the hot guy in her art class describes a dream he had about her—the exact scene she wrote about him in her journal—and Gracie realizes that she can create any reality she wants, from acing tests to winning the attention of her previously indifferent classmates. As her ability to change what is into what she wishes it to be grows stronger, though, Gracie starts to second-guess what’s real—especially when it comes to a budding relationship with her cute neighbor, Tom. This compelling story deftly blends friendship, family, and romance…and bends the bounds of reality itself.”
A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and Heartbreak by Laura Taylor Namey
“Winchester, England, has always been home for Flora, but when her mother dies after a long illness, Flora feels untethered. Her family expects her to apply to university and take a larger role in their tea-shop business, but Flora isn’t so sure. More than ever, she’s the chaotic “hurricane” in her household, and she doesn’t always know how to manage her stormy emotions.
So she decides to escape to Miami without telling anyone—especially her longtime friend Gordon Wallace.
But Flora’s tropical change of scenery doesn’t cast away her self-doubt. When it comes to university, she has no idea which passions she should follow. That’s also true in romance. Flora’s summer abroad lands her in the flashbulb world of teen influencer Baz Marín, a Miami Cuban who shares her love for photography. But Flora’s more conflicted than ever when she begins to see future architect Gordon in a new light.”