Don't you just love a story that takes you out of your world and into someone else's? These three books fully captured our imaginations this winter. Tangled by Carolyn Mackler (HarperTeen, pictured). Through four teenage narrators, Carolyn Mackler skillfully paints a full picture of an interconnected world. Jena insecurely steps into a romance with a cute boy; Dakota struggles with his reputation as a jerk after he suffers a tragedy; beautiful and aloof Skye deals with trying to figure out how to find more honesty and meaning in her life; and Owen learns to open up outside of his carefully constructed virtual reality. Can you guess who hooks up? It's so much fun to see this journey unfold through all four points of view.
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu (Walker). I'm obsessed with the A&E show "Hoarders" -- it makes me want to clean my apartment. This book is about Lucy, a teenager living with her single mom, who's a classic hoarder (she's filled their home with floor-to-ceiling papers, bags, trash and other dangerous clutter).It digs deep into the experience of living with, and trying to love, someone with this destructive disease. Lucy's always had to hide this part of her life from her friends, in fear of being called "Garbage Girl." The hugely compelling narrative takes place over a very dramatic and intense 24-hour period during which Lucy's life changes forever.
Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwasney (Chronicle). A grandmother, a mother and a daughter all narrate this story in alternating chapters. We learn about each of their teenage years -- which include love, loss, abuse and some great strength -- and end up with a deeper understanding of their family's bonds and fractures. Kwansey layers the years beautifully, and every girl's story is riveting, especially when you know the past and the future of the characters. So well done!