When I was 17 I read A Thief in the House of Memory by Tim Wynne-Jones three times. It was mystery and suspense wrapped in a delicate angst-y sweater…so naturally, perfect for my little, teenaged self. I was so wrapped up in college essays, AP exams and who was taking me to prom at 17 that I forgot how much I loved to read.  Wynne-Jones brought me back.

Having survived my teenage years and still being close enough in age to accurately reflect—I can honestly say, reading is the last thing you think about as a teenager. Everything seems so infinite in high school. You think you’ll stay best friends forever. You’ll be in love forever. You think every moment gets trapped in time. You lose focus a little. But don’t worry, we don’t lose ourselves completely. It’s the little things that end up keeping you grounded when you’re growing up. Here are a few little things to bring the teens in your life back down to earth:

The Sky is Every Where By Jandy Nelson: When you’re young you don’t think about death invading the realm of your youth, because why would it? You have your whole life in front of you. Lennie Walker is 17 and living in the shadow of her evanescent sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies, Lennie is cast into the bright wide light of the world with no instruction on how to exist without the sister who so brilliantly shined in it. Nelson explores grief, love and moving on in a beautifully written ode to growing up.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: This isn’t your beloved fairytale. Meet Cinder, gifted mechanic and cyborg trying to get by in New Beijing—a futuristic world where machine and man intermix on the city’s crowded streets. Yes, our future Cinderella still has a nasty stepmother and a handsome prince, but Cinder is more than a fairytale princess. The fate of the world hinges on her small almost human shoulders.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin: Imagine a weekend home by yourself without the distraction of your parents or pesky siblings. The TV is yours to commandeer and the fridge yours to pillage. Now imagine that on that weekend a Yellowstone supervolcano erupts and rains fire and ash down on your hometown. Welcome to the apocalypse, population: you.

*Title availability may vary by geographic location.

Christina Bernecker is a training associate for OverDrive.

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