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Detail from the cover of A Study in Charlotte

Librarian in Residence: Best teen books of 2016

By Jessica Green on December 7, 2016

Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips.

Here are some of the best teen books I read in 2016. Next up will be the adult books, which just goes to show, it was a great year for good reads.


A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro – What if the descendants of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went to the same boarding school together? Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are thrown together when a classmate is murdered at the school. Fabulous dialogue and a taut mystery made this one of my favourites of the year.

half-a-king-us-hbHalf a King, by Joe Abercrombie – This start to the Shattered Seas trilogy was really engrossing. Yarvi is a prince with a crippled hand so is only fit to become a minister in his homeland. However, he becomes king when both his brother and father are killed, but then is immediately betrayed by his uncle and sold into slavery in a neighbouring land. His quest for vengeance has great characters and a surprise ending. I also recommend the other books, Half a War and Half a World.

Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard – In this world where most people are witches, some types of magic are rarer than others. Safiya and Iseult are witches and friends but both have secrets: Iseult is an outcast in their society due to the colour of her skin, and Safiya is a truthwitch who can tell when someone is lying; one of the rarest forms of magic. The truce in the lands they live is ending and the women are pursued by many who want their powers. It’s a very interesting world and the friendship is the real anchor of this story.

61z3cw6rjel-_sx342_ql70_Women in Science: 50 Fearless Women Who Changed the World, by Rachel Ignotofsky – This is a real stunner of a book and the rare non-fiction that all ages should absolutely read. Ignotofsky has picked 50 women in various scientific fields and has written profiles on each, which are accompanied by an illustration. Some of the women I had heard of, but there were many more who were new to me. A must have for budding scientists.

24832518The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, by Sarvenaz Tash – This was a little gem I almost missed reading. Graham Posner has a dilemma; he’s realised he’s in love with his best friend Roxana, and wants to unveil his love at the end of the New York Comic Con, especially since their favourite comic creator will be at the comicon. Unfortunately for Graham, none of his plans go as he wished, and it’s a wacky weekend for them both. The ending is not what you’d expect from the genre, which makes this very refreshing.

My Lady Jane,by Cynthia Hand, Brody Ashton and Jodi Meadows – In this fun alternative history, Edward VI is king but he’s not very well, so he selects his cousin, Lady Jane Grey to be his heir and for her to married off to Gifford Dudley, a lord who is horse by day and man by night. In this version of England, some people are shape shifters, where others are not and distrust those who can shift their form. It’s quite silly at times, and plays a little loose with the actual facts but the characters are great.

25937843Dan Versus Nature, by Don Calme – Dan isn’t sure how he feels about his mother’s new fiancé, Hank who he only just met. So the two can bond, Dan’s mom buys a week away for the boys doing survival training. Dan and his best friend Charlie decide to play increasingly epic and raunchy pranks on Hank during the trip to scare Hank away from marrying Dan’s mom. Add in a sassy teen girl, a mechanical baby assignment from school, bears and lost wilderness guides, and you get the wilderness trip from hell.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – Nix Song has the magical ability to navigate her father’s ship to places and times using both real and invented maps. Her father, Slate, wants to reunite with Nix’s mother who died when Nix was born, and never stops looking for the map that will allow this to happen. Unfortunately if Slate saves her mother, Nix will cease to exist. With great characters on the ship and many questions about family, belonging and fate, this is a different type of fantasy novel.