My favorite one (so far) is called Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headly. I'd never read anything by her, but I am SO glad I found this one. I hesitate to write about the plot of this one because part of what I liked so much was the completely amazing plot twists. It starts off about a 16 year old girl named Aza Ray. She has been sick most of her life and has (what felt like to me) the usual suspects-the quirky best friend (Jason), the supportive family, and a really fresh attitude about being sick and being treated like she was sick. There have been many predictions about her demise, each one scarier than the last and although I could sort of see where Headly was going with this, the plot twists here were very surprising, in the best possible way. I loved this one and I'm a little sorry I work in an elementary school today because I won't be able to put this into any of my students' hands, but I'm looking for middle schoolers and high schoolers to talk to about it because it was AWESOME. Here is the book trailer for it.
The second one I also loved and it was also fantasy fiction. This one is a bit of a twist on the Beauty and the Beast, but more original. It's called "The Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah Maas. It's about a girl named Feyre who is the main provider for her family. Her father has been disabled from a beating that he took from is creditors. Her mother died some years earlier and her two sisters are not super useful in taking care of the family. So Feyre goes out hunting. One morning she's out hunting and a wolf comes into the woods. The pelt of the wolf is worth a lot more than anything else she can kill, so she kills the wolf and then skins it. She takes the pelt to the market and is able to get a lot more money than even she thought it would be worth but it comes with a warning. It turns out the wolf was actually a faerie and the consequence for killing a faerie is that she must come and live with the faeries, who she believes to be evil. It's a super fun read... lots of action and terrific writing (and a little bit of sex, so this probably isn't appropriate for even middle school, but maybe high school?). I liked the story a lot and I really liked the writing so I'm going to go looking for more by Sarah Maas.
The last one is a graphic novel called "Into the Dangerous World" by Julie Chibbaro. It's a graphic novel in the sense that there are lots of pictures, but it's not your regular cartoon strip looking graphic novel. This one is about a girl named Ror (short for Aurora) who has been living in a commune her whole life where her dad raged against the man and taught Ror that conforming was bad and art was good. There is a terrible fire and Ror's family is forced into public housing and Ror has to go to public school for the first time. It isn't all bad, because there is a completely amazing art class where Ror starts to make friends who are also artists, but they are graffiti artists. Ror is drawn to their message and the beauty of their art and at the same time afraid of breaking the law and the consequences for that. This is a great one about finding your own voice and creating the things you want to create. The art work is stunning too.