In a world that is dominated by series, you may not be looking for that kind of commitment. Instead you may be looking for the satisfying feeling of reading a story with a set beginning, middle, and end, with no cliffhangers or set-ups for the book. Stand alone stories sometimes feel hidden in the teen section, with juggernauts of series or properties (like Marvel or Disney) taking up so much shelf real estate. Below are a few of my favorite stories, sprinkled in with a couple upcoming titles that I’m excited for:

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner-I have loved every Jeff Zentner book I have read so far. The way he writes is just so moving and lyrical. This is the story of a boy from a small town in Tennessee who is given a chance at a different life when his genius best friend creates an opportunity for him to go away to school on the East Coast with her. But that would mean leaving behind everything he’s known and the people he loves most, his grandparents who took him in after his mother overdosed. Cash is learning to connect to the world through writing- specifically poetry- and his insights had me marking pages to go back and re-read. 

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway- Another book I was thinking about long after finishing. Grace, Maya and Joaquin are all related even if they don’t know it. After Grace puts her baby up for adoption, she begins looking into her own biological family and discovers she has half-siblings. This book explores family, connection, and what makes us who we are. 

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé- Someone is threatening to spill the secrets of Devon and Chiamaka to everyone at Niveus Private Academy. This seems particularly targeted because they are the only two who seem to be targeted in these school-wide texts, and they are also the only two black students at the school. Can Devon and Chiamaka find out who is behind this? Things begin to get deadly as they track down the anonymous texter, Aces.


Covers for In the Wild Light by Zentner, Far From the Tree by Benway and Ace of  Spades by Àbíké-Íyímídé








Sadie by Courtney Summers- Sadie's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated Colorado town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. When Mattie is found dead, and the police investigation is botched, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice. She hits the road following a few meager clues. When West McCray, a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America, hears Sadie's story, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Kill Her Twice by Stacey Lee- In 1930s Los Angeles Chinatown, the Chow sisters, May, Gemma, and Peony, suspect foul play in the death of Chinatown star Lulu Wong and take it upon themselves to solve the murder, revealing a conspiracy that threatens their Chinatown neighborhood.

The Ballad of Darcy and Russell by Morgan Matson- Over the course of one fateful night, Darcy and Russell discover things they never imagined about each other and themselves. But can you really know someone after only a handful of hours? Is it possible to fall in love in less than a day? Before they part, both their lives will be changed, and Darcy and Russell will have to decide if it’s worth saying hello when you know you’re destined for a goodbye

Such Charming Liars by Karen McManus.- For all of Kat’s life, it’s just been her and her mother, Jamie—except for the forty-eight hours when Jamie was married and Kat had a stepbrother, Liam. That all ended in an epic divorce, and Kat and Liam haven’t spoken since.

Now Jamie is a jewel thief trying to go straight, but she has one last job—at billionaire Ross Sutherland’s birthday party. And Kat has figured out a way to tag along. What Kat doesn’t know, though, is that there are two surprise guests at the dazzling Sutherland compound that weekend. The last two people she wants to run into. Liam and his father—a serial scammer who has his sights set on Ross Sutherland’s youngest daughter.

Kat and Liam are on a collision course to disaster, and when a Sutherland dies, they realize they might actually be in the killer’s crosshairs themselves. Somehow Kat and Liam are the new targets, and they can’t trust anyone—except each other.

Covers for Sade by Summers, Kill Her Twice by Lee, The Ballad of Darcy and Russell by Matson, and Such Charming Liars by McManus








Published by on April 18, 2024
Last Modified May 19, 2024
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