What Happens Next? Life After Graduation

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury

Imagine you and your best friend head out West on a cross-country bike trek. Imagine that you get into a fight—the cheap SOB won’t kick in any cash—and you stop riding together. Imagine you reach Seattle, go home alone, and start college. Imagine you think your former best friend does too. Imagine he didn’t, that he was carrying more than $20,000 in cash the whole trip, and that now the FBI is looking for him. Imagine your world shifting… (S)

 

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

It’s Dade’s last summer at home, and things are pretty hopeless. He has a crappy job, a “boyfriend” who treats him like dirt, and his parents’ marriage is falling apart. So when he meets and falls in love with the mysterious Alex Kincaid, Dade feels like he’s finally experiencing true happiness. But when a tragedy shatters the final days of summer, he realizes he must face his future and learn how to move forward from his past. (S)

 

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is the story of James Sveck, the child of divorced parents living in Manhattan. Articulate, sensitive, and cynical, he rejects all of the assumptions that govern the adult world around him – including the expectation that he will go to college in the fall. He would prefer to move to an old house in a small town somewhere in the Midwest. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You takes place over a few summer days as James confides in his sympathetic grandmother, stymies his canny therapist, deplores his pretentious sister, and devises a fake online identity in order to pursue his crush on a much older coworker. Nothing turns out how he’d expected. (S)

 

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn

Very LeFreak has a problem: she’s a crazed technology addict. Very can’t get enough of her iPhone, laptop, IMs, text messages, whatever. If there’s any chance the incoming message, call, text, or photo might be from her supersecret online crush, she’s going to answer, no matter what. Nothing is too important: sleep, friends in mid-conversation, class, a meeting with the dean about academic probation. Soon enough, though, this obsession costs Very everything and everyone. Can she learn to block out the noise so she can finally hear her heart? (S)

 

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Ever since her parents began fighting, Auden has been unable to sleep at night. Now, spending a summer at a charming beach town with her father and his new family, she has to find new places to pass the time she spends awake. And so she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac who becomes her nighttime guide. Together, they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she has missed; for Eli, to come to terms with the death of a friend. (S)

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Zoology by Ben Dolnick

Zoology is the story of Henry Elinsky, a college flunk-out who takes a job at the Central Park Zoo and discovers that becoming an adult takes a lot more than just a weekly paycheck. (S)

 

 

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

When Lily arrives at Princeton for college, she discovers that there are actually two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and that she must find the Ivy Key opens the gate between them. When she enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future. (S)

 

Love Story by Jennifer Echolls

For Erin, majoring in creative writing at the ollege of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter…so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?  And what will happen when Hunter joins her class and hears her private fantasies about him put into her stories? (S)

 

Battle Dress by Amy Efaw

Andi Davis views her acceptance at West Point as a chance to escape her dysfunctional family and prove to herself that she has what it takes to survive “The Beast,” insider terminology for Basic Training. But nothing could have prepared Andi for the rigors that follow – or for the inner strength that she will need to succeed as a woman in a nearly all-male society. (S)

 

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket and an overweight, Judge Judy–loving best friend riding shotgun—but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. (S)

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Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship. Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together? (S)

 

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

It all begins with a stupid question: Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, Bria wants to be. In a quest for independence, she signs up for a tour of Central America – the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspoken sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, Rowan and Bria discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.(S)

 

The Disenchantments by Nina Lacour

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next? (S)

 

Catch by Will Leitch

Everything comes easy for Tim Temples. He’s got a sweet summer job, lots of love from the ladies, and parties with his high school buddies. Why does he need to go to college?

Then Tim falls hard for Helena—a worldly and mysterious twenty-two year-old. Their relationship opens his eyes to life outside the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Now Tim has to choose: Will he settle for being a small town hero, or will he leave it all behind to follow his dreams? (S)

 

Jane by April Lindner

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love? (S)

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The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Thomas Mackee watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again. (S)

 

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak. Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces…or else. (S)

 

Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she’s more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever; and she’s making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope. But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the überhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA…or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she’s assisting on a summer project …or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?(S)

 

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick

When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he’s honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn’t feel like a hero. There’s a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can’t shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Matt can’t quite put all the pieces together. Eventually Matt is sent back into combat with his squad. He just wants to go back to being the soldier he once was. But he sees potential threats everywhere and lives in fear of not being able to pull the trigger when the time comes. In combat there is no black-and-white, and Matt soon discovers that the notion of who is guilty is very complicated indeed. (S)

 

Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund

Elite Eli University junior Amy Haskel never expected to be tapped into Rose & Grave, the country’s most powerful—and notorious—secret society. She isn’t rich, politically connected, or…well, male. So when Amy receives the distinctive black-lined invitation with the Rose & Grave seal, she’s blown away. Could they really mean her? (S)

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To Timbuktu by Casey Scieszka

Casey and Steven met in Morocco, moved to China then went all the way to Timbuktu. This illustrated memoir tells the story of their first years out of college spent teaching English, making friends, researching, painting, and learning to be themselves wherever they are. (S)

 

Ghosts of War by Ryan Smithson

In a harrowing memoir about combat, friendship, fear, and a soldier’s commitment to his country, Smithson brings teen readers inside a world that few understand, as he describes his experience as a 19-year-old Army engineer in Iraq. (S)

 

 

Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee

Retta Lee Jones is blessed with a beautiful voice and has big dreams of leaving her tiny Tennessee hometown. With a beaten down car, a pocketful of hard-earned waitressing money, and stars in her eyes, Retta sets out to make it big in Nashville. But the road to success isn’t a smooth one in a town filled with dreamers, and Retta begins to have doubts: can she make her mark while staying true to herslf? (M, S)

 

Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman

Oceans 11″ meets “The Princeton Review” in this high-stakes caper, as four too-smart-for-their-own-good pranksters take on the challenge of breaking into the Ivy League. (S)

 

 

Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt

Remy Walker has it all: he found the love of his life at home in crumbling little Dwyer, West Virginia, deep in his beloved Appalachian Mountains where his family settled more than one hundred and sixty years ago. But at seventeen, you’re not supposed to already be where you want to be, right? You’ve got a whole world to make your way through, and you start by leaving your dead-end town. Like his girlfriend, Lisa. Lisa’s going away to college. If Remy goes with her, it would be the start of everything they ever dreamed of. So when a fascinating young artist from out of state shows Remy his home through new eyes, why is he suddenly questioning his future? (S)

 

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger…Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission? (S)

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