The best YA books about finding your way through school

Why am I passionate about this?

A wellness enthusiast and environmental activist, Isabelle began her career as a corporate attorney where she worked in Toronto and New York. She decided to follow her calling as a writer and chose happiness and fulfillment over stress and sleepless nights. She’s published eight books, including the international best-selling novel J’adore New York and the teen series Bonjour Girl. She also recently published two self-help books to help others navigate change and transformation. She’s a life coach, an avid speaker, and is the host and author of the Soulful Couture podcast and blog about eco-fashion.


I wrote...

Bonjour Girl

By Isabelle Laflèche,

Book cover of Bonjour Girl

What is my book about?

When Clementine Liu arrives in New York City to study at The Parsons School of Design in New York, she knows that she’s found her place. It isn’t long before she meets her fashionista soulmate, the loud and charismatic Jake, and Jonathan, a dreamy fashion photographer who turns her world upside down.

Between schoolwork and fashion shows, Clementine launches a blog: Bonjour Girl, and her wit, originality, and flair catapult the site to cult status. Unfortunately, this comes with a price: Clementine is faced with online abuse and humiliation. In the midst of all the drama, she finds out that a classmate is not what she seems, and Clementine has to find a way to save both her reputation and Jake’s fashion collection. What adventures, challenges, and temptations await? One thing's for sure: hitting the books has never been so fashionable.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Piper Perish

Isabelle Laflèche Why did I love this book?

Choosing this book was a no-brainer for me as I absolutely adored this novel. It reminded me of my younger self in high school, very artistic and yet still trying to “fit in” with the cool kids and trying to find my own way and destiny. The storyline revolves around a cool Piper Perish who “inhales air and exhales art.” She and her best friends Enzo and Kit, are dreaming of leaving Houston to get into art school in New York City. It’s been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s ready for the Big Apple. Of course, a few challenges get in the way, including boys and family drama, which make the story very relatable and engaging.

By Kayla Cagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Piper Perish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There may not be another book published ... that is more perfect for artistic [readers] who love stability yet crave adventure.' - Teen Vogue

Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this dynamic, authentic book. Warhol-obsessed Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What should I wear?

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper's dream forever, and now that senior…


Book cover of Anna and the French Kiss

Isabelle Laflèche Why did I love this book?

This is another of my favorite reads. I read it twice and found it totally irresistible, due to the fact that I am drawn to all things French, having spent a considerable amount of time in Paris to do research for some of my novels. I found this book to have engaging characters, stunning scenery (The School of America in Paris), a terrific story, and a beautiful romance. The main character Anna is forced to go to SOAP by her parents, though she would rather stay in Atlanta and spend her senior year with her friends and possible boyfriend. We’re sure glad that she ended up changing her mind and crossing the Atlantic. The ending is absolutely amazing and memorable! 

By Stephanie Perkins,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Anna and the French Kiss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Can Anna find love in the City of Light? Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her co-worker at the movie theatre, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Etieene St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken - and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic…


Book cover of Fangirl

Isabelle Laflèche Why did I love this book?

First of all, any author by the name of Rainbow is already fantastic in my book. The story is engaging and well-written. Cath is the author of a ridiculously popular fanfiction and, on top of that, she’s heading to college. This book is popular for a reason, as the author depicts a strong main character who not only struggles to navigate the choppy waters of college life, but family life too by worrying about her dad. I sure love a main character with a big heart.

By Rainbow Rowell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fangirl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

A love story by Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park.

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than…


Book cover of To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Isabelle Laflèche Why did I love this book?

There has been lots of hype around this book series and for a reason! Jenny Han is super talented and like so many readers out there I was charmed by Lara Jean’s story, especially since I had trouble openly admitting my own crushes in high school! I adored the storyline, the tight bond between the three sisters, and must admit to having watched the Netflix film a few too many times too.

By Jenny Han,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked To All the Boys I've Loved Before as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Now a Netflix feature film!
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

One for every boy she's ever loved.

When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all
the things she would never say in real life, because her letters
are for her eyes only.

Until the day her secret letters are mailed,
and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control!



The first book in the bestselling series by Jenny Han, which
has been made into a NETFLIX feature film

PS I Still Love…


Book cover of Prep

Isabelle Laflèche Why did I love this book?

I chose this book as it depicts a coming-of-age story about attending a fictional prep school and all the challenges that await. Having gone through the angst and ups and downs of attending a girls’ private high school and all that goes with it: gossiping, class issues, bullying, and competitiveness, Prep really hit home in more ways than one.

By Curtis Sittenfeld,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Prep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An insightful, achingly funny coming-of-age story as well as a brilliant dissection of class, race, and gender in a hothouse of adolescent angst and ambition.

Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school’s glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.…


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Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

Book cover of Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

Leslie Tall Manning Author Of Maggie's Dream

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Mentor Laugher Research nut Avid reader

Leslie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Winner of the Literary Titan Book Award

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family’s happiness.

But Marilyn’s quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by the courts as the new guardian. Caleb Jones wants something more than a father-daughter relationship. He sends Carol far away, where the boy won’t be a hindrance to his plans. Marilyn devises a plan of her own: to locate her little brother, kidnap him, and run away.

Independence, however, often comes at a high price.

As Marilyn weathers the unexpected and often brutal storms of her childhood and adolescence, hope becomes her ally as she winds through small southern towns, wrapping herself around an assortment of hearts along the way. With unexpected help from a caring social worker, a carnival of misfits, her first true love, and even the elusive Tan Man himself, Marilyn will discover that “family” isn’t always what we imagine it to be.

"A dazzling piece that delves deep into the themes of survival, the casualties of self-discovery, and the power of familial ties." ~ Prairies Book Review

Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

What is this book about?

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family's happiness.

But Marilyn's quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by the courts as the new guardian. Caleb…


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