100 books like Noteworthy

By Riley Redgate,

Here are 100 books that Noteworthy fans have personally recommended if you like Noteworthy. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Midnights

Steven Prevosto Author Of Nina’s Salvation for Joey

From my list on why characters struggle to achieve their goals.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I think of what it means to come of age, I think of the sacrifices one makes to be the best at what he/she enjoys doing against the challenges of life to experience the joy of living. When I failed not being successful as an actor after studying it for ten years in New York City, I came back home and finished college to become a writer. Now, I write the thrill of young characters with a talent to confront society to fulfill a dream, and if they fail, how to overcome it with the help of others, prayer, and hard work.  

Steven's book list on why characters struggle to achieve their goals

Steven Prevosto Why did Steven love this book?

One book that I really recommend reading is the novel The Midnights by Sarah Nicole Smetana. The main character, Susannah, is a seventeen-year-old girl who plays a mean guitar like her former rock star father whose attention she craves very much. She is driven with passion to pursue her dream even after her father suddenly dies unexpectedly, and must uproot to a new city where she eagerly takes on the challenge. The story is an emotionally charged coming-of-age novel involving loss, creativity, and feeling confident in your voice, while feeling confident in your choices to define who you are. 

By Sarah Nicole Smetana,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Midnights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

This voice-driven coming-of-age YA novel is perfect for fans of Katie Cotugno and Playlist for the Dead.

Susannah Hayes has never been in the spotlight, but she dreams of following her father, a former rock star, onto the stage. As senior year begins, she's more interested in composing impressive chord progressions than college essays, certain that if she writes the perfect song, her father might finally look up from the past long enough to see her. But when he dies unexpectedly, her dreams--and her reality--shatter.

While Susannah struggles with grief, her mother uproots them to a new city. There, Susannah…


Book cover of Someday, Somewhere

Anna Hecker Author Of When the Beat Drops

From my list on YA about girls who literally rock.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a painfully awkward teenager, two years younger than the rest of my class and a little too “extra” to fit in anywhere. I spent all of high school desperately seeking my weirdos—people who would accept me the way I was, rabid-puppy enthusiasm and all. One night I met a colorfully-dressed trio on the street who invited me to a loft party that changed my life. That night I fell in love with NYC’s underground party scene: the high-energy music, grimy locations, and most of all the people. I had found my weirdos. When the Beat Drops is my love letter to discovering your people and finding your scene. 

Anna's book list on YA about girls who literally rock

Anna Hecker Why did Anna love this book?

I was dying to read this book because I'd heard it was structured after Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata for violin and piano, and even though it's not a piece I'm intimately familiar with I could almost hear the music as I read. Even though it's billed as a love story, it's not so much a typical romance as it is an ode to following your passions, listening to your heart, and falling in love with New York City...for the first time, or all over again. As a longtime New Yorker I found myself rediscovering the city through Dominique's eyes, and I even learned some cool NYC facts I'd never heard before (not going to spoil anything, but I listen to the subway in a whole new way now)! Highly recommended for anyone who loves music, New York, or lyrical writing about flawed but shimmering characters.

By Lindsay Champion,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Someday, Somewhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Structured like a sonata, this heartbreaking debut novel hits all the right notes.

Dominique is a high school junior from gritty Trenton, barely getting by. Ben is a musical prodigy from the Upper East Side, a rising star at a top conservatory.

When Dom’s class is taken to hear a concert at Carnegie Hall, she spots Ben in the front row, playing violin like his life depends on it — and she is transfixed.

Posing as an NYU student, Dom sneaks back to New York City to track him down. Soon, the two are desperately in love, each seeing something…


Book cover of This Song Will Save Your Life

Anna Hecker Author Of When the Beat Drops

From my list on YA about girls who literally rock.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a painfully awkward teenager, two years younger than the rest of my class and a little too “extra” to fit in anywhere. I spent all of high school desperately seeking my weirdos—people who would accept me the way I was, rabid-puppy enthusiasm and all. One night I met a colorfully-dressed trio on the street who invited me to a loft party that changed my life. That night I fell in love with NYC’s underground party scene: the high-energy music, grimy locations, and most of all the people. I had found my weirdos. When the Beat Drops is my love letter to discovering your people and finding your scene. 

Anna's book list on YA about girls who literally rock

Anna Hecker Why did Anna love this book?

When I was pitching my book, I used this book as a comp: it’s like This Song Will Save Your Life, but at raves! There are definitely some similarities (credit to Leila Sales: hers came first). They both feature geeky girls, and Sales’ Elise Dembowski is one of the truest awkward-teen first-person voices I’ve ever read. They’re both set against the backdrop of underground music scenes, and the way Sales describes indie dance parties made me feel like I was back in the basement of NYC’s Lit trying to look cool while bopping around awkwardly to Joy Division. Both of our protagonists have weird relationships with older guys, and they both learn lessons that suck at the time but make them stronger. So is there room in the world for two girl-DJ books? Yes! Check out This Song Will Save Your Life and you’ll see exactly why. 

By Leila Sales,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Song Will Save Your Life 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?

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski's strong suit. All throughout her life, she's been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, Leila Sales' THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship,…


Book cover of Kill the Boy Band

Anna Hecker Author Of When the Beat Drops

From my list on YA about girls who literally rock.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a painfully awkward teenager, two years younger than the rest of my class and a little too “extra” to fit in anywhere. I spent all of high school desperately seeking my weirdos—people who would accept me the way I was, rabid-puppy enthusiasm and all. One night I met a colorfully-dressed trio on the street who invited me to a loft party that changed my life. That night I fell in love with NYC’s underground party scene: the high-energy music, grimy locations, and most of all the people. I had found my weirdos. When the Beat Drops is my love letter to discovering your people and finding your scene. 

Anna's book list on YA about girls who literally rock

Anna Hecker Why did Anna love this book?

I’ve covered rock, classical, a capella, and new wave in my list, so I thought I’d round it out with sugar-sweet pop. Kill the Boy Band is a darkly hilarious journey into fangirl obsession filled with quirky characters and sitcom situations that are as fun to read as they are improbable. The boy band in question is The Ruperts, a quartet of British heart-throbs with an eerie resemblance to One Direction. When four superfans score a room in the hotel where The Ruperts are staying, they hatch a plan that goes awry fast, leaving the band with one fewer Ruperts and the girls with a…very incriminating situation.

I loved this book for so many reasons, but my favorite was the deep dive into superfan culture. A lot of the book is spent questioning the nature of this culture, but in a way that's genuinely soul-searching and not condescending—the narrator…

By Goldy Moldavsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kill the Boy Band as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The New York Times–bestselling debut story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite band has darkly comical and deadly results.

Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next. We swear.

Praise for Kill the Boy Band

“Moldavsky’s…


Book cover of Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American Oriental

Rebecca L. Davis Author Of Public Confessions: The Religious Conversions That Changed American Politics

From my list on why sex matters to US history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never set out to be a historian of sexuality, but the more I read, the more convinced I became of the centrality of sex to politics, culture, religion, and social change. I am fascinated by histories of sexuality in the making and shaping of individual identities and behaviors, and I’m also drawn to histories of other topics—politics, religion, enslavement, leisure—that also teach us something about the history of sex and sexuality. These interests drew me to the podcast Sexing History, where I edit the stories and help produce the episodes. I love to read widely to find histories of sex in unexpected places.

Rebecca's book list on why sex matters to US history

Rebecca L. Davis Why did Rebecca love this book?

You will never look at (or wear) a kimono the same way after reading Amy Sueyoshi’s ingenious investigation into the making of an American leisure culture awash in stereotypes of Japanese and Chinese sexuality. With a focus on San Francisco, Sueyoshi’s book reveals how Anglo-European Americans appropriated “Oriental” dress and design aesthetics, even as the white press and legal system displayed overt hostility toward people of Asian descent. This book is one of my very favorites among a growing body of work that centers on the making of racial identities within histories of sexuality. Sueyoshi is a superb writer, and in this book, she excels at honoring the humanity of Asian-descended people within a white leisure culture that insisted on their inferiority.

By Amy Sueyoshi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Freewheeling sexuality and gender experimentation defined the social and moral landscape of 1890s San Francisco. Middle class whites crafting titillating narratives on topics such as high divorce rates, mannish women, and extramarital sex centered Chinese and Japanese immigrants in particular.

Amy Sueyoshi draws on everything from newspapers to felony case files to oral histories in order to examine how whites' pursuit of gender and sexual fulfillment gave rise to racial caricatures. As she reveals, white reporters, writers, artists, and others conflated Chinese and Japanese, previously seen as two races, into one. There emerged the Oriental-a single pan-Asian American stereotype weighted…


Book cover of Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From my list on featuring boys who crave success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Marcia Strykowski Why did Marcia love this book?

Stanford isn’t a happy camper when, because of a failing grade in English, he has to go to summer school instead of basketball camp. Used to being a star basketball player, he’s embarrassed by this new turn of events. Millicent Min as his tutor is the last straw. I love how the plot and various situations, along with his parents’ bickering and his grandmother entering a nursing home, feel real and something today’s kids can relate to. And also how, despite Stanford’s disappointments, he puts forth his best efforts all the while he tries to manage his problems. There’s plenty of humor, too.

By Lisa Yee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Stanford Wong is in big trouble--or as he would spell it, "trubble"--in this laugh-out-loud companion to the award-winning MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS and this season's HC, EMILY EBERS.

Stanford Wong is having a bad summer. If he flunks his summer-school English class, he won't pass sixth grade. If that happens, he won't start on the A-team. If *that* happens, his friends will abandon him and Emily Ebers won't like him anymore. And if THAT happens, his life will be over. Soon his parents are fighting, his grandmother Yin-Yin hates her new nursing home, he's being "tutored" by the world's biggest…


Book cover of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Augusta Scattergood Author Of The Way to Stay in Destiny

From my list on kids baseball books about more than baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the South where stories float off front porches like fireflies. My family was made up of storytellers! As an adult and especially as a librarian and a writer of middle-grade novels, I love rooting out history readers might not know: how swimming pools closed rather than integrate, that the Vietnam War scarred many returning vets, and why so many Chinese families settled in the Deep South. My favorite books to read and to share are novels and picture books about more than what they seem— especially those that weave history into a compelling story. And I have great memories of watching and listening to baseball games with my dad. Historical fiction and baseball—a perfect combination, very close to a grand slam, no?

Augusta's book list on kids baseball books about more than baseball

Augusta Scattergood Why did Augusta love this book?

This novel holds a special place in my book-loving heart. When the third-grade teachers at the school where I was a librarian read it aloud and used it for Literature Circles, it was one of the first books that taught me to listen carefully to what young readers shared about theme and characters and the “heart of the story.” It’s still a gold mine for topics that are relevant today.

By Bette Bao Lord, Marc Simont,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A timeless classic that will enchant readers who love Jennifer L. Holm and Thanhhà Lại, about an immigrant girl inspired by the sport she loves to find her own home team—and to break down any barriers that stand in her way.

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends.

Then a miracle happens: baseball! It's 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is a superstar.…


Book cover of American Born Chinese

Sylvie Kantorovitz Author Of Sylvie

From my list on middle-grade depicting different cultures.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five, my family moved from Morocco to France. We were Jewish in a very homogeneously Catholic world. My French upbringing didn’t include much exposure to other cultures and I often felt uncomfortably different. I would have liked to know more about various lifestyles, cultures, and traditions than those I observed around me. I now love to learn about other cultures through personal accounts, stories, and memoirs. I feel engaged and interested in a way I never experienced with textbooks. Reading about people who live a different life from our own can be an eye-opening experience.

Sylvie's book list on middle-grade depicting different cultures

Sylvie Kantorovitz Why did Sylvie love this book?

This book seems to be three different stories until one realizes they are the same story told in different ways: the most realistic one is the story of young Jin Wang who suffers intensely from the racist mockery of his peers. Then there is the wondrous tale of the Monkey King who wanted to join the other gods and refused to be a monkey. And finally the parable of Danny who hates his caricature of a Chinese cousin. The three strands converge to reveal one truth: the way to save our soul is to accept who we are. 

I particularly loved the character of Wei-Chen who is Jin’s best friend: he is kind, smart, and accepts his origins. 

A bonus: the artwork is very beautiful!

By Gene Luen Yang,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked American Born Chinese as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gene Luen Yang was the fifth the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what's popularly known as the MacArthur "Genius" Grant.

A tour-de-force by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who…


Book cover of Mooncakes

Kelly Vincent Author Of Uglier

From my list on reminding us that nonbinary people are human too.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Gen X kid growing up in a very conservative place, I struggled with gender, not feeling like the girl I was supposed to be. I knew I wasn’t a boy, and that just led to uncertainty and perpetual emotional discomfort. When I first heard about the concept of nonbinary gender a few years ago, my mind was blown. I knew if I were young, I would have immediately come out as nonbinary. But as an older person, it felt weird and pointless. Writing and reading books about people struggling with gender gave me the courage to finally be true to myself, and acknowledge that I am agender. 

Kelly's book list on reminding us that nonbinary people are human too

Kelly Vincent Why did Kelly love this book?

Reading this graphic novel just feels good. It’s so positive and full of all kinds of sweet relationships—romantic, friends, and family.

It’s also a fantastic portrayal of numerous people with something that makes them different from most others, including wearing hearing aids, lesbian grandmas, large bodies, and last but not least, being nonbinary. None of these things is an issue in the book, and instead they’re presented as being as normal as breathing.

I just love the normalization of human differences. Add to that the fun urban fantasy elements of magic and werewolves, and it’s a perfect mix.  

By Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mooncakes 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?

"Mooncakes is spellbinding. It had everything I love in a story-magic that felt inventive, characters that became my friends, and a romance that felt truly authentic. It was one of those books that I was sad to see end. Luckily, I can always reread." -Tillie Walden, creator of Spinning and On a Sunbeam

"Mooncakes transported me to a gorgeous magical realm that I never want to leave, and introduced me to lovable characters who stuck with me long after I finished reading. This graphic novel is the joyful fantasy romance we all need right now, and it might just restore…


Book cover of Bringing in the New Year

Jillian Lin Author Of Chinese New Year Wishes

From my list on Chinese New Year.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of children’s books about Asian history and culture. My two kids are the main reason I started writing books. When they were little, I had to delve into my Chinese roots for a family reunion. That’s when I stumbled on the most amazing stories about the emperors, warriors, artists, and inventors that make up the long and colorful culture and history of China. I decided to bring these stories to life so that my kids could learn more about their heritage. No dates, no dry details – just interesting stories that they could enjoy and learn in the process. Luckily, they liked them so much that they encouraged me to share my stories with the world.

Jillian's book list on Chinese New Year

Jillian Lin Why did Jillian love this book?

I love all of Grace Lin’s books – we share the same surname after all! Bringing in the New Year is another great one of hers. This board book is meant for the very young (0-3 years), but older kids will learn from it too. It describes how a Chinese family prepares for the Chinese New Year - decorating the house, making dumplings, and wearing new clothes. Celebrations follow with fireworks and lion dancers to scare away the previous year’s bad luck. The fun color illustrations will be a hit with the little ones, especially the fold-out dragon at the end of the book.

By Grace Lin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bringing in the New Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each member of the family lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it’s time to put on new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year. And the dragon parade in our book is extra long–on a surprise fold-out page at the end of the story. Grace Lin’s artwork is…


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