Be Inspired: Creative Tales for Teens

For International Creativity Month, check out one of these stories and get inspired!If you’re looking for some inspiration, ask a friendly librarian or check out some books in the nonfiction collection.


Compiled by:
Jen H.

Graphic Novels and Manga

Backstagers, Vol. 1: Rebels Without Applause

James Tynion IV
(Graphic Novels - Tynion)

When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he's taken in by the only ones who don't treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown...


Check, Please!, Vol. 1: #Hockey!

Ngozi Ukazu
(Graphic Novels - GN Check Please v. 1)

Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. And there is Jack-- his very attractive but moody captain.


Monthly Girls' Nozaki-Kun, Vol. 1

Izumi Tsubaki
(Manga - MANGA Monthly v. 1 Tsubaki)

To the eyes of classmate Chiyo Sakura, high school student Umetarou Nozaki--brawny of build and brusque of tongue--is a dreamboat! When Chiyo finally works up the courage to tell Nozaki how she feels about him, she knows rejection is on the table...but getting recruited as a mangaka's assistant?! As Chiyo quickly discovers, Nozaki-kun, the boy of Chiyo's dreams, is a manga artist...a hugely popular shoujo manga artist, that is!


Page by Paige

Laura Lee Gulledge
(Ground Floor Graphic Novels - GN Gulledg Page By Paige)

When Paige Turner and her family move to New York City from rural Virginia, she tries to make sense of her new life through her sketchbook, and it helps bring her true personality into the open, a process that is equal parts terrifying and rewarding.


The Prince and the Dressmaker

Jen Wang
(Graphic Novels - GN Wang Prince And The Dressmaker)

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride--or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia--the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!


Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 1

Akiko Higashimura
(Manga - MANGA Princes v. 1 Higashi)

Tsukimi Kurashita has a strange fascination with jellyfish. She has carried that love with her to her new life in the big city of Tokyo. There, she resides in Amamizukan, a safe-haven for girl geeks. However, a chance meeting at a pet shop has Tsukimi crossing paths with one of the things that the residents of Amamizukan have been desperately trying to avoid--a beautiful and fashionable woman!


Sing No Evil

JP Ahonen
(Graphic Novels - GN Ahonen Sing No Evil)

Twenty-something guitarist Aksel stutters when he sings, and the latest reviews say he has the voice of a crow with throat plague. Aksel is having a hard time keeping the band together, stopping his girlfriend from kicking him out, and not getting eaten by his drummer (who happens to be a bear). There are also the rival bands that Perkeros find themselves in battle with to save the city from supernatural forces set loose by ancient music.


Taproot: A Story About a Gardener and a Ghost

Keezy Young
(Graphic Novels - Young)

Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him.


Young Adult Fiction

Eliza and Her Monsters

Francesca Zappia
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Zappia)

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.


The First Rule of Punk

Celia C. Pérez
(Juvenile Fiction – J Perez)

Twelve-year-old María Luisa O'Neill-Morales (she prefers to be called Malú) reluctantly moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago and starts seventh grade with a bang—violating the dress code with her punk rock aesthetic and spurning the middle school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded weirdos.


From Twinkle, With Love

Sandhya Menon
(Young Adult Fiction - Menon)

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true.


Garvey's Choice

Nikki Grimes
(Juvenile Fiction - J Grimes)

Garvey's father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading--anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey's life changes.


The Great American Whatever

Tim Federle
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Federle)

Quinn Roberts' only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. That was before the car accident that changed everything. Geoff, Quinn's best friend insists it's time that Quinn came out-- at least from hibernation. Geoff drags Quinn to a party where he meets a guy. And Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending.


The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

Jeff Strand
(Young Adult Fiction - Strand)

After producing three horror films that went mostly ignored on YouTube, fifteen-year-old Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it's time to make something epic.


If I Stay

Gayle Foreman
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Forman)

While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.


I'll Give You the Sun

Jandy Nelson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Nelson)

A story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal told from different points in time, and in separate voices, by artists Jude and her twin brother Noah.


Leah on the Offbeat

Becky Albertalli
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Albertalli)

Leah Burke is an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom; her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she's bisexual, she hasn't mustered the courage to tell her friends. When her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways, it's hard for Leah to strike the right note.


Love, Hate, & Other Filters

Samira Ahmed
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Ahmed)

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter, and then there is the world of her dreams. Going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Jesse Andrews
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Andrews)

Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.


My Plain Jane

Cynthia Hand
(Young Adult Fiction - Hand)

Refusing a job with the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Jane Eyre heads to Thornfield Hall to work as a governess for Mr. Rochester.


Picture Us In the Light

Kelly Loy Gilbert
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Gilbert)

Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father's closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there's much more to his family's past than he ever imagined. Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words.


The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo
(Young Adult Fiction - Acevedo)

Ever since her body grew into curves, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. She pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers-- especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.


Shadowshaper

Daniel Jose Older
(Young Adult Fiction - Older)

When the murals painted on the walls of her Brooklyn neighborhood start to change and fade in front of her, Sierra Santiago realizes that something strange is going on--then she discovers her Puerto Rican family are shadowshapers and finds herself in a battle with an evil anthropologist for the lives of her family and friends.


Solo

Kwame Alexander
(Young Adult Fiction - Alexander)

Seventeen-year-old Blade endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past and navigate the challenges of his former rockstar father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity.


The Sweetest Sound

Sherri Winston
(Juvenile Fiction – J Winston)

Shy ten-year-old Cadence grapples with an overprotective father, a mother who's skipped town to pursue stardom, and what to do when a recording of her amazing voice leaks before she's ready to share it with the world.


Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Katie Ormsbee
(Young Adult Fiction - Ormsbee)

After a shout-out from one of the Internet's superstar vloggers, Natasha "Tash" Zelenka suddenly finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust in the limelight. Her show is a modern adaption of Anna Karenina. And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash's cyber-flirtation with a fellow award nominee suddenly has the potential to become something IRL--if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she's romantic asexual.


This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story

Kheryn Callender
(Young Adult Fiction - Callender)

Budding screenwriter Nate, sixteen, finds his conviction that happy endings do not happen in real life sorely tested when his childhood best friend and crush, Oliver James Hernandez, moves back to town.