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. Volume 1, Rebels Without Applause

James Tynion IV
(Graphic Novels - Tynion)

All the world's a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic--literally! 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. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, 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, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen.


Check, Please! Book 1, #Hockey!

Ngozi Ukazu
(GN - Check Please vol. 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. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There's checking (anything that hinders the player with possession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jack-- his very attractive but moody captain."-- Provided by publisher.


Monthly Girls' Nozaki-Kun

Izumi Tsubaki
(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?! Never in a million years! As Chiyo quickly discovers, Nozaki-kun, the boy of Chiyo's dreams, is a manga artist...a hugely popular shoujo manga artist, that is! But for someone who makes a living drawing sweet girly romances, Nozaki-kun is a little slow on the uptake when it comes to matters of the heart in reality. And so Chiyo's daily life of manga making and heartache begins!


Page by Paige

Laura Lee Gulledge
(GN - Gulledg)

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
(GN - Wang)

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

Akiko Higashimura
(Manga - Princes v. 1 Higashi)

Tsukimi Kurashita has a strange fascination with jellyfish. She's loved them from a young age and 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 who regularly gush over a range of things from trains to Japanese dolls. 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! But there's much more to this woman than her trendy clothes! This odd encounter is only the beginning of a new and unexpected path for Tsukimi and her friends.


Sing No Evil

JP Ahonen
(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. That's not a compliment, even for the avant-garde music his band Perkeros plays. 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 cranky brown 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. The key to it all could be in the music Aksel hears in his dreams--if it doesn't drive him mad first. 


Taproot

Keezy Young
(GN - 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 - 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. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.


From Twinkle, With Love

Sandhya Menon
(Young Adult - 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. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2. When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil. Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you. 


The Great American Whatever

Tim Federle
(Young Adult - Y Federle)

Quinn Roberts' only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was before the car accident that changed everything. Enter Geoff, Quinn's best friend who insists it's time that Quinn came out-- at least from hibernation. Geoff drags Quinn to a party where he meets a guy-- okay, a hot guy-- and falls, hard. And Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending-- if he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.


The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

Jeff Strand
(Young Adult - 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.


I'll Give You the Sun

Jandy Nelson
(Young Adult - 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 - 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-- not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. When her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways, it's hard for Leah to strike the right note. And with prom and college on thehorizon, tensions are running high. If only real life was as rhythmic as her drumming...


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Jesse Andrews
(Young Adult - 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 - 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 - 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, with a scholarship to RISD and his family's blessing to pursue the career he's always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny's lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can't stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him. 


The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo
(Young Adult - 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. Mami is determined to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, and Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.


Shadowshaper

Daniel Jose Older
(Young Adult - 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 - 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.


Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Katie Ormsbee
(Young Adult - 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: She's gone viral. Her show is a modern adaption of Anna Karenina--written by Tash's literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich "Leo" Tolstoy. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever. 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. Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? 


This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story

Kheryn Callender
(Young Adult - 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.