Book picks similar to
The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan


young-adult
contemporary
fiction
realistic-fiction

We Didn't Ask for This


Adi Alsaid - 2020
    This year, it might just change the world.Central International School's annual lock-in is legendary -- and for six students, this year's lock-in is the answer to their dreams. The chance to finally win the contest. Kiss the guy. Make a friend. Become the star of a story that will be passed down from student to student for years to come.But then a group of students, led by Marisa Cuevas, stage an eco-protest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met. While some students rally to the cause, others are devastated as they watch their plans fall apart. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide just how far she'll go to attain them."Engrossing."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Talk


Kathe Koja - 2005
    Carma, his best friend, has already figured it out, and pushes him to audition for the high school play, Talk. When he's cast as the male lead, he expects to escape his own life for a while and become a different person. What he gets instead is the role of a lifetime: Kit Webster. In the play, Kit's thrown together with Lindsay Walsh, the female lead and the school's teen queen. Lindsay, tired of the shallow and selfish boys from her usual circle of friends, sees something real in Kit - and wants it. But Kit's attention is focused on Pablo, another boy in school. The play is controversial; the parents put pressure on the school to shut it down. And when Kit and Lindsay rally to save Talk, they find themselves deep into a battle for the truth: onstage, and inside themselves. As in her other books, Ms. Koja's "long stream-of-consciousness sentences with creative (but recognizable) spelling and clever use of italics will enchant readers" ("Booklist").

Manicpixiedreamgirl


Tom Leveen - 2013
    He should be celebrating its publication with his two best friends who've always had his back, but on this night, a steady stream of texts from his girlfriend Sidney keep intruding. So do the memories of his dream girl, Becky, who's been on his mind a little too much since the first day of high school. Before the night is over, Ty might just find the nerve to stop all the obsessing and finally take action.

This Is What It Feels Like


Rebecca Barrow - 2018
    Because Dia knows that without a band, she hasn’t got a shot at winning Sun City. Because ever since Hanna’s drinking took over her life, Dia and Jules haven’t been in it. And ever since Hanna left — well, there hasn’t been a band.It used to be the three of them, Dia, Jules, and Hanna, messing around and making music and planning for the future. But that was then, and this is now — and now means a baby, a failed relationship, a stint in rehab, all kinds of off beats that have interrupted the rhythm of their friendship. No contest can change that. Right?But like the lyrics of a song you used to play on repeat, there’s no forgetting a best friend. And for Dia, Jules, and Hanna, this impossible challenge — to ignore the past, in order to jumpstart the future — will only become possible if they finally make peace with the girls they once were, and the girls they are finally letting themselves be.Rebecca Barrow’s tender story of friendship, music, and ferocious love asks — what will you fight for, if not yourself?

Kate in Waiting


Becky Albertalli
    Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

The Cat King of Havana


Tom Crosshill - 2016
    . . the Cat King of Havana! A cat-video tycoon turned salsa-dancer extraordinaire, he’ll take Cuba by storm, romance the girl of his dreams, and ignite a lolcat revolution!At least that’s the plan.It all starts when his girlfriend dumps Rick on his sixteenth birthday for uploading cat videos from his bedroom when he should be out experiencing the real world. Known as “That Cat Guy” at school, Rick isn’t cool and he knows it. He realizes it’s time for a change.Rick decides joining a salsa class is the answer . . . because of a girl, of course. Ana Cabrera is smart, friendly, and smooth on the dance floor. Rick might be half-Cuban, but he dances like a drunk hippo. Desperate to impress Ana, he invites her to spend the summer in Havana. The official reason: learning to dance. The hidden agenda: romance under the palm trees.Except Cuba isn’t all sun, salsa, and music. There’s a darker side to the island. As Rick and Ana meet his family and investigate the reason why his mother left Cuba decades ago, they learn that politics isn’t just something that happens to other people. And when they find romance, it’s got sharp edges.

An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes


Randy Ribay - 2015
    Archie's trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari's considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante's working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam's clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve--or to avoid--their problems. Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out.

Promposal


Rhonda Helms - 2015
    However, when she's asked to prom by an irritating casual acquaintance--wearing a fancy tux and standing in front of a news crew--she's forced to say yes. Yet all hope's not lost. A timely school project gives Camilla a chance to get closer to Benjamin...and it seems like the chemistry between them is crackling. But is she reading into something that isn't there?Joshua, Camilla's bestie, has been secretly in love with his gay best friend, Ethan, since middle school. Just as he decides to bite the bullet and ask Ethan if he'll go to prom with him, even if just as friends, he gets a shocking surprise: Ethan asks Joshua for help crafting the perfect promposal--for another guy. Now Joshua has to suppress his love and try to fake enthusiasm as he watches his dreams fall apart...unless he can make Ethan see that love has been right in front of his eyes the whole time.The road to the perfect promposal isn't easy to navigate. But one thing's certain--prom season is going to be memorable.

Me Myself & Him


Chris Tebbetts - 2019
    the Homo Sapiens Agenda and A. S. King's Still Life with Tornado, this story of parallel time lines cleverly explores how our choices can change and shape us--as well as the ways in which choices don't change the core of our being at all.When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn't the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he's shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can "play by the rules" before Dad will pay for college. Or . . . not.In an alternate time line, Chris's parents remain blissfully ignorant about the accident, and life at home goes back to normal--until it doesn't. A new spark between his two best (straight) friends quickly turns Chris into a (gay) third wheel, and even worse, the truth about the whippets incident starts to unravel. As his summer explodes into a million messy pieces, Chris wonders how else things might have gone. Is it possible to be jealous of another version of yourself in an alternate reality that doesn't even exist? With musings on fate, religion, parallel universes, and the best way to eat a cinnamon roll, Me Myself & Him examines how what we consider to be true is really just one part of the much (much) bigger picture."Wildly ingenious,...altogether, the novel's a winner in this and any other universe." -Booklist, Starred Review"Tebbetts creates entertaining dual narratives...[and] enjoyable Easter eggs." -Publishers Weekly

If We Were Us


K.L. Walther - 2020
    When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick. But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

Small Town Hearts


Lillie Vale - 2019
     Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had - to never fall for a summer boy?

Of All the Stupid Things


Alexandra Diaz - 2009
    It marks the beginning of the end for an inseparable trio of friends. Tara's training for a marathon, but also running from her fear of abandonment after being deserted by her father. Whitney Blaire seems to have everything, but an empty mansion and absentee parents leave this beauty to look for meaning in all the wrong places. And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mom she's never stopped missing. This friendship that promised to last forever is starting to break under the pressure of the girls' differences. And then new-girl Riley arrives in school with her long black hair, athletic body, and her blasé attitude, and suddenly Tara starts to feel things she's never felt before for a girl--and to reassess her feelings about Brent and what he may/may not have done. Is Tara gay--or does she just love Riley? And can her deepest friendships survive when all of the rules have changed?

Meg & Linus


Hanna Nowinski - 2017
    It’s not always easy to be the nerdy lesbian or gay kid in a suburban town. But they have each other. And a few Star Trek boxed sets. They're pretty happy.But then Sophia, Meg’s longtime girlfriend, breaks up with Meg. Linus starts tutoring the totally dreamy new kid, Danny—and Meg thinks setting them up is the perfect project to distract herself from her own heartbreak. But Linus isn’t so sure Danny even likes guys, and maybe Sophia isn't quite as out of the picture as Meg thought she was. . . .From crowdsourced young adult imprint Swoon Reads comes Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski, a fun friendship story about two quirky teens who must learn to get out of their comfort zones and take risks—even if that means joining the drama club, making new friends, and learning how to stand on your own.Praise for Meg and Linus, from the Swoon Reads community:"I also love that friendship takes center stage in this story. . . . I didn't want the story to end! Such a beautiful story." —Rita, reader on SwoonReads.com"I liked that both characters are queer, and while it is a part of the story, it's not the story itself. . . . It's delightfully refreshing." —Tammy Wanzer, reader on SwoonReads.com"What made this unique was the strong friendship between the two narrators (who were not romantically interested in each other), and how that friendship influenced their romances with their partners. It was also refreshing to haveLGBT representation that was beyond stereotypes." —Julia Durrant, reader on SwoonReads.com"This book is a really lovely story about young love and being true to yourself despite the pressures to conform." —Jill Watkins, reader on SwoonReads.com"Get ready to fall in love with two oddball nerdy best friends. . . . This adorable, warm hearted contemporary YA is tremendously funny, and full of some seriously swoony moments. . . . The world needs more diverse love stories, whether that be long time girlfriends working through some issues, first crushes or friendships." —Charlie, reader on SwoonReads.com

Boy


Blake Nelson - 2017
    The insiders. Gavin Meeks is one of them. He lives an easy life of parties, girls, snowboarding adventures and whatever else comes his way.But when dark, dramatic Antoinette crash-lands at Evergreen High, the entire school feels the impact. Antoinette has seen things, been places, experienced deep tragedy first-hand. She’s not just a rebel, she’s a force of nature. Gavin, for one, is captivated and is soon pursuing interests he never knew he had. With a camera in hand, he finds a way to express his own truth, including his feelings for his favorite subject: Antoinette. It all leads to one passionate, life-altering night in this achingly authentic story from bestselling author Blake Nelson.

Twigs


Alison Ashley Formento - 2013
    Ten supersized crises. And it’s high noon.They call her “Twigs,” because she’ll never hit five feet tall. Although she was born early, and a stiff breeze could knock her over, Twigs has a mighty spirit. She needs it, as life throws a whole bucket of rotten luck at her: Dad’s an absentee drunk; Mom’s obsessed with her new deaf boyfriend (and Twigs can’t tell what they’re saying to each other). Little sister Marlee is trying to date her way through the entire high school; Twigs’ true love may be a long-distance loser after a single week away at college, and suddenly, older brother Matt is missing in Iraq. It all comes together when a couple of thugs in a drugstore aisle lash out, and Twigs must fight to save the life of the father who denied her.