Make Yourself at Home

Staff PicksSouthwest Library

Make Yourself at Home

YA books that take place in D.C.

Reading is always a fun experience, but there’s something extra special about stumbling upon a setting that holds familiarity. Whether the location is a surprise or you know about it before you pick up the book, recognizing places and descriptions -- and sometimes, visiting them -- can really impact the way we engage with a story. These books take place right here at home in Washington, D.C. but aren’t all about espionage and political intrigue. Find yourself right at home with one of these reads.

Note: All titles are linked to their physical copies unless otherwise noted, and many are available as library e-books and/or e-audiobooks with OverDrive and its app Libby.

Speak of Me as I Am by Sonia Belasco
After Melanie’s mother dies of cancer, loneliness consumes her. As it turns out, she’s not the only one in D.C. experiencing grief. Damon is dealing with it, too, after losing his best friend to suicide. When the two find each other by chance, it seems they can’t stop bumping into each other. Before long, they’re finding each other on purpose and sharing their grief as a way of healing. 

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany Jackson
Girls go missing all the time. It’s just how it is. So when Monday stops showing up, it seems like only Claudia notices. When she goes out to find Monday, Claudia can hardly believe even Monday’s mother and sister don’t seem to care about Monday. And the more Claudia searches, the more she discovers people have already moved on, barely even recalling the last time they saw Monday. 

American Royals by Katharine McGee
Get a look at what Washington and America would look like today had George Washington accepted kingship over an elected presidency. In alternate modern times, Beatrice is next in line for the throne and being pressured to pick a husband sooner rather than later -- but her heart belongs to her personal guard. Meanwhile, her sister Samantha has fallen for the one guy she can’t have: Beatrice’s fiancé. Their brother Jefferson has troubles of his own, but they mostly fall to his new girlfriend Nina and his ex, Daphne. All’s fair in love and royalty.

Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden
In this historical novel, Savannah faces the challenges of being an upper-class Black teen in 1900s Washington, D.C. Just as she’s coming of age, she meets working-class Nell, who has fire in her heart and determination in her soul. Committed to social justice movements, Nell is the perfect person to show Savannah what life is like outside the beautiful halls of her home.

Pulp by Robin Talley
If run-of-the-mill homophobia isn’t enough, Janet also has to contend with 1955 and McCarthyism in Washington, D.C. threatening her and her secret relationship with her best friend Marie. But when she finds a collection of women-loving-women books, she’s inspired to write some of her own -- only she must decide if following this dream is worth outing herself and Marie. Decades later, Abby is obsessed with a school project -- who is the mystery woman who wrote under the name Marian Love? 

Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Piper wants nothing more than to be a renowned journalist, so when the opportunity comes up to write an exposé on D.C.’s elite Chiswick Academy, she can’t help but snatch it up. Once she’s in on a scholarship, it’s just a matter of getting in with the other students before they let their guard down and give her some great material for an article. With Rafael in the middle of it all, Piper knows she and her article have it made when he drops into her room one night. But the more time they spend together, the less sure Piper is that she can go through with the article.