One of the most exciting—and terrifying—aspects of the teen years is the exploration of identity, as teens test the contours of who they are and who they might become. The following new realistic fiction releases share a common theme of following teens on the cusp of transformative change.

In Hooper by Geoff Herbach (Feb. 20), a young man settles down in America with the single mom who adopted him from a Polish orphanage. He’s learned to play basketball, and it brings him hope as he grapples with learning English, adjusting to a completely new culture, and peers who are less than understanding about both.

This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi (Feb. 27) sensitively explores the challenges of reconciling dreams of a wider world with love for one’s community. When a small-town girl from a working-class background attends a renowned summer theater camp, she’s suddenly dropped into a world where she’s forced to confront both expectations and aspirations.

Faith, weight, romance, and grief intersect in The Calculus of Changeby Jessie Hilb (Feb. 27). A young woman whose Jewish mother died when she was a child has a crush on an observant Jewish boy who seems to return her flirtation—or does he? Is her size a factor? Will an exploration of Judaism help resolve her feelings about her mother’s death?

Laura body cover A cardiac ICU brings together a summer hospital intern, a nurse’s aide, and a terminal patient who senses potential in the relationship between his two caregivers in Flight Season by Marie Marquardt (Feb. 27). This is a touching story about ambition, first impressions, loving, and letting go.

Laura Simeon is the young adult editor.