I'm a sucker for a novel in verse! For fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jacqueline Woodson, Mahogany L. Browne writes the story of a teenage girl just trying to play basketball without getting too cold in her best friend's shadow. Her words bite but her voice is delicate, letting me relish in that dichotomy of girlhood. Chlorine Sky feels like the chemicals from the community pool and the sun setting orange, your fingers are pruny but it's just so beautiful. Five more minutes
A perfect example of a book for children and adults alike; give this to everyone you know! Woodson writes in verse, beautifully combining prose and poetry, to tell the autobiographical story of a brown girl coming of age at the tailend of Jim Crow. She grapples with identity and the idea of home, growing up in South Carolina and New York, while still trying to be a kid with dreams of becoming a writer. It's powerful, it's beautiful, it's no wonder it was a Newbery Award nominee.
This book has so much heart. The magical realism element adds depth and creates a complex, yet fresh, metaphor with the word "alien". The story is a classic high school makeover-and-revenge plot. What sets it apart from other #ownvoices YA is the pansexual lead character, the trans love interest, the otherworldly best friend, and many unique small town dramatics. Think Miss Congeniality: the New Mexico high school Latinx edition.
This is a story of the impossible. "A" wakes up in a new body every day: male or female teen, the same geographical area, and never a body twice. That's 24 hours to have the least impact, to get through the day and have a neutral effect. That is, until "A" wakes up in the body of Rhiannon's boyfriend. Now "A" is going against better judgment to see her and kindle a relationship -- but at what cost? A beautiful, tender examination of gender amidst a variety of topical issues: mental health, first love, and biological family.
I once heard a tall tale about M. T. Anderson that I like to repeat. While he was writing Feed, his futuristic Young Adult novel in which the English language has evolved to the point of near unrecognizability, he read nothing but teen magazines. While writing the Octavian Nothing duology, set just before and during the Revolutionary war, he consumed no media that was created after 1800. If these incredible stories are true, I wonder how he conjured this incredibly deftly written graphic novel. Did he enslave a sea serpent? Fall in love with one of the Fae? Or did he just find a fairy tale that hit a vein of deep humanity, because Anderson tapped in on this one.
What's most striking about this story is how much you care. From the first page, I was entranced and had no real interest in doing anything else with my life until I got to the last page. The story follows three sisters who are being haunted by their late sister's ghost. And yet, it's also not really about that at all. It's about grief, sisterhood, survival and taking back power. Not to mention that the writing is such that it constantly leaves you in an aftermath of wonder. I'm positive I'll be thinking of the Torres sisters for years to come.
Rowan and Neil have been academic rivals throughout high school and the annual last-day-of-school scavenger hunt is the final opportunity for Rowan to truly best Neil. But when a conspiracy among their classmates causes the two to join forces, will they be able to reprogram their autopilot response to sabotage one another?
Rachel Lynn Solomon makes an enemies-to-lovers playground out of Seattle in this endearing all-in-one-day love story. I dare you not to fall in love with these characters and this city when you're done.
I stayed up until 6 am reading this book. This story—about a seventeen year old girl who will age out of the foster care system next year—is hopeful and heartfelt without disregarding the harsh realities of what growing up in foster care can look like. Longo's daughter was born into foster care and lived in three different placements before Longo adopted her. It was Longo's daughter who asked her to write this book, and we should all be oh so grateful that she did.
What The Hate U Give did for opening up a conversation about police brutality and racial profiling, Not So Pure and Simple does for toxic masculinity. Giles is able to paint the normalcy of toxic masculinity in all its minute idiosyncrasies without it feeling like a beat-you-over-the-head-I’m-
trying-to-teach-you-something story. It's hilarious, honest, and more necessary than I know how to put into words. If this book is any indication of what 2020 look like, we have every reason to be excited about the future.
Cameron Bright is pretty and popular, but brutally honest. Her crappy home life is no excuse for failure so Cameron works hard and chases her goals: date crush Andrew, get an internship at her father's office, and get into the Wharton School at UPenn. But when Andrew calls her a bitch, her normal teflon-tough exterior chips. Like Katherine in Taming of the Shrew, does she need to be tamed?
A millenial teen retelling of the film 10 Things I Hate About You that draws heavily from Shakespeare, If I'm Being Honest is crafted with thoughtful, real-world stakes. Cameron's a ringer for Blair Waldorf - and yet she genuinely learns from her mistakes and works to become a better person. Her social circle is rooted in relatable struggles like making new friends, keeping old friendships alive, being supportive, and managing conflict. She's flawed and *almost* unlikeable but the more I learned about her family dynamics, the more I rooted for her to make better choices and follow a path of her own making.