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.
The alternate-history zombie novel you never thought you'd need; think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets the Walking Dead set in an America where the Civil War only ended because Confederate and Union soldiers rose from the battlefield. In zombie-hunter protagonist Jane, readers will find a modern hero: scrappy, snarky, clever, motivated, and oh-so skilled with a sickle. You'll want to follow her into battle—and don't worry you will. Dynamic, exhilarating, and inventive!
Niru and Meredith, highschoolers in Washington, D.C., are outstanding students, runners, best friends and more, until Niru faces the facts of being gay. Once his Nigerian parents discover his sexual preferences, Niru is beaten by his father and taken to the parish priest, who recommends a return to Nigeria to be "cured." A powerful, poignant coming of age tale, this story spotlights the joy of carefree youth careening toward tragic destinations!
A bright, shining lighthouse of a book. At turns tender and ferocious, this is a book that you hand to those struggling to find and express their voice. Acevedo's debut verse novel powerfully asserts the humming, electric, life-altering potential of poetry and literature.
The best fantasy I have read in ages. Achingly masterful and brimming with complexly rendered main and secondary characters, Adeyemi's Orisha world will sweep you up in its embrace with one arm and brandish a knife at you with the other. Paced perfectly at un-put-downable, this is your 2018 must-read.
This is one of my favorite "I-WANT-TO-CRY-FOREVER" books, and has some of the most finely wrought star-crossed lovers in YA. That is still the true today - 20 YEARS after it came out. An instant classic that still feels fresh - and certainly feels timely.
Fabiola arrives in Detroit after her mother is detained on entry to the U.S. from Haiti. Fabiola knows that her new home with her aunt and teenage cousins will always feel empty without her mother, so she resolves to do everything in her power to get her mother released - even if that means confronting harsh truths about her Americanized aunt and cousins. Equal parts heart-wrenching and - warming, Zoboi's expertly woven novel will touch readers' souls and embolden their spirits.
Join 12 year old Sunny Nwazue as she uncovers her hidden magical abilities, gets inducted into a secret society where knowledge truly is power, and boldly faces off against all of the dark creatures the spirit world throws at her. Oh, and eats lots of fufu and egusi soup. Honestly, what's a good fantasy series without incredible feasts?
Angie Thomas deserves our endless thanks for this urgently relevant book. She's told a heartbreaking, nuanced story about what happens when a young Black person is killed by the police, and how deep and far the ripple effects spread. When Starr Carter sees her friend Khalil shot, she is forced to choose between staying silent and protecting her family, or speaking up and fighting for Khalil's memory. All of the difficult questions that come up in this book are carefully and thoroughly considered, with incredible love, hope, humor, and courage. If you're feeling understandably discouraged by our current nightmare political reality, pick up this book--however old you are--and let Starr and her family, friends, and community remind you of what we're fighting for, and why.