All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books)
When resentment surges during the Great Depression in a Texas border town, Estrella, fifteen, organizes a protest against the treatment of tejanos and soon finds herself witih her mother and baby brother in Mexico.
Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria In a city ruled by ancient prophecies, four teenage survivors of a failed rebellion try to save their city and themselves. ages 13–17. SFF
In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade. In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt. Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her, and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city—or themselves.
Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos (New Visions Award winner) DEBUT AUTHOR ages 8-12
With a new sibling (her fourth) on the way and a big piano recital on the horizon, Dominican-American Ana María Reyes tries to win a scholarship to a New York City private school.
Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel and Friends) ages 12-18
The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan. But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them.
Black Beach by Glynis Guevara (Inanna Publications)ages 12-18
Sixteen-year-old Tamera lives in La Cresta, a rural fishing community on a Caribbean island. Despite having the support of relatives, including her dad, Earl, her elder sister, Mary and her best friend and first cousin, Jan, she struggles to deal with her mom’s mental health issues and the absence of her boyfriend, Dalton who moves out of the village to work. Tamera’s life is further complicated after one of her classmates disappears, and weeks turn to months without any word of the missing girl’s whereabouts. Life gets even more challenging after Tamera suffers a personal loss. This difficulty draws her and Dalton closer, but his long absences remain a test the young couple must contend with. Tamera doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, but she feels as if her closest friends are moving ahead and leaving her behind. After an environmental disaster wreaks havoc in Tamera’s hometown, she longs to help, but doesn’t have any of the required skills to make an impact. With time on her hands to soul search, she makes a life changing decision that leads her in the path of potential danger. Tamera finds herself at the centre of the mystery of her classmate’s disappearance, the resolution of which shocks the people of La Cresta.
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (Macmillan) Ages 13–18. FANTASY
he del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.
But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.
Blended by Sharon M. Draper (Atheneum) Ages 8–12.
Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?
Bounce Back : Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream by Hena Khan (Salaam Reads) ages 7–10.
Zayd has a plan. He’s ready to take the reins as team captain of the Gold Team. But when an injury leaves him on the sidelines, his plans get derailed. Can Zayd learn what it means to be a leader if he’s not the one calling the shots?
Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo (SimAladdin) Ages 10–14. SFF DEBUT AUTHOR
Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.
But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.
Crown of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill/Penguin) ages 12–18
Taj has escaped Kos, but Queen Karima will go to any means necessary–including using the most deadly magic–to track him down.
Definitely Daphne by Tami Charles (Capstone) Ages 9–12 MG
In front of her followers, Daphne is a hilarious, on-the-rise vlog star. But at school Daphne is the ever-skeptical Annabelle Louis, seventh-grade super geek and perennial new kid. To cope with her mom’s upcoming military assignment in Afghanistan and her start at a brand new middle school, Annabelle’s parents send her to a therapist. Dr. Varma insists Annabelle try stepping out of her comfort zone, hoping it will give her the confidence to make friends, which she’ll definitely need once Mom is gone. Luckily there is one part of the assignment Annabelle DOES enjoy–her vlog, Daphne Doesn’t, in which she appears undercover and gives hilarious takes on activities she thinks are a waste of time. She is great at entertaining her online fans, yet her classmates don’t know she exists. Can Annabelle keep up the double life forever?
Easy Prey by Catherine Lo (Amulet) Ages 13–17 MYSTERY
Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number—and private photos—with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal.
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illus. by Geneva B. (Random House) ages 8–12.
When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she’s not his grandmother–but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they’ll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don’t let them out of the bag, and don’t feed them anything sweet. Before he knows it, Jax and his friends Vikram and Kavita have broken both rules! Will Jax get the baby dragons delivered safe and sound? Or will they be lost in Brooklyn forever?
Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda (Starscape) ages 8-12
After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today. When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.
With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.
Fraternity by Juan Diaz Canales, José-Luis Munuera (LionForge Comics) COMIC
1863: during the American Civil War, the inhabitants of New Fraternity, Indiana, find themselves far from the front lines of the conflict embroiling the United States but still constantly under threat from it; food is scarce, deserters come to seek asylum, and a mysterious feral beast that walks on two legs prowls the forest around the town. The beast seems to have some connection to Emile, a feral child found a few years earlier who had been taken in by the townsfolk during simpler times. As their fear and paranoia grows, the townsfolk start to hunt the beast and turn on each other, with tragic results that threaten to undo all that they have been working toward.
Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) ages 14-18. REALISTIC FICTION
When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?
History vs. Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don’t Want You to Know by Anita Sarkeesia, Ebony Adams and T.S. Abe. (Feiwel and Friends) ages 12–18 NON-FICTION
Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian wrestlers to Chinese pirates, Native American ballerinas to Egyptian scientists, Japanese novelists to British Prime Ministers, History vs Women will reframe the history that you thought you knew.
Home and Away by Candace Montgomery (Page Street)
Tasia Quirk is young, Black, and fabulous. She’s a senior, she’s got great friends, and a supportive and wealthy family. She even plays football as the only girl on her private high school’s team.
But when she catches her mamma trying to stuff a mysterious box in the closet, her identity is suddenly called into question. Now Tasia’s determined to unravel the lies that have overtaken her life. Along the way, she discovers what family and forgiveness really mean, and that her answers don’t come without a fee. An artsy bisexual boy from the Valley could help her find them―but only if she stops fighting who she is, beyond the color of her skin.
I’m OK by Patti Kim (Atheneum) ages 10 and up
Ok Lee knows it’s his responsibility to help pay the bills. With his father gone and his mother working three jobs and still barely making ends meet, there’s really no other choice. If only he could win the cash prize at the school talent contest! But he can’t sing or dance, and has no magic up his sleeves, so he tries the next best thing: a hair braiding business.
It’s too bad the girls at school can’t pay him much, and he’s being befriended against his will by Mickey McDonald, the unusual girl with a larger-than-life personality. Who needs friends? They’d only distract from his mission, and Ok believes life is better on his own. Then there’s Asa Banks, the most popular boy in their grade, who’s got it out for Ok.
But when the pushy deacon at their Korean church starts wooing Ok’s mom, it’s the last straw. Ok has to come up with an exit strategy—fast.
Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu. (Harlequin Teen) ages 12-18
Stella lives with depression, and her goals for junior year are pretty much limited to surviving her classes, staying out of her parents’ constant fights and staving off unwanted feelings enough to hang out with her friends Lin and Katie.Until Kevin. A quiet, wry senior who understands Stella and the lows she’s going through like no one else. With him, she feels less lonely, listened to–and hopeful for the first time since ever…But to keep that feeling, Stella lets her grades go and her friendships slide. And soon she sees just how deep Kevin’s own scars go. Now little arguments are shattering. Major fights are catastrophic. And trying to hold it all together is exhausting Stella past the breaking point. With her life spinning out of control, she’s got to figure out what she truly needs, what’s worth saving–and what to let go.
Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie Dao (Rise of the Empress #2) (Philomel Books) SFF ages 12-18
Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as Empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the Empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?
Lu (Track #4) by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum). Ages 10–up
Lu was born to be cocaptain of the Defenders. Well, actually, he was born albino, but that’s got nothing to do with being a track star. Lu has swagger, plus the talent to back it up, and with all that—not to mention the gold chains and diamond earrings—no one’s gonna outshine him.
Lu knows he can lead Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and the team to victory at the championships, but it might not be as easy as it seems. Suddenly, there are hurdles in Lu’s way—literally and not-so-literally—and Lu needs to figure out, fast, what winning the gold really means.
Expect the unexpected in this final event in Jason Reynold’s award-winning and bestselling Track series.
Lucky You by Saba Kapur (Amberjack). Ages 13–18
Things seem to be looking up for celebrity socialite Gia Winters. She is living in a fabulous penthouse in New York City and getting ready for her first semester at NYU with her hot new beau, officer Milo Fells. As the weeks go by, a mysterious and dangerous drug makes its way around campus, and self-proclaimed Detective Gia is on the case. Between juggling classes and a new relationship and dodging the paparazzi, Gia starts to feel not-so-lucky after all. Sequel to Lucky Me.
Odd One Out by Nic Stone. (Random House) Ages 14–18. Realistic Fiction
No easy answers.
Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement by Nadya Okamoto and Rebecca Elfast. (Simon and Schuster) Ages 12–up. NON-FICTION
Period Power aims to explain what menstruation is, shed light on the stigmas and resulting biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods.
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon (Wendy Lamb) Ages 8–12
Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene have the whole summer for adventures in the woods behind their house in Sutton, Indiana. Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town, but his dad likes the family to stay close to home.
Then Caleb and Bobby Gene meet new neighbor Styx Malone. Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. He’s been lots of different places. Styx promises Caleb and Bobby Gene that together, they can pull off the Great Escalator Trade–exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. But as the trades get bigger, the brothers soon find themselves in over their heads. It becomes clear that Styx has secrets–secrets so big they could ruin everything–and Caleb fears their whole plan might fall apart. fabulous penthouse in New York City and getting ready for her first semester at NYU with her hot new beau, officer Milo Fells. As the weeks go by, a mysterious and dangerous drug makes its way around campus, and self-proclaimed Detective Gia is on the case. Sequel to Lucky Me.
Between juggling classes and a new relationship and dodging the paparazzi, Gia starts to feel not-so-lucky after all.
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (Groundwood) grew up with. Ages 14–18.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
Star Crossed by Pintip Dunn (Entangled Teen) ages 12-18 SFF
Princess Vela’s people are starving.
Stranded on a planet that lacks food, Vela makes the ultimate sacrifice and becomes an Aegis for her people. Accepting a genetic modification that takes sixty years off her life, she can feed her colony via nutrition pills. But her best friend is still getting worse. And she’s not the only one.
Now the king is dying, too.
When the boy she’s had a crush on since childhood volunteers to give his life for her father’s, Vela realizes her people need more than pills to survive. As tensions rise between Aegis and colonists, secrets and sabotage begin to threaten the future of the colony itself. Unless Vela is brave enough to save them all.
The Summoner’s Handbook by Taran Matharu (Macmillan) ages 12–18. SFF DEBUT AUTHOR
One who is gifted with the ability to summon demonic creatures that are emotionally connected to their human counterparts. As brought to life in the bestselling Summoner series, the magic of summoning is also an art, with a story of its own. The Summoner’s Handbook reveals the story of James Baker — the epic journal that inspired the series hero, Fletcher, to discover his own summoning abilities. Along with a complete demonology, a guide to the basics of summoning, and glorious artwork from the world of the Hominum Empire, this is the volume that fans of the acclaimed and bestselling series must own.
Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Blink/HarperCollins) Ages 13–up
When America is not so beautiful, or right, or just, it can be hard to know what to do. Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they’ve got to find cool.
This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender (Balzer + Bray). Ages 14–up ROM-COM
Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings. Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.
Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.
After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?
Too Young to Escape by Van Ho and Marsha Skrypuch (Pajama Press) ages 8-12. DEBUT AUTHOR
During the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Van wakes up one morning to find that her mother, her sisters Loan and Lan, and her brother Tuan are gone. They have escaped the new communist regime that has taken over Ho Chi Minh City for freedom in the West. Four-year-old Van is too young—and her grandmother is too old—for such a dangerous journey by boat, so the two have been left behind. Once settled in North America, her parents will eventually be able to sponsor them, and Van and her grandmother will fly away to safety. But in the meantime, Van is forced to work hard to satisfy her aunt and uncle, who treat her like an unwelcome servant. And at school she must learn that calling attention to herself is a mistake, especially when the bully who has been tormenting her turns out to be the son of a military policeman.
Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (HarperCollins) ages 14–up. SFF
This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.
Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac (Dial Books) Ages 10–18. HISTORICAL FICTION
t’s 1932, and twelve-year-old Cal Black and his Pop have been riding the rails for years after losing their farm in the Great Depression. Cal likes being a “knight of the road” with Pop, even if they’re broke. But then Pop has to go to Washington, DC–some of his fellow veterans are marching for their government checks, and Pop wants to make sure he gets his due–and Cal can’t go with him. So Pop tells Cal something he never knew before: Pop is actually a Creek Indian, which means Cal is too. And Pop has decided to send Cal to a government boarding school for Native Americans in Oklahoma called the Challagi School.
At school, the other Creek boys quickly take Cal under their wings. Even in the harsh, miserable conditions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, he begins to learn about his people’s history and heritage. He learns their language and customs. And most of all, he learns how to find strength in a group of friends who have nothing beyond each other.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (HarperCollins) Ages 13–up
t’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.
Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (HarperTeen) ages 12-18
When Arthur goes to New York for the summer, he expects it to be a lot like the Broadway plays he adores. But it’s not. Ben, on the other hand, is much more pragmatic, in that native New Yorker way. When they meet, Arthur falls head over heels almost immediately, and his enthusiasm may rub off a bit on Ben…but things don’t exactly work out in real life the way they do on stage.