Inclusive Reading Recommendations — Young Adult

For round three, we’re focusing on inclusive books for young adults to help you keep reading more representationally, and of course, to spread some holiday gift ideas!

  1. America: the Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera
    • “Critically acclaimed young-adult novelist Gabby Rivera and all-star artist Joe Quinones unite to shine a solo spotlight on America’s high-octane and hard-hitting adventures! She was a Young Avenger. She leads the Ultimates. And now she officially claims her place as the preeminent butt-kicker of the entire Marvel Universe! But what’s a super-powered teenager to do when she’s looking for a little personal fulfillment? She goes to college! America just has to stop an interdimensional monster or two first and shut down a pesky alien cult that’s begun worshipping her exploits before work can begin. Then she can get on with her first assignment: a field trip to the front lines of World War II – with Captain America as her wingman!”–Publisher’s description.
  2. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
    • “Nimona, a young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy, and Lord Ballister Blackheart, a villain with a vendetta, set out to prove that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his friends are not the heroes everyone thinks they are, but Lord Blackheart soon realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past, and her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.”
  3. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
    • Parable of the Sower is a dystopian novel by Octavia Butler. As the US society crumbles, Lauren, a hyperempath who experiences the pain and pleasures the people around her are feeling, prepares herself for the inevitable collapse of civilization. Lauren is forced to hide who she is from everyone around her who may use her hyperempathy to hurt her. As she fights to survive, she works to learn who she can trust, what scarce resources still exist that will help her survive, and what she really believes about God and the nature of life.
  4. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
    • “Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.”
  5. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
    • “This book takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It’s a father-daughter tale perfectly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison’s father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family’s Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter’s complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned ‘fun home, ‘ as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic, and redemptive.” –From publisher description
  6. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
    • “A dramatic retelling of the Stonewall riots of 1969, introducing teen readers to the decades-long struggle for gay rights”– Provided by publisher
  7. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
    • “Teenaged Quinn, an aspiring screenwriter, copes with his sister’s death while his best friend forces him back out into the world to face his reality”– Provided by publisher.
  8. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
    • “Caught between the pressure to succeed in America, her duty to their family, and her own personal desires, Kimberly Chang, an immigrant girl from Hong Kong, learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.”
  9. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
    • “There are three rules in the neighborhood: Don’t cry ; Don’t snitch ; Get revenge. Will takes his dead brother Shawn’s gun, and gets in the elevator on the 7th floor. As the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to Shawn gets on. Someone already dead. Dead by teenage gun violence. And each has something to share with Will.”
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    • “After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.”
  11. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
    • “Noah’s path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at the time such a union was punishable by five years in prison. As he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist, his mother is determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. With an incisive wit and unflinching honesty, Noah weaves together a moving yet funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time.”
  12. To All the Boys I Have Loved Before by Jenny Han
    • Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent”– Provided by publisher.
  13. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
    • “My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black — black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”
  14. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
    • “Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.”
  15. My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope by Diane Guerrero
    • “The star of Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, Diane Guerrero presents her personal story in this middle grade memoir about her parents’ deportation and the nightmarish struggles of undocumented immigrants and their American children”– Provided by publisher.
  16. I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez
    • “Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.”
  17. Drag Teen: a Tale of Angst and Wigs by Jeffery Self
    • “JT is a gay high school senior determined to get out of Clearwater, Florida, and be the first person in his family to go to college, even though he cannot figure out how to pay for it–until his friends convince him to compete in a drag teen competition where the first prize is a college scholarship.”
  18. The Afterlife by Gary Soto
    • “A senior at East Fresno High School lives on as a ghost after his brutal murder in the restroom of a club where he had gone to dance.”
  19. Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden
    • “When Mariah and her young brother Zeke are suddenly freed from slavery, they set out on Sherman’s long march through Georgia during the Civil War. Mariah wants to believe that the brutalities of slavery are behind them forever and that freedom lies ahead. When she meets Caleb, an enigmatic young black man also on the march, Mariah soon finds herself dreaming not only of a new life, but of true love as well. But even hope comes at a cost, and as the treacherous march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah’s dreams are as vulnerable as ever.”
  20. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
    • “After enduring his father’s suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, sixteen, is already considering the Leteo Institute’s memory-alteration procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.”

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