- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The story begins as Ashoke and Ashima leave Calcutta, India and settle in Central Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Through a series of events, Gogol becomes the main character’s official birth name, an event that will shape many aspects of his life in years to come. Throughout the story, Gogol fights an internal battle to find himself. He struggles trying to balance between American versus Indian culture and appreciating friendship more than family. Continuously in the novel, the author, Lahiri, uses different appeals of argument to show the reader that family should always be valued and help the reader connect with the story. Pathos in particular forces the reader to connect emotionally with the story, specifically of how Gogol’s name came about and Ashoke’s tragic accident.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
It revolves around two women, Mariam and Laila, who have contradictory attitudes and very little in common. However, a series of unfortunate events and dramatic changes intertwine their lives and their subsequent friendship and support for each other is the gest of this book. Khalid Hosseini takes us through an unforgettable journey of war, misery, troubles, losses and ultimately the divine fate. Along with these two brave women, the hardcore Pashtun, Rasheed give a different angle to this saga. On a wider perspective, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is a contemporary reflection of Afghani women and their womanhood.
- More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
Why does happiness have to be so hard?
- The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
In his first book for young adults, Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. This heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written tale, featuring poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, is based on the author’s own experiences. It chronicles contemporary adolescence as seen through the eyes of one Native American boy.
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is a rare work of fiction. It is a memoir in a graphic novel form. Marjane recounts her life in strife torn Iran from the 1970s to the 90s. She grew up in a country that was ravaged first by the Shah regime and later the fundamentalist regime. People were not free and not allowed to have any thoughts of their own. A teenaged Marjane forced to hide her liking for rock and roll music and jeans. She has to wear a headscarf while moving out of home and kowtow to the powers that be. Her fellow students are willing to see her prosecuted for wearing tight jeans. Any indulgence in unsavoury political thoughts could lead to detainment. In such a situation, how is Marjane to survive and be true to herself?
- The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store―for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity. The book is divided into four chapters and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.