- Indicates Top Ten
Ballou, Kimberly. and Megan Mack. When Daronte’s Father Went to Prison. 90p. Create Space. October 2017. PB $9.99. 9781975755027. Ages 8 to 10. Living the idyllic middle class suburban lifestyle of playing video games for leisure and mowing the lawn with his dad, 10-year-old Daronte’s world is the scenario of the perfect family. When his world is shaken to its core by authorities who invade his home to arrest his dad, Daronte’s life is changed forever and he struggles to overcome the trauma.
- Beacon House Writers, K. Crutcher (Ed.), Z. Gatti (Dsgn.). The Day Tajon Got Shot. 230p. Shout Mouse Press. March 2017. PB $14.80. 9780996927451. Ages 13 to 15. Young black male, white police officer, tough neighborhood, fear, preconceived ideas and alternating perspectives–all the ingredients for another shooting in America. This time though, the own-voice authors are ten female students who committed two years of their lives to work on the story’s production, in order to make it clear that Black Lives Matter.
Bradley, Nicholas. Rickie Trujillo. 200p. Upper Hand Press. September 2017. PB $16.00. 9780998490625. Ages 14 and Up. One weekend is all it takes for Rickie’s life to unravel. In one moment, he’s just an Angelino troublemaker and baseball star, hanging out, having a little fun with his best friend. In another, he’s a robber facing an inexperienced cop as his anger boils overs. In a split second, the cop is down, and Rickie is on the run. Based on a true story.
Cross, Kady. Vigilante. 280p. Harlequin Teen. March 2017. HC $18.99. 9780373211777. Ages 14 and Up. Hadley and Magda were best friends and had so many plans for their senior year in high school. When the culprits who raped Magda at a party are not held accountable, Magda is so despondent that she is driven to commit suicide and Hadley is so enraged that she takes matters of revenge into her own hands.
- Edwards, Peter. The Biker’s Brother. 249p. Annick Press. October 2017. HC $18.95 PB $9.95. 9781554519361. Ages 16 and Up. Being surrounded by rival biker gangs is a dangerous place for a teen. With his brother facing charges for a murder he might not have committed and a budding romance with the sister of the victim, Josh has to make some difficult choices… and any mistake could be his last.
Gillman, Melanie. As the Crow Flies. 250p. Iron Circus Comics. November 2017. PB $30.00. 9781945820069. Ages 12 to 14. Based on her parent’s decision, Charlie will be spending her summer hiking at a Christian camp, but ends up being the only Black girl there. Totally aware of her lesbian identity, Charlie enters the experience with little faith in what mainstream religion represents and even less faith in developing a friendship, until she bonds unexpectedly with Sydney, a transgender girl. (This is the first in a series of graphic novels.)
- Goobie, Beth. The Pain Eater. 245p. Second Story Press. September 2016. PB $12.95. 9781772600209. Age 14 and Up. The Pain Eater is just a story, dreamed up by Maddie’s English class for an assignment… it doesn’t have anything to do with the secret Maddie carries, the reason she burns and cuts, or the boys hoping she’ll remain silent.. Or does it? Will The Pain Eater reveal who is really guilty and how many people carry the blame?
Graziani, E. Breaking Faith. 248p. Second Story Press. March 2017. PB $12.95. 9781772600247. Ages 14 and Up. Faith’s life has always been one relapse away from collapse, and when her mom goes under, she finds herself in the worst Darkness imaginable. Depressed, unloved, and bullied, she heads for the streets – but can she escape her mother’s fate, or is she destined to repeat history? Join Faith as she learns the true meaning of Bob Marley’s words, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.”
Jackson, Tiffany. Allegedly. 400p. Katherine Tegen Books. January 2017. HC $17.99. 9780062422644. Baby killer. Murderer at 9 years old. Allegedly. Mary’s silence around what really happened leads to racist fears about her, landing her in juvie then in foster care, ripping her life apart at the seams. Her loneliness leads her to Ted, a pregnancy, and her first chance to be happy in a long time. She has to clear her name to save her baby and have any chance at a future.
Johansson, J. R. The Row. 352p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. October 2016. HC $17.99. 9780374300258. Ages 13 and Up. Riley’s dad is on the row – death row – for the murders of three women. It’s a crime he didn’t commit. At least, that’s what she’s always thought. As her dad’s execution date nears, Riley rushes to find the truth behind the crimes. Is her father a cold-blooded serial killer? If not, why did he say he was?
- Kowalski, William. Jumped In. 112p. Orca. April 2017. PB $9.95. 9781459816275. Ages 12 and Up. The gang doesn’t care about Rasheed’s potential. They don’t care, really, about his paralyzed sister or his strung-out mom. But they do “care” about Rasheed. Once on their radar, how far will Rasheed have to go to keep from getting jumped in?
McGarry, Katie. Long Way Home. 320p. Harlequin Teen. January 2017. HC $18.99 PB $9.99. 9780373212170. Ages 14 and Up. Violet’s whole life has been controlled by the Reign of Terror, her dad’s motorcycle club – and not by her choice. She finally senses her chance to escape, but escaping the gang life isn’t as simple as it sounds. This ultimate “hood romance” will leave you guessing about whether or not there is a way for Chevy and Violet to move forward from the gangs and violence in their lives.
- Medina, Tony with Jennings, John (illustrator) and Robinson, Stacey (illustrator). I am Alfonso Jones. 176p. Tu Books. October 2017. PB. $18.95. 97816201452639. Ages 12 to 14. Alfonso is on the rise – he’s going to be the star of the school play, he’s revving up to tell his crush about his feelings, and he’s getting his first suit. But when fatally shot by a policeman, Alfonso’s confusion about the incident is explained in the afterlife through the eyes of others who were also killed by police. This explanation parallels the the world of the living as his family demands justice.
Mixon, Donovan. Ahgottahandleonit. 288p. Cinco Puntas Press. March 2017. HC $16.95 PB $11.95. 9781941026465. Ages 13 to 15. Street smart or book smart, and not able to be both because the words won’t line up for him to read them, Tim is pushing himself. Or is he being pushed? Or is he pushing back? He keeps telling himself he’s ‘got this,’ ‘got this’ when he hits a teacher, ‘got this’ when he kills a gangbanger, ‘got this’ when he’s on the run, ‘got this’ as he searches for meaning in a world stacked up against him.
- Nelson, Colleen. Blood Brothers. 240p. Dundurn. February 2017. PB $12.99. 9781459737464. Ages 13 to 15. Two friends, Jakub and Lincoln are as close as brothers, pulled in two separate directions. Jakub is heading to a fancy school while Lincoln can’t avoid getting caught up in the gang life of his older sibling. When Lincoln’s older brother finds out that Jakub knows too much about a murder committed by the gang, he is faced with placing his life on the line to save his friend Jakub and his father from gang retaliation.
Packebush, Nina. Girls Like Me. 199p. Bedazzled Ink Publishing. November 2017. PB $14.95. 9781945805356. Ages 14 and Up. With her genderqueer sweetheart dead, Banjo is left pregnant, and institutionalized – it seems like things can’t get much worse for her. Now she struggles to face her demons, the future, and a staff that keeps giving her the wrong diagnosis, the wrong treatment, and the wrong perspective. At least she has her friends – but will friends be enough?
Pannell, Jack J., Jr. and Michael Levin. Lunch Money Can’t Shoot. 146p. Morgan James Fiction. March 2017. PB $12.95. 9781683501107. Ages 10 to 13. William “Lunch Money” Barnes’ mom had enough with the violence, which is why she moved him to the suburbs, an all-white suburb where Lunch Money is the only black kid in school. Due to stereotyping, the white students think the only black kid will be good at basketball, and Lunch Money is having a hard time staying true to himself in the midst of all these assumptions.
- Paslay, Christopher. White Flight. 260p. Independently published. September 2017. PB $6.99. 9781549803246. Ages 12 to 16. Daryl knows that snitching has consequences but trusts his best friend Alex’s advice and tells the cops about a murder he witnessed. When Daryl is killed, Alex has to live with the repercussions and determine if his whiteness means he can just run away or stay.
Reynolds, Jason. Long Way Down. 320p. Antheneum. October 2017. HC $17.99. 9781481438254. Ages 12 to 18. Will has the gun tucked into the back of his pants and vengeance in his heart as he takes the elevator to the streets to exact revenge on his brother’s death. On the way down he encounters all those who were were killed by the same gun, crammed into the small, almost airless elevator. This quick-styled novel will punch you in the gut and keep you hooked on the long way down.
Reynolds, Jason and Kadir Nelson (illustrator). Miles Morales-Spiderman. 272p. Marvel Press. August 2017. HC $17.99. 9781484787489. Ages 12 to 16. Spider man as a mixed-race teen of black and Puerto Rican origins living in Brooklyn, where he faces not only villains but everyday racism, as he hustles for money, has an out-of-his-league crush, and moves through all the other ish.
Richardson, Eve. Saving Stevie. 228 p. Red Deer Press. October 2016. PB $10.95. 9780889955400. Ages 13 to 16. Facing homelessness, Minto struggles to survive the mean streets of big-city Toronto as she attempts to keep her abandoned nephew, baby Stevie, safe. Readers are able to watch the metamorphosis of Stevie from a dependent thirteen year-old family member to mature young adult with responsibility for a young infant whose right to know and be loved by blood-kin is gravely threatened.
Stone, Nic. Dear Martin. 224 p. Crown Books for Young Readers. October 2017. HC $17.99. 9781101939499. Ages 13 and Up. Justyce (Jus), a black kid in a mostly white prep school who is arrested one night while trying to help his drunk ex-girlfriend get home safely. But afterwards, as his white friends react casually to the racial profiling of the police, Jus begins writing letters to MLK extolling his anger and stress about the incident and the unfair responses of the community with which he associates.
Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. 464 p. Balzer & Bray. February 2017. HC $17.99. 9780062498533. Ages 13 and Up. Starr, AKA Big Mav’s daughter, exists in both black and white worlds, but the division between them is shaken when she sees her childhood friend, Khalil, killed by a cop. The lies start flowing and the streets start burning as a result and Starr struggles to find her footing the middle of it all. Can she be a voice for Khalil in a world gone wrong?
Workman, P. D. Chloe (Between the Cracks #4). 413p. P.D. Workman. January 2017. $19.95. 9781988390505. Age 15 and Up. When no one is on your side, how do you survive? Chloe finds that she can separate herself from the girl who experiences abuse from her mother and stepfathers and the girl who tucks it away and stands by her mother’s side. A person can only stay split apart for so long, and it takes finding the right people to help Chloe to pull her split selves back together.
Workman, P. D. Endless Change. 351p. P. D. Workman. May 2017. HC $27.93 PB & $16.95. 9781988390611. Ages 13 to 16. Parker Jurek felt drawn to Dakota Phillips from the moment they met and he helped her to find temporary foster care with his mother’s friend Jade. His attraction to the mysterious Dakota was magnetic and she felt the same way for him. What fourteen year-old Parker didn’t realize was that Dakota was not a mere year or two older than him, but an adult in her 30s and the mother of a 20 year-old.
Charleyboy, Lisa and Leatherdale, Mary Beth. (eds.) #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women. 109p. Annick Press Ltd. September 2017. PB $12.95 HC $19.95. 9781554519576. Ages 14 and Up. First Nation women challenge the stereotypes and racist portrayals of their lives through poetry, art, essays, and more in this collection of works. Together, they raise their voices to offer testimony about their own beauty and power and to confront the misunderstandings and cruelty they face. Open your heart to these truths.
- drake, rm. Broken Flowers: And Other Stairways to Heaven. Vintage Wild Publishing. October 2016. PB $15. 97809862791. Poems for broken hearts and for hearts that are on the mend. This collection will speak to hurt and pain, remind you of the person you love or miss, and help you find the words to understand it all.
Etler, Cyndy. We Can’t Be Friends. Sourcebooks Fire. 304p. October 2017. HC $17.99 PB $10.99. 9781492635765. Ages 16 and Up. Is it possible to return to your old life after you’ve been broken, told you are worthless, and trained to view anything you care about as an addiction? Cyndi is trying to find out, but the lessons from the torturous rehab program where she was held for over a year and a half continue to haunt her. This is her story of learning to love herself and others again after facing her own ruin. (This is a companion novel to The Dead Inside.)
Pitts, Byron. Be the One: Six True Stories Overcoming Hardship with Hope. 128p. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. May 2017. HC $17.99. 9781442483828. Ages 14 and Up. Sometimes just getting through something isn’t enough – you have to find your way out and be your own hero. Six inspirational teens tell stories of how they found their way through difficulty and tragedy, through their own abilities or through faith.
- Porinchak, Eve. One Cut. 256 p. Simon Pulse. May 2017. 241p. HC $19.99, PB $10.99. 9781481481311. Ages 14 and Up. A good kid dies. Or was he murdered? Or is there more to the story than meets the eye? This book pulls from the true story that sent a white suburb into chaos, opening up the possibility that the good kids aren’t all that they seem.
St. Germaine, Jim. A Stone of Hope: A Memoir. 224p. HarperCollins. July 2017. HC $27.99, PB (released May 2018) $15.99. 9780062458797. Ages 16 and Up. As a first generation Haitian-American, Jim grew up in Brooklyn running drugs and losing friends in the process. His story was similar to many kids who ended up in and out of juvenile detention facilities. When he was sentenced to the Boys’ Town rehab program in Brooklyn, his perspective was so altered that he devoted the rest of his young life to changing how juvenile detention programs operate and now sits on a national board for juvenile incarceration programming and has been recognized by President Obama for his efforts
Stepherson, Herbert. Junkbox Diaries: A Day in the Life of a Heroin Addict. 182p. Joshua Tree Publishing. January 2017. PB $16.93. 9781941049709. Ages 16 and Up. Stepherson tells his truth of living only for the next hit or bump, ranging from normal life all the way to wandering the bitterly cold wintery streets of Chicago. He became a junkbox, not caring about anything but feeding his addiction. What could bring someone like that back from that brink?
- Stinson, Taura, Stacey Debono (editor), & Adhama Glenn (Illustrator). 182p. 100 Things Every Black Girl Should Know. Eat Write Hear, LCC. September 14, 2017. PB. $25.00. ISBN 9780692914830. Ages 13 and Up. A book for girls that provides factual and encouraging information on physical and social developmental needs no matter the race or cultural background of the reader. The 100 topics are divided into ten groups and distributed across ten color illustrated chapters with additional URLs, emails, and phone numbers in the end pages.
Wayne, Lil. Gone ‘Til November: A Journal of Rikers Island. 176p. Plume. October 2016. HC $23.00. 9780735212114. 14 and Up. One of hip hop’s greatest artists, Lil Wayne describes the daily ins and outs of life in New York’s notorious prison. Rikers is a lot of things, but mostly it is the ongoing boredom: the everyday sameness; the little things that mean a lot just because they mean that something happened.