Unfortunately, your access has now expired. But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 200,000 reviews.
Your access to Booklist Online has expired. If you still subscribe to the print magazine, please proceed to your profile page and check your subscriber number against a current magazine mailing label. (If your print subscription has lapsed, you will need to renew.)
Free Trial, activate profile, or subscribe
Find more Best Fiction for Young Adults
The Best Fiction for Young Adults list is compiled annually by a committee of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and comprises fiction appropriate for ages 12 to 18. All titles were published in 2021 unless otherwise noted. The committee’s top 10 choices are identified with an asterisk (*).
Ace of Spades. By Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (9781250800817).
Ambitious queen bee Chiamaka and loner scholarship kid Devon are the only Black students at school. That’s all they have in common until an online bully going by the name “Aces” starts spilling all their secrets. Chiamaka and Devon will have to join forces to bring Aces down—or lose everything. A 2022 Morris Award finalist and a 2022 Top 10 Rainbow List selection for Teens.
Amari and the Night Brothers. By B. B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780062975164).
Amari’s brother Quinton has disappeared, and her only hope of finding him is to follow in his footsteps and become a Junior Agent with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. A 2022 Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and a 2022 Notable Children’s Book.
American Betiya. By Anuradha D. Rajurkar. Knopf, $17.99 (9781984897152).
Indian American teen Rani’s first love, already complicated by cultural differences, becomes even more confusing when Oliver asks more from her than she can give. Rani must decide if she can blend her family traditions with her American boyfriend and, if she can’t, what happens next.
The Awakening of Malcolm X. By Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson. Farrar, $17.99 (9780374313296).
While serving a sentence in Charlestown Prison, Malcolm Little is introduced to the teachings of Islam and begins to correspond with Elijah Mohammad. As he struggles to process his anger and his past, he begins to solidify his beliefs and become the man known as Malcolm X.
The Barren Grounds. By David A. Robertson. 2020. Puffin Canada, $17.99 (9780735266100).
Indigenous foster kids Morgan and Eli feel lost and isolated in their new home. But when Eli’s drawings open a portal to another world populated by talking animals, Morgan and Eli finally feel at home. They need the world of Misewa, and, as it turns out, Misewa needs them too.
Beasts of Prey. By Ayana Gray. Putnam, $18.99 (9780593405680).
Unlikely duo Koffi and Ekon may have conflicting ulterior motives, but they must cooperate to survive the Greater Jungle and find the legendary monster called the Shetani—a magical, murderous beast that has been plaguing the area for almost 100 years.
*Blackout. By Dhonielle Clayton and others. HarperCollins/Quill Tree, $19.99 (9780063088092).
Summer in New York City. When the power goes out, sparks fly. All across the city, Black teens find love—on the subway, at the library, walking home. Everyone is headed to the same block party, and their stars will have realigned when the lights come back on.
The Block. By Ben Oliver. Scholastic/Chicken House, $18.99 (9781338589337).
After the events of The Loop, Luka finds himself once again held prisoner by Happy, who tries to use him to find out where his friends are. Escape is only the first step, though; to take Happy down, Luka and his crew will need to find a whole army.
Bluebird. By Sharon Cameron. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338355963).
In 1946, German-born Eva arrives in America, recruited to help with the top secret Bluebird program. But Eva is only interested in one thing: justice for those who suffered at the hands of her father.
*The City Beautiful. By Aden Polydoros. Harlequin/Inkyard, $19.99 (9781335402509).
Amidst the glitz and glamour of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Alter Rosen, a gay, Jewish, Romanian immigrant teen, becomes possessed by the dybbuk of his murdered friend and must avenge the deaths of his friend and a growing number of other local Jewish boys. A 2022 Sydney Taylor Gold Medalist.
*Concrete Rose. By Angie Thomas. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $19.99 (9780062846716).
Black teen Maverick Carter tries to stay on the periphery of the King Lords gang in Garden Heights. After becoming a teen dad, he finds it even more difficult to stay on the right side of the law and support his family, too. A 2022 Printz Honor Book.
The Corpse Queen. By Heather M. Herrman. Putnam, $18.99 (9781984816702).
Molly’s talent as a grave-robber comes in handy when she is enlisted to help her aunt procure bodies for surgical students.
The Cost of Knowing. By Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (9781534445451).
Foreseeing his younger brother’s impending death, Black teen Alex resolves to make Isaiah’s final hours the best he can instead of running away as he had before the accident that killed his best friend. To do so, both brothers must learn about their ancestors and themselves.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow. By Laura Taylor Namey. 2020. Atheneum, $18.99 (9781534471245).
Grief-stricken by her abuela’s death and breakups with her BFF and boyfriend, Lila Reyes travels from sunny Miami to gloomy old England for a change of scenery. Cuban spices, British baking, and a cute boy soon have Lila questioning everything she thought she knew and everything she thought she wanted.
Curses. By Lish McBride. Putnam, $18.99 (9781984815590).
When Merit refuses to marry a prince, she is cursed to live as a beast. Tevin’s family runs cons on rich girls, but after his mom runs afoul of the beast, she trades him for her freedom. This fresh, gender-bent “Beauty and the Beast” retelling examines what “beastly” really is.
The Darkness outside Us. By Eliot Schrefer. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $17.99 (9780062888280).
Two white teenage boys from rival countries wake up on a spaceship they don’t remember boarding to perform a mission that may not be real with an OS that is becoming increasingly untrustworthy. At least they have each other. A 2022 Stonewall Honor Book and a 2022 Top 10 Rainbow List selection for Teens.
Don’t Hate the Player. By Alexis Nedd. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (9781547605026).
Behind her studious, college-bound image, Emily Romero is also an amazing gamer. She’s kept that life secret from her classmates and, more importantly, from her parents for years. But when a boy from her past intersects with both lives, her secret may be exposed.
Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love. By Jared Reck. Knopf, $17.99 (9781524716110).
Oscar knows what he wants to do after high school: cook for his wise-cracking Swedish grandfather’s food truck. Change comes in the form of Lou, an overachiever with big plans and ideas. Now Oscar must reckon with the new girl in his life, his grandfather’s past, and his own future.
Dustborn. By Erin Bowman. Clarion, $17.99 (9780358244431).
After the mysterious General attacks Delta’s home in search of her long-hidden secret and kidnaps her family in the process, she will do anything to get them back. But life on the wastes is brutal and short, and Delta must learn who she can trust in order to take down the General.
*Electric Kingdom. By David Arnold. Viking, $18.99 (9780593202227).
In a postapocalyptic wilderness where swarms of flesh-eating flies may descend at any moment, the fates of two groups of teenage travelers, a young woman on a strange mission from her father, and a mysterious figure called ”The Deliverer“ collide. Primary characters are white, Black, and Jordanian.
Excuse Me while I Ugly Cry. By Joya Goffney. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780063024793).
To prevent the contents of her missing journal from going public, Quinn, a wealthy Black senior at a predominantly white high school, must face seven of her biggest fears. Reluctantly, she teams up with attractive and mysterious Carter to complete the list and find the blackmailer.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega. By Crystal Maldonado. Holiday, $18.99 (9780823447176).
Meet Charlie Vega: half–Puerto Rican in a white Connecticut town, body-positive (or trying to be) despite her mother’s fat-shaming, best friend to the amazing Amelia, never been kissed. Charlie is determined to find a way to be more than just the fat brown girl standing in Amelia’s perfect shadow.
Fierce as the Wind. By Tara Wilson Redd. Random/Wendy Lamb, $17.99 (9781524766917).
When Hawaiian teen Miho’s boyfriend breaks up with her, the pain feels insurmountable. But Miho redirects her feelings into training for and competing in a triathlon. Will this new challenge set her free?
Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun. By Jonny Garza Villa. Amazon/Skyscape, $16.99 (9781542027052).
When Julian drunkenly outs himself on Twitter, his plans for a low-key last few months of high school are blown out of the water. With his crush, Mat, all the way across the country, Jules will have to navigate the consequences of his father’s homophobia on his own. A 2022 Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Honor Book.
*Firekeeper’s Daughter. By Angeline Boulley. Holt, $18.99 (9781250766564).
When tragedy strikes her close-knit community, 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, the daughter of a white mother and an Ojibwe father, agrees to go undercover for a dangerous FBI investigation. What she finds cuts close to the bone, and Daunis has to draw on all her strengths to face the truth. A 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Award Young Adult Honor Book, the 2021 William C. Morris Award winner, the 2021 Michael L. Printz Award winner, and a 2022 Rise: A Feminist Book Project Top 10.
The Forest of Stolen Girls. By June Hur. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (9781250229588).
In this taut mystery set in fifteenth-century Korea, two estranged sisters search for their missing father, a detective who vanished while investigating the disappearance of 13 girls. As they follow his trail, they discover disturbing connections to their past and the incident that broke apart their family.
Gilded. By Marissa Meyer. Feiwel & Friends, $19.99 (9781250618849).
As she is cursed by the god of lies, the village blames Serilda for every unlucky instance, though their children love her well-spun stories. But when she tries to spin a tale to save two moss maidens from the wicked Erlking, she gets caught in a dangerous web of deception.
The Girls I’ve Been. By Tess Sharpe. Putnam, $18.99 (9780593353806).
Nora is a white 17-year-old trying to have a normal life after escaping her con-artist mother. When she gets caught in a bank heist gone terribly wrong, she’ll have to use her skills from her past life to get herself and others out alive.
The Great Bear. By David A. Robertson. Puffin Canada, $17.99 (9780735266131).
Indigenous foster kids Morgan and Eli travel through Eli’s drawn portal again, finding themselves returned to the magical Misewa but in a much different time from their previous adventure. Morgan and Eli must team up with a young Fisher to protect the village against a new threat.
The Heartbreak Bakery. By A. R. Capetta. Candlewick, $18.99 (9781536216530).
After a bitter breakup, Syd bakes “all the feelings” into a batch of brownies—literally, because every couple that eats them breaks up, too. Now Syd must undo the damage. But with cute bike messenger Harley helping out, finding the perfect recipe to mend heartbreak is more complicated than Syd ever imagined.
Hold Back the Tide. By Melinda Salisbury. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338681307).
Alva lives with a murderer. Everyone knows her father killed her mother, and now Alva plans her escape from the Highlands, where her father tends the loch. But the water levels are dropping. Something is killing livestock. Then Alva sees the impossible, and everything she knows comes crashing down.
Home Is Not a Country. By Safia Elhillo. Random/Make Me a World, $17.99 (9780593177051).
Muslim and Arabic-speaking Nima doesn’t feel like she belongs in her American town, but she doesn’t feel she belongs with her mother and the ”old country“ way of thinking, either. When reality tilts and Nima can suddenly see different paths of her life, belonging begins to mean something different. A 2022 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book.
*How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe. By Raquel Vasquez Gilliland. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (9781534448667).
When Moon Fuentez reluctantly agrees to accompany her social-media influencer twin, Star, on a national charity tour, she forms a snarky, tender connection with Santiago, who is overshadowed by his own famous sibling. The 2022 Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Award winner.
Hunting by Stars. By Cherie Dimaline. Abrams/Amulet, $18.99 (9781419753473).
In a dystopian future where people have stopped dreaming, the government harvests bone marrow from Indigenous people for the dreams they still carry. When French is captured, his found family refuses to forget him. Reuniting will require sacrifices, betrayals, and desperate bids for a survival that is anything but assured. A 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Award Young Adult Honor Book.
Hurricane Summer. By Asha Bromfield. St. Martin’s/Wednesday, $18.99 (9781250622235).
Tilla and her sister, Mia, travel to Jamaica to spend the summer with their father, but when he leaves them with their aunts, uncles, and cousins in the country and returns to the city, Tilla must find her own way despite the many expectations and assumptions surrounding her.
*In the Wild Light. By Jeff Zentner. Crown, $17.99 (9781524720247).
Their Tennessee town is caught in the opioid crisis, but Cash and Delaney find beauty in the little things. When Delaney wins a boarding-school scholarship that includes tuition for Cash, he must balance his broken past with the possibility of a future full of life and love.
Indestructible Object. By Mary McCoy. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (9781534485051).
After her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her on their joint podcast, white teen Lee Swan decides to start a new podcast investigating her parents’ failing marriage as a means of coping with her own increasingly cynical views on love.
Indivisible. By Daniel Aleman. Little, Brown, $18.99 (9780759556058).
When 16-year old Mexican American Mateo’s undocumented parents are deported, he does what he can to keep his younger sister safe. While keeping up appearances at school and helping run his family’s hard-built bodega, he fights to reunite the family.
The Initial Insult. By Mindy McGinnis. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $17.99 (9780062982421).
Tress has finally had enough of her ex–best friend’s lies, and she is determined to find out what Felicity knows about Tress’ parents’ disappearance, no matter what. Felicity has buried the memories, but it’s time to dig them up if she wants to stay alive in this Poe-inspired literary mashup.
Kate in Waiting. By Becky Albertalli. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $18.99 (9780062643834).
Kate, a junior, is ecstatic to finally get a lead role in the school musical, and playing opposite the dreamy new guy she and her best friend are both crushing on is icing on the cake. But what will happen to their friendship if he chooses one of them?
Kneel. By Candace Buford. Harlequin, $18.99 (9781335402516).
After Black football prodigy Russel Boudreaux protests the unfair arrest and suspension of his best friend, Marion, by taking a knee during the national anthem, he quickly becomes a target of hate and fear in his small Louisiana town.
*Last Night at the Telegraph Club. By Malinda Lo. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525555254).
In 1954, 17-year-old Chinese American Lily Hu takes a chance and visits San Francisco’s Telegraph Club, a lesbian nightclub, with her friend Kath and starts to understand why she’s always felt a bit different from the other girls she’s grown up with. The 2022 Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature winner, a 2022 Printz Honor Book, a 2022 Stonewall Book Award winner, a 2022 Top 10 Rainbow List selection for Teens, and a 2022 Rise: A Feminist Book Project Top 10.
The Life I’m In. By Sharon G. Flake. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338573176).
Charlese Jones is angry, defiant, and grieving the loss of her parents when her sister turns her out of the only home she’s ever known. On her way to her grandparents, Char is lured into a human-trafficking web. She will need all her strength and determination to escape.
Like Other Girls. By Britta Lundin. Disney/Freeform, $17.99 (9781368039925).
Mara Deeble, a white teen in rural Oregon, is used to being “one of the boys.” When four other girls join her in trying out for the football team, she is forced to confront her internalized misogyny and closeted sexuality.
List of Ten. By Halli Gomez. Sterling, $17.95 (9781454940142).
Troy, a white teen living with Tourette Syndrome and OCD, has plans to kill himself on the tenth anniversary of his diagnosis, believing there cannot possibly be a good life for him in the future. As his circumstances change, however, he begins to find reasons to live.
*Little Thieves. By Margaret Owen. Holt, $18.99 (9781250191908).
Vanja, the goddaughter of Death and Fortune, is a thief of epic proportions, stealing not only gold and jewels but even a certain princess’ identity. But her hustle threatens to collapse when a lesser god puts a curse on her that will only break if she returns everything she stole.
Love in English. By Maria E. Andreu. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $18.99 (9780062996510).
When Ana immigrates to New Jersey from Argentina at 16, she has to grapple with a new country, new school, changed family dynamics, and two very different boys, all in a language in which she hasn’t achieved fluency.
Luck of the Titanic. By Stacey Lee. Putnam, $18.99 (9781524740986).
Seventeen-year-old British Chinese acrobat Valora Luck stows away aboard the Titanic in order to reunite with her twin brother and convince him to join her in America for a career in the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Margot Mertz Takes It Down. By Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy. Philomel, $18.99 (9780593205259).
Margot Mertz is building her college fund by quietly solving people’s internet emergencies, but when a fellow classmate asks her to take down a local revenge-porn site, she may have bitten off more than she can chew.
*Me (Moth). By Amber McBride. Feiwel & Friends, $18.99 (9781250780362).
Black teen Moth’s family died in a car accident, leaving her lost and unmoored until she meets Sani, a Navajo teen with his own dark family struggles. As an impromptu road trip leads further west and closer to each other, they each begin to see their own way forward. A 2022 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner, and a 2022 Morris Award finalist.
The Mirror Season. By Anna-Marie McLemore. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (9781250624123).
Latinx teen Graciela struggles to piece her shattered world back together and reclaim the gifts that earned her the nickname ”La Bruja de los Pasteles“ after she and a soon-to-be transfer student, a white cis boy named Lock, are sexually assaulted at a party.
Mister Impossible. By Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic, $19.99 (9781338188363).
With the help of their mentor, Bryde, Ronan and Hennessy try to evade the Moderators and repair the ley line to its full power. Meanwhile, Jordan tries to find a way to keep herself alive and awake, no matter what happens to Hennessy.
My Contrary Mary. By Cynthia Hand and others. HarperTeen, $18.99 (9780062930040).
Mary, Queen of Scots must navigate engagement to a prince, nefarious political schemes, and her secret shapeshifting abilities if she is to keep her head (and her tail) in this reimagined historical tale.
Not My Problem. By Ciara Smyth. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062957146).
It all starts when Aideen pushes overachiever Maebh down the stairs on purpose so a minor injury can give Maebh a break from her overwhelming schedule. Soon, other classmates are asking for favors. Aideen’s all in. After all, it’s more fun to fix other people’s problems than deal with your own.
Off the Record. By Camryn Garrett. Knopf, $17.99 (9781984829993).
When Josie, a Black high-school senior, wins a chance to join a film’s press tour and write a feature piece on the film’s young star, she has to balance her assignment, growing feelings for her interview subject, and a major #MeToo story that an actress wants Josie to break.
One of the Good Ones. By Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite. Harlequin/Inkyard, $18.99 (9781335145802).
When Black teen activist Kezi Smith is killed while in police custody, Kezi’s two sisters, girlfriend, and friend go on the graduation road trip Kezi planned before her death, using the Negro Motorist Green Book as inspiration.
*The Ones We’re Meant to Find. By Joan He. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (9781250258564).
Cee, a multiracial young woman living alone on an island for three years, doesn’t know who she is or where she came from yet feels compelled to cross the vast ocean in search of her sister, until a stranger arrives and challenges everything she thought she knew.
The Other Merlin. By Robyn Schneider. Viking, $18.99 (9780593351024).
Prince Arthur would rather be a librarian. Lancelot is a disgraced guard who flirts with all the boys. Merlin is an ambitious bisexual girl named Emry in disguise as a boy. Fate has big plans for these kids—if they can survive all the courtly intrigue and adolescent drama.
The Other Side of Perfect. By Mariko Turk. Little, Brown/Poppy, $17.99 (9780316703406).
After a severe injury, half-Japanese, half-white teen Alina is forced to give up her lifelong dream of becoming a professional ballerina and figure out who she is without being able to participate in the passion that previously defined her life.
Perfect on Paper. By Sophie Gonzales. St. Martin’s/Wednesday, $18.99 (9781250769787).
For 10 dollars, students can slide a letter into locker number 89 and get personalized advice for all their relationship woes. Secretly, it’s Darcy Phillips writing to everyone. When she’s found out by new student Brougham, all of Darcy’s carefully kept secrets threaten to spill out into the open.
Perfectly Parvin. By Olivia Abtahi. Putnam, $17.99 (9780593109427).
Parvin Mohammadi, Iranian American and white, gets humiliatingly dumped at freshman orientation and decides to remake herself into the perfect rom-com girl to attract a Homecoming date. Is there room for the real Parvin—loud, funny, and queen of pranks—in high school or a relationship?
Pumpkin. By Julie Murphy. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780062880451).
Waylon Brewer—tall, fat, white, redheaded, queer—is waiting for the end of high school so he can live the fabulous life he’s dreamed of. When a video of Waylon in drag goes viral and he’s nominated for prom queen as a joke, he has only one choice: run for prom queen for real.
The River Has Teeth. By Erica Waters. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062894250).
In the woods of Tennessee, magic is in the air and girls are going missing. When Natasha Greymont asks for the help of local witch Della Lloyd to solve her sister’s disappearance, their combined rage and desperation might be just what their world needs to stitch itself back together again.
Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions about Small-Town America. Ed. by Nora Shalaway Carpenter. 2020. Candlewick, $18.99 (9781536212105).
A great mix of authors diverse in ethnicity, gender identity, and sexuality share stories about teens living in small towns.
She Drives Me Crazy. By Kelly Quindlen. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (9781250209153).
Scottie, a white basketball player, and Irene, an Indian American cheerleader, have a history of bad blood. When a fender-bender forces them to commute to school together, they hatch a fake-dating scheme to get back at Scottie’s ex and help Irene’s bid for a competitive athletic award.
A Sitting in St. James. By Rita Williams-Garcia. HarperCollins/Quill Tree, $17.99 (9780062367297).
This epic historical novel follows a plantation-owning family on the brink of financial ruin and the enslaved people forced to work for them during the last few years of the antebellum era in south Louisiana.
Six Crimson Cranes. By Elizabeth Lim. Knopf, $18.99 (9780593300916).
Shiori must find a way to overpower her stepmother, the Queen, who has turned her six brothers into cranes and banished Shiori from her home in this East Asian–inspired retelling of the “Six Swans” fable from the Brothers Grimm. A 2022 Notable Children’s Book.
The Sky Blues. By Robbie Couch. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (9781534477858).
When openly gay, white teen Sky’s plans for an elaborate prom-posal to his longtime crush, Ali, an Arab American and possibly not-gay classmate, are derailed by a homophobic and racist email prank, Sky and his group of friends devise a plan to uncover the culprits while also publicly embracing and celebrating Sky’s identity.
A Snake Falls to Earth. By Darcie Little Badger. Levine Querido, $18.99 (9781646140923).
Nina is a Lipan Apache teen living in the very near future. Oli is a cottonmouth person in the Reflecting World. When the snake boy ventures to Earth to seek the help of a human girl, they must turn the tides of change to protect those they love. A 2022 Newbery Honor Book and a 2022 Notable Children’s Book.
Some Girls Do. By Jennifer Dugan. Putnam, $17.99 (9780593112533).
Sparks fly when Ruby hits Morgan with her car. But track star Morgan is out and proud, and beauty queen/mechanic Ruby is closeted. These very different girls need nearly opposite things from each other. Can their worlds combine, or are they destined to crash and burn?
Somewhere between Bitter and Sweet. By Laekan Zea Kemp. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316460279).
Mexican American young adults Pen (an aspiring baker and the heir apparent to her family’s restaurant) and Xander (an undocumented immigrant searching for the father who abandoned him) develop a tender connection amid their own personal crossroads and trouble in their Austin, Texas, neighborhood. A 2022 Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Honor Book.
Starfish. By Lisa Fipps. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, $17.99 (9781984814500).
Ellie’s sister gave her the name Splash at her fifth birthday party, and Ellie can no longer recall a time when she wasn’t shamed for being fat. With the help of a supportive dad and some therapy, Ellie begins to demand to be treated like a human being. A 2022 Printz Honor Book and a 2022 Notable Children’s Book.
Sugar Town Queens. By Malla Nunn. Putnam, $17.99 (9780525515609).
When mixed-race teen Amandla discovers that her white mother’s wealthy and estranged family has been living in nearby Johannesburg, South Africa, she sets out to uncover the secrets that have forced her and her mother to fend for themselves in the impoverished Sugar Town township.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling. By Wai Chim. 2020. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338656114).
Anna Chiu is the daughter of two Chinese immigrants in Australia. Between taking care of her siblings, her mentally ill mother, the family restaurant, and school, the new delivery boy might be a welcome change—or a distraction that threatens the precarious balance Anna has maintained for so long.
Sway with Me. By Syed M. Masood. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316492416).
Worried that he will be alone when his guardian—a centenarian great-grandfather—dies, Arsalan seeks out the help of his classmate Beenish, whose stepmother is a matchmaker. In exchange, he agrees to participate in a Bollywood-inspired dance number at her sister’s wedding.
Switch. By A. S. King. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525555513).
Javelin prodigy Truda lives in a world where time has stopped moving forward, and it’s still June 23, 2020. Tru may be the only person who knows how to fix it, if she can hang on as the house her father built literally turns upside down.
This Poison Heart. By Kalynn Bayron. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (9781547603909).
Brooklyn-raised Black teen Briseis Green has a magical affinity for making plants grow and flowers bloom with a single touch. When she suddenly inherits an old country house, Bri discovers an in-demand apothecary, built-in clientele, a secret garden full of poisonous plants, and a dangerously dark family legacy. A 2022 Top 10 Rainbow List selection for Teens.
This Will Be Funny Someday. By Katie Henry. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $18.99 (9780062955708).
When quiet, lonely Isabel, a white teen living in Chicago, unwittingly stumbles into performing stand-up comedy, she has two problems: her new college-aged comedy friends don’t know she’s 16, and she has to keep comedy a secret from everyone else she knows, especially her controlling boyfriend.
The Way Back. By Gavriel Savit. 2020. Knopf, $18.99 (9781984894625).
Two separate losses drive Yehuda Leib and Bluma further and further away from their home and closer to each other. Their separate dealings with the Angel of Death may cost them their lives—or may finally lead them home.
We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire. By Joy McCullough. Dutton, $17.99 (9780525556053).
After her sister’s rapist is convicted but only sentenced to time served, an outraged Em turns to writing a novel about Marguerite de Bressieux, a fifteenth-century sword-wielding rape survivor, as a means of processing her sister’s trauma.
What about Will. By Ellen Hopkins. Putnam, $17.99 (9780593108642).
When Trace’s older brother, Will, suffers a head injury playing football, no one knows how hard things will get. Their mom spends most of her time on the road, their dad works a lot, and Trace is left to figure out when it’s time to speak up about Will’s addiction.
What Beauty There Is. By Cory Anderson. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (9781250268099).
If they’re going to survive the harsh Idaho winter, Jack must either relinquish his brother to foster care or find the stash of money from the high-stakes job that sent his father to prison. Ava is determined to help, but she’s hiding a dangerous secret. A 2022 Morris Award finalist.
When We Make It. By Elisabet Velasquez. Dial, $18.99 (9780593324486).
Puerto Rican teen Sarai navigates life in 1990s Bushwick, Brooklyn, as her community faces gentrification, poverty, and addiction.
Where the Rhythm Takes You. By Sarah Dass. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $18.99 (9780063018525).
After her mother’s death, Afro-Caribbean teen Reyna abandons her artistic plans to work at the family hotel in Tobago. But when ex-boyfriend Aiden—now a famous musician—returns, Reyna must relive romantic regrets and decide if it’s worth taking a second shot at a life she never got to lead.
Who I Was with Her. By Nita Tyndall. 2020. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062978387).
Corinne has kept her sexuality and her girlfriend, Maggie, a secret from everyone she knows, so she is forced to grieve alone when Maggie suddenly dies. Corinne finds solace in talking to Elissa, Maggie’s ex, but things get complicated when they become increasingly drawn to each other.
With You All the Way. By Cynthia Hand. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062693198).
At 16, white Ada thinks she’s ready for sex. With no obvious prospects at hand, she convinces her longtime acquaintance Nick that they should exit the “v-club” together. But it turns out there’s more to the deed than just a physical act—feelings and emotions matter too.
The Words in My Hands. By Asphyxia. Illus. by the author. Annick, $24.95 (9781773215280).
In a near-future Australia experiencing economic collapse and food shortages, white, Deaf teen Piper meets Marley, a Child of a Deaf Adult (CODA), who introduces her to sign language, the local Deaf community, and the practice of growing “wild food” illegally on public land in this colorfully illustrated epistolary novel. The 2022 Schneider Family Book Award Teen winner.
Year of the Reaper. By Makiia Lucier. Clarion, $17.99 (9780358272090).
When a murderer connected to the queen threatens the fragile peace between two kingdoms ravaged by war and plague, nobleman Cas, newly home from his time as a prisoner of war, is tasked with finding the killer and uncovering her secrets.
Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger. By Margarita Engle. Atheneum, $18.99 (9781534464964).
During Cuba’s euphemistically named ”special period in times of peace,“ a pair of teens fall in love as they struggle to find food for their families.
Free Trial, activate profile, or subscribe