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Realistic Fiction

kate in waiting

by Becky Albertalli

F ALB

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway. But when Kate and Andy's latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson. Turns out, communal crushes aren't so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson's friendship.

clap when you land

by Elizabeth Acevedo

F ACE

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people... In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal's office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance--and Papi's secrets--the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they've lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Concrete Rose

by Angie Thomas

F THO

If there's one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it's that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad's in prison. Life's not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav's got everything under control. Until, that is, Maverick finds out he's a father. Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it's not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he's offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he's expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he's different. When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can't just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He'll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

Every Exquisite Thing

by Matthew Quick

F QUI

Ever feel like you have to live up to other people’s expectations - that you have to maintain a straight A average at all costs, that you have to be an athletic superstar even though you hate the sport, that you need to put on an act and be someone you’re not? This is exactly how Nanette O’Hare feels until her English teacher passes her a copy of a novel, The Bubblegum Reaper. Suddenly Nanette’s world turns upside down when her obsession with the book leads her to track down its reclusive author. Their unusual friendship makes her question her relationship with her family and friends, leads her to a boy poet obsessed with the same book, and a realization that she needs to make her own decisions about who she wants to be.

felix ever after

by Kacen Callender

F CAL

Felix Love has never been in love--and, yes, he's painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it's like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What's worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he's one marginalization too many--Black, queer, and transgender--to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages--after publicly posting Felix's deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned--Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn't count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle.... But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

all american boys

by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

F REY

Rashad Butler just wanted to get a bag of chips from the corner grocery but gets accused of shoplifting. Jumping to the conclusion that he must’ve done something wrong, Officer Paul Galluzzo handcuffs Rashad and roughs him up. This incident is caught on video and sends shockwaves through the community. Quinn is a witness to the beating but is torn about which side he should take. On the one hand, Rashad is a classmate and no one deserves to be that badly beaten when he is already handcuffed on the ground. On the other hand, Paul Galluzzo is a close family friend. Was he just doing his job? Was the violence justified in beating Rashad? These are questions that Quinn grapples with as he comes into his own understanding of what it means to be loyal to one’s friends and morals.

patron saints of nothing

by Randy Ribay

F RIB

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth -- and the part he played in it.

I'll Give You The Sun

by Jandy Nelson

F NEL

Incredibly close, artistic twins Noah and Jude vie to get into a prestigious art school to impress their art critic mother. However, when their mother dies in a tragic car accident and Jude gets accepted into the school when Noah is not, the twins drift apart. Noah finds himself increasingly attracted to Brian, a neighbor and baseball star while Jude who used to be a popular life of the party withdraws into a more solitary existence. Told in alternating points of view with Noah telling the story leading up to the accident and Jude telling the story afterwards, the siblings share their halves of the story without realizing the effects their decisions have on each other and the secrets their mother has kept until her death.

Parachutes

by Kelly Yang

F YAN

They're called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she'd be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California. Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger's house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out. Dani De La Cruz, Claire's new host sister, couldn't be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. But Dani's game plan veers unexpectedly off course when her debate coach starts working with her privately. As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever.

there there

By Tommy Orange

F ORA

This is the story of twelve unforgettable characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day. As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow--some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent--momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle's memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss. There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen .

You Should See me in a Crown

by Leah Johnson

F JOH

Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down . . . until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom king and queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she's willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She's smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true? This book is like a puzzle, told through alternating narratives - Vic’s, Mack’s, and the account of what happens in the interrogation room during a murder investigation. If you are a fan of diverse characters, a story told through different points of view, and light romance mixed with a murder mystery, this is a book for you.

color me in

By Natasha Diaz

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom's family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time. Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but because she inadvertently passes as white, her cousin thinks she's too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices African Americans face on a daily basis. In the meantime, Nevaeh's dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. But rather than take a stand, Nevaeh does what she's always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent. Only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom's past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has her own voice. And choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she decide once for all who and where she is meant to be?

Dear Justyce

by Nic Stone

F STO

Incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system . Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas. In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller, Nic Stone delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system. Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center. Through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters to Justyce--the protagonist of Dear Martin --Quan's story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there's a dead cop and a weapon with Quan's prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure

Frankly in Love

by David Yoon

F YOO

Frank Li has two names. There's Frank Li, his American name. Then there's Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California. Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl--which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white. As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he's forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don't leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he's found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he's left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love--or himself--at all.

Slay

by Brittney Morris

F MOR

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the "downfall of the Black man." But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for "anti-white discrimination." Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

with the fire on high

By Elizabeth Acevedo

F ACE

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago's life has been about making the tough decisions--doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it's not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

the sun is also a star

by Nicola Yoon

F YOO

In the course of one day, Natasha, who is about to be deported back to Jamaica, meets Daniel who is on his way to a supposedly life-changing college interview. Natasha believes in reason and science and definitely not love at first sight. Korean-American, Daniel, has always tried to be the good son, living up to his parent’s dream of him becoming a doctor, even though his passion lies in poetry. When the two meet on the streets of New York, neither expected that a simple conversation could lead to a day of deep connection and heartache. Told from multiple points of view, including those of the people whom Daniel and Natasha meet throughout the day, Yoon creates a tale of how interwoven all our lives are and how our everyday simple interactions can change the course of fate for better or worse.

Don't ask me where i'm from

By Jennifer De Leon

F DE

First-generation American LatinX Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand. Liliana Cruz is a hitting a wall--or rather, walls. There's the wall her mom has put up ever since Liliana's dad left--again. There's the wall that delineates Liliana's diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood from Westburg, the wealthy--and white--suburban high school she's just been accepted into. And there's the wall Liliana creates within herself, because to survive at Westburg, she can't just lighten up, she has to whiten up. So what if she changes her name? So what if she changes the way she talks? So what if she's seeing her neighborhood in a different way? But then light is shed on some hard truths: It isn't that her father doesn't want to come home--he can't...and her whole family is in jeopardy. And when racial tensions at school reach a fever pitch, the walls that divide feel insurmountable. But a wall isn't always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.

Created By
E Chu
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Created with an image by jarmoluk - "lonely boy child"