Gilmore Girls: Currently Reading

This post originally appeared on The BookBandit Blog as part of Nicole’s Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Celebration in 2016.

It’s hard to top a Girlmore Girls Read-a-Likes list but I knew I wanted to do something fun for Nicole’s amazing celebration of the Gilmore Girls revival. Since I’ve already covered books to read if you’re a fan of the series, I decided this time around that I would recommend some books for some of my favorite Gilmore Girls characters:

Lorelai Gilmore

Lorelai is a bit of a free spirit despite settling down to run the Dragonfly Inn. She has a wild past, a strong moral compass, and she definitely learns by doing (even if that means she makes some mistakes along the way. If Lorelai came to me for book recommendations I’d give her: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, Boss Babes: A Coloring and Activity Book for Grown-Ups by Michelle Volansky

Rory Gilmore

Rory Gilmore currently reading photo collageRory is probably already bogged down with reading–likely weighty non-fiction, classics, and some research for her job which I assume involves covering the Clinton campaign. That said, if she had time to read for fun, I think Rory would love: The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen, Ten Days A Madwoman The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “girl” Reporter Nellie Bly by Deborah Noyes, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast

Emily Gilmore

Emily Gilmore currently reading photo collage
Emily was the consummate debutante as a young woman and social hierarchies have always mattered to her. That said, Emily has mellowed a lot thanks to Rory and Loralei so I think she’d enjoy these books that turn various aspects of polite society upside down: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray; She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor; My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows

Luke Danes

Luke Danes currently reading photo collage
Luke is a man who plays his cards close to his vest. I can’t imagine him asking for book recommendations. Luke tends to be very practical so my first instinct was all non-fiction and dry texts. But since Luke wouldn’t admit it one way or the other, I think he’d probably like to kick back with some thick fantasy novels. If I lived in Stars Hollow I might try to leave these lying around his diner for him to find (and hopefully read): American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Lane Kim

Lane Kim currently reading photo collage
Lane always wanted to be a wild child but her rebellions were small and stealthy to avoid friction with the inimitable Mrs. Kim. Now that Lane is married with children of her own, she would definitely want some books to remind her of her (almost) misspent youth: Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, M Train by Patti Smith

Sookie St. James

Sookie St. James currently reading photo collage
Sookie is the peanut butter to Lorelei’s jam as her best friend and business partner. Sookie maintains a perpetually cheery outlook and is passionate about food–especially baking–so her her books practically chose themselves: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Kirk Gleason

Kirk Gleason currently reading photo collage
Kirk is the resident jack of all trades in Stars Hollow. Given his checkered job history, it’s safe to say that Kirk’s reading tastes would be eclectic including a variety of things like Careers The Graphic Guide to Finding the Perfect Job for You, The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Jess Mariano

Jess Mariano currently reading photo collage
Jess is one of my favorite Gilmore Girls characters so of course I had to include him here. Jess first arrives in Stars Hollow as a rebel without a clue but fans see him grow as he starts to build relationships with his uncle Luke and, of course, with Rory. As an aspiring author and generally creative soul, I’d love to hand Jess Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Hero Is You: Sharpen Your Focus, Conquer Your Demons, and Become the Writer You Were Born to Be by Kendra Levin, Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman (this last one is cheating because it’s not out until Apr 18, 2017 but I feel like Jess is cool enough to have some publishing connections to get an ARC)

Paris Geller

Paris Geller currently reading photo collage
Paris is the perfect foil to Rory as she alternates between a bitter rival and a best friend. Paris puts a lot of pressure on herself to be the best of all things (and let’s face it, she’s totally obsessed with Hamilton) so I think she’d get a lot out of these titles: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst, This Raging Light by Estelle Laure, Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
So now you know what books I’d give to some of my favorite Gilmore Girls characters. Thanks again to Nicole for putting together this celebration and letting me contribute!

Read-a-Likes for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda took the book world by storm when it was published in 2015 earning Albertalli a National Book Award nomination and winning the William C. Morris YA Debut Award in 2016. The movie adaptation (retitled “Love, Simon”) hit theaters in March 2018. Any fan of this book knows you can’t have too much Simon, but in the meantime these books can fill that Simon-shaped hole in your heart.

Click the book titles below to read my reviews.

You can also shop the list on Bookshop.

cover image college for Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

 

If You Want a Book with Blackmail or Mystery:

  1. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus: All of them were caught using cell phones during school hours. All of them claim they were framed. On Monday afternoon the five of them walk into detention at Bayview High. Only four of them walk out alive.
  2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: Frankie embarks on a path of unprecedented mischief, mayhem, and intrigue during her sophomore year at boarding school.
  3. The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby: Charlie and John have nothing in common except for art and ambition. They are both determined to win and they won’t let anything stand in their way. Not a soul-killing job at Salad Stop or an unsympathetic girlfriend. Not a dad’s girlfriend’s drug-addicted ex-boyfriend. And definitely not a very minor case of kidnapping.
  4. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed: They start as nobodies. Three misfits trying to find their way. Bound together by shared outrage new girl Grace, queer punk girl Rosina, and nerdy loner Erin become the Nowhere Girls as they try to seek justice and change in their small Texas town in the aftermath of Lucy’s attempt to report her gang rape–a crime most of the town chooses to ignore.

If You Want a Book with a Musical (or a Play):

  1. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle: Quinn doesn’t know how to deal with his sister’s death but his best friend insists that it’s time for Quinn to rejoin the living. One haircut later Quinn meets a hot guy at his first college parts and starts to think the movie version of his life might have a happy ending after all.
  2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Two boys, one name, and one collision course that sets both Wills on the path of love, friendship, and an epic high school musical.
  3. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills: Already on the wrong side of her school’s worst mean girl, Claudia doesn’t know what to think when they’re both forced to try out for the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But mandatory participation might be exactly what Claudia needs to broaden her horizons.
  4. Anything Could Happen by Will Walton: Tretch knows his dads will support him if he comes out. But he’s not sure what it would mean for his quiet small town life, or his painful crush on his straight best friend. But practicing dance routines alone can only go so far. Tretch will have to put himself center stage if he wants to get his due.

If You Want a Book with Pen Pals:

  1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
  2. In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah thinks the Nick she’s known online can’t be that different from Nick in real life. But she only has one night in Vegas to figure that out and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  3. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty: When Cassie, Emily, and Lydia join their school’s pen pal project they don’t expect to make friends–let alone fall for–they boys they’re writing to at a neighboring school. But taking their written correspondence to real life proves more challenging than any of them realize and might even put the rest of the pen pal project at risk.
  4. Dear Martin by Nic Stone: Justyce hopes to find some answers in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after he is profiled and unfairly detained by the police. But as Jus tries to follow his teachings and writes to Dr. King to try and make sense of his life, Justyce starts to wonder if those teachings have any place in the modern world where boys like Justyce are still dying.

If You Want a Funny Story:

  1. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsburg: When Rafe moves to a new all boys’ boarding school he decides to start with a clean slate where he isn’t “the gay kid.” Except keeping a secret like that isn’t easy. Especially when he might also be falling in love.
  2. Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornbough: Nattie is fine with blending in, joking with her friends, and possibly, sort of, flirting with Zach the Anarchist. But when local pop star Sebastian writes a hit single called “Natalie,” Nattie suddenly finds herself at the center of speculation about “Natalie’s” identity and wondering if she might have a future in the limelight, after all.
  3. The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne: Enthusiastic Daisy is more than ready to support her best friend, Hannah, when she comes out. But Daisy’s can-do attitude backfires when her efforts to end her school’s ban on same-sex dates at dances goes viral and pushes Daisy’s efforts to support her best friend to the sidelines.
  4. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde: Three friends, two love stories, one wild convention, and fandoms galore.

If You Want a Story About This Crazy Thing Called Love:

  1. One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva: Alek Khederian’s summer school nightmare starts to look up when he meets confident, irreverent Ethan and realizes he might be exactly what Alek needs.
  2. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan: Mark and Kate don’t know each other beyond adjacent seats in class. They’re both in love, they’re both scared, and they just might be able to help each other face what comes next.
  3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: Both Noah and Jude are haunted by old ghosts and past mistakes. With the help of a curmudgeonly artist and a spectacularly messed-up boy, Jude thinks she can put the pieces of her family back together. Except she only has half of the pieces. It will take both Jude and Noah, together, to make things right.
  4. Fan Art by Sarah Tregay: As senior year wraps up, Jamie is forced to admit he has a problem: he’s fallen hard for his best friend. Jamie might be able to get together with Mason with help from the girls in his art class. But is the chance at romance enough to risk a lifelong friendship?

This post originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2017.

Read-a-likes for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Jenny Han’s heroine Lara Jean Song endeared herself to readers in Jenny Han’s trilogy and, of course, in the Netflix adaptations. Hopefully these read-a-likes will help fill the Lara Jean shaped hole in your heart if you’ve finished the series.

Click the book titles below to read my reviews.

You can also shop this list on Bookshop with some bonus titles included.

Lara Jean Read-a-likes collage with cover art for To All the Boys I've Loved Before, PS I Still Love You, Always and Forever Lara JeanIf you’re anything like me and consider yourself Lara Jean’s number one fan, you might want to check out these fan buttons I made to declare your allegiance online.

If You Want a Book With Sensational Sisters:

Book covers for books with sensational sisters

  • The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway: Sisters April, May, and June rediscover their childhood powers after their parents’ divorce. April sees the future, May disappears, and June reads minds. The powers help them cope with a tumultuous year but could they also have a bigger purpose?
  • The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman: When Katie’s family moves from New York City to rural Fir Lake, she expects to face all of the changes with her older sister, Michaela. But the harder Katie clings to her memories of the city, the more Michaela adapts to life in Fir Lake, leaving Katie to wonder what happens when your best friend starts to look like someone you don’t know.
  • Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu: Missing her sister as she immerses herself in college life, Montana dives head first into a friendship with Karissa, an intoxicating girl from her acting class. Throwing herself into new relationships and trying to remake herself, Montana isn’t sure if she is losing herself or finding herself for the first time.
  • The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson: Sisters Brooks, May, and Palmer don’t know how to cope with their father’s sudden death. Brooks starts drinking, Palmer focuses on softball and middle sister May is left to hold their family together. As the girls drift apart they each gravitate to their father’s 1967 Pontiac Firebird. The Golden Firebird might be a horrible reminder of everything they have lost, but it might also be the key to finally moving on.
  • Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan: Josie can always translate the things around her into her own native language of Josie. But living a life in translation is exhausting–especially with her sister marrying an insufferable man. Love is found in many languages. With so many things around her changing, Josie is about to get a crash course in the true meaning of the word. 

If You Want a Book With a Sweet Romance:

Book covers for books with sweet romance

  • Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: Not-quite-openly gay Simon is blackmailed into being the wingman for a classmate unless he wants his sexual identity (and the privacy of the amazing but still anonymous boy he’s been emailing) made public.
  • Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira: Unsure what to do about Dev potentially liking her, bookish Phoebe turns to the heroines in her favorite books for advice. But it turns out fictional romances don’t always translate well to reality. If Phoebe wants her own happy ending, she might have to figure out the answer herself.
  • Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein: June and Oliver have seen each other around for years, an annoying side effect of their mothers being best friends. But they don’t get to know each other until the start of senior year when their mothers arrange for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Day. As they get to know each other, both June and Oliver will have to decide if young love has a place in a world where high school doesn’t much matter.
  • In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since eighth grade. They chat and text constantly. They talk on the phone for hours. They know each other better than anyone. But only online. After an impulsive decision to road trip to Vegas to meet Nick, Hannah has one night to get to know Real Life Nick and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: Natasha believes in science and facts. Which is why it’s so hard to hope for a miracle on her last day in New York City. Daniel believes in poetry and fate which is why he knows the moment he meets Natasha that their lives are about the change forever.

If You Want a Book With a Love Triangle:

Book covers for books with love triangles

  • Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler: Vanessa Park is passionate about acting and loves being on set–even with her flirty co-star Josh Chester. Van’s happy to have her new career handler, Brianna, but unsure what to do when her friendly feelings for Bri become something else.
  • A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody: Ellison Sparks has the worst Monday ever but she knows that with a second chance she could fix everything. But what happens when she gets seven chances? As Ellie tries again and again (and so on) to get her Monday right she starts to realize that the dream Monday she’s been chasing might not be so perfect after all.
  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum: When she receives an email from someone (Somebody/Nobody to be more specific) offering to help make sense of her perplexing new school Jessie isn’t sure what to think. Is his offer genuine? Is it an elaborate prank? The potential for a new friend and some much-needed information win out. The more Jessie and SN email and text, the more she wants to meet him in person. But as she gets closer to discovering SN’s identity, Jessie also wonders if some mysteries should remain unsolved.
  • The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder: In a year filled with changes and heartbreaks both small and large, Penelope will have to figure out how to move forward–especially when she knows exactly how fragile a heart can be.
  • The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott: Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s smart, funny, and he understands her. He’s also dating her best friend. Sarah liked him first, but it doesn’t matter. She still likes him. That doesn’t matter either. At least, it’s not supposed to. The only problem is, it does.

If You Want a Book About Growing Up:

Book covers for books about growing up

  • Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo: In a year filled with a lot of change and a lot of new things for both Amelia and Chris, this improbable pair will learn that friendships–and sometimes even more confusing feelings–can blossom anywhere.
  • This Raging Light by Estelle Laure: Lucille is used to being responsible and she knows that if she takes things one step at a time she can handle anything. She can find a job, she can take care of her little sister Wren, she can make sure no one notices that their mother is conspicuously absent. But Lucille isn’t sure if she can do all of that while holding onto her best friend and maybe falling in love.
  • The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart: The whole mess started with Finn. Well, technically it might have had more to do with Kim. But Finn is definitely involved. So is Jackson. And his four ceramic frogs. When it’s all said and done Nora, Cricket and Meghan are not speaking to Ruby. Kim isn’t either but that isn’t really a surprise. And that’s almost all before fifteen-year-old Ruby starts having panic attacks that lead to her eleven shrink appointments.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Anna Oliphant expected to spend her senior year in Atlanta with her friends. Instead her wannabe-sophisticated-noveau-riche dad has exiled Anna to boarding school. In Paris. Where the funny, charming, gorgeous Etienne St. Clair takes Anna under his wing. As Paris begins to feel more like home, Anna and Etienne have a lot of near-misses that bring their friendship to the verge of romance. Even while Etienne is very much still taken. But anything seems possible in the City of Lights. Maybe Anna and Etienne really are meant to be, maybe Anna will even learn some French.
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: Elise Dembowski has tried countless times to make herself better. Less different. Less precocious. Every time it’s been a horrible failure. Until one magical night when Elise wanders into a warehouse dance party and something finally does change. At the party Elise finds people who accept her; not some mainstreamed version of herself, not the invisible version or the fake one. Just her. In the midst of the party and the magic Elise also finds something almost as important: DJing.

If You Want a Book with a Baker:

Book covers for books with bakers

  • A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis: Lainey dreams of becoming a chef and having her own cooking show one day. With the lack of African American female chefs–not to mention vegetarian ones–she figures her odds of hitting it big are excellent. When her best friend (and crush) moves away, Lainey finds comfort in the kitchen as she works through new recipes and makes peace with the past.
  • Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Both Macallan and Levi are pretty sure they’re better as friends than anything else. Except they can’t help wondering if the complications that come with being more than friends might just be worth it.
  • The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil, illustrated by Mike Lawrence: Alba loves living behind the bakery, drawing comics, and watching bad TV with her friends. Unfortunately Alba’s comfortable life is thrown into chaos by the return of a boy she used to know, complications with her best friend, and the flock of doomsday enthusiasts coming to Eden Valley for the end of the world.
  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Hudson gave up her ice skates for baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner after a betrayal completely altered her plans for her future. When she has a chance to start coaching the boys hockey team, Hudson will also haveto decide if she wants to start skating again on her own terms.
  • Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood: Between moving, having no money, changing schools, and his father suddenly revealing that he’s gay Dan has more than enough issues without an impossible crush on the girl next door. Dan narrows all of his problems to six impossible things. With a penchant for making lists and following through, Dan is optimistic about fixing at least some of them–maybe even his mom’s wedding cake business that seems to result in more cancelled weddings than actual cakes.

Bonus: If You Want Another Rom Com:

Book covers for books releasing in 2017

  • Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan: Texan teen Piper dreams of leaving Houston far behind and attending art school in New York City with her best friends. Piper’s art might be enough to get her out of her stifling life at home, but only if she’s ready to take a chance on the unknown.
  • Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: When Rachel moved away she left a love letter for her crush, Henry Jones, in his favorite book in his family’s bookstore. But Henry never came. Now Rachel is back in the city and working beside Henry, the one boy she had hoped she would never see again.
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo: Desi Lee is a straight A student who knows CPR, car mechanics, and definitely has her application to Stanford well in hand. Love and flirting, however, remain a painful challenge. When Luca Drakos–probably the hottest guy ever–enters Desi’s life, she decides it’s time to improve her flirting game. And she knows exactly how to do it thanks to the Korean dramas her father loves.
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple Shah has plans now that she’s graduated. Those plans do not include playing along with her mother’s mission to find her the ideal Indian Husband. Rishi Patel believes in love and the tradition behind arranged marriages. He’s thrilled to have the chance to woo his future wife over the summer. Dimple and Rishi’s parents didn’t mean to start the arrangement when their children were so young, but how can they ignore the serendipity of both teens choosing the same summer program?
  • By Your Side by Kasie West: What happens when the good girl gets locked in the school library for the long weekend with the bad boy?

Lara Jean Read-a-likes collage with cover art for To All the Boys I've Loved Before, PS I Still Love You, Always and Forever Lara Jean

This piece originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2016.

Book List: Pride Month Reading List

June is Pride Month. Any time is a good time to celebrate the lives and experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) people. You can join the Pride movement yourself with this reading list to keep you busy for the rest of June and into the summer.

Pride Month Reading List cover collagebanner

Click any of the linked titles below to read my reviews.

You can also shop the list at Bookshop.

Hani and Ishu, Follow Your Arrow, Verona Comics, Felix Ever After, The Scapegracers, you should see me in a crown, girl serpent thorn, midnight lie

  • Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler: Lara has everything she thought she wanted. But now that she’s gotten the boy of her dreams, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl from her past?
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust: When her search for answers and a way to break the curse that makes her touch poison lead Soraya to a guard who claims he can see her for more than her poison and a prisoner in the dungeons who may have the answers Soraya needs, she will have to decide if she will be a princess or a monster.
  • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender: Creating a secret profile to try and out his harasser should be simple since Felix is so sure it’s his longtime nemesis, Declan. But when Felix and Declan start talking, Felix realizes nothing is exactly as it seems–especially Felix’s own feelings for Declan and his best friend Ezra.
  • The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke: Sideways is almost as surprised as Jing and Yates and Daisy when the magic she was hired to add to a scare season party works. Party magic soon leads to dead deer in a drained pool, an unknown party guest nearly assaulting Yates, devils, and trouble as the girls start to learn more about the magic they all share and what it means for their fledgling friendship.
  • Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan: Neither Jubilee nor Ridley are looking for anything long-term, but their connection is immediately obvious. Unfortunately it’s also immediately inconvenient due to their parents’ intense dislike of each other and their rivalry.
  • Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar: What starts as a business transaction to secure Hani acceptance from her biphobic friends in exchange for the visibility Ishu needs to win Head Girl quickly becomes something more when the girls start to realize they might actually like each other. Turns out staging a relationship is a lot easier than trying to start a real one.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson: Prom season is always hectic in Campbell and competition is always fierce. Liz knows most people in Campbell don’t see her as prom queen material. The better question is if Liz is ready to step out of the ensemble and use her solo to convince them otherwise.
  • The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg: Maximo and Jordan will have to decide what they’re willing to risk on a fledgling relationship while working on a food truck together during a hot Arizona summer.
  • Last Night a the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo: America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown when Red-Scare paranoia is an especially big threat to Lily Hu’s family. The Telegraph Club offers a respite but Lily will still have to decide how much she can afford to risk for her family and her own ambitions to give herself a chance with Kath.
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children takes in used-up miracle children who have outgrown their knack for finding hidden lands. When a new girl, Nancy, arrives it becomes clear that a darkness lurks at the home and it will be up to Nancy and her schoolmates to unravel the secrets of the Home and their own pasts.
  • The Sullivan Sisters by Kathryn Ormsbee: Sisters Eileen, Claire, and Murphy used to be close. A visionary, a planner, and a performer respectively, the sisters could accomplish amazing things. But that was years ago. Now the girls can barely stand each other. Days before Christmas Eileen receives a letter that could change everything. The sisters have inherited a house that could have answers for Eileen, money for Claire to get out of town, and a chance for Murphy to feel like she’s part of a family again.
  • The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski: As Nirrim and Sid search for answers about the secrets of the High Kith and Herath itself, Nirrim will have to decide if doing more than surviving is worth the risk–and the cost.
  • Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi: When CeCe’s efforts to keep her public persona a secret go spectacularly wrong CeCe will have to answer uncomfortable questions from Josh and confront the media attention centered around who she chooses to date and the version of herself she chooses to share.

Read-a-Likes for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Nicola Yoon’s debut novel Everything, Everything took the book world by storm when it was published in 2015 and won even more fans when the story came to life on the big screen with the film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinsom. If you’re looking for more read-a-likes now that you’ve read the book and watched the movie, this booklist has everything, everything you might want to read next.

Click titles to read my reviews where applicable.

You can also shop this list on Bookshop.

collage art for Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonIf You Want a Book Where a Character is More Than Their Illness:

cover art for The Memory Book, Zac and Mia, Before I Die, Hold Me Like a Breath

 

  • The Memory Book by Lara Avery: Sammie doesn’t believe that one diagnosis can change her entire life. She starts writing down her memories big and small as her degenerative illness, Niemann-Pick Type C, begins to take its toll on her memories and her health.
  • Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts: Zac and Mia would never be friends friends in the real world. But different rules apply when you’re in a hospital.
  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham: Tessa knows she is dying. Instead of waiting to disappear without a trace, Tessa decides to complete her “before I die” list in the precious weeks she has left.
  • Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt: When disaster strikes, Penelope is thrust into a world of secrets and betrayals she is ill-equipped to understand. As she struggles to make sense of her shattered past and shape her own future she’ll also learn that life isn’t always a fairy tale. Sometimes you have to make your own happy ending.

If You Want a Book That Goes the Distance (Literally):

cover art for Let's Get Lost, So Much Closer, In Real Life, Anna and the French Kiss

  • Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid: When Leila arrives right when she’s needed most in her ridiculously red car she changes the lives of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia forever. But it will take a 4,268 mile road trip for Leila to realize what she needs herself.
  • So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti: Brooke moved to New York City for Scott Abrams. Will she wind up staying for herself?
  • In Real Life by Jessica Love: Hannah thinks the Nick she’s known online can’t be that different from Nick in real life. But she only has one night in Vegas to figure that out and decide if she’s ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Anna and Etienne have a lot of near-misses and close calls that bring their friendship to the verge of being something more. Even while Etienne is very much still taken. But anything seems possible in the City of Lights. Maybe Anna and Etienne really are meant to be, maybe Anna will even learn some French.

If You Want a Book With a Sweet Romance:

cover art for The Great American Whatever, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, American Street

  • The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle: Quinn doesn’t know how to deal with his sister’s death but his best friend insists that it’s time for Quinn to rejoin the living. One haircut later Quinn meets a hot guy at his first college parts and starts to think the movie version of his life might have a happy ending after all.
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
  • I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil: When Bea loses her boyfriend to quirky new girl Toile, she decides to use her mathematically proven Formula for social happiness in high school to reinvent herself as eccentric and adorable “Trixie”.
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi:Fabiola Toussaint and her mother arrive in the United States eager to join Fabiola’s aunt and cousins. But her mother is detained by ICE at a facility in New Jersey and Fabiola arrives alone. Fabiola finds new friends and first love, but she also learns that nothing in America is what she imagined back home in Haiti–not even her new home at the corner of American Street and Joy Road.

If You Want a Book That Has Some Unexpected Moments:

cover art for Something Real, The Boy in the Black Suit, My Kind of Crazy, Highly Illogical Behavior

  • Something Real by Heather Demetrios: When their family’s reality show is cancelled Bonnie™ Baker hopes that she and her twelve siblings can start living a normal life. Then her mother announces that Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air and Bonnie™ will have to take drastic measures if she wants to protect the normal life she’s started to treasure.
  • The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds: What happens when a boy who works at a funeral home meets a girl who never cries?
  • My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul: When Hank’s promposal attempt ends with a fiery lawn, budding pyromaniac Peyton Breedlove blackmails him into friendship.
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley: Solomon hasn’t left his house in three years. Lisa, with help from her boyfriend Clark, decides to fix Sol and his agoraphobia. And write a scholarship-winning essay about it. But it turns out psychology isn’t so straightforward when love and friendship come into the mix.

collage art for Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This piece originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2017.

Books with Bakers, Chefs, and Other Food Enthusiasts

Everyone has to do it eventually but surprisingly few YA fiction books have any reference to it. I’m talking about cooking and baking, of course. This list features books for teens with bakers, chefs, and foodies.

collage cover art for Books with Bakers book listClick book titles to read my review where applicable. You can shop the titles on this list plus a few bonus suggestions on Bookshop.

If you want even more titles check out the “cooking & baking” tag on my blog for every book I’ve reviewed that features cooking or baking.

  • Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake: Hadley and Sam are both hurting. They’re feeling abandoned and maybe even betrayed by their parents’ choices. Neither of them expects to find comfort or connection with the other–especially Sam who knows exactly how ludicrous their mutual attraction really is–but then they find exactly that. And maybe more
  • A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis: Lainey dreams of becoming a chef and having her own cooking show one day. With the lack of African American female chefs–not to mention vegetarian ones–she figures her odds of hitting it big are excellent. When her best friend (and crush) moves away, Lainey finds comfort in the kitchen as she works through new recipes and makes peace with the past.
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: Sydney is used to living in her older brother Peyton’s shadow. When Peyton is sent to jail for drunk driving, Sydney tracks down the victim of the accident and finds herself drawn into the warm and chaotic world of the Chathams and the pizza parlor they run.
  • Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Both Macallan and Levi are pretty sure they’re better as friends than anything else. Except they can’t help wondering if the complications that come with being more than friends might just be worth it.
  • Taste Test by Kelly Fiore: As accidents mount in the kitchen arena of Taste Test, a new televised cooking competition, Nora has to try to find the culprit while proving she has what it takes to win.
  • Stir It Up! by Ramin Ganeshram: Anjali dreams of hosting a cooking show where she can showcase dishes inspired by her Hindu and Trinidadian heritage. When she has the chance to compete in a cooking show will she be able to defy her family and attend the audition?
  • The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler: Penny’s life is far from sweet when her mother moves them from the big city to Hog’s Hollow so that she can open a cupcake bakery.
  • The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil, illustrated by Mike Lawrence: Alba loves living behind the bakery, drawing comics, and watching bad TV with her friends. Unfortunately Alba’s comfortable life is thrown into chaos by the return of a boy she used to know, complications with her best friend, and the flock of doomsday enthusiasts coming to Eden Valley for the end of the world.
  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley: Baker Rae “Sunshine” Seddon’s life takes a dramatic turn when she is abducted by a gang of vampires. And survives.
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Catherine is more interested in baking than the attentions of Wonderland’s unmarried King–especially when she has big plans to open her own shop and is secretly courting Jest. Cath wants to choose her own path but in a land filled with madness and magic, she may not get the chance.
  • Cake Pop Crush by Suzanne Nelson: Alice Ramirez loves baking and helping at her father’s bakery, Say It With Flour. When a rival coffee shop opens across the street, Ali tries to give her family an edge with trendy cake pops.
  • The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier: Keri has her hands running her bakery when she is unexpectedly chosen as the next Lady of Nimmera. Only time will tell if one inexperienced and unexpected heir will be enough to repair Nimmera’s quickly fading boundary magic and help the small country thrive even in the face of imminent invasion.
  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: Hudson gave up her ice skates for baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner after a betrayal completely altered her plans for her future. When she has a chance to start coaching the boys hockey team, Hudson will also haveto decide if she wants to start skating again on her own terms.
  • The Prank List by Anna Staniszewski: Rachel Lee will do anything to save her mother’s cleaning business if it means not moving to Connecticut and losing her new best friend, almost-boyfriend, and her pastry classes.
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: Every year when the temperature drops, Sam changes into a wolf–Grace’s wolf, the one always watching her from a safe distance–trapped in his changed form until spring when the temperatures rise and he can become Sam again. Once Grace knows the truth, sees her wolf made human, losing him is unimaginable. Being with Grace is all Sam has ever wanted; the one thing he always held onto as a wolf. But the temperature is falling in Mercy Falls and Grace and Sam are running out of time.
  • Pizza, Love & Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams: Sophie Nicolaides grew up in her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant. But is that enough to prepare her to compete on the Teen Test Kitchen reality show?
  • Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood: Between moving, having no money, changing schools, and his father suddenly revealing that he’s gay Dan has more than enough issues without an impossible crush on the girl next door. Dan narrows all of his problems to six impossible things. With a penchant for making lists and following through, Dan is optimistic about fixing at least some of them–maybe even his mom’s wedding cake business that seems to result in more cancelled weddings than actual cakes.

An earlier version of this piece originally appeared on YALSA’s Hub Blog in 2017.

Miss Print’s Top Ten: 2020

What a strange year this has been. Despite a personally promising start, I know I’m not the only who will be happy to see the other side of this long and tedious year. One thing that helped get me through this year were the books I was able to read, the authors I was able to connect with, and the stories I was able to recommend to friends.

When I sat down to put together this post, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to remember–or even choose–my ten favorite reads of the year. But as I began looking back on all of the books I read and listened to, I realized most of the choices were obvious.

This year I’m giving you a top eleven and some honorable mentions because it was impossible to narrow it down more.

You can also shop this list on Bookshop or Amazon.

Honorable Mention: The Backlist

The books I read and loved this year that were published before 2020.

  • Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
  • An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
  • Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

Honorable Mention: The Sequels

The sequels I read and loved this year in two of my favorite series. (Start with book one to avoid spoilers.)

Read-a-Likes for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Are you ready to go big or go home with self-proclaimed fat girl, reluctant beauty queen, and all-around icon Willowdean Dixon of Dumplin’ fame? Have you read Julie Murphy’s delightful novel about Willowdean and its companions Puddin’ and Dear Sweetpea already? Have you seen the Netflix movie? Are eagerly waiting for Pumpkin? If the answer to any of those questions is “Yes!” then look no further for some read-a-likes to keep you busy while you wait for that next installment.

You can also shop the list at Bookshop.

If You Want More Beauty Queens (Reluctant or Otherwise!):

  1. The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander: Austin is almost as tired of waiting for someone else to pull her into the annual Christmas parade as she is of being the butt of Dean Ottmer’s jokes and Austin has a surefire way to fix both her problems: become a hood ornament/Sweetheart in the No-Jesus Christmas Parade.
  2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: What happens when a plane filled with 50 beauty queens crashes in the middle of nowhere? Definitely not anything you’d expect as the remaining contestants turn their beauty-pageant honed skills to surviving on a hostile island and unearthing a massive conspiracy. Then the sexy pirates show up!
  3. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg: Lexi has a Great personality with a capital “G” making her the witty girl everyone likes. The only problem is Lexi is tired of being that girl. Turns out a change in appearance can do a lot to improve a girl’s social status. But family problems and new friends (and crushes) force Lexi to ask some tough questions about herself and do some things that even a Great personality won’t make easy.
  4. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson: Prom season is always hectic in Campbell and competition is always fierce. Liz knows most people in Campbell don’t see her as prom queen material. The better question is if Liz is ready to step out of the ensemble and use her solo to convince them otherwise.

If You Want More Fat Positive Stories:

  1. To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin: Savannah is marking time until she graduates and starts college. It’s just another year before she’ll be in college like her sister, but that feels like an eternity as she tries to deal with her mom’s constant pressure to diet more and eat better not to mention figuring out the whole getting into college thing. Cute new guy George could be the perfect distraction. But only if both of them can learn how to focus on the now instead of worrying about what happens next.
  2. The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burgers in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding: Abby Ives is seventeen, gay, and totally obsessed with all things fashion–especially growing her plus-size style blog as a way to break into the fashion industry. Abby’s clear plans for her future get very complicated when she starts interning at a local boutique. Suddenly Abby is competing for a job with Jordi Perez–the girl she also starts dating–and traveling across LA helping lacrosse bro Jax find (and eat) the best burgers.
  3. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson: When her best friend and two other students die under mysterious circumstances, Mila Flores does the obvious thing: resurrect the girls to get their help to find the killer.

If You Want A Fun Ensemble Cast:

  1. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli: Turns out it’s way easier to keep the beat in drumming than it is in real life. Leah thought she had the hang of both but with high school almost over, Leah is struggling to stay on track with her friends–especially when she still hasn’t figured out the right way to tell all of them that she’s bisexual and one friend in particular that she’d like to be a lot more than friends. (This one also counts is a great fat-positive book but how can I not include Leah and friends in a section about an ensemble cast?)
  2. The Truth Commission by Susan Juby: After years of being fodder (along with her parents) for her sister Kiera’s best-selling graphic novel series, The Diana Chronicles, Normandy Pale is ready to come into her own. She’d like to be known for her own strengths and accomplishments instead of constantly being compared to her hapless counterpart in the Chronicles. But it turns out it’s hard to stop being a muse. Especially when you never asked to be one.
  3. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: Suzette and her brother Lionel have been “Little” and “Lion” for years. Technically they’re step-siblings and their family gets a lot of strange looks sometimes since they’re all Jewish but Suzette and her mom are black while Lionel and his father are white. They’ve never let that change how close they are. That was before Lionel was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Suzette was sent across the country to an East coast boarding school while he got treatment. Now it’s summer and Suzette is home in Los Angeles where she expects everything to be familiar and easy. Instead, Suzette soon realizes that it’s going to be harder to go back to being Little and Lion than she thought.

If You Want A Sweet Romance:

  1. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo: Clara Shin is good at two things: getting into trouble and making people laugh. When her latest joke goes too far ending in a fight and a fire, even Clara’s usually laid-back father Adrian knows that things have gone too far. Clara’s plans for a laid-back summer and a vacation with her Instagram-famous influencer mom are cancelled. Instead Clara gets to look forward to working on her dad’s food truck, the KoBra, to pay back the school for fire damage. Worse, she’ll be working with her nemesis Rose.
  2. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills: Claudia is certain that working with Iris on the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for extra credit is going to be torture. But somewhere between bombing her audition and shopping for materials to help with costume production, something funny happens. Suddenly instead of sticking to what she knows and keeping her head down, Claudia’s world is starting to get bigger. Soon Claudia realizes that appearances can be deceiving as she discovers a boy band obsession, the ineffable Gideon Pruitt, and perhaps most surprisingly of all an unexpected friendship with the last person she expects
  3. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: Amanda Hardy is new to Lambertville, Tennessee and nervous about starting at a new school for her senior year. She isn’t sure what to expect when she moves in with her father who she hasn’t seen in a few years. She isn’t sure if this town will be any kinder to her than the hometown she had to leave. Grant Everett sorely tests Amanda’s resolve. He is funny, kind, and no one Amanda ever thought she could be with. Getting closer to Grant makes Amanda feel safe and known. So much so that she wonders if it might be time to let Grant see all of her–including the secrets from her past.

If You Want More Feminist Heroines:

  1. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo: Xiomara Batista finds her voice and a way to finally be seen when she discovers her high school’s slam poetry
  2. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu: Viv doesn’t know what to expect when she distributes the first issue of her zine, Moxie, in secret to her classmates. In the pages of her zine she calls out sexist jokes, harassment, and unfair dress codes and asks girls at the school to join her in protests that quickly gain momentum and help the Moxie movement take on a life of its own. As the stakes rise for what the zine and the Moxie girls are fighting for, Vivian has to decide how far she’s willing to go for what she believes.
  3. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero: In the midst of a difficult year Gabi finds solace in an unlikely place. Gabi always knew she liked writing and poetry. She just didn’t realize discovering the poetry within herself (and around her) would have the power to change everything.

This piece originally appeared on the YALSA Hub blog in 2018.

Activism Starts With You: Novels to Inspire Empathy

It’s been a wild and sometimes scary ride lately with the political climate changing in the wake of the 2016 United States Presidential election, the current health crisis and, unfortunately, racism and hatred spreading wildly. Two of the best ways to combat this negativity are to get informed and to nurture your empathy. That’s where this booklist comes in with titles about young activists.

You can also find the list at Bookshop.

  • The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah: Michael agrees with everything he hears at the anti-immigrant rallies he’s dragged to with his parents. Until he meets Mina who is clever, funny, and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. As Mina and Michael grow closer they’ll have to decide where they stand and who they want to be in the face of rising tensions and issues that are anything but simple.
  • Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali: Janna Yusuf is the daughter of the only divorced mother at her mosque. She loves Flannery O’Connor. And she has no idea what to think when her best friend’s cousin–one of the so-called “saints” in the Muslim community–tries to assault her.
  • The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu: M. T. gets good grades. She has a best friend and the promise of romance on the horizon. What M. T. doesn’t have is any plans for college. Because M. T. has been hiding something since she was a child. She’s an undocumented immigrant.
  • The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg: Jane feels like her life is over when her family moves to suburbia. Then she meets three other girls, all named Jane, and they form a secret gang to deploy art attacks throughout their town.
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: Set in post-9/11 San Francisco, Marcus is on a quest to hack his city from the sinister clutches of Homeland Security.
  • Refugee by Alan Gratz: Separated by miles and decades, the stories of three refugees–Josef, a Jewish boy fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930s; Isabel, a girl hoping to escape the riots and unrest that plague Cuba in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015, whose homeland is being destroyed by violence and destruction–come together in surprising ways during the course of their harrowing journeys.
  • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon: When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into chaos. Tariq was black and the shooter is white. In the aftermath of the shooting Tariq’s friends, family, and larger community struggle to make sense of the tragedy. But when everyone has something to say, and no two accounts seem to agree, no one is sure how they can ever agree on how it really went down.
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu: In the pages of her new zine “Moxie” Vivian calls out sexist jokes, harassment, and unfair dress codes in her Texas high school and asks girls to join her in protests that quickly gain momentum and help the Moxie movement take on a life of its own. As the stakes rise for what the zine and the Moxie girls are fighting for, Vivian has to decide how far she’s willing to go for what she believes.
  • The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed: The Nowhere Girls are everygirl. But they start with three outsiders–Grace, Rosina, and Erin–as they band together to resist the sexist culture at their high school and to get justice for Lucy, a girl run out of town after accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape.
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely: Rashad is accused  of stealing and brutally beaten by a police officer. Quinn witnesses the beating and recognizes the cop as his best friend’s older brother. The entire thing was caught on camera, but even with that footage, it becomes clear that no one agrees on what happened and Quinn is going to have to choose a side.
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone: Justyce McAllister is at the top of his class and bound for the Ivy League. None of which matters to the police officer who handcuffs him only to release Justyce hours later without charges or remorse. Haunted by the incident and the pressures he faces both from his old neighborhood and his prep school, Justyce starts writing a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King. But even Dr. King’s teachings are put to the test when Justyce and his best friend end up at the center of a night that ends with shots fired and a media firestorm.
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: Virginia, 1959. Sarah is one of the first black students to attend her newly integrated high school. Meeting Sarah and working with her on a school project forces Linda–a white girl–to confront hard truths about her family’s anti-integration beliefs.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Starr Carter watches her friend Kahlil die at the hands of a police officer and faces intimidation from both the police and a local drug lord as they try to find out what happened that night.
  • The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne: Daisy’s efforts to support her best friend, Hannah, when she comes out as a lesbian spiral out of control as Daisy challenges the school’s ban on same-sex dates at school events. When the local story goes national Daisy is the accidental face of a movement.
  • Seeking Refuge: A Graphic Novel by Irene N. Watts and Kathryn Shoemaker: Marianne is eleven-years-old in 1938. She is one of the first two hundred children rescued during Kindertransport and evacuated to England in December. In 1939 her journey continues as she is evacuated to Wales. Shuffled from home to home, Marianne will need courage and resilience to reach the end of her journey.
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew: The previously untold origin story of the Green Turtle–a heroic crime fighter who first hit the scenes in the 1940s–the first Asian American superhero.

This piece originally appeared at Teen Services Underground in 2017.

Activism Starts With You: Nonfiction Books to Inspire and Instruct

It’s been a wild and sometimes scary ride lately with the political climate changing in the wake of the 2016 United States Presidential election, the current health crisis and, unfortunately, racism and hatred spreading wildly. It’s hard to know where to start when you can’t vote and may not be old enough to work. The best first step: Getting information. These books can help teens do just that as you get informed and inspired.

You can also find the list at Bookshop.

  • Strike! The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner: A carefully researched account of the 1965 strike and the ones that followed as migrant Filipino American workers fought to negotiate a better way and set off one of the longest and most successful strikes in American history.
  • Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming An Activist by Jane Drake and Ann Love: This book includes accounts of the founding of organizations like Amnesty International and Greenpeace along with practical steps for social change including how to run meetings, write petitions, and lobby the government.
  • It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change by Bridget Heos: With so many people denying its impacts, it’s more important now than ever to know the full story about climate change. This book features real talk about global warming and ways we can all help by taking action.
  • The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip M. Hoose: The true story of the teenage boys whose acts of sabotage (and eventual arrests) helped spark the Danish resistance during WWII.
  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen: An essay and art-filled guide to what it means to be a feminist from forty-four unique voices.
  • We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson: In May 1963 4,000 African American children and teenagers marched in Birmingham, Alabama where they were willingly arrested to help fill the city’s jails. These young marchers were crucial to the desegregation of Birmingham–one of the most racially violent cities in America at the time.
  • The March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell: These graphic novels share Lewis’ firsthand account of his lifelong involvement in the fight for human rights including his key role in the Civil Rights movement from his early years in a segregated classroom through the 1963 March on Washington.
  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks: The true story of three of the most important scientists of the twentieth century–women who risked their lives pursuing their research and protecting the primates they studied.
  • Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager: Queer author and activist Prager delves into the world’s queer history and heritage through the lens of these twenty-three trailblazers.
  • This Land Is Our Land: The History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne: This book follows the changing reception immigrants to the United States have faced from both the government and the public from 1800 through the present.
  • You Got This! Unleash your Awesomeness, Find your Path, and Change your World by Maya Penn: Everything you need to know to find your passions, reach your potential, and speak up from teen entrepreneur, animator, eco-designer, and girls rights activist Maya Penn.
  • Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz: This book highlights forty women from around the world and from all walks of life along with their varied accomplishments and contributions to world history.
  • The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin: In 1944 hundreds of African American servicemen in the Navy refused to work in unsafe conditions after Port Chicago explosion. Fifty of those men were charged with mutiny. This is their story.
  • Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson: A step-by-step guide to identifying social issues, getting informed, and taking action.
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of A War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana: In her memoir Uwiringiyimana discusses her survival of the Gatumba massacre and her move to America where she began to recover through healing and activism.
  • I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb: Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Her story started when the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley and she fought for her right to an education but that’s only the beginning.

This piece originally appeared at the YALSA Hub Blog in 2017.