Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Sierra Santiago looks forward to a summer of working on the mural she is painting in her Brooklyn neighborhood. While working on her dragon mural, she notices other murals in the neighborhood are changing.  Her abuelo, Lazaro, is acting even more strangely after suffering a stroke.  He keeps mumbling to Sierra that he is sorry.  Then Lazaro speaks clearly to warn her she must finish her mural. “They are coming for us!” he warns.  Sierra meets Robbie, another young artist in the community, at a party. She confides in him about the changes she is noticing in the neighborhood, Robbie starts to explain the ancestral ways of their culture, but they are interrupted by a creepy being that they just barely escape.  Sierra discovers the secrets of her ancestors, and she must use them to protect her family and her neighborhood.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple is not a traditional Indian girl.  She is focussed on achieving the career of her dreams.  Her future does not involve an arranged marriage much to the disappointment of her parents.  So when her parents agree that she may attend Insomnia Con at San Francisco State University before she starts her Freshman year at Stanford, Dimple feels maybe her parents are finally starting to get her.  That’s until some strange but good-looking Indian young man calls her his future bride at Starbuck’s near campus. Pouring her drink on him and fleeing the Starbucks, let him know she wasn’t interested.  Rishi Patel is confused.  The picture he has in his pocket matches the girl he just spotted at the Starbucks.  That was definitely Dimple Shah, daughter of his parents’ friends. The young lady his parents have arranged for him to marry. They were to meet at Insomnia Con before Rishi heads off to MIT. Dimple’s parents, however, have not informed her of this arrangement.  It is their hope that the two will make a connection at Insomnia Con, and Dimple will change her mind about marriage.  But Dimple is not a traditional Indian girl.

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

Two high school students cross paths on the 57 bus in Oakland, California. Their lives will never be the same.  Richard is fooling around on the 57 bus with his friends when they dare him to touch a lighter to Sacha’s skirt while Sacha is asleep on the back seat of the bus.  Richard foolishly thinks that the flame will go out or that Sacha will awaken and put out the flame.  But that’s not what happens.  Sacha’s skirt erupts in flames. Sacha is severely burned, and Richard is later arrested and charged with two hate crimes. The district attorney decides to try Richard as an adult.  He is facing life in prison for this impetuous act. Meanwhile, Sacha is recovering from third-degree burns on over twenty-two percent of their body.  The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives explores topics of gender, race, juvenile crime, and forgiveness.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha Kingsley sets out with determination.  She needs to find someone in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) building and convince him to allow her family to stay in the United States.  Her family are undocumented immigrants living in New York City, and tonight at 10 P.M. they are being deported back to Jamaica. Natasha doesn’t believe in fate, she is all about science and facts. But she desperately needs to find a way to stay in America. Maybe today the universe will bring Natasha what she needs.

Enter Daniel Bae, a Korean American perfect second son.  Daniel is on his way to an admission interview with a Yale alumnus when he spots Natasha moving to music on the street. That’s all it takes for this poet, this believer in destiny and fate.  He has fallen in love at first site. He will do everything in his power to convince practical, no-nonsense Natasha Kingsley to give him a chance.

The universe works in mysterious ways in this young adult novel by the author of Everything Is Everything.


All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Friday night Rashad Butler stops at Jerry’s market on his way to a party to get some chips. Due to a misunderstanding in which he is not allowed to explain himself, Rashad finds himself handcuffed on the ground outside Jerry’s being beaten by Officer Paul Galluzzo.  Beaten so badly he ends up in the hospital. Quinn, a classmate of Rashad’s, witnessed the beating.  This brings conflicting feelings to Quinn.  Officer Galluzzo has stepped in as a father figure for Quinn ever since his dad was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.  Does Quinn remain loyal to the Galluzzo family or does he speak up against him? This event has both young men questioning the ways of the world since the Civil Rights movement, and what can be done to bring about change.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister looks to the writings and examples of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to help him through the “incident”.  Justyce was arrested for a misunderstanding which involved Justyce stopping his very drunk ex-girlfriend from getting behind the wheel of her car.  The misunderstanding of this scenario: a young black male picking up his biracial drunken ex-girlfriend and putting her in the back seat of her car because she is too intoxicated to drive when a police officer arrives on the scene.  As Justyce is buckling Melo in the back seat, he is pulled from the car, slammed against the trunk, and handcuffed without a chance to explain himself to the officer.  This treatment and the national news of another police shooting of an unarmed young black male, leave Justyce thinking, “It could have been me!” Justyce searches for answers in Dr. King’s words and deeds.  Will this be enough to help Justyce survive his senior year?

Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork

Sara’s best friend, Linda was taken. Sara Zapata, a journalist, writes of the missing girls of Juarez in her articles published in El Sol.  Young pretty girls disappear all of the time.  But Sara’s articles about the missing girls have touched some nerves, and she has received threatening emails.  Emiliano, Sara’s younger brother, struggles with his place in the world ever since their father left Juarez to make a better life in the United States. Emiliano wants nothing to do with him. But Emiliano has stepped up to find ways to support his mother and Sara. Juarez is a dangerous town, and it’s hard to be good and do the right thing. When Sara makes an important discovery about the desaparecidos (a person who has disappeared and presumed killed by the police), her decision to continue her investigation places her family in serious danger.

March Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

This graphic novel portrays the beginnings of Congressman John Lewis’s involvement in the civil rights movement.  Congressman Lewis becomes a key figure in organizing and leading peaceful demonstrations from the desegregation of schools to lunch counter sit-ins, March Book One shares his story.  (This is the first book of a trilogy.)

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Mysteriously sent to detention on a Monday afternoon, five students walk into Mr. Avery’s lab but only four walk out.  Those four students find themselves suspects in Simon Kelleher’s murder investigation.  Simon ran a gossip app that reveals secrets of Bayview High’s student body. Bronwyn Rojas, Addy Prentiss, Cooper Clay, and Nate Macauley all have secrets, big secrets. But would they kill to keep their secrets from being revealed?