2019 is already shaping up to be an excellent year in African American fiction for youth. Here are a few recent and upcoming titles that are on our radar:
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
Seventeen different authors explore what it means to be a black American teenager today in this outstanding collection of short stories. While some stories explore issues that are relevant to all teens, like family and coming of age, others deftly explore the intersectionality of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Edited by Ibi Zoboi, this collection includes a nice mix of established and up-and-coming authors.
Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden
In 1880’s Georgia a young woman named Essie with big dreams and limited means finds her life transformed after catching the eye of Dorcas Vashon, a member of Savannah’s black elite class. Taken under Dorcas’s wing, Essie is immersed in education, etiquette, and more clothing finery that she could have imagined. But all this luxury and new-found status comes at a price, of course. Is it one Essie is willing to pay?
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams
When Genesis and her family land in an upscale suburb after a series of evictions she isn’t quite sure how to make herself fit in. Surrounded by a predominantly white student body and reeling from hurtful comments from family members about the darkness of her skin, Genesis becomes convinced that a paler complexion will solve her problems. While moments of kindness and empathy at school show Genesis that she doesn’t need to change to be liked and accepted, it is a newly emerging talent that offers a reliable path to self-acceptance.
Odd One Out by Nic Stone
Three’s a crowd – or is it? – in Nic Stone’s second novel, set in a high school in Decatur, Georgia. Coop has always had a thing for Jupiter, his best friend who identifies as a lesbian. But Jupiter has some confusing feelings about Coop, too, making their relationship a little unclear. New student Rae disrupts their orbit by becoming friends with, and attracted to, both Coop and Jupiter. Authentic voices, realistic portrayals and multiple points of view make this an absorbing and authentic read.
Sorry, Not Sorry by Jaime Reed
Janelle and Alyssa were inseparable as kids, but now that they are in high school they couldn’t be more different, speaking to each other only when they absolutely have to. Janelle puts all her energy into activism and positive social change, while the only cause Alyssa seems concerned about is her own social standing. All that changes in an instant when Alyssa collapses from diabetes-related complications and is in dire need of a kidney. When Janelle finds out she might be a perfect match for Alyssa, she has a very difficult choice to make.
Find more recent and forthcoming young adult fiction by African American authors in this list created by Seattle Public Library’s Teen Librarians.
~Posted by Summer H.