The Poet X by Elizabeth AcevedoStarring: 15-year-old Xiomara, who isn't afraid to speak with her fists when she's harassed on the street, but who discovers that poetry offers an outlet for her family frustrations, her doubts about her Catholic faith, and her feelings about her secret boyfriend.
About the author: Slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo makes her debut with this bittersweet, hard-hitting novel in verse.
Try this next: Isabel Quintero's Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, for another memorable Latina character finding her voice.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi AdeyemiFeaturing: Zélie, a divîner with dormant magic abilities who's fed up with King Saran's brutal oppression; Amari, the rebellious princess who hopes to reawaken the magic in Zélie and others like her; and Inan, the crown prince who's determined to stop them.
Book buzz: This vivid, fast-paced trilogy opener is already generating excitement among readers on social media.
Further reading: Looking for another richly drawn Afrofantasy series? Try Nnedi Okorafor's Akata Witch or Tochi Onyebuchi's Beasts Made of Night.
A Girl Like That by Tanaz BhathenaWhat it's about: piecing together how (and why) headstrong orphan Zarin and her childhood friend Porus wound up dead by the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Who it's for: With postmortem narration, a diverse cast, and an unflinching portrayal of abuse, A Girl Like That will grab readers looking for unconventional stories about girls who defy society's rules.
Time Bomb by Joelle CharbonneauWhat it's about: A bombing at their high school leaves students Frankie, Rashid, Tad, Z, Diana, and Cas trapped together, dependent on each other to survive but all too aware that any of them could be the bomber.
Read it for: Multiple perspectives, shifting alliances, and steadily building suspense.
Reviewers say: "a powerful page-turner that doesn’t let up until its explosive finale" (Publishers Weekly).
The Belles by Dhonielle ClaytonWhat it's about: Only the Belles can beautify the gray, red-eyed people of Orleans, and though 16-year-old Belle Camellia is thrilled to become the favorite of the royal family, she soon discovers that the palace is full of ominous secrets, and that there's more to her magic than she ever suspected.
Series alert: Lush and thought-provoking, this series opener will leave you desperate for the next book.
For fans of: Kiera Cass' The Selection or Scott Westerfeld's Pretties.
Focus on: Australian Fiction
The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-FattahWhat it's about: the unlikely romance between Mina, a smart prep school student whose family came to Australia as refugees from Afghanistan, and Michael, a white classmate whose family founded a very vocal anti-immigrant group.
Why you might like it: Along with realistic dialogue and alternating narration, this love story offers insight into the deeply personal side of politics.
The Dead I Know by Scot GardnerWhat it's about: Even as Aaron Rowe struggles with sleepwalking, repressed memories, and an unstable family situation, his new job at a funeral parlor provides him with an unexpected sense of belonging.
Who it's for: If you appreciate dark humor, psychologically complex characters, and you're not squeamish about corpses, this book is for you.
Try this next: Jason Reynolds' The Boy in the Black Suit for another teen guy who finds solace at a funeral home.
The Dark Days Club by Alison GoodmanStarring: Lady Helen Wexhall, whose supernatural abilities complicate her social debut in 1812 London and provoke a personal dilemma: should she marry the Duke of Selburn and be a respectable lady, or join the rakish Earl of Carlston as a demon-fighter with the Dark Days Club?
For fans of: Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy.
Series alert: This atmospheric historical fantasy series continues in The Dark Days Pact.
Lucy and Linh by Alice PungWhat it is: a series of letters from Lucy Lam to her friend Linh, describing Lucy's experience as a poor, Chinese-Australian scholarship student at a wealthy, mostly-white prep school in Melbourne -- a place where fitting in comes at the cost of being yourself.
Why you might like it: Whether or not you've experienced mean girls and microaggressions like the ones Lucy faces, you can relate to her attempts to figure out who she is and who her real friends are.
Six Impossible Things by Fiona WoodWhat it's about: After his dad announces that he's bankrupt, gay, and leaving, Dan and his mom have a tough time: they move into a smelly old house, and private school student Dan has to transfer to public school. Thank goodness for Estelle, his dazzling new neighbor and fellow misfit.
Who it's for: "Effervescent and sweet" (Kirkus Reviews), this quirky tale will please romance readers as well as those looking for guy-centric coming-of-age stories.
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