All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie CourtneyWhat it’s about: Allie Abraham easily keeps her family's Muslim heritage under the radar, since her hazel eyes and pale skin don't "look Muslim" to most people in her Georgia town. Yet as she digs deeper into her faith -- and begins dating Wells, the son of an anti-Muslim TV personality -- Allie finds it more and more difficult to keep quiet.
You might also like: Sheba Karim’s That Thing We Call A Heart, another thoughtful, own voices look at faith, identity, and romance.
Refraction by Naomi HughesIn a world...where deadly fog covers most of Earth and mirrors are portals for monstrous alien Beings, black marketeer Marty finds himself exiled from humanity’s safe havens alongside an untrustworthy ally.
Why you might like it: Packed with intriguing ideas and gripping action, this twisty blend of horror and science fiction will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi KritzerWhat it’s about: Because Steph and her mom move so often, Steph’s only friends are from CatNet, a social media site for sharing cat photos. With the most recent move, however, Steph finally finds IRL friends -- as well as a disturbing threat that might endanger them all.
Narrated by: both Steph and CheshireCat, CatNet’s self-aware AI admin.
Who it’s for: Extremely Online readers, as well as science fiction fans looking for an inclusive, unusual cyber-thriller.
Color Outside the Lines: Stories About Love by Sangu Mandanna, editorWhat it is: a wide-ranging collection of love stories starring interracial and LGTBQIA couples, featuring stories by authors such as Adam Silvera, Samira Ahmed, and Anna-Marie McLemore.
What’s inside: a black superheroine, a Chinese ghost pirate, a poison garden, a gender-bent twist on the myth of Persephone, and much more.
You might also like: Meet Cute and Hungry Hearts, two more anthologies that offer authentic characters and charming romance.
Crying Laughing by Lance RubinStarring: 15-year-old Winnie, who quit comedy after an embarrassing stand-up fail at her own bat mitzvah.
What happens: Flirting with funny guy Ezra tempts Winnie to join an improv group at school; meanwhile, things at home get serious after Winnie’s dad (and comedy mentor) is diagnosed with ALS.
Why you might like it: Hilariously awkward and honest, this realistic read highlights the power of humor even in the most difficult situations.
If You Like: Legacy of Orisha
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah FaizalFeaturing: Zafira, aka the Hunter, who disguises herself as a man and braves a cursed forest in order to feed her people; and Nasir, aka the Prince of Death, who assassinates anyone who threatens his ruthless father, the sultan.
What happens: When both begin a quest to restore the magic that could save their kingdom, these adversaries become uneasy allies.
Why Legacy of Orisha fans might like it: Like Legacy of Orisha, it's a captivating, detail-rich fantasy inspired by history and mythology.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin KwaymullinaWelcome to: postapocalyptic Australia, where an oppressive government holds Sleepwalker Ashala Wolf captive, examining her memories for hints about the location of the Tribe, a hidden group of children with superhuman abilities like her own.
Why Legacy of Orisha fans might like it: brave black characters lead resistance movements in these fantasies with real-world cultural roots (Nigerian in Legacy of Orisha, Indigenous Australian in The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf).
Series alert: This suspenseful, multilayered read is the 1st in a trilogy.
The Young Elites by Marie LuIntroducing: Adelina, a "malfetto" who’s marked by mutations (silver hair, a missing eye) and cruelly abused by her father.
What happens: After Adelina realizes that her mutations include unusual powers, she’s recruited by the Young Elites -- a group of similarly talented malfettos -- and targeted by the sinister Inquisitor.
Why Legacy of Orisha fans might like it: Both intense, captivating stories are told through multiple perspectives, and both feature heroines hoping to change an unjust world.
Akata Warrior by Nnedi OkoraforWhat it’s about: While training with the magical Leopard Society, soccer-playing albino Sunny Nwazue is plunged into a world-saving quest featuring terrifying masquerades, tech-savvy spirits, and giant animals.
Why Legacy of Orisha fans might like it: Although Akata Warrior is funnier than the angsty Orisha series, and it takes place in modern Nigeria, both vivid tales will enchant Afrofantasy fans.
Series alert: For a deeper understanding of the intriguing magic in this sequel, start with the 1st book, Akata Witch.
Beasts Made of Night by Tochi OnyebuchiWhat it’s about: In the city of Kos, sins take the form of monstrous beasts, and it’s the job of sin-eaters like Taj to slay the beasts and bear the guilt. But when Taj is summoned to eat the sins of the king, he’s forced to grapple not only with his conscience, but also with a treacherous conspiracy.
Why Legacy of Orisha fans might like it: Revolution threatens to upend the controlling monarchies in both of these imaginative, sweeping Afrofantasies.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 14 and up!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515