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Race in America (Fiction)

Cover of All American Boys
by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Masterfully told through Rashad and Quinn's alternating viewpoints.

Cover of All-American Muslim Girl
by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating popular, sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock, and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret. It’s just that her parents don’t practice, and raised her to keep it to herself. But as Allie witnesses Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she decides to embrace her faith—study, practice it, and even face misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the facade of the “perfect” all-American girl?

Cover of American Born Chinese
by Gene Luen Yang, colored by Lark Pien

This graphic novel alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. It won the 2007 Printz Award, given anually to the "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit."

Cover of Black Enough: Stories of B
edited by Ibi Zoboi

Black Enough is a collection of stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America. Black is...sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson. Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds. Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of. Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland. Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.

Cover of Dear Martin
by Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League--but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Cover of Frankly in Love
by David Yoon

Frank Li, a Korean American whose parents expect him to date a Korean girl, falls in love for the very first time with Brit Means, who is white. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. 

Cover of Gabi, A Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero


Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy's pregnancy, friend Sebastian's coming out, her father's meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially, the poetry that helps forge her identity.


Cover of The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night?

Cover of Hearts Unbroken
by Cynthia Leitich Smith

When Louise Wolfe (Muscogee Creek) sees her boyfriend mock and disrespect Native people in front of her, she breaks it off and dumps him over e-mail. She'd rather spend her senior year with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. Paired up with Joey Kairouz, an ambitious new photojournalist, Lou covers the backlash to the school musical director's inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey. But 'dating while Native' can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey's?

Cover of How It Went Down
by Kekla Magoon

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white. In the aftermath, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

Cover of Piecing Me Together
by Renee Watson

Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. But some opportunities she doesn't really welcome, like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn't mean she understands where Jade is coming from. 

Cover of The Sun is Also a Star
by Nicola Yoon

Natasha believes in science and facts. So when she meets a cute boy, Daniel  on a crowded New York City streets and falls in love with him, she needs to figure out what to do. Especially because her family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. And Daniel, always the good son, the good student, living up to his parents' high expectations, needs to figure out what he really wants.

Cover of This Time Will be Differen
by Misa Sugiura

Katsuyamas never quit -- but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn't even know where to start. She's never lived up to her mom's type A ambition, and she's perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family's flower shop. She doesn't buy into Hannah's romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of. Then her mom decides to sell the shop -- to the family who swindled CJ's grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ's family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

Cover of The Truth Is
by NoNieqa Ramos

Fifteen-year-old Verdad is struggling to process the recent death of her best friend, Blanca; dealing with the high expectations of her hardworking Puerto Rican mother and the absence of her remarried father; and keeping everyone at a distance. But when she meets Danny, a new guy at school—who happens to be trans—all bets are off. A powerful exploration of love, identity, and self-worth through the eyes of a fierce, questioning Puerto Rican teen.

Cover of Tyler Johnson Was Here
by Jay Coles

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, is found dead after a party, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

Cover of You Bring the Distant Near
by Mitali Perkins

An award-winning Indian-American author illuminates the immigrant experience for one family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, this novel explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture, for better or worse.