black ya books

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PARANORMAL ROMANCE WITH BLACK HEROINES

Earthsinger Chronicles by L. Penelope

Young Adult Fantasy Romance.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. She is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive—an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines nearly cost him his life but leaves him convinced that the magical barrier between Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall. He is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to protect Elsira and its people from the wrath of the True Father, and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They embark on a perilous journey to save their land and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. But Jack has secrets of his own, and as an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

Today is the book birthday of an amazing book that I’ve been waiting for for a long time. 

Angie Thomas’s Black Lives Matter-inspired novel The Hate U Give came out in the US today. Look, this book was so amazing that at least THIRTEEN different publishing houses fought to get their hands on it and it was optioned before it was published (the film, starring problematic young’n Amandla Stenberg, will be out at some point within the next year or so). 

I bought two copies of this book: one for me and one for my 13 year old niece who is trying to be active in talking about social justice in the things she loves and literally begged for a copy of T.H.U.G. when I read her the summary. 

I follow Angie on twitter and I am a HUGE fan! She’s amazing and badass. I just can’t wait to read the book that has everyone in the publishing world talking. T.H.U.G. already has high accolades from multiple major review platforms on top of hitting the top of best seller charts. Oh my gosh!

Now, to get you excited, here’s the summary from Amazon:

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

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? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

If you’re interested in this AMAZING book, you can head over to Amazon to pick up a copy right now! 

What to read after Throne of Glass

If you, like me, are still going through complete Sarah J Maas withdrawal, and can’t really stand to wait for her next books, check out the list below to tide you over! Each book has many of the things I adored about both ToG and ACOMAF: strong and interesting female characters, magic, deeply beautiful writing, love stories to cry about, and an all around sense of adventure. If you have any more recommendations to add, definitely let me know!

Black Jewels: Anne Bishop

I just finished this series, and I am still amazed by how masterfully Anne Bishop weaves her stories. Welcome to the Dark Kingdom, a matriarchal realm ruled by strong queens and the males that support and serve them (Rowan and Aedion anyone?). There is a prophecy fortelling the rise of a Queen with more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself, which gives us a wonderful story full of scheming, war, adventure, and a badass court I would kill to be a part of. Prepare your heart!

Graceling by Kristian Cashore

Graceling is the best series for all you folks who couldn’t get enough of badass assassin Celaena. Katsa is an assassin Celaena would be proud of, due to her rare ability as a Graceling. She is Graced with a killing power, and has spent her life as the king’s tool in doling out his reign of terror. In waltzes Po, Graced with fighting, and here to shake everything Katsa knows about her world. Cashore definitely gives us a twist Sarah would most certainly support!

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

This book aligns more with the romance and court mystique that Sarah presents so wonderfully in ToG and ACOMAF. Kestrel is the daughter of a general who helped the emperor conquer territory after territory. As she is faced with a choice, marry or join the military, Kestrel finds a friend in one of the slaves from the conquered people, and so begins one of the most interesting political schemes I have read in awhile! I haven’t finished the trilogy yet, because I am out of the country and can’t get my hands on the final book, but I would highly recommend it.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Cue another really cool empire written by an author who isn’t afraid to be inventive or go beyond the normal realms of fantasy. Vin is another Celaena-esque character, as the abandoned street child who turned thief who struggles to stay alive. When a mentor takes her under his wing, she discovers that her luck on the streets might be more than she could ever explain. Magic, mystery, and of course, a few court balls thrown in make for a wonderful mix. Warning: the last book made me cry. Like really cry. But in a good, I’m-still-mad-at-you-but-I-understand-and-respect-your-story-line type of way.

Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Raisa is everything that I have ever wanted in a princess. She is intelligent, passionate, feisty, and super compassionate. So when a war arises between the clans and the wizards, you can bet she has goals to achieve and empires to shake up. Throw Han Alister into the mix, a street wise leader, and things get tricky and fireworks explode. One of my favorite love stories in a long time, because it isn’t a story about just romantic love, but also what the love of a princess for her country can do. 

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Yelena is set for execution for murder, but is given the choice to be the next food taster of the Commander of Ixia. As if the threat of having poison in her system wasn’t enough, she is also given a dose of Butterfly’s Dust, which she needs every day to stay alive, and can of course only get from the chief of security. Fighting for her life soon becomes more than just guessing the right poison, but also a game of magic, love, and all out war. Best kind of combo out there!

Legend by Marie Lu

This is the only book in the list to be set in a dystopian universe as opposed to a kingdom, but with a prodigy like June, no one can make any complaints. After a war tore the country apart, the Western United States is under the martial rule of the Republic, and June is their perfectly groomed soldier golden child. Day, on the other hand, is a slums boy who has become the Republic’s most wanted criminal. What happens when their paths cross is enough to make any country tremble, and to keep me hanging on to every word!

And finally:

Literally anything by Tamora Pierce!

Tamora Pierce has been my favorite author since I was a little girl. Each of her series is set in the same universe, based around the story of an interesting and kickass female character, from the first female warrior to a wild-mage. I first found these stories when my mother decided my sister and I didn’t have enough strong women in our literature and Tamora really rose to the occasion. Start with the first series, Song of the Lioness, and work your way from there! I have reread her books at least once every year since I was a little girl and they get better every time. I cannot recommend these books enough!


If you read or have read any of these books, feel free to shoot me a message; I am always ready to geek out over them. 

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Young Adult Books with Black Protagonists

The Diamond Thief (1) by J.A. Mclachlan

On his deathbed, Kia’s father discloses a secret to her alone: a magnificent diamond he has been hiding for years. Fearing he stole it, she too keeps it secret. She learns it comes from the distant colonized planet of Malem, where her father caught the illness that eventually killed him. Now she is even more convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond.
When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a translator, she is co-opted by a series of events into travelling as a translator to Malem. Using her skill in languages and another skill she picked up after her father s death, the skill of picking locks - she unravels the secret of the mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner. But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond?

The Salarian Desert Game (2) by J.A. Mclachlan

What if someone you love gambled on her life?

Games are serious business on Salaria, and the stakes are high. When Kia’s older sister, in a desperate bid to erase their family debt, loses the game and forfeits her freedom, Kia is determined to rescue her.

Disguised as a Salarian, Kia becomes Idaro in order to move freely in this dangerous new culture. When she arrives on Salaria, she learns it’s a world where a few key players control the board, and the pawns are ready to revolt. Kia joins the conflict, risking everything to save her sister. As if she doesn’t already have enough to handle, Agatha, the maddeningly calm and unpredictable Select who lives life both by-the-book and off-the-cuff shows up to help, along with handsome Norio, a strong-willed desert girl with her own agenda, and a group of Salarian teens earning their rite of passage in the treacherous desert game.

What can an interpreter and former thief possibly do in the midst of all this to keep the people she loves alive? 

5 Mysterious Cities of YA

From the shadowy walls of Weep to the twisting alleys of Ketterdam to the sleek penthouses of NYC 2118, there are dozens of intriguing settings in YA lit—and we can’t get enough. Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor’s newest epic fantasy, features her best world-building yet—so, in honor of its release, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite mysterious cities of YA. 

  1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  3. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
  4. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  5. The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

You never know what’s lurking around the bend in these places… it could be wonders beyond imagining or dangers beyond comprehension. You’d better start reading ASAP to find out!

Dear John (Green),
You wrote an entire essay online about how groundbreaking it is
for a teenage girl
to kiss a teenage boy in a tragic movie about being white and pretty and dying.

Meanwhile, the only times I see girls like me
getting kissed on screen is when they’re being felt up by some old man in a tragic movie about being
colored and poor and abused.

Brown teenage girls do not get love stories like the movies,
even though we are taught straight from the womb that
we are no more than curves and wild fight that still shines in our eyes after the white boy kisses us in secret,
after the white boy does not want to be seen with us in front of his friends.
Because we’ll always bring drama and bitterness,
with our loud voices
and attitude,
until we are finally broken
on the night something is slipped into our drinks,
or we’re evicted from our house,
or we lose the basketball game,
or a family member climbs on top of us,
and wraps the silver screen around our bodies like butcher’s paper
for the meat
that we have been portrayed as
since birth.

No, we do not get Shakespeare quoted to us,
instead we become the bitter narrative,
the comfort to the suburban parent,
thank goodness their little girl is the one with the “nice young man,”
and not the one getting her teeth knocked out by the “thug”,
and why does Hollywood only
find colored girls palatable when they are hardened by the world,
to the point where we see them as grown women?

You want groundbreaking story telling?
Write about a girl with brown skin
who is so filled with joy,
each one of her breaths is like tasting cinnamon,
and she lightens even the darkest moments.
Write about a hijabi girl,
who is so empowered,
that she can convince a generation of young women of every shade
that we don’t need to kiss a boy first
to feel in charge of ourselves.
Write about a Latina girl,
who is so in love with life that she tiptoes on the heads of her problems.

Portray colored girls as soft,
as naive,
as quickly,
as teenage girls in love,
because we deserve a narrative as sweet
as diverse
and as powerful
as we are.

—  Dear John Green, or, How Hollywood Told My Me I Would Never Find Love Like the Movies
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MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2017 [1/?] → The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

↳“Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.“ (Goodreads)