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Diverse YA Books

By kileyturner
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tagged: diversity, YA
These books are all critically acclaimed, and they feature characters across the mosaic of culture, gender, ethnicity, and identity. Some characters face mental or physical challenges, and some deal with poverty. All make for incredible discussion points for classrooms and family dinner conversations and open teens' minds to the myriad ways we all encounter the world, and each other.
This Book Betrays My Brother

This Book Betrays My Brother

edition:Paperback

Winner of the Ottawa Book Award, English Fiction, 2019 Named to Kirkus Reviews? Best Books of 2018 Named to the Globe 100, 2018 CBC Books, Top YA Pick for 2018 Named to Best Books for Kids and Teens, Fall 2018 Named to Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Books, 2018

What does a teenage girl do when she sees her beloved older brother commit a horrific crime? Should she report to her parents, or should she keep quiet? Should she confront him? All her life, Naledi has been in awe of Basi, her …

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The Story of My Face

The Story of My Face

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged :

The Story of My Face is about Natalie Baron, a teenage girl adrift in the world and looking for someone or something to latch on to. Her seemingly innocent involvement with Barbara Hern and her family, followers of an extreme protestant sect, leads to the revelation of a long-kept secret and a devastating series of events which change not only her face but also the course of her life. The Story of My Face is both a stunning psychological thriller and the archaeology of an accident which shaped a …

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Excerpt

I’m thirteen. I’m wearing my school uniform and I carry a green duffle bag, first properly, with the cord across my chest, then in my hand, grazing the ground, then clasped with both arms to my midriff. It’s a spring afternoon and I’m walking in the Avenues, where bright green borders of grass separate the pavements and the roads. I’m walking and I’m noticing things – such as whether or not each house has a garage, and, if the doors are open, what make and year of vehicle is inside.If someone were to ask me what my name is, I’d lie: ‘Mary’, ‘Elizabeth’, ‘Jane’. If they asked ‘What are you doing, wandering like this “’ I’d say ‘I’ve taken a short cut and got lost’ or ‘I’ve accidentally dropped my key down a drain so I’m waiting for my mother to get back from work.’ Depending on what I thought of the person asking me, I might just say I ‘I’m only looking’ round’, and that would be the closest to the truth. But the ‘looking round’ is far too serious a thing to be dismissed with ‘only’, and in any case it is not so much looking round, or even looking for, as waiting.I’ve been waiting for a long time, though I’ve forgotten that I’m doing it. I only ever knew for a brief, burning moment. I’m waiting for the right person and the right place. When those come together, fit like a key into a lock, then the other person will know it too.I walk past carefully maintained gardens, their lawns glowing, their flowers heavy from last month’s rain. The houses are detached or semi-detachedand stand well back from the road. It’s hard to make much out. Here and there I glimpse the dark shapes of furniture, a picture picked out by a patch of falling light, a vase of flowers, a figure bustling from one room to the next. I fill in what I can’t see with imaginings and memories. I enumerate, as yet with a kind of detachment, the many ways in which this well-tended place is different from home. Sandra, my mother, is not one for chores, so long as her clothes and sheets and the bathroom basin are clean.I hear voices and follow them across the road to a corner house. The front door is ajar. The garage doors are also open, and likewise that of a caravan parked in the driveway next to a Hillman Minx, quite new, dark green, with glittering chrome. Beside the vehicles, a bespectacled woman with long brown hair pulled back into a thick ponytail crouches on her haunches, trying to pick up something small from the gravelled driveway.Standing, she reveals herself suddenly as very tall. She is wearing, unconventionally for the times, men’s blue dungarees over a pale, short-sleeved blouse, but even so, the curves of the body underneath show through. A short, bearded man stands close by, cutting a length of wood into sections.‘Hello,’ the woman calls out to me. Her voice is breathy, almost over-enthusiastic, playful and solemn at the same time. She holds me in her gaze and walks over to the driveway gates: wrought iron painted a pale blue that matches the doors on the garage and the porch. Close up, I can see that she’s not wearing any make-up and that the skin on her face is dryish and faintly lined; she’s older than I thought at first, and while her eyebrows arch gracefully over the thick lenses of her glasses, her eyes, each differently magnified, swim rather sickeningly beneath them. Yet her mouth is wide, and as if it had taken over from the eyes, it is involved from moment to moment in a series of subtle evaluating and expressive movements. She is not beautiful, like Sandra, but then again, she is not plain like Aunt Sue. She is somewhere in between, or something else entirely.‘Look,’ the woman says, holding out the soft inner side of her arm. A ladybird toils up the pale slope of skin. When it reaches the joint, she takes it on to the finger of the other hand. ‘My first this year,’ she says. ‘Do you like them?’ I’ve never thought of liking ladybirds or not.She collects the insect on her finger again, and puts it this time on my arm. To begin with, there’s nothing, but by the time it is halfway up, I’m sure that I can feel it walk, each footfall separate.‘What are you going to do with it?’ My throat’s tight. My voice comes out with an exaggerated rise at the end; the ladybird takes to the air in a heavy blur of wings.‘How long have you been standing there?’ she asks in turn. ‘What’s your name?’ Her voice is smooth; it fills you up, like milk.

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(you) Set Me On Fire

(you) Set Me On Fire

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
tagged :

Allison Lee is seventeen and off to college in the fall. So far, she's been in love once (total catastrophe) and on fire twice (also pretty bad). Both love and fire have left their scars. 

 

Looking a little more burnt chicken and a little less radiant phoenix, Allison takes up residence in Dylan Hall (a.k.a Dyke Hall) at St. Joseph's College, where she discovers the true gift of freshmen year: the opportunity to reinvent herself. Miles away from the high school she's happy to leave behind, her a …

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For Today I Am A Boy

For Today I Am A Boy

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Paperback
tagged :

A stunning literary debut: Peter is the prized only boy in his Chinese-Canadian family. But inside, he knows he is a girl . . .

At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name juan chaun, meaning powerful king. He is the exalted only son in a family of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his father’s dreams of Western masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he knows that he is a girl.

Peter and his sisters?elegant Adele, shrewd Helen and Bonnie the bon vivant?grow up in a house of …

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Lesser Blessed

Lesser Blessed

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

A powerful coming-of-age story -- edgy, stark, and at times, darkly funny that centers around Larry, a Native teenager trying to cope with a painful past and find his place in a confusing and stressful modern world.

 

Larry is a Dogrib Indian growing up in the small northern town of Fort Simmer. His tongue, his hallucinations and his fantasies are hotter than the centre of the sun. At sixteen, he loves Iron Maiden, the North and Juliet Hope, the high school ìtramp.î

 

In this powerful and very fun …

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Chanda's Secrets

Chanda's Secrets

tagged : africa

Chanda’s mother is not herself, her younger sister is acting out, and her best friend needs help. A powerful story set amid the African HIV/AIDS pandemic.

In this sensitive, swiftly paced story, readers will find echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird as Chanda, a 16-year-old, astonishingly perceptive girl living in the small city of Bonang in Africa, must confront the undercurrents of shame and stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

Through his artful style and dramatic storytelling, Allan Stratton captures …

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God Loves Hair

God Loves Hair

by Vivek Shraya
illustrated by Juliana Neufeld
edition:Paperback

A Quill and Quire and Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book of the Year

A poignant YA story collection that celebrates racial, sexual, and religious diversity.

Vivek Shraya's first book is a collection of twenty-one short stories following a tender, intellectual, and curious child as he navigates the complex realms of sexuality, gender, racial politics, religion, and belonging. Told with the poignant insight and honesty that only the voice of a young mind can convey, God Loves Hair is a moving …

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Just Lucky

Just Lucky

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Lucky loves her grandparents, and they are all the family she really has. True, her grandma forgets things…like turning off the stove, or Lucky’s name. But her grandpa takes such good care of them that Lucky doesn’t realize how bad things are. That is until he’s gone. When her grandma accidentally sets the kitchen on fire, Lucky can’t hide what’s happening any longer, and she is sent into foster care. She quickly learns that some foster families are okay. Some aren’t. And some real …

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