2015 YA Reads Written by Authors of Color
*Will periodically update this list as more covers are revealed*
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan, Laia, fighting for her family and a soldier, Elias, fighting for his freedom.
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds - Working in the local funeral home to support his family after his mother’s death and his father’s descent into alcoholism, Matt falls in love with a tough girl, Lovey, who never cries and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down.
Catalyst by Lydia Kang - Zelia Benten has lost her father, the love of her life, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of illegal genetic outcasts they’ve come to call their family are forced to run when the safety of their foster home is compromised.
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert - Braden’s older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial. Braden has always measured himself through baseball. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch. Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life.
Daughter of Dusk (Midnight Thief #2) by Livia Blackburne - After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster. As tensions rise within Forge’s Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?
Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn - From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.
Dove Arising by Karen Bao - Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. Then her mother is arrested. The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases. Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble…
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan - Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece. Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives.
Emancipated by M.G. Reyes - The good girl, the bad boy, the diva, the hustler, the rock star, and the nerd. Six teens legally liberated from parental control for six different reasons, all with one thing in common: something to hide. Now they’re sharing a house in Venice Beach. But when one of them gets arrested, everyone’s carefully constructed facade comes crumbling down.
Emerald & Ashes (At Somerton #3) by Leila Rasheed - In the third and final book in this romantic historical YA series, heroes emerge and tragedies unfold as the servant and gentry at Somerton Court face World War I.
End of Days (Penryn & The End of Days #3) by Susan Ee - After a daring escape, Penryn and Raffe are on the run, but a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all. When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?
Endangered by Lamar Giles - The one secret she cares about keeping—her identity—is about to be exposed. Unless Lauren “Panda” Daniels, an anonymous photoblogger, plays along with her blackmailer’s little game of Dare or … Dare. But when the game turns deadly, Panda doesn’t know what to do. And she may need to step out of the shadows to save herself … and everyone else on the Admirer’s hit list.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
Eye Candy by Reshonda Tate Billingsley - Maya Morgan has gone from gossip reporter to half of the entertainment industry’s newest power couple. And hot singer J. Love’s mad string of hits definitely makes him a good look for Maya—and her career. But she’s feeling something more for laid-back, mellow “civilian” Alvin. A lot more. Now J. Love is using every dirty-spin trick in the glitterati book to humiliate Alvin—and sink Maya’s brand if he can’t hold onto her. With her empire on the line and her rep at stake, Maya will draw on every reliable source and every crazy scheme she’s ever played to save what she’s earned—and prove she can have love and fame.
For the Record by Charlotte Huang - Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like…until she became one. Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule … Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey - For readers of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.
The Grace of Kings (Dandelion Dynasty #1) by Ken Liu - Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.
The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass - 20 years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.
The Hidden Girl by Shyima Hall - An inspiring and compelling memoir from a young woman who lost her childhood to slavery—and built a new life grounded in determination and justice.
Hold Me Down by Calvin Slater - Xavier Hunter’s dreams of graduation and college are even more crazy-impossible this sophomore year. The only person who seems to understand what he’s going through is Nancy Simpson. But there’s something about his new boo, Nancy, that’s screaming bad news. And exposing what’s real means she and Xavier must face some hard truths—and survive.
Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejada - From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them. Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team. But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California. Together they’re ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that’s what witch hunters do. Welcome to Hollywood.
The Hunted (The Living #2) by Matt De La Pena - When the Big One hit, Shy was at sea in style on the Paradise Cruise luxury liner he worked on. And now it’s at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, along with almost all of its passengers. Shy wasn’t the only one to survive, though. Addie, the rich blond daughter of a mysterious businessman, was on the dinghy he pulled himself into. But as soon as they found the rest of the survivors, she disappeared. Before she vanished, Addie told Shy a secret. It’s a secret that people would kill for-have killed for-and she has the piece that could turn everything on its ear. The problem? Shy has no idea where Addie is. And thanks to what Shy now knows, he’s a moving target.
I Will Always Write Back by Martin Ganda, Caitlin Alifirenka & Liz Welch - It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin’s class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. Caitlin chose Zimbabwe, and her first letter to Martin was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives. In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends —and better people—through letters. Their story will inspire readers to look beyond their own lives and wonder about the world at large and their place in it.
The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2) by Lori M. Lee - Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever. To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace.
Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani - Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her 17th birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met. Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed. So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life.
Just So Happens by Fumio Obata - Yumiko has made her home in London. Then, out of the blue, her brother calls to tell her that her father has died in a mountaineering accident. Yumiko returns to Tokyo for the funeral and finds herself immersed in the rituals of Japanese life and death - and confronting a decision she hadn’t expected to have to make.
The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee - Higgs Boson Bing has seven days left before his perfect high school career is completed. Then it’s on to Harvard to fulfill the fantasy portrait of success that he and his parents have cultivated for the past four years. But something’s not right. And when Higgs’s girlfriend presents him with a seemingly innocent hypothetical question about whether or not he’d give her a kidney…the exposed fault lines reach straight down to the foundations of his life. .
King (Dragon King Chronicles #3) by Ellen Oh - Girl warrior, demon slayer, Tiger spirit of the Yellow Eyes - Kira is ready for her final quest! She must save her cousin, the boy fated to be the future king, uncover the third lost treasure, and face innumerable enemies in order to fulfill the famed prophecy.
The Memory Key by Liana Liu - In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga - 16-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman). Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it.
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid - Dave and Julia are best friends. On the brink of high school, they made a list of cliches they would never do. Now in their senior year, Dave and Julia decide to try every Never on the list. As they break out of their comfort zone and have many adventures- both together and apart- they learn a lot more about who they are and what their true feelings are for one another.
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio - A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex…and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school.
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han - Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
Rebellion (Extraction #2) by Stephanie Diaz - The uprising has begun. It’s been seven days since Clementine and Logan, along with their allies, retreated into hiding on the Surface. The rebels may have won one battle against Commander Charlie, but the fight is far from finished. He has vowed to find a way to win—no matter the cost. Do the rebels have what it takes to defeat him…and put an end to this war?
Remember My Name by Mo’ne Davis - In August 2014, Mo’ne Davis became the first female pitcher to win a game in the Little League World Series and the first Little Leaguer to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and a month later she earned a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. She was thirteen years old. This inspiring memoir from a girl who learned to play baseball with the boys and rose to national stardom before beginning eighth grade will encourage young readers to reach for their dreams no matter the odds. Mo’ne’s story is one of determination, hard work, and an incredible fastball.
Rogue (Talon #2) by Julie Kagawa - Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant. Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?
Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older - Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent. Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on. Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.
Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero - A poignant coming-of-age story about two boys finding their way in the South Bronx in the mid-1980s. The summer of 1983 was the summer hip-hop proved its staying power. The South Bronx is steeped in Reaganomics, war in the Middle East, and the twin epidemics of crack and AIDS, but Raymond “Smiles” King and Guillermo “Nike” Vega have more immediate concerns. Smiles was supposed to be the assistant crew chief at his summer camp, but the director chose Cookie Camacho instead, kicking off a summer-long rivalry. Meanwhile, the aspiring b-boy Nike has set his wandering eye on Sara, the sweet yet sassy new camp counselor, as well as top prize at a breakdancing competition downtown. The two friends have been drifting apart ever since Smiles got a scholarship to a fancy private school, and this summer the air is heavy with postponed decisions that will finally be made
Shutter by Courtney Alameda - Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever. When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before … or die trying.
The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas - Jane is ready for a fantastic summer. In fact, she’s pretty sure the universe owes her one.This past winter, Jane was held at knifepoint during an armed robbery and the specter of that night still haunts her. A summer romance with one of the town bad boys — sexy Handel Davies, who takes her breath away and makes her feel like a bolder version of herself — seems like the universe’s way of paying her back. But bad boys always have secrets, and Handel’s secret just might shatter Jane completely.
This Side of Home by Renee Watson - Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.
Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash - Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer. Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries. When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them..
Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton & Sonia Charaipotra - Gigi, Bette, and June, top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery - As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Albama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history.
Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the lighthearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
Ungodly (Goddess War #3) by Kendare Blake - As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in the final Goddess War novel by the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood.
When Reason Breaks by Cindy Rodriguez - A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the 18-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when 16-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch…she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed - Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. When Naila breaks her parents’ rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid and whisk her away to Pakistan. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif…if he can find her before it’s too late.
X: A Novel by Kekla Magoon & Ilyasah Shabazz - Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.
Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee - A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title.
As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.
The Last Ever After (School of Good and Evil #3) by Soman Chainani - In the epic conclusion to Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling series, The School for Good and Evil, everything old is new again as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their story.
Gathering Deep by Lisa Maxwell - When Chloe Sabourin wakes in a dark, New Orleans cemetery with no memory of the previous days, she can hardly believe the story her friends tell her. They say Chloe was possessed by a witch named Thisbe. As she struggles with this devastating revelation and tries to rebuilt her life, Chloe wants nothing to do with the magic that corrupted her mother…especially since she feels drawn to it. Now, a new series of ritualistic killings suggests that Thisbe is plotting again, and Chloe is drawn unwillingly back into the mystical underworld of the French Quarter. To stop Thisbe before she kills again, Chloe and her friends must learn what they can from the mysterious Mama Legba. But when her boyfriend Piers vanishes, Chloe will have to risk everything and embrace her own power to save the one person she has left… even if that means bringing down her mother, Thisbe.