Given the sheer number of feminist YA gems, compiling a list of essentials is undoubtedly a foolhardy task—and yet we simply couldn’t help ourselves! Below you’ll find 50 of the most challenging, encouraging, and empowering feminist books YA has to offer. Some of these are modern-day classics, some are fresh off the press. Some are overtly feminist, while others are less obviously (but no less powerfully) so. Here you’ll find every genre imaginable: contemporary, memoir, magical realism, epic fantasy, historical, novels in verse, essay collections, dystopian, apocalyptic, and more. Of course, any list of this kind is bound to be incomplete, but hopefully that will only inspire you to seek out and share even more feminist reads! In the meantime, these 50 essentials are sure to stoke your feminist fire.
The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli
Molly is an expert when it comes to crushes, and while she longs for her feelings to one day be requited, she has no desire to make any sort of move—crushing from afar is definitely more her speed. Until her twin sister, Cassie, gets her first real girlfriend, and Molly feels even more alone. Cassie’s girlfriend comes with a super cute and flirtatious friend, though, who just might be interested in Molly. Which would be great!…if not for Molly’s nerdy new coworker who she’s not—absolutely not—falling for.
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
No list of YA feminist essentials would be complete without Laurie Halse Anderson’s enduring classic. Melinda is starting high school after being shunned by her classmates for calling the cops on a summer party. She barely speaks to anyone these days, withdrawing further and further into herself. It’s only through her art that she’s able to process the truth of what happened the night of the party: an upperclassman—one who is still an ever-present threat—raped her. Anderson’s novel is a classic for a reason, and is sure to affect readers for generations to come.
Look Both Ways, by Alison Cherry
Growing up in a family of superstar showmen comes with a lot of pressure. Brooklyn’s eager to prove she belongs among her absurdly talented relatives, and the prestigious summer acting apprenticeship she’s heading to is exactly how she’ll do it. When she gets to the Allerdale Playhouse, though, she grows more and more unsure of her skills. And thanks to the charged relationship with her new roommate and friend (or maybe more than friend?), she’s questioning her sexuality, too. As Brooklyn struggles to figure out her artistic and sexual desires, she discovers neither is as straightforward as she once thought.
The Star-Touched Queen, by Roshani Chokshi
Maya, cursed with a horoscope that promises death and destruction should she marry, is happy to live out her life reading her way through the kingdom’s library. But when her father, the Raja, arranges a politically convenient marriage for Maya despite her horoscope, she finds herself facing first self-sacrifice, then a mysterious rescuer, on her way to somewhere wholly unexpected: a seat on a throne. She thrives as queen, and her feelings for her husband grow quickly…but her new kingdom is full of locked doors, whispers, and secrets. Maya’s husband asks only for her trust, but as her unease becomes suspicion, trust is the one thing she doesn’t think she can afford to give.
Pointe, by Brandy Colbert
Theo is an aspiring ballerina who’s poised to become one of the greats. But when her best friend is found four years after his abduction, Theo’s life is upended. He’s not talking—to her or anyone else—but his very presence stirs up troubling memories of what happened leading up to his kidnapping. This heart-wrenchingly powerful novel is the story of, among other things, both the danger and power of telling the truth.
Labyrinth Lost, by Zoraida Córdova
Alex has the potential to become one of the most powerful brujas in generations. There’s just one problem: she hates magic. But when she tries to get rid of her powers, the spell backfires, casting her entire family into the strange, wondrous, and dangerous world of Los Lagos. Now, she has to travel into this unknown landscape with only a brujo boy she doesn’t trust and the determination to save her family from a doom of her own making. With a wildly creative setting, a focus on family that adds depth, warmth, and tension, and its theme of accepting and claiming your own power, Labyrinth Lost is the definition of a feminist page-turner.
Of Fire and Stars, by Audrey Coulthurst
Princess Denna has been preparing all her life to become a great queen and unite her kingdom with that of her betrothed. Part of that preparation has been learning to hide her fire Affinity, since magic is outlawed in her future husband’s homeland. But when she finally arrives at his palace, she finds her magic is growing wild and harder to control. On top of that, she has to study horsemanship under the prince’s strange and difficult sister…whom Denna starts falling for. Coulthurst brings you into a tense world of political assassinations, heretical magic, possible war, and two girls coming into their own power, in every sense of the word.
On the Edge of Gone, by Corinne Duyvis
A comet is coming—a big one—and soon. Denise, her mother, and her sister are supposed to wait out the impact in a temporary shelter and hope they can survive afterward. But Denise’s sister is missing and their mother’s running very late. As Denise and her mom race for the shelter, they stumble upon a generation ship scheduled to leave Earth, escaping its uncertain future. Denise tries desperately to secure spots aboard for her and her family, but everyone on the ship is supposed to contribute some essential skill, and Denise, who’s autistic, isn’t sure she’ll make the cut. Now she’s got just days to convince the ship to let her and her family stay—and to find her still-missing sister. In this edge-of-your-seat apocalyptic novel, Duyvis asks: who is worth saving? And how do we decide?
The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist, by Margarita Engle
Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, known as Tula, was a real-life poet, abolitionist, and feminist in nineteenth-century Cuba. This historical novel in verse chronicles Tula’s young life growing up in a then-Spanish colony, rejecting an arranged marriage, and becoming a lifelong fighter of injustice. Engle’s simultaneously tender and powerful verse is the perfect vehicle to introduce readers to this incredible woman.
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, by Sara Farizan
Leila has made it to junior year entirely crushless, which is good because she can’t afford to come out as gay any time soon. Her traditional Persian family almost certainly wouldn’t approve, and she doesn’t want to stand out at her mostly white school any more than she already does. But then new girl Saskia shows up, and suddenly Leila’s got it bad. What’s more, it looks like Saskia might reciprocate. As Leila tries to sort through this new dynamic, it becomes harder and harder to keep her sexuality a secret—but can she risk opening up? And does she even want to?
Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling, by Lucy Frank
Chess has been trying to hide increasingly scary symptoms for years, but after a disastrous night on an island with the boy she likes, there’s no more hiding. She’s checked into the hospital, where she’s diagnosed with Chron’s disease. Her roommate, Shannon, shares Chess’s newly named chronic illness, but that’s where their similarities end. The two are polar opposites, but Shannon’s the only one who might come close to understanding what Chess is going through. This beautiful novel-in-verse spans the one week that Chess and Shannon share a hospital room as Chess works to understand her diagnosis and the two of them work to better understand each other.
Conviction, by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Braden is a high school baseball phenom with near endless potential in the sport. But when his white father is arrested for murdering a Latino cop, Braden—the sole witness—is suddenly thrust into a new, terrifying spotlight. With the trial imminent, his estranged brother back in town, and an upcoming game against the dead man’s nephew, Braden has a whole host of decisions to make, and none of them are going to be easy. With her debut, Gilbert gives readers a tender yet unflinching look at familial (and societal) power imbalances and the devastating consequences that can result.
Girl Mans Up, by M-E Girard
Pen has never been what people expect—and demand—her to be. She’s completely comfortable in her own skin, but her masculinity confuses and upsets people. If only everyone else could just get over their issues. As she navigates disapproving parents, her final year at a Catholic high school, and increasingly fraught friendships, she also starts a beautiful relationship with Blake, a bisexual girl who accepts Pen in a way few others do. This is an honest, insightful look at gender, sexuality, and claiming your power for yourself.
Ask Me How I Got Here, by Christine Heppermann
This slim novel in verse packs a powerful punch. After Addie accidentally becomes pregnant, she decides to have an abortion. She knows it was the right choice for her, and both her boyfriend and parents are supportive, but everything seems different after. She doesn’t want to run on the cross-country team that used to be her passion; she withdraws from her friends who don’t know what’s going on; and she feels suddenly alienated at her Catholic high school. Then she happens upon an old teammate, Juliana, who is dealing with issues of her own and who is quickly becoming an important part of Addie’s life in unexpected ways.
Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones
As a child, Liesl played with the Goblin King in the forest, despite the warnings and harrowing tales she was told. He was simply her friend then, the muse for her music. Now, she has grown beyond such childish imaginings, such foolish ambitions, and settled into her role as the practical sibling. But when her younger sister is stolen by the goblins, Liesl has to fight her way into the Goblin King’s realm—and agree to a trade with massive consequences to ensure her sister’s release. This debut is lushly romantic, to be sure, but it’s the incisive look at power, the complex ways it can be exchanged, and the importance of choice in both surrendering and claiming power that make this such a fascinating (and feminist!) read.
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, by Kelly Jensen
It would be impossible to contain the entirety of feminism’s meaning, importance, and complexity in a single book—a reality Kelly Jensen’s Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World cleverly embraces. Jensen doesn’t claim to have compiled a definitive guide to feminism, because that simply can’t be done. But she has curated a breadth of voices on the topic and woven them into an anthology that acts as both a thorough introduction and a compassionate invitation to, as Jensen puts it, “the feminist party.”
The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Palmares Três is the jewel of what was once Brazil. Within its pyramidal walls, June Costa lives and makes her art, desperate to create not only beauty but everlasting change. When she meets Enki, the new Summer King chosen to burn bright for one year before being killed, June finds a fellow artist. One with the power and desire to challenge their inherently unequal society, the restrictions on the advanced technology that makes Tokyo 10’s citizens immortal, and the tradition of sacrificial Summer Kings. With Enki, June can use her art to start a true rebellion.
Run, by Kody Keplinger
Agnes’s parents are overly protective of their legally blind daughter, and she has always followed their rules, even when she doesn’t understand them: she’s their town’s quintessential good girl. Bo, on the other hand, has a reputation—and not the kind anybody wants. The two couldn’t be more different, but they become best friends regardless. When Bo shows up one night at Agnes’s house with the cops right behind her and a plan to run, Agnes doesn’t even hesitate before going with her. But their journey isn’t what Agnes thinks, and their despite-the-odds friendship may not survive the truth.
The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex, by Amber J. Keyser
First-time sex is still often considered a taboo subject, but this collection of seventeen essays serves to shed some much-needed light on the topic. Seventeen women (including Justina Ireland, Carrie Mesrobian, Christa Desir, and other YA authors) write frankly about their first times. Their reflections, all expertly rendered, cover a huge range of experiences: queer, straight, uncomfortable, empowering, mediocre, hilarious, and everything in between. This is an intensely readable book about something that’s too rarely discussed.
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, by A.S. King
High school’s ending soon and Glory O’Brien has no idea what comes next. She just can’t envision much of a future for herself. Until one night she discovers an astonishing new power: she can see through the infinity of past and future. And the future looks grim: tyranny, civil war, the destruction of women’s rights, and girls going missing. Glory doesn’t know what to do besides meticulously record everything she sees. Maybe her account will somehow help to avert this terrifying future, even if she can’t ensure a future of her own.
We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour
Marin is alone. She’s on an abandoned college campus, the only person left in the dorm for the winter holiday. She’s used to being alone, though. After her grandpa died unexpectedly, she bolted, leaving California without a word to anyone. It’s been months since she talked to anyone from her old life, even her best friend, Mabel. But now Mabel’s coming to visit, and Marin won’t be able to outrun what really happened during those last few weeks of her grandfather’s life for much longer. LaCour writes about grief, loss, and loneliness with a delicacy so truthful it borders on painful, but is ultimately healing.
Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee
San Francisco’s St. Clare’s School for Girls is the exclusive domain of wealthy white girls, but it’s also Mercy Wong’s best hope for escaping poverty and building her own business. After managing to lie and bribe her way in the door, Mercy is determined to get the most out of this opportunity—no matter what obstacles the other girls, their teachers, or anyone else can throw at her. But then an earthquake hits that levels much of the city, including Chinatown, where Mercy’s family lives. Now, she and her schoolmates have set up camp in a park with endless other survivors, but Mercy refuses to sit around and wait for information. The city might be a smoldering, dangerous death trap, but she’s Mercy Wong, and nothing’s going to get in her way.
Ash, by Malinda Lo
Ash has grown up with endless stories of the Wood and the fairies who live there. After her mother falls ill and dies, followed shortly by Ash’s newly remarried father, she seeks refuge there and meets a fairy who offers her the storybook ending she craves. While Ash serves her cruel stepmother’s every whim, she continues to sneak into her beloved Wood. But then she meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, and faces an impossible choice between the fairy who has claimed her and the woman who opened her heart. This is a lesbian Cinderella retelling with even more magic and romance than the original.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
This delightful book begins with a letter addressed to the Headmaster and Board of Directors of the titular character’s elite prep school. In it, Frankie confesses to masterminding a string of, as she calls them, mal-doings committed by the Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds, a storied secret society at Alabaster Prep. What follows is the hilarious and fiercely feminist tale of how exactly Frankie ended up disrupting the patriarchal establishment as the anonymous leader of an all-male group.
How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon
How It Went Down opens moments after 16-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot and killed. The reader experiences those terrible moments alongside five different characters in short bursts of beautiful prose and verse. The narrative continues in this vein, twining various perspectives together to offer the reader more and more of the story. This is a powerful, painful, and masterful book with a focus on the many characters (and their many complexities) as they deal with the aftermath of Tariq’s murder.
Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta
Ten years ago, the royal family of Lumatere was brutally murdered and the kingdom’s borders sealed off by a dark curse. Finnikin was a child when the barrier came down with him outside it. Along with his guardian, Sir Topher, he has been a refugee ever since. When he’s summoned by a mysterious girl named Evanjalin, he isn’t sure what to make of her, or of her astonishing claim that Prince Balthazar, rightful heir to the throne and Finnikin’s childhood friend, is miraculously still alive. Finnikin and Evanjalin set off on a quest to find the missing prince, restore the throne, and destroy the barrier—but Evanjalin is hiding something, the truth of which will change everything. This is the first in a trilogy; consider all three books to be on this list. Marchetta has crafted an epic, sprawling, and deeply feminist fantasy series that’s not to be missed.
About a Girl, by Sarah McCarry
Tally’s life is perfectly as it should be. Everything in its place. She’s got the best best friend possible, an amazing adopted family, and an unparalleled intellect that’s going to land her the Nobel Prize in astronomy sooner rather than later. But after a passionate and confusing night with her best friend, Tally feels suddenly unsure of everything. Just then, an opportunity arises (thanks to a mysterious stranger) to head West and find out who her birth parents really were. Once she arrives, she finds not only a father she’s never met and information about the mother who abandoned her, but also Maddy, a girl Tally can’t resist and who has her own complicated past she’s trying to outrun.
When the Moon Was Ours, by Anna-Marie McLemore
Miel and Sam have been inseparable since the day she spilled out of the town’s water tower, and now their friendship is morphing into something new and wonderful. But the four beautiful and unnerving Bonner sisters have their sights set on the roses that grow from Miel’s wrist, and they’ll use every one of her secrets—even, and maybe especially, the ones that would hurt Sam—to coerce her compliance. McLemore’s romantic, lush prose is incomparable, but it’s the complexity and tenderness of Miel and Sam’s relationship to each other and to themselves that make this such a beautiful story.
Burn Baby Burn, by Meg Medina
New York City, summer of 1977. Amid blackouts and historic heat, a serial killer called Son of Sam is murdering teenagers seemingly at random. Teens like Nora. The spate of killings is only the start of Nora’s worries, though. Her brother is growing more and more dangerous, her mother is completely checked out, and her father is off with his new family, too busy to even call regularly. Nowhere is safe anymore, not outside and certainly not at home. It’s against this tense backdrop of New York’s most infamous summer that Nora has to deal with a dysfunctional family and finding her way in an often frightening world.
Not Otherwise Specified, by Hannah Moskowitz
Etta’s never been “enough” for most people. She’s been cast out of her old clique, the Dykes, for not being gay enough (aka, for being bisexual). She’s done with ballet since clearly she’s not white or skinny enough to be a ballerina. And thanks partially to recovery, she doesn’t look sick enough to fit into her eating disorder support group, either. But when she meets Bianca, a girl who is so very sick, at that support group, Etta finds a strange and surprising comfort in their tentative new friendship. Everything feels exceptionally fragile, though—especially Bianca herself—and Etta doesn’t know if she can keep it all from breaking.
Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older
Sierra wasn’t expecting a zombie to show up to the first party of summer. She also wasn’t expecting Bed-Stuy’s graffiti murals to start weeping. Or to discover the Shadowshapers, a secret order of people who can connect with spirits through their art, including her late grandfather. Now Sierra has to stop a white anthropologist her grandfather shared the Caribbean magic with and who is now murdering other Shadowshapers in a grab for power. But to do that she’ll need help from some friends and to figure out her own Shadowshaping.
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, by Isabel Quintero
Written as a series of diary entries, Quintero’s award-winning debut novel follows Gabi Hernandez’s dramatic senior year of high school. Her best friend’s pregnant, her other best friend just came out and got kicked out of his house, her dad’s addicted to meth, and college applications are due soon. Through all of it are some constants: Gabi’s incredible voice, her joyous love of food, and the poetry that’s foundational to her identity. A book brimming with voice and heart, Gabi is an absolute must.
The Education of Margot Sanchez, by Lilliam Rivera
Margot’s summer looks bleak. After being caught “borrowing” her Papi’s credit card (and racking up an impressive debt in pursuit of a more acceptable wardrobe), she’s stuck working at her family’s grocery store for the duration. Now, her prep school friends are having a blast at the beach without her and Margot’s carefully built reputation is threatened more with each day spent stocking shelves. But when an invite to the most important party of the summer comes (from the hottest boy in school, no less), Margot will do anything it takes to get there—even some (further) light theft.
Cherry, by Lindsey Rosin
The sex pact happens over frozen yogurt. Layla abruptly tells her three best friends that she plans to lose her virginity before graduation. After processing their shock at her announcement (and the matter-of-fact way in which it was shared), the whole group agrees to join in her quest. Layla’s eager, Emma’s mildly curious, Zoe’s perpetually embarrassed at the idea, and Alex has already done it (or so she says). This funny and endearing novel follows each of the four friends as they navigate their first sexual encounters, their sexuality, and their friendships with each other.
If I Was Your Girl, by Meredith Russo
Moving to a new school is never easy. Moving in your senior year? Even harder. Moving in your senior year and trying to keep your past hidden while making new friends? Hardest. Amanda wants this move to be a fresh start, which means hiding the fact that she’s a trans girl. In a rural Southern town, opening up is risky and could even be dangerous. But when she meets sweet and honest Grant, she isn’t sure she wants to keep hiding, especially not from him.
Written in the Stars, by Aisha Saeed
Naila knows an arranged marriage is in her future and that dating in the meantime is completely off-limits, which is why she isn’t surprised when her parents are furious to learn she’s been seeing (and has fallen in love with) a boy named Saif. What she didn’t expect was to be whisked away to visit family in Pakistan, or for the “visit” to turn into something else entirely when her parents insist she marry now. Forced into marriage and trapped in an unfamiliar country, her only hope is Saif, but Naila might already be too far for him to reach.
Lizard Radio, by Pat Schmatz
CropCamp is government-run and seemingly against everything Kivali’s nonconformist guardian Sheila believes in. So Kivali can’t believe Sheila’s sending her there, with its strict schedules and mandatory druglike kickshaw. Things aren’t all bad, though: Kivali enjoys working the land and she’s finally making friends. Still, she can’t shake the feeling something’s not quite right at camp, especially when other campers start mysteriously disappearing. This strange, not-quite-dystopian book is a fascinating look at conformity, subversion, gender, and finding your place in the world.
Rain is Not My Indian Name, by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Six months ago, Rain’s best friend died. She’s been grieving ever since, entirely withdrawn from the world. But when Rain’s hired by the local paper to photograph her aunt’s Indian Camp—a place for Native American teens living in their largely white community to connect with their Native heritage—Rain is thrust back into the world. She has never been particularly interested in Indian Camp, but she’s there now. And once someone in town complains about the camp, attracting all sorts of controversy, Rain finds herself directly in the middle of the conflict with no clue what to do.
Lumberjanes, Volume 1, by Noelle Stevenson
Super weird things happen at Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types. Weird three-eyed animals. Weird caves filled with weird anagrams. All sorts of weird stuff. None of which is going to stop Jo, April, Molly, Ripley, and Mal from having a freaking amazing summer. After all, what’s summer camp without a little adventure? This graphic novel is hilarious and heartwarming (often simultaneously) and features one of the most engaging group of friends you’ll find anywhere.
The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma
Violet. Amber. Orianna. Three girls whose fates are inextricably and inexplicably linked together. Violet, a ballerina already on the path to greatness. Amber, an inmate with no hope of freedom anytime soon. Orianna, Amber’s new roommate—and the start of everything. This strange, lyrical novel is a heartrending tale of guilt, innocence, and justice (or the lack thereof). To say any more would be its own kind of injustice.
All the Rage, by Courtney Summers
No one believed Romy when she told the town about Kellan Turner, the sheriff’s son, raping her. And they didn’t just disbelieve; they ruined her. Now, she’s friendless and constantly bullied and harassed by peers and adults alike, all for telling the truth. The only good place left is the diner outside of town where she’s just another anonymous waitress. But then a girl with ties to Kellan goes missing and another girl’s assault is linked to him, too. Romy doesn’t see the point in speaking out again, not when she’s already lost so much for doing so and when no one believed her the first time. But she also doesn’t know if she can live with herself if she doesn’t.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
Starr Carter has worked hard to maintain a balance between the two halves of her life: at home in her poor neighborhood and at the fancy prep school she attends. When her friend Kahlil is murdered by a cop and his death becomes national news—with Starr as the sole witness—her two worlds crash together in complicated and painful ways. As protests form demanding justice, as people across the country call Kahlil a thug and a drug dealer, and as the cop who killed him faces a possible (but by no means guaranteed) indictment, Starr has to decide if she wants to speak and how much she wants to say. Because there are plenty of people who’d prefer her silence and who are willing to go to great lengths to ensure it.
This Side of Home, by Renée Watson
Maya and her twin sister, Nikki, have always been completely in sync. They have the same friends and interests, and they’re planning for the same future: college at a historically Black university. But as they start senior year, their neighborhood is changing—and the sisters don’t agree on whether it’s for the better or not. Nikki sees the flurry of new restaurants and businesses as a boon to the community, but Maya sees the gentrification as pushing out its Black residents in favor of new white ones and their white-owned stores. That’s not the only thing the twins disagree on lately, either. They seem to be moving suddenly in opposite directions, and Maya doesn’t know how to fix it—or if Nikki thinks anything even needs fixing.
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
Verity, also known as Queenie, is being held and tortured by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France. She was caught spying and now she’s being forced to write her confession, which she does, starting with Maddie, her best friend and the pilot who flew her into enemy territory for this failed mission. This book—at its heart, a story of female friendship—is the kind that sinks inside you, that changes you, that never leaves you.
Ms. Marvel, Volume 1, by G. Willow Wilson
Volume one of the new Ms. Marvel series follows Kamala Khan as she acquires superpowers and takes up the Ms. Marvel mantle. Kamala is simultaneously shocked by and pumped about becoming a freaking superhero, but it comes with a lot of sudden responsibility. With the help of her friends, family, and faith, she’ll have to learn to navigate her new life—while taking down the bad guys, of course.
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
This one is technically a middle grade book, but given its crossover appeal and its status as a modern-day classic, I’m making an exception to include it. Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir in verse is a stunning collection of poetry tracing her childhood as an African American girl in the 1960s and ’70s. From South Carolina to New York, Woodson’s verse is infused with a powerful sense of place, community, and family. This masterpiece deserves every ounce of acclaim it has received and more.
Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, by Erika T. Wurth
Margaritte, a sixteen-year-old Native American and small-time drug dealer living in Colorado Springs, Idaho, is surrounded by hopeless people and their even more hopeless futures. She’s determined to escape their fate of burnout and teen pregnancy. When she meets Mike, the new kid in town, she dreams of finally moving on to someplace better, to the bright future she longs for. But then she finds out she’s pregnant herself, and suddenly those dreams seem further away than ever.
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World, by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai’s life changed at ten years old when the Taliban took over her region of Pakistan. Women’s and girls’ rights were suddenly and severely restricted, including the right to go to school. In her memoir, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala talks about the fight for education that nearly led to her death—a fight she continues today.
American Street, by Ibi Zoboi
Fabiola has lived most of her life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with her mother. When the two decide to move to the United States (where Fabiola was born), they’re eager for the good life America promises. Then Fabiola’s mother is detained at the airport by immigration, and Fabiola has to continue on to Detroit alone. There, she lives with her aunt and cousins—family she knows mainly from periodic phone calls. At the corner of American Street and Joy Road, she’ll have to find her footing in a new country, surrounded by new people, and without her mother, all while trying to navigate high school, complicated family relationships, and unexpected romance.
Killer of Enemies, by Joseph Bruchac
Before, technologically enhanced people known as the Ones dominated society. Lozen, an Apache hunter, and her family were among those who served the Ones. But then the Cloud came and all technology failed. Now, the dangerous genetically engineered that were once pets of the Ones roam the land. Lozen ensures her family’s continued safety by working for the surviving Ones and hunting their loose monsters down. With each of Lozen’s kills, however, her magical abilities grow stronger, and she soon realizes she’s so much more than a mere hunter; her powers are connected to an old Apache legend. Maybe she’s destined to be legendary, too.