The We Need Diverse Books Team Picks 10 2016 Must-Reads

WNDB 2016In 2015, We Need Diverse Books’ battle cry for more diverse reads rang out loud and clear! And in 2016, thanks to readers who are demanding more and publishers who are heeding the call, we can expect even more fabulous—and decidedly diverse—reads to hit the shelves. Herewith, just a small sampling of the awesomely diverse books members of the WNDB team—and you—will be looking forward to next year. 

See all 2016 previews here.

The Abyss Surrounds Us, by Emily Skrutskie (February 8)
Author Emily Skrutskie sums up her debut novel, The Abyss Surrounds Us, with three words: “Lesbians. Pirates. Kaiju.” For those of you who didn’t already click away to preorder this book—what’s wrong with you?!?—I am totally embarrassed to admit I had no idea what kaiju was. But according to reviews online, not only is this book about pirates and genetically engineered sea monsters (!), but it features an Asian main character who is thrown into a fantastic edge-of-your-seat high seas adventure and a compelling romance as well. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
Amitha Knight, writer

The Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (February 16)
As long as he has a map, 16-year-old Nix’s father can sail anywhere, anytime. From modern-day New York to mythic Scandinavia, Nix has been everywhere aboard the time-traveling ship Temptation. But when Nix’s father uncovers a map to 1868 Honolulu, their journey to Nix’s past may put her entire existence at stake. And honestly, if you don’t want to read it already, I don’t even know how to convince you anymore. Pirates! Time travel! #ownvoices! Myths and history and reality! This book is everything.
Marieke Nijkamp, author of This Is Where It Ends

Burn Baby Burnby Meg Medina (March 8)
I’m desperate to get my hands on Meg Medina’s new book, Burn Baby Burn, not just because she is one of my favorite authors, but because I was a little kid during the summer of the NYC blackout and I have vague but scary memories of that time. I’m so excited to see what Meg will do with this fascinating time period.
Ellen Oh, founder of WNDB and author of the Prophecy trilogy

On the Edge of Gone, by Corinne Duyvis (March 8)
Biracial autistic teenager Denise and her drug-addicted White mother barely make it to safety on a grounded Generation Ship when the comet strikes earth in 2035, and unless Denise can prove their worth to the ship’s leader and find her sister, who has guided her through life, they will be removed from the ship to die slowly on a ruined planet. On the Edge of Gone is a complex and thoughtful exploration of disability, class, race, and gender and whether, at a time of great hardship, anyone has the right to determine who should live and who should die.
–Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author of Surviving Santiago and Rogue 

Unidentified Suburban Object, by Mike Jung (April 26)
Mike’s writing has so much heart and real humor, it’s quintessential middle grade, and there’s such a real need for that.  Middle grade will always be my first reading love, and what I adore is that Mike isn’t writing for me—he truly knows, loves, and respects his true audience, and that makes his stories soar. His passion for social justice strengthens his work, and this one promises to confront issues of identity and self-discovery in precisely the way middle grade readers do every day in their lives. And how about that cover?    my daughter and I screamed out loud when we first saw it! Perfect.
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, author of 8th Grade Superzero 

If I Was Your Girl, by Meredith Russo (May 3)
Trans rep in YA is sorely lacking; trans rep by trans authors even more so. Which is why I’m so excited for Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl, a contemporary YA (with a transgender model on the cover!) about a girl named Amanda falling for a boy at her new school though she’s determined not to get too close—because getting close to him means risking him knowing that at her old school, she was Andrew. Russo’s debut is just the start of filling in a gap we’ve had in YA for a long time, and I’m eager for not only this book but for ones to follow.
Nita Tyndall, WNDB team member and The Gay YA contributor

The Star-Touched Queenby Roshani Chokshi (May 3)
Curses, bad horoscopes, and magic. The world of Akaran has secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. This is my kind of book. I’m excited to fall into a world steeped with Indian mythology and rich with lush language.
Dhonielle Clayton, author of Tiny Pretty Things and the upcoming Shiny Broken Pieces

Mirror In the Sky, by Aditi Khorana (June 21)
One of the major reasons I committed myself to the WNDB movement was because, as a child, I longed to see myself in the pages of the books I loved so dearly—not just as a sidekick, but as the hero of the story. In Khorana’s debut, Mirror, scholarship kid Tara Krishnan gets to do just that: take charge, make change, and control her destiny—or at least try to. It’s a Sliding Doors story, in which an alternate Earth, called Terra Nova, is discovered, and small things alter, bringing with them cataclysmic shifts.
Sona Charaipotra, author of Tiny Pretty Things and the upcoming Shiny Broken Pieces

Booked, by Kwame Alexander (April 5)
Another book-in-verse from Newbery-winning author Kwame Alexander? Yes, please! Booked follows Nick, a 12-year-old with a penchant for soccer who’s coming to terms with his parents’ divorce and other challenges of growing up. In The Crossover, Alexander captured Josh and Jordan’s passion for basketball and determination to succeed in clear, breathtaking, engrossing lines that had me rereading every page. To know there’s a new book reflecting a different set of challenges for a young boy of color that will provide even more inspiration to readers has me clamoring for 2016 to get here immediately!
Jennifer Baker, writer

Even If The Sky Falls, by Mia Garcia, and The Memory of Light, by Francisco X. Stork
Mia and I share an editor (the amazing Maria Barbo!) and I have heard Maria sigh and say things like, “so romantic” when talking about this book, so now I’m dying to read it! And Francisco X. Stork has such a deft and sensitive hand in writing about painful topics—in the case of The Memory of Light, about a girl’s recovery from a suicide attempt, depression.
Stacey Lee. author of Under a Painted Sky and the forthcoming Outrun the Moon

Shop all Teen >

Follow B&N Teen Blog