Young Adult Books (2021)

It’s Trevor Noah’ by Trevor Noah

‘It’s Trevor Noah’ by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, the fun­ny guy who hosts The Dai­ly Show on Com­e­dy Cen­tral, shares his remark­able sto­ry of grow­ing up in South Africa with a black South African moth­er and a white Euro­pean father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist — and from the begin­ning, the often-mis­be­haved Trevor used his keen smarts and humour to nav­i­gate a harsh life under a racist gov­ern­ment.

This fas­ci­nat­ing mem­oir blends dra­ma, com­e­dy, and tragedy to depict the day-to-day tri­als that turned a boy into a young man. In a coun­try where racism barred blacks from social, edu­ca­tion­al, and eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty, Trevor sur­mount­ed stag­ger­ing obsta­cles and cre­at­ed a promis­ing future for him­self, thanks to his mom’s unwa­ver­ing love and indomitable will.

It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime not only pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing and hon­est per­spec­tive on South Africa’s racial his­to­ry, but it will also astound and inspire young read­ers look­ing to improve their own lives.

The 57 Bus’ by Dashka Slater

‘The 57 Bus’ by Dash­ka Slater

One teenag­er in a skirt. 

One teenag­er with a lighter.

One moment that changes both of their lives for­ev­er. 

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard nev­er would have met. Both were high school stu­dents from Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, one of the most diverse cities in the coun­try, but they inhab­it­ed dif­fer­ent worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the mid­dle-class foothills and attend­ed a small pri­vate school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flat­lands and attend­ed a large pub­lic one. Each day, their paths over­lapped for a mere eight min­utes. But one after­noon on the bus ride home from school, a sin­gle reck­less act left Sasha severe­ly burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and fac­ing life impris­on­ment. The case gar­nered inter­na­tion­al atten­tion, thrust­ing both teenagers into the spot­light.

Terra Nullius’ by Claire G. Coleman

‘Ter­ra Nul­lius’ by Claire G. Cole­man

Jacky was run­ning. There was no thought in his head, only an intense dri­ve to run. There was no sense he was get­ting any­where, no plan, no des­ti­na­tion, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was run­ning from. Jacky was run­ning.”

The Natives of the Colony are rest­less. The Set­tlers are eager to bring peace to their new home, and they have a plan for how to achieve it. They will tear Native fam­i­lies apart and pro­vide re-edu­ca­tion to those who do not under­stand why they should sub­mit to their bet­ters.

Peace and pros­per­i­ty are worth any price, but who will pay it? This rich land, Aus­tralia, will pro­vide for all if only the Natives can learn their place.

Jacky has escaped the Home where the Set­tlers sent him, but where will he go? The Head of the Depart­ment for the Pro­tec­tion of Natives, known to Set­tlers and Natives alike as the Dev­il, is chas­ing Jacky. And when the Dev­il catch­es him, Sis­ter Bagra, who knows her duty to the ungod­ly, will be wait­ing for Jacky back at Home.

This is not Aus­tralia as we know it. This is not the Aus­tralia of our his­to­ry.

Frankly in Love’ by David Yoon

‘Frankly in Love’ by David Yoon

Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his Amer­i­can name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Kore­an name. No one uses his Kore­an name, not even his par­ents. Frank bare­ly speaks any Kore­an. He was born and raised in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Even so, his par­ents still expect him to end up with a nice Kore­an girl — which is a prob­lem, since Frank is final­ly dat­ing the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is fun­ny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit …  who is white.

As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to con­front the fact that while his par­ents sac­ri­ficed every­thing to raise him in the land of oppor­tu­ni­ty, their tra­di­tion­al expec­ta­tions don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a reg­u­lar Amer­i­can teen. Des­per­ate to be with Brit with­out his par­ents find­ing out, Frank turns to fam­i­ly friend Joy Song, who is in a sim­i­lar bind. Togeth­er, they come up with a plan to help each oth­er and keep their par­ents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solu­tion to all his prob­lems, but when life throws him a curve­ball, he’s left won­der­ing whether he ever real­ly knew any­thing about love — or him­self — at all.

Blood Heir #1’ by Amelie Wen Zhao

‘Blood Heir #1’ by Amelie Wen Zhao

The first book in an epic new series about a princess hid­ing a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s mur­der.

In the Cyril­ian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their var­ied gifts to con­trol the world around them are unnat­ur­al — dan­ger­ous. And Anas­ta­cya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a ter­ri­fy­ing secret. Her dead­ly Affin­i­ty to blood is her curse and the rea­son she has lived her life hid­den behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emper­or, is mur­dered, her world is shat­tered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s mur­der­er on her own. But the Cyril­ia beyond the palace walls is far dif­fer­ent from the one she thought she knew. Cor­rup­tion rules the land, and a greater con­spir­a­cy is at work — one that threat­ens the very bal­ance of her world. And there is only one per­son cor­rupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ram­son Quick­tongue.

A cun­ning crime lord of the Cyril­ian under­world, Ram­son has sin­is­ter plans — though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this sto­ry, the princess might be the most dan­ger­ous play­er of all.

The Weight of Our Sky’ by Hanna Alkaf

‘The Weight of Our Sky’ by Han­na Alkaf

Melati Ahmad looks like your typ­i­cal movie-going, Bea­t­les-obsessed six­teen-year-old. Unlike most oth­er six­teen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she har­bors a djinn inside her, one who threat­ens her with hor­rif­ic images of her moth­er’s death unless she adheres to an elab­o­rate rit­u­al of count­ing and tap­ping to keep him sat­is­fied.

But there are things that Melati can’t pro­tect her moth­er from. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial ten­sions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chi­nese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her moth­er become sep­a­rat­ed by a city in flames.

With a 24-hour cur­few in place and all lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion down, it will take the help of a Chi­nese boy named Vin­cent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arse­nal to over­come the vio­lence on the streets, her own prej­u­dices, and her djin­n’s surg­ing pow­er to make it back to the one per­son she can’t risk los­ing.