Five Books My Students Love Right Now
by Courtney Nugent, Oxford High School, MA.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman:
Scythe, book 1 in the Arc series, deals with a futuristic society where death by natural causes has been defeated. In order to control the world population, Scythes were created to kill (glean) individuals of their choosing. This novel follows Citra and Rowan, two teenagers who have been selected as Scythe apprentices. In the end, only 1 will become a Scythe. The teens struggle with mortality and morality; they must decide if they can live in a world where they take life away from unsuspecting citizens.
Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed:
Maya Aziz wants to go to film school, live in New York City, and marry the boy of her dreams. Her parents have other plans; they expect her to stay close to home, marry a Muslim boy, and behave as a good Indian daughter is expected to. Then, there is a terrorist attack, and it seems that Maya's dreams slip even farther away as her community turns against her. This novel will resonate with teens who fear that bigotry and hatred will tear our nation apart.
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger:
Angela has struggled with not feeling like her body is her own her entire life. When Angela decides to become Grady, a male, her family and friends react in ways he was not expecting. Even though his life changes drastically, Grady finds people who accept him for him. This novel will help teens who feel like they are not being true to themselves understand that they deserve to be fully and authentically themselves.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert:
Theo, an elite ballet dancer who has struggled with an eating disorder, is finally feeling like herself. Even though her best friend Donovan disappeared, Theo has come to terms with the fact that he was kidnapped and will never return. But then, out of the blue, Donovan returns and Theo's world no longer feels like her own. After 3 years without her best friend, Theo is forced to question everything that happened. With heavy- hitting topics like eating disorders, drugs, and sexual assault, this novel is one for teens who might deal with secrets of their own.
All-American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds:
After a black teen is beat up by a police officer, two teens deal with and tell the story of the event’s influence on their community. Told from the perspective of the two boys, one black and one white, this novel explores tough topics like race and police brutality in a way that will engage male and female readers alike.