Top Ten New Recently Read Books that I Want to Recommend to Students

Hello readers!

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I’m excited about this one because I’m excited about some of the things I’ve been reading lately. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, so I’m going to make a list of books I’ve read recently that I can’t want to put into the hands of a student.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo — for readers who like novels-in-verse, slam poetry, or who like stories about conflict between child and parent. Afro-Latina (Dominican) protagonist.

After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay — for readers who like stories about basketball and friendship between boys. It’s really, come for the basketball, stay for the conflict. Filipino and black American protagonists.

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#bookaday After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay. #snrtbs I feel like After the Shot Drops is a story about basketball that isn’t about basketball. It’s a story where you come for the basketball and stay for this beautifully real story about two estranged friends and the messes that they manage to find themselves in as they try to come to terms with the hurt they feel and repair their friendship. It’s another fabulous example of how messy and complicated life is. How in some ways, fish-out-of-water isolation is self-imposed. How the kid who’s had tough breaks isn’t supported in the same way as the kid who has talent, even though they’re from the same hood. And this question: How do you balance getting yours with the consequences of another’s choices when the two are tied together? Wait. There was basketball in this book?

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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland — for readers who like historical fiction/fantasy, here you go. Post-Civil War and the dead reanimate. Who’s going to be sent to the front lines to fight the zombie horde during reconstruction? Mixed race (black/white) protagonist.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore — for readers who like a healthy dose of magical realism with their romance. LGBTQ Latinx and Middle Eastern American protagonists.

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#bookaday When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore. #StickyNoteReview: I can’t even with this book. At one point I told one of my students that I had to stop reading during class because I didn’t want to break down crying in front of them. I felt for Samir in his struggle to name himself, and that held so much emotion. The writing is stunning. Honestly, I’m having a hard time articulating how real, honest, and touching this story is. I love the sharing of secrets as liberating, even if those secrets are painful. This honesty, though, is not necessarily with other people, but with ourselves. When the Moon Was Ours is an absolutely beautiful read that will stick with me for a long time. #stickynotereviews #bookstagram #instabook #bookreview #snrtbs

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Rebound by Kwame Alexander— also for readers who like novels-in-verse and/or basketball. I’d suggest reading The Crossover first, however it’s not necessary. This is a fabulous coming of age story that will… well, read the spoiler-free review below. Black American protagonist.

The First Rule of Punk by Ceclia C. Pérez — for readers who like punk, parental conflict, and middle schoolers who start bands and hold protests. Mixed race (Mexican/white) protagonist.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde — for all the nerds out there who wish they could go to VidCon and geek out like crazy. For readers who like reading stories with supportive friendships. Protagonist who has Aspergers and anxiety and bisexual POC protagonist.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee — for readers who are curious about all the mischief a well-to-do Victorian boy can get up to when he’s sent to sea for a year. Bisexual protagonist.

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#bookaday The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. #stickynotereviews I enjoyed The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. How many bi guys do you see in YA? And I loved the take on the journey (road trip) archetype. Characterization FTW. Monty is equal parts endearing and insufferable. Felicity is absolutely fabulous. And then there's Percy. I was taken with Percy. I appreciated that he and Monty didn't shy away from conversations about his skin color and the effects thereof. And I actually appreciated that Monty didn't get it and we saw him struggle. I eagerly await the next installment.
Have you read The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue? What did you think?
#bookreview #bookstagram

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi — for readers who like Black Panther and magic and girls who kick ass. Black Nigerian-adjacent protagonist (it’s not set in Nigeria, but all the places are Nigerian).

Let’s Talk about Love by Claire Kann — for readers who like stories about figuring out who you are when people come along who make you think about it a bit. Asexual black American protagonist.

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#bookaday Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. #stickynotereviews Confession: I love me a good rom com. Let’s Talk About Love? Good rom com. If you’re looking for a review from the perspective of someone who is asexual and can speak to that, check out Julianne Daly’s review at gayya.org. It’s broken down nicely there. For me, I connected with Alice’s relationships with her friends. She doesn’t have many and they’re not the everything-is-fabulous (on the surface) type of friendships. And the fact that her friends fill different needs for her, and her for them, was refreshing and something I think readers can identify with (I definitely could). Also, can we talk about that cover? That’s some beautiful dark-skinned loveliness right there (and is actually why I picked it up to begin with). ~*~*~ Edit: part of my excitement about the cover has to do with the history of both colorism and the whitewashing of covers to make them more palatable to “more readers.” To see a dark-skinned black girl with natural hair on the cover? It brings me #blackgirljoy. #bookreview #bookstagram #bibliophile #reader

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Honorable mention: American Panda by Gloria C. Chao — for fans of stories about children of immigrant parents who are trying to marry cultures. Taiwanese protagonist.

What did you include on your list this week?

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5 thoughts on “Top Ten New Recently Read Books that I Want to Recommend to Students

  1. When the Moon Was Ours is one of my favorite books ever. It might be the most beautiful book that I’ve ever read. Pretty sure every Anna-Marie McLemore book has made me tear up at some point. I still need to get to The Poet X, but I’m hoping to do so in the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!

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