The BEST YA Fiction of 2021
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At Niveus Private Academy, Devon and Chiamaka are the only students chosen to be Senior Prefects who are also black, which makes them targets for a series of anonymous texts revealing their secrets to the entire student body. Both students were on track toward valedictorian and bright college futures, but this prank quickly turns into a very dangerous game and they are at more than one disadvantage as it looks like things could turn deadly.
A strange darkness grows in Allward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea. She soon discovers the truth. She is the last of an ancient lineage--and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won't be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions: a squire, forced to choose between home and honor, an immortal, avenging a broken promise, an assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty, an ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight, a forger with a secret past, a bounty hunter with a score to settle. Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed
A groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who goes undercover to root out the crime and corruption threatening her community. Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.
Transformed by the goddess Yemoja into a Mami Wati, an African mermaid charged with collecting the souls of those who die at sea, Simi goes against the gods to save a living boy, Kola, from drowning.
Choi, Mary H.K.
This is a work of fiction that mirrors aspects of my own history with disordered eating, dysmorphia, and bulimia. For those struggling with body image and food, this story might be emotionally expensive for you. Please be gentle with yourselves-- sensitivity is a superpower. And please know that there is no such thing as a bad body. Truly. Take up space, it is your birthright. Love, Mary
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity-and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki-near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be-not even Deka herself.
Jackson, Tiffany D.
Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper. The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its secrets. That's only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there's a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone. But 'running from ghosts' is just a metaphor, right? As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn't limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.
It isn't easy being Japanese American in a small, mostly white, northern California town, being raised by a single mother. When Izumi Tanaka discovers her father is the Crown Prince of Japan, it means irreverent Izzy is literally a princess. She travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew-- and discovers being a princess isn't all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling bodyguard, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Back home she was never 'American' enough, here she must prove she is 'Japanese' enough.
1890, Atlanta. By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel Caroline Payne, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for 'the genteel Southern lady.
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it's mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie...although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front. But she didn't know she's a younger sister. When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it's hard to believe they're from the same planet, never mind the same parents - especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself. The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby's parents gave Savvy up for adoption.
Moth, who lost her family in an accident, and Sani, who is battling ongoing depression, take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors, which helps them move forward in surprising, powerful and unforgettable ways.
After a girl is killed by her ex-boyfriend in a school shooting, her two best friends attempt to memorialize her in a town economically dependent on the shooter's family
McManus, Karen M.
After receiving an invitation to spend the summer with their estranged grandmother, the Story cousins arrive at her house only to discover that she is not there, and the longer they stay on the island, the more they realize their mysterious family history has some deadly secrets.
Although distraught, Happi is also unsettled by the way people have idealized the memory of her sister who was killed after attending a social justice rally -- why do people have to be perfect in order to be missed? As a way to honor the memory, however, Happi and her other sister Genny go on a roadtrip using the original "Green Book" -- but the trip reveals secrets neither sister knew about the dead Kezi.
Maverick feels strongly about family ties, making choices he feels necessary to help support his mom while his King father serves time, and leave him literally holding his son in a doctor's waiting room after he gets paternity test results back and his babymomma ghosts. Now the child he's raising is impacting the lives of his family and his girlfriend, and the gang life he led to support them all financially could leave them all bearing his responsibilities since it endangers his life. It looks like he may have been offered a chance to go straight, but leaving the King Lords won't be easy, and a "real" job has high demand for low return.
After picking up a book from the library, Yvette--who has given up on love--gains the ability to see how other people's romantic relationships will end