'Bereft' by Craig Laurance Gidney

Rafael Fannen is indeed young (14 years old), gifted (recipient of a minority scholarship to an all-male Catholic preparatory school), and black. He is also caught in a world where everything he relied upon is changing as he himself is changing. Rafe must confront the strange culture of his new school while contending with a… read more

'Zero Fade' by Chris L. Terry

Thirteen-year old Kevin wants to be a zero fade: the guy with a haircut done with clippers set to zero to insure an extremely close cut on the sides, with longer hair on the top; someone with sex appeal. The right haircut will correct so much of what is wrong in his life. He’ll be… read more

'Beauty Queens' by Libba Bray

Don’t be misled by the bikini-clad model on the cover of Beauty Queens (Scholastic Press); this is decidedly not a simple hot-girls-on-an-island story. Author Libba Bray, a Printz award-winner, addresses corporate abuse of power, the culture of fear that is perpetuated through advertising, and restrictive gender binaries in this engaging book…. read more

'Smoketown' by Tenea D. Johnson

In her debut novel, Smoketown (Blind Eye Books), Tenea D. Johnson magically creates a verdant jungle from what was once a Kentucky holler.  The city of Leiodare, formally Middlesboro, Kentucky, serves as this narrative’s anchor. Essentially an environmental side-effect of climate change, Leiodare is a combination of lush forest and futuristic modern technology. The story… read more

'From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth' edited by Victoria A. Brownworth

Young adult fiction has come a ways since the blonde-haired, blue-eyed yesterdays of Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High and the prolific Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine thriller mills of paranormal and “whodunit?” teen mysteries. Today’s YA literature—like National Book Award Finalist Walter Dean Myer’s Monster, Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner Angela Johnson’s First Part… read more

'Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy' by Bil Wright

Makeup obsessed Carlos Duarte knows he has major talent when it comes to making faces look fresh and fabulous. The 16-year-old just needs to prove his prowess to those around him, who aren’t always willing to give a high school kid with thrift shop ensembles and little in the way of professional experience a shot…. read more

Patrick Ryan: Vampires for the Post-Gay Generation

“The thing I wanted to do in this one was take a new approach to how the sexuality is dealt with. In my two previous YA novels the kids are coming out and it’s a really big deal. But that story’s becoming in some ways a product of the past.” With the publication of Saints… read more

Nick Burd: Making Cool Books for the Kids

“…I think that’s important, to show young people that you can be gay and have a cool life…” With his debut novel The Vast Fields of Ordinary (Dial), Nick Burd has written one of those books that many of us wish we could’ve read when we were teenagers—one that probes that confused, lonely, struggling teen… read more

'will grayson, will grayson' by David Levithan and John Green

“if i wasn’t such a lame excuse for a person something right might happen to me. it’s not fair because i didn’t ask for dad to leave, and i didn’t ask to be depressed, and i didn’t ask for us to have no money, and i didn’t ask to want to fuck boys, and i… read more