Dread Nation by Justina Ireland was one of my absolute favorite reads of 2018. Ireland’s novel is a fantastical re-imagining of the Civil War if zombies were introduced. Young African Americans are trained in combat, because of course they would have been the dispensable first line of defense against zombies. If you don’t read YA normally, you should absolutely give this read a try.
Crown of Midnight by S. J. Maas is the second book in the Throne of Glass series, and I loved this book so much more than the first. Celaena is an assassin, and she’s working for her freedom. I feel like you could probably read it as a stand-alone if you didn’t want to read the rest of the series.
Violent Ends ~ Shaun David Hutchinson is one of my favorite anthologies ever, but be warned, it’s very dark. This story is about a school shooting, and there are some very triggering chapters. The teenagers in this story are going through a lot, both of their own lives and in relation to the shooting. However, if you’re able to read dark and heavy stories, this book is amazing.
I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain was a contemporary young adult novel that captured my heart. Miranda’s mother abandoned her, and now that Syd’s run away with a note instructing her not to look for her, Miranda’s not sure who to turn to, or if she has the strength to go on. This is story of friendship and love, and the warped realities we develop around us to help us cope with our uncomfortable emotions.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is a wonderfully imaginative and important addition to the young adult fantasy scene. Set in Western African folklore and mixed with a heavy dose of magic, Adeyemi crafted a gorgeous story that touches on sibling relationships, romantic relationships, politics, and emotions so wonderfully.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is another super awesome read written in dual perspectives of a young black boy who is a victim of police brutality (and lives, don’t worry!) and a young white boy who witnesses the beating. They both struggle with their new reality, and come to terms with their new roles after the situation. This book is full of heart.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor is the first book I’ve read of Okorafor’s, but it won’t be the last. I dove into this world, as Okorafor pulled readers into the Leopard world right alongside Sunny, as she discovers magic, her true past, and her strong friendships.
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh is the second in a two part series. This epic re-vamp of the Thousand Nights legend felt feminist and exciting for the younger reader, but also for me as an adult. I was really sucked into her world, and am looking forward to reading more from her.