A Chorus Rises: A Song Below Water Novel by Bethany C. Morrow
Teen & Young Adult Fiction | Reading age: 13 – 18 years
A Chorus Rises is a timely confrontation of the evolving nature of popularity in a society that chooses “exceptions” and rewards “model minorities.”
Meet Naema Bradshaw: a beautiful Eloko, once Portland-famous, now infamous, as she navigates a personal and public reckoning where confronting the limits of her privilege will show Naema what her magic really is, and who it makes her.
Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she’s famous, stylish, gorgeous–and she’s an Eloko, a charismatic person gifted with a melody that people adore. Everyone loves her–until she’s cast as the villain who exposed a Siren to the whole world.
Dragged by the media, and canceled by her fans, no one understands her side: not her boyfriend, not her friends, not even her fellow Eloko. Villified by those closest to her, Naema heads to the Southwest where she is determined to stage a comeback… to her family, her real self, and the truth about her magic. What she finds is a new community in a flourishing group of online fans who support her.
At first, it feels like it used to–the fandom, the adoration, the community that takes her side–but when her online advocates start targeting other Black girls, Naema will realize that–for Black girls like her–even the privilege of fame has its limits. And only Naema can discover the true purpose of her power, and how to use it.
“A watery and melodic crossroads of the real and the mythic, A Chorus Rises lures readers with its seductive and beautifully Black siren song. An enthralling tale of Black girl magic and searing social commentary ready to rattle the bones.” ―Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles series
Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri
Best Books Ages 9-12
A National Indie Bestseller
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Editors’ Choice
A BookPage Best Book of the Year
A NECBA Windows & Mirrors Selection
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
A Today.com Best of the Year
A sprawling, evocative, and groundbreaking autobiographical novel told in the unforgettable and hilarious voice of a young Iranian refugee. It is a powerfully layered novel that poses the questions: Who owns the truth? Who speaks it? Who believes it?
“A patchwork story is the shame of the refugee,” Nayeri writes early in the novel. In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family’s history, stretching back years, decades, and centuries. At the core is Daniel’s story of how they became refugees—starting with his mother’s vocal embrace of Christianity in a country that made such a thing a capital offense, and continuing through their midnight flight from the secret police, bribing their way onto a plane-to-anywhere.
Anywhere becomes the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy, and then finally asylum in the U.S. Implementing a distinct literary style and challenging western narrative structures, Nayeri deftly weaves through stories of the long and beautiful history of his family in Iran, adding a richness of ancient tales and Persian folklore.
Like Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights in a hostile classroom, Daniel spins a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth.
EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE (a true story) is a tale of heartbreak and resilience and urges readers to speak their truth and be heard.
“Garvey in the Dark is more than a beautifully crafted novel in verse. It’s a story that faces news headlines and captures the wild emotional roller coaster of the COVID-19 pandemic with honesty and courage. A must-read for young people who lived through the early days of the outbreak as well as those who will be curious about it in years to come.” —Kate Messner, New York Times bestselling author
“With deceptive simplicity, Grimes captures characters and emotions by wielding a poetic form—the tanka—with superb and superhuman strength, and the result is a beautiful and brilliant book about how faith, grace, and familial love can help us triumph over adversity…” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home
Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Garvey, a beloved character, Nikki Grimes’s newest novel in verse shows readers how to find hope in difficult times.
Garvey’s finally happy—he’s feeling close to his father through their shared love of music, bullies are no longer tormenting him, and his best friends Manny and Joe are by his side. But when the schools, stores, and restaurants close because people are getting sick, Garvey’s improved life goes into lockdown as well. And when Garvey’s father gets sick, Garvey must find a way to use his newfound musical skills to bring hope to both his father and himself. Moving, powerful, and beautifully told, this remarkable novel shows readers how even small acts have large reverberations, how every person can make a difference in this world, and how—even in the most difficult times—there are ways to reach for hope and healing.
Nikki Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author who has won the ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She has also received several ALSC Notables, a Coretta Scott King Author Award, Coretta Scott King Author Honors, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors, a Printz Honor, and a Sibert Honor.
Love in the Age of Dragons by Fatima R. Henson
Young Adult Fiction / Coming Of Age
“This fast-paced dystopian fantasy is intensely captivating until the very last page.” —BookLife Reviews
Two years ago, a wormhole opened and ushered vicious dragons into the world. The dragons burned Earth’s cities to the ground and sent its inhabitants scattering for cover; and since then, Ayanna Grace, a seventeen-year-old Black girl, has been scratching out a life in an abandoned subway system, part of an extensive underground community.
Underground, medicine runs short and outbreaks of disease spread uncontrollably. The water supply is low, uprisings occur frequently, and dragon attacks are imminent. But those aren’t the only challenges Ayanna is facing: she’s also busy wrestling with her feelings, torn between Richard, who she’s known all her life, and Jackson, a mysterious newcomer. Worse, her mentor, the community’s only doctor, is dying from a failing heart. With no hope of rescue from aboveground, will Ayanna be able to save him before it’s too late?
Song Below Water by Bethany C Morrow
Teen & Young Adult › Science Fiction & Fantasy
Bethany C. Morrow’s A Song Below Water is the story for today’s readers ― a captivating modern fantasy about Black sirens, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.
In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.
Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.
Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.
“It’s beautiful and it’s brilliant.”–Jason Reynolds, #1 New York Times bestselling author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
“An enthralling tale of Black girl magic and searing social commentary ready to rattle the bones.” ― Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
In this YA novel in verse from bestselling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo), which Kirkus called “lively, moving, and heartfelt” in a starred review, Noah and Walt just want to leave their geek days behind and find “cool,” but in the process discover a lot about first loves, friendship, and embracing life . . . as well as why Black Lives Matter is so important for all.
Best friends Noah and Walt are far from popular, but Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan that includes wooing the girls of their dreams and becoming amazing athletes. Never mind he and Noah failed to make their baseball team yet again, and Noah’s crush since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. While Walt focuses on his program of jazz, podcasts, batting cages, and a “Hug Life” mentality, Noah feels stuck in status quo … until he stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each one contains words Noah’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his art becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and finally speak out.
At the same time, American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized.
As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really important when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.
If you enjoy Swing, check out Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.
The Juju Girl by Nikki Marsh – Reading Age 14 – 18 years
Teen & Young Adult Coming of Age Fantasy
A Normal Girl. A Paranormal Gift. A Cryptic Mystery. A Dangerous Enemy.
Gabbie isn’t like other 15-year-olds. She sees things others can’t see. She hears things others can’t hear. She pierces the veil that separates the living from the dead.
When the Great Storm of 1893 rips her from her humble home on the banks of the Mississippi, it thrusts her into the dazzling world of New Orleans’ Creoles of Color High Society. It’s a world of debutantes, balls, and handsome young men in uniforms.
Superstition, mystery, magic, and conjure make of the very fabric of daily life. It counts both holy men of God and practitioners of the Dark Arts among its most honored denizens.
It’s here Gabbie learns her supernatural powers are part of something greater. But, she wants nothing to do with it.
Will that change when a malevolent ghost threatens the lives of those she loves or will it take an ill-fated romance? What will she learn on her journey of self-discovery? Will she find the courage to finally become the person she was born to be?
Winner of the 2022 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award for the best self-published eBook in fiction by an African American author.
2019 First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association
An “urgent and heartrending novel about an America on the brink” (Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood), They Come in All Colors follows a biracial teenage boy who finds his new life in the big city disrupted by childhood memories of the summer when racial tensions in his hometown reached a tipping point.
It’s 1968 when fourteen-year-old Huey Fairchild begins high school at Claremont Prep, one of New York City’s most prestigious boys’ schools. His mother had uprooted her family from their small hometown of Akersburg, Georgia, leaving behind Huey’s white father and the racial unrest that ran deeper than the Chattahoochee River.
But for our sharp-tongued protagonist, forgetting the past is easier said than done. At Claremont, where the only other nonwhite person is the janitor, Huey quickly realizes that racism can lurk beneath even the nicest school uniform. After a momentary slip of his temper, Huey finds himself on academic probation and facing legal charges. With his promising school career in limbo, he begins to reflect on his memories of growing up in Akersburg during the Civil Rights Movement—and the chilling moments leading up to his and his mother’s flight north.
With Huey’s head-shaking antics fueling this coming-of-age narrative, the novel triumphs as a tender and honest exploration of race, identity, family, and homeland, and a work that is “emotionally acute…eye-opening and rewarding for a wide range of readers” (Library Journal, starred review).
Raves & Reviews
“An urgent and heartrending novel about an America on the brink. With force, Malcolm Hansen writes about race, identity and the fleeting deceptions of youth.”
—Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood
“This is a voice so honest and alive it feels like a stranger whispering a confession in a dark room. Malcolm Hansen’s novel is a prodigious debut of a rare literary talent.”
—Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day and Pym
“In They Come in All Colors, Malcolm Hanson is not writing about saints or monsters, just vivid human beings. And does so with humor and insight.”
—Victor LaValle, award-winning author of The Changeling and The Ballad of Black Tom