Last week I shared my top three adult picks for BHM book releases by black authors. This week, we’re going the opposite end of the spectrum, hitting up young adult and middle-grade books. Let’s go.
ON THE COME UP by ANGIE THOMAS – Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
Why I’m Hyped:
I haven’t read Angie Thomas’ work yet, and between rave reviews, a premise that promises a passionate story about a girl trying to make it through thick and thin, On the Come Up feels like a good place to start. Plus, I’ve heard that Angie Thomas writes killer bars, so…
On the Come Up was released February 5, 2019
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books.
NO ONE HERE IS LONELY by SARAH EVERETT – Contemporary
Eden has always had two loves: her best friend, Lacey, and her crush, Will. And then, almost simultaneously, she loses them both. Will to a car accident and Lacey to the inevitable growing up and growing apart. Devastated by the holes they have left in her life, Eden finds solace in an unlikely place. Before he died, Will set up an account with In Good Company, a service that uploads voices and emails and creates a digital companion that can be called anytime, day or night. It couldn’t come at a better time because, after losing Lacey–the hardest thing Eden has had to deal with–who else can she confide all her secrets to? Who is Eden without Lacey?
Why I’m Hyped:
The premise instantly reminded me of the episode Be Right back from Black Mirror (easily one of my favorite episodes.) Complicated relationships, moving on and moving up after loss – I’m here for it and the angst.
No One Here is Lonely released on February 5, 2019
Sarah Everett grew up in enchanted forests, desert islands, and inside a magical wardrobe. She speaks two Nigerian languages and a small amount of Afrikaans, and was also president of her high school’s Japanese club (which was only slightly less nerdy than it sounds). She now lives in Alberta, Canada, where she moonlights as a graduate student and writes young-adult novels. Her first book was Everyone We’ve Been.
THE OWLS HAVE COME TO TAKE US AWAY by RONALD L. SMITH –
Twelve-year-old Simon is obsessed with aliens. The ones who take people and do experiments. When he’s too worried about them to sleep, he listens to the owls hoot outside. Owls that have the same eyes as aliens—dark and foreboding.
Then something strange happens on a camping trip, and Simon begins to suspect he’s been abducted. But is it real, or just the overactive imagination of a kid who loves fantasy and role-playing games and is the target of bullies and his father’s scorn?
Why I’m Hyped:
Nostalgia. As a kid, I read a lot of horror/children’s horror. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Goosebumps was a go-to. I love the idea behind this book, and can’t wait to read about Simon and his adventures with the unknown.
The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away will be released on February 19, 2019
Ronald L. Smith grew up on Air Force bases and has lived in Japan, Maine, Alabama, Michigan, South Carolina, Delaware, Washington, DC, Illinois and a bunch of other places he can’t remember. After reading Ray Bradbury’s R is for Rocket and Eleanor Cameron’s Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet he fell in love with books and hasn’t stopped reading since.
And that’s it for YA & MG fiction. Do you have any young adult and middle-grade books coming out this month you’re hyped for?