Did you love Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give as much as we did? One of the breakout stars of Young Adult fiction of the last few years, Thomas depicts the experience of young Black people in America in a way that is fearless and powerfully relevant. Her books tackle race, power, police violence and poverty. Her characters are immediately easy to empathise with and the dialogue she writes is piercing and brilliant. It’s no surprise that her debut The Hate U Give has been such huge hit and responsible for bringing many teens back to books and reading. But what to read next? Here are our top ten recommendations for fans of The Hate U Give:
- Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
Don’t miss this prequel to The Hate U Give, set seventeen years earlier. Concrete Rose tells the story of Starr’s father, Maverick Carter, whose life is turned upside down at the age of seventeen when he finds out he has a son. Also look out for On the Come Up by the same author.
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
This dual narrative novel, told simultaneously from the point of view of a black teenager and his white peer, explores police brutality, prejudice and activism among young people. Also look out for Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, a Sunday Times Book of the Year.
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
A novel in verse by one of the most original and exciting voices in Young Adult fiction. The Poet X is a gripping, authentic and powerful contemporary love story. I also loved Acevedo’s With the Fire on High and Clap When You Land.
- Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide
One of the hottest releases of 2021, this debut is a high-octane high school thriller. Set in the prestigious Niveus Private Academu, the story takes a no-holes-barred look at institutional racism.
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Justyce Macallister is top of his class and destined for an Ivy League university, but all that is put in jeopardy when he is caught up in a horrifying tragedy. Nic Stone tackles police brutality and race relations in contemporary America. For younger readers, I’d also recommend Clean Getaway.
- Splinters of Sunshine by Patrice Lawrence
New from the bestselling author of Orangeboy, Splinters of Sunshine follows Spey, who must reconnect with his ex-prisoner dad in order to save his best friend Dee in a road-trip mystery unlike any other.
- Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusuf Salaam
Punching the Air is a powerful novel in verse. It tells the story of sixteen-year-old Amal Shahid whose bright future is shattered when he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Can he fight for the truth and change the story?
- What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson
New York Times bestselling author Renee Watson tells the story of Serenity, whose mother is dead and whose father is gone. She and her brother must start over again in this powerful coming-of-age story. Also look out for Piecing Me Together by the same author.
- Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Jerome is only 12 when he is shot dead by a white police officer. As a ghost he watches his family struggling to cope with his death and meets other ghost boys whose stories reflect the tragic consequences of race and racism. Also look out for Black Brother Black Brother.
- Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses is a modern YA classic. The whole series, which imagines a world in which the dark-skinned Crosses live a life of privilege and power while the pale-skinned Noughts battle poverty and prejudice, is a must-read.
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