Wordplay TBR Pile: YA

The teens know what’s cool, and these artists truly embody what it means to be a young person growing up in 2020. Wordplay is for everyone, and these authors and their books are not just for young adult readers. These books explore themes of gender, sexuality, race, immigration, and other topics that are universal and powerful. Get caught up on these YA greats and maybe even gift a book to a teen in your life. 



Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden (Jan. 14, 2020)

From Bloomsbury: “Set against the backdrop of the press for women's rights, the Red Summer, and anarchist bombings, Saving Savannah is the story of a girl and the risks she must take to be the change in a world on the brink of dramatic transformation.”




A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope by Patrice Caldwell (March 10, 2020)

From Penguin Randomhouse: “Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals”




The Queen’s Assassin by  Melissa De La Cruz (Feb. 4, 2020)

From Penguin Randomhouse: “Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the country they are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.”




Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê (Jan. 21, 2020)

From DC Comics: “Thirteen-year-old Tai Pham lives in the apartment above his grandmother’s store, where his bedroom is crammed with sketchpads and comic books. But not even his most imaginative drawings could compare to the colorful adventure he’s about to embark on.“




The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus (Sept. 17, 2019)

From Penguin Randomhouse: “Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.”




Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (June 18, 2019)

From Penguin Randomhouse: “A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.”





Hard Wired by Len Vlahos (April 28, 2020)

From Bloomsbury: “Quinn thinks he's a normal fifteen year-old. He plays video games, spends time with his friends, and crushes on a girl named Shea. But a shocking secret brings his entire world crashing down: he's not a boy. He's artificial intelligence.”




The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (Nov. 5, 2019)

From Penguin Randomhouse: “A new fantasy series set in the world of Camelot that bestselling author Christina Lauren calls “brilliant,” reimagining the Arthurian legend . . . where nothing is as magical and terrifying as a girl.”




When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk (March 10, 2020)

From Penguin Randomhouse: “For fans of Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay and Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me, this heartfelt and ultimately uplifting novel follows one sixteen-year-old girl’s friend breakup through two concurrent timelines–ultimately proving that even endings can lead to new beginnings.”




Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (March 17, 2020)

From Macmillan: “In his latest graphic novel, Dragon Hoops, New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the high school where he teaches.”



Kent State - Wiles, Deborah

Kent State by Deborah Wiles (April 21, 2020)

From Scholastic: “Told in multiple voices from a number of vantage points — protestor, Guardsman, townie, student — Deborah Wiles's Kent State gives a moving, terrifying, galvanizing picture of what happened that weekend in Ohio … an event that, even fifty years later, still resonates deeply."