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The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

  • When Xiomara Batista, who pours all her frustrations and passion into poetry, is invited to join the school slam poetry club, she struggles with her mother's expectations and her need to be heard.

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Author: Kwame Alexander

  • Seventeen-year-old Blade, who endeavors to resolve painful issues from his past to navigate the challenges of his former rockstar father's addictions, scathing tabloid rumors, and a protected secret that threatens his own identity.

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The Black Flamingo
Author: Dean Atta

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he's navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican--but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough. As he gets older, Michael's coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs--and the Black Flamingo is born.

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500 Words Or Less
Author: Juleah Del Rosario

  • High school senior Nic, seventeen, tries to salvage her tattered reputation by helping her Ivy League-obsessed classmates with college admission essays and finds herself in the process.

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Author: David Elliott

  • This striking reexamination of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur maintains the bones of the original story: Minos, King of Crete, angers sea god Poseidon, who exacts his revenge not on the king but on the king’s wife. Queen Pasiphae, seduced by a bull , births Asterion, the famed future Minotaur, who is ultimately locked in a labyrinth and killed by hero Theseus. Elliott focuses this novel in verse on Asterion and the women in his family, painting them in a particularly sympathetic light. Rotating first-person narrations appear in a variety of poetic forms. Poseidon takes on the role of irreverent, anachronistic narrator, as he raps the story (“Life’s not for wimps. / Sometimes gods are gods / And sometimes they’re pimps”); Pasiphae grows increasingly nonsensical; Asterion speaks in childlike rhymes; Daedalus, labyrinth builder, is ever the architect with rigid, four-line stanzas; and princess Ariadne’s flowery language is imbued with a clever slant rhyme that belies her coquettish facade. When Theseus the hero finally struts onto the page, it’s with significant frat-bro swagger (“Ariadne! What a rack! / I knew I’d get her in the sack / As for her bro? / He won’t outlive me. / No sweat. / In time they all forgive me”). Effective both for classrooms and pleasure reading, this modernization brings new relevancy to an old story. It’s a conceit that easily could have floundered; in Elliott’s capable hands, it soars. -- Reagan, Maggie (Reviewed 12/15/2016) (Booklist, vol 113, number 8, p45)

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The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist
Author: Margarita Engle

  • In free verse, evokes the voice of Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, a book-loving writer, feminist, and abolitionist who courageously fought injustice in nineteenth-century Cuba. Includes historical notes, excerpts from her writings, biographical information, and source notes.

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Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling
Author: Lucy Frank

  • Teen Chess is new to the Crohn’s disease club. Shannon is a veteran with a scrappy hospital persona and an ear pierce for each surgery endured. While Chess is trying to decipher the ER chart to indicate which bow-tied face best represents her pain, Shannon is a squeaky wheel with no patience for new patients. Frank instructs her audience to read according to a visual device: a vertical line down the page represents the curtain separating the girls in their room—and which girl is speaking. Chess is the novice here, unaccustomed to hospital visitors, steroid reactions, and the overwhelming vulnerability of a chronic ailment that includes intense abdominal cramping and diarrhea. She also expects to make upcoming college visits and simply to live life as she planned it. Shannon has suffered for years and has been deeply impacted by a crippling pain that attacks at will. Through Frank’s narrative in verse, readers vividly live hospital life as they follow both Chess’ awakening to and Shannon’s reality of this aching prognosis. -- Bush, Gail (Reviewed 07-01-2014) (Booklist, vol 110, number 21, p84)

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A Girl Named Mister
Author: Nikki Grimes

  • A pregnant teenager, feeling abandoned, finds support and comfort in the story of the Virgin Mary.

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Redwood and Ponytail
Author: K.A. Holt

  • Told in verse in two voices, with a chorus of fellow students, this is a story of two girls, opposites in many ways, who are drawn to each other; Kate appears to be a stereotypical cheerleader with a sleek ponytail and a perfectly polished persona, Tam is tall, athletic and frequently mistaken for a boy, but their deepening friendship inevitably changes and reveals them in ways they did not anticipate.

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Author: Ellen Hopkins

  • Three teens, connected by their parents' bad choices, tell in their own voices of their lives and loves as Shane finds his first boyfriend, Mikayla discovers that love can be pushed too far, and Harley loses herself in her quest for new experiences.

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Fifteen and Change
Author: Max Howard

Zeke would love to be invisible. His mother is struggling to make ends meet and stuck with a no-good boyfriend. Zeke knows he and his mom will be stuck forever if he doesn't find some money fast. When Zeke starts working at a local pizza place, he meets labor activists who want to give him a voice--and the living wage he deserves for his work. Zeke has to decide between living the quiet life he's carved for himself and raising his voice for justice.

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When You Ask Me Where I'm Going
Author: Jasmin Kaur

  • Jasmin Kaur's stunning debut novel is a collection of poetry, illustrations, and prose.The six sections of the book explore what it means to be a young woman living in a world that doesn't always hear her and tell the story of Kiran as she flees a history of trauma and raises her daughter, Sahaara, while living undocumented in North America. Delving into current cultural conversations including sexual assault, mental health, feminism, and immigration, this narrative of resilience, healing, empowerment, and love will galvanize readers to fight for what is right in their world.

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The Sound of Letting Go
Author: Stasia Ward Kehoe

  • At seventeen, Daisy feels imprisoned by her brother Steven's autism and its effects and her only escape is through her trumpet into the world of jazz, but when her parents decide to send Steven to an institution she is not ready to let him go.

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Coaltown Jesus
Author: Ronald Koertge

Praying for help after the sudden death of his brother, Walker is astonished by the appearance of an irreverent Jesus in his bedroom who imparts unexpected strength and comfort while helping him understand some of life's biggest questions.

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The Realm of Possibility
Author: David Levithan

  • A variety of students at the same high school describe their ideas, experiences, and relationships in a series of interconnected free verse stories.

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The Princess Saves Herself In This One
Author: Amanda Lovelace

  • A poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

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Under the Mesquite
Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall

  • Throughout her high school years, as her mother battles cancer, Lupita takes on more responsibility for her house and seven younger siblings, while finding refuge in acting and writing poetry. Includes glossary of Spanish terms.

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October Mourning: a Song for Matthew Shepard
Author: Lesléa Newman

  • Relates, from various points of view, events from the night of October 6, 1998, when twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was lured out of a Wyoming bar, savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die.

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Author: Edith Pattou

On a hot summer night in a midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims--with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.

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Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds

  • As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.

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Voyages In the Underworld of Orpheus Black
Author: Marcus Sedgwick

  • The year is 1944, and Harry Black, a London firefighter battling the blazes caused by constant bombing, awakes in the hospital to learn that his soldier brother, Ellis, has been killed. In the delirium of his wounded state, Harry's mind blurs the distinctions between reality of war-torn London and the myth of Orpheus. Driven by visions of Ellis and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry sets off on a journey which will lead him deep beneath the city.

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The Opposite of Innocent
Author: Sonya Sones

  • A novel in verse follows the experiences of fourteen-year-old Lilly, as an innocent flirtation turns into sexual abuse by a friend of her parents and she is tormented by her abuser's threat to ruin her family and her own desperate need for help.

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A Time to Dance
Author: Padma Venkatraman

  • In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

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Kent State
Author: Deborah Wiles

  • Told from different points of view--protesters, students, National Guardsmen, and "townies"--recounts the story of what happened at Kent State in May 1970, when four college students were killed by National Guardsmen, and a student protest was turned into a bloody battlefield.

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White Rose
Author: Kip Wilson

  • Tells the story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenges the Nazi regime during World War II as part of the White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.

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The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic
Author: Allan Wolf

Arrogance and innocence, hubris and hope--twenty-four haunting voices of the Titanic tragedy, as well as the iceberg itself, are evoked in a stunning tour de force.
Millionaire John Jacob Astor hopes to bring home his pregnant teen bride with a minimum of media scandal. A beautiful Lebanese refugee, on her way to family in Florida, discovers the first stirrings of love. And an ancient iceberg glides south, anticipating its fateful encounter. The voices in this remarkable re-creation of the Titanic disaster span classes and stations, from Margaret ("the unsinkable Molly") Brown to the captain who went down with his ship; from the lookout and wireless men to a young boy in search of dragons and a gambler in search of marks. Slipping in telegraphs, undertaker's reports, and other records, poet Allan Wolf offers a breathtaking, intimate glimpse at the lives behind the tragedy, told with clear-eyed compassion and astounding emotional power.

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Punching the Air
Author: Ibi Zoboi

  • Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he's seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal's bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art.

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