So, you know a girl who’s a reader and you don’t know what to get her. Sure there are a ton of lists out there of top ten this and top twenty that, but most likely there aren’t going to be too many books on that list that feature girls of color as the main characters. You have to search for them and thankfully, your search is over. I’ve got a small selection of excellent titles that you can pick up from your local Barnes and Noble, order and download to your Kindle or request from your local independent bookstore.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Now this isn’t considered YA, but it does feature a Black teen girl, two in fact. It’s set in Atlanta during  the 80’s and chronicles the life of Dana, whose father is a bigamist. She’s the daughter of her father’s side chick and she’s kind-of obsessed with her father’s “real” daughter, who has no idea she exists. The action begins when Dana befriends her half-sister unbeknownst to her mother, her father or anyone else.

Primarily a coming-of-age story, this novel is great for adults who love contemporary Black fiction, but my high school aged girls love it as well, because they can relate to Dana and her sister.

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

First came the storms.Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.  

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans.  In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival. (From Amazon)

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

A taste of magical realism, Slice of Cherry, follows sisters, Kit and Fancy as they come to grips with growing up in small-town Portero, Texas and try to get their murderous rage under control. Daughters of the most famous Black serial killer in the US, the girls have inherited his thirst for blood and unfortunately for the town, a key to a secret portal where they can stash their victims.

With all the imagery and fantastic details, the story is really about Fancy’s reluctance to grow up and become her own person. I’d recommend it for the older teen set though, because of its frank depictions of incest, sex and murder.

So, happy reading and let me know how you like them, and if you’ve got some that were released recently please shoot me a note.

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