27 Middle Grade and YA Latinx Titles for National Hispanic Heritage Month and Beyond

If you’re seeking 2018 fictional works about Latinx experiences, look no further.

We kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations with a roundup of nonfiction and poetry titles for children and teens. If you’re looking for fictional works about Latinx experiences, look no further. This is a strong year for middle grade, as the 12 books below prove. YA fans have lots of genres to choose from, too, including magical realism, fantasy, contemporary, and more. Check out excerpted 2018 SLJ reviews and interviews with some of the creators. Also, don't forget to peruse last year's list of middle grade, YA, and professional reading titles.

Middle Grade

David Bowles. They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems. 160p. glossary. Cinco Puntos. Sept. 2018. Tr ISBN 9781947627062.
Gr 5-8–Güero is a Mexican American border kid with nerdy tastes, pale skin, and red hair. Wishing he had been born with a darker complexion so no one would question his Mexican American heritage, Güero’s family tell him to be grateful for the advantages his lighter hair and skin afford him and to use it to open doors for the rest of his family. Güero’s voice carries this novel through a playful array of poetic forms, from sonnets to raps, free verse to haiku. VERDICT Vibrant and unforgettable, this is a must-have for all middle grade collections. Pair with both fiction and nonfiction books on immigration, forced cultural assimilation, and stories about contemporary Mexican American life.–Melissa Williams, Berwick Academy, ME

Hilda Eunice Burgos. Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle. 302p. Lee & Low/Tu Bks. Oct. 2018. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781620143629.
Gr 4-8–Ana María Reyes doesn’t live in a castle, she lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her three sisters and both parents in Washington Heights, New York City. Ana María is caring, outspoken, and impulsive, driven by her emotions but also very goal-oriented. She yearns to attend a private academy, the Eleanor School, but her family doesn’t have the money for tuition. To earn a scholarship, she must pass a test and impress the judges playing the piano in a showcase recital at Lincoln Center. This middle grade novel is an engaging, character-driven story about an 11-year-old Dominican American girl who is learning about herself and to appreciate her family and friends. It is an authentic representation of an immigrant, middle class Latinx family who values education, community, and family and stays true to their roots. VERDICT An excellent book for tweens in upper elementary grades and for middle school library collections.–Cynthia Molinar, Medio Creek Elementary SWISD, San Antonio

Pablo Cartaya. Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish . 272p. Viking. Aug. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101997260.
Gr 4-7 –This middle grade story, set in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico, pulls together important themes of family, identity, bilingualism, friends, and bullying. Marcus Vega navigates his six-foot-tall, 180-pound frame through middle school while also caring for his younger sibling, Charlie, who has Down Syndrome. Because of his large size, some of his peers consider him to be a monster, or even a bully. When a real bully uses the “R” word in reference to Charlie, Marcus punches him in the jaw. This begins a series of events in which he is expelled from school before spring break, causing his mother to take the boys to Puerto Rico where they are introduced to their father’s extended family for the first time. VERDICT An excellent choice for upper elementary and middle grade libraries given its multiple, age-appropriate themes and the window it provides to life in a Puerto Rico before Hurricane María.– Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL

J.C. Cervantes. The Storm Runner . 448p. Disney-Hyperion. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368016346. POP
Gr 4–8— Zane Obispo has a pretty sweet life: a mom who loves him; his fun, wrestling-loving Uncle Hondo; eccentric, caring neighbors; a loyal dog; and his very own backyard volcano. The downside is he'll be starting a new school, where he knows kids will make fun of his limp and his cane. When Zane and his dog Rosie discover a secret entrance to the volcano, Zane has no idea they've just put an ancient prophecy into motion, one that features him as a main player. Soon he meets a shape-shifter named Brooks who tells Zane that not only is Zane supernatural, but it is foretold that he plays a role in releasing Ah-Puch—the Mayan god of death, disaster, and darkness—from his prison in the volcano. VERDICTA page-turning and well-written trip into the world of Mayan mythology, perfect for fans of David Bowles's Garza "Twins" and Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson" series.– Selenia Paz, Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX,

Angela Dominguez. Stella Diaz Has Something To Say . 208p. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781626728585.
Gr 3-5 –When Stella was a baby, her family moved from Mexico City to Arlington Heights, near Chicago, where Stella still lives with her divorced mother and supportive older brother. Stella struggles to pronounce English words and regularly attends speech therapy at school. She’s not confident in her Spanish skills either; she never has the right words when her Mexican relatives visit. When Stella learns that she’s an “alien” because she only has a green card, she wonders, “If I become a citizen, will I finally feel normal?” With the help of her family and friends, Stella learns to shine like the star she’s named after as she deals with the class bully, survives her first spelling bee, and proudly aces her oral presentation. VERDICT Fans of Clementine and Alvin Ho will be delighted to meet Stella. A first purchase.– Amy Seto Forrester, Denver Public Library


Torrey Maldonado. Tight. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Sept. 2018. 192p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524740559.
Gr 4–7— The complex emotional lives of young boys of color are portrayed through a nascent friendship. Bryan is constantly teased for being "soft," thanks to his preference for comics, drawing, and spending quiet moments with his mom. Through his mother's work at a Brooklyn community center, he meets Mike, an older, "harder" schoolmate whom he's never socialized with before and is apprehensive about befriending. Slowly, Bryan finds they have much in common and begins spending more time with Mike. When Bryan's recently paroled father is re-incarcerated, Mike offers him an emotional outlet in the form of ditching school, the first of several exploits the pair undertake. VERDICT An excellent addition to libraries with fans of David Barclay Moore's The Stars Beneath Our Feet, Jason Reynolds's Ghost, and character-driven realistic fiction.– Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library.

Check out our Facebook chat with the author.

Meg Medina. Merci Suárez Changes Gears. 368p. Candlewick. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763690496.
Gr 4-7 –Eleven-year-old Merci Suárez is starting sixth grade and everything is changing. Not only do upper graders have to switch teachers throughout the day, but playing sports, like Merci loves to do, is seen as babyish and befriending boys is taboo. So when Merci is assigned to show new kid Michael Clark around as part of her scholarship package at Seaward Pines Academy, it’s a problem. Especially when the richest, smartest, most popular girl in school, Edna, who gets to write the sixth grade’s social rules and break them, too, seems to like Michael. What’s worse, Merci can’t even talk to her beloved Lolo about all her problems like she used to as he starts acting less and less like himself. VERDICT Pura Belpré–winning author Medina cruises into readers’ hearts with this luminous middle grade novel. A winning addition to any library’s shelves.– Brittany Drehobl, Morton Grove Public Library, IL

Anna Meriano. Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble. 320p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062498465.
Gr 3-6 –Amor y Azúcar Panadería (Love and Sugar Bakery) is bustling on the eve of Día de los Muertos, and all Leonora Logroño wants to do is help. But as the youngest of five sisters, Leo is repeatedly told she is too young to participate in the family business. Leo resorts to sneaking, and discovers that Mama, Tia, and her sisters are brujas, and there is more to their baked goods than just sugar and flour. Anxious to explore her own potential abilities, Leo steals a book of magical recipes and begins experimenting, leading to various mishaps. Tradition is a prominent theme in this debut, but instead of leading to conflict, Meriano depicts a family that is open and accepting of change, while still honoring long-standing family customs. VERDICT A delectable debut with wide appeal, and a must-have for middle grade fiction collections.– Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library

Daniel José Older. Dactyl Hill Squad . Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Sept. 2018. 272p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338268812. POP
Gr 4–7— This epic, alt-history fantasy, set during the U.S. Civil War in July 1863, opens with a disgruntled Magdalys Roca, angry that the Colored Orphan Asylum matron demands she answer to the name Margaret Rocheford. Her immediate dilemma: Should she continue to resist the woman and miss the all-black cast performing a Shakespearean show, or should she attend with the rest of her friends? This is readers' first glimpse of the brave Afro-Cuban protagonist who lives in a dinosaur-filled world, where living in the North does not assure safety due to a booming international slave trade with the South. Unable to resist the lure of the show, Magdalys rushes to join the group, suddenly discovering a new power: the ability to communicate telepathically with the dinosaur pulling the wagon. VERDICT This high-energy title is perfect for middle graders, with its strong female protagonist, a fresh perspective on history, helpful notes and resources, and an honest portrayal of the complex topics of race and gender. – Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL

René Saldaña Jr. The Curse of the Bully’s Wrath/La maldición de la ira del abusón. 64p. (Mickey Rangel Mysteries: Bk. 5). Piñata. May 2018. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781558858664.
Gr 3-5 –Marco is the new kid in school, and he’s mean. So mean, in fact, that he has a football player and the established school bully on alert. After Mickey witnesses an incident between Marco and a classmate, he wants to tell his school principal, but Marco threatens him and anyone else who tells Marco’s secret. Faced with a moral conundrum, Mickey uses his sleuthing skills to find out the best way to handle a bully and, in the process, discovers the truth about what makes bullies say and do the things they do. VERDICT Important lessons are learned in this timely tale that will engage curious readers and spark important conversations.–Natalie Romano, Denver Public Library

Mary Louise Sanchez. The Wind Called My Name. 288p. Lee & Low/Tu Bks. Sept. 2018. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781620147801.
Gr 4-6–Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, this novel introduces Margarita Sandoval, whose family is facing both financial and social difficulties as they navigate life away from their home. Margarita’s family has lived in New Mexico for centuries, but now they must leave and seek out new ways of making money. They head to Wyoming where her father has been working for a year as a railroad worker. Margarita is ecstatic at first to be reunited with her family and explore a new place, but is also cautious of how her people and her culture is treated. VERDICT A much-needed and well-written addition to the slate of middle grade novels set during the Great Depression.– Katie Llera, Brunner Elementary School, Scotch Plains, NJ

Lila Quintero Weaver. My Year in the Middle. illus. by Lila Quintero Weaver. 288p. Candlewick. Jul. 2018. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763692315.
Gr 4-6 –Sixth grader Lu Olivera is born to run, but worries that her parents, immigrants from Argentina, will not allow her to pursue sports. Undeterred, she starts to pal up with talented African American runner Belinda. Lu’s world starts to shift away from old friends like Phyllis and Abigail, whose eyes are firmly planted on teen fashion magazines portraying mostly blue-eyed and blonde girls and whose families are against racial integration. Instead, the tween is drawn to the more socially conscious world of her older sister Marina and her crush Sam, who are both working on the campaign to defeat George Wallace’s 1970 reelection. Her awareness of the racism against brown and black people and the personal and political efforts to fight it start to garner more of her attention and spur her to action. VERDICT A well-drawn depiction of an immigrant experience with a social justice lens. A solid addition for public and school libraries.– Sara Lissa Paulson, City-As-School High School, New York City


Elizabeth Acevedo. The Poet X . 368p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062662804. POP
Gr 7 Up –Magnificently crafted, Acevedo’s bildungsroman in verse is a stunning account of a teen girl’s path to poetry. Sophomore Xiomara Batista is simultaneously invisible and hyper visible at home, at school, and in her largely Dominican community in Harlem—her body is “unhide-able” she tells readers early on, and she bristles at how others project their desires, insecurities, failures, and patriarchal attitudes toward her. Though she is quick to battle and defend herself and her twin brother Xavier, Xiomara’s inner life sensitively grapples with these projections and the expectations of her strict, religious mother. ­ VERDICT Truly a “lantern glowing in the dark” for aspiring poets everywhere. All YA collections will want to share and treasure this profoundly moving work.– Della Farrell, School Library Journal

Here’s our interview with Elizabeth Acevedo.

Daniel Acosta. Iron River. 225p. Cinco Puntos. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781941026939; pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781941026946.
Gr 7 Up–Set in San Gabriel, CA in 1958, this novel captures life from the perspective of 12-year-old Manuel Maldonado, Jr. or Manny, who lives in an ethnically diverse section of the city. He is set apart from the majority of his Mexican American community due to his blue eyes, light skin, red hair, and large port-wine birthmark, which has earned him the nickname “Man-on-Fire.” Manny is a gentle soul, but manages to get into constant trouble with his mischievous friends by doing things like throwing fruit at homeless people on passing trains or sneaking onto a stopped caboose and inadvertently being carried far away. However innocent Manny’s infractions are, they land him in serious trouble—finding a dead person, witnessing the murder of a Black child—and result in heavy burdens of guilt, grief, and fear given the racist practices of the town police. VERDICT An essential title for any library.–Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL

Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera. What If It's Us . 448p. HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062795250. POP
Gr 8 Up– This team effort is a meet cute between two high school boys in New York City. Broadway-obsessed Southerner Arthur (in the city for a summer internship) wants his magical New York moment. So he follows a cute boy into a post office in the hopes of making it happen. But fate—in the form of a flash mob proposal—separates them before Arthur gets the chance to learn Ben's name. Each boy tries to find the other using small clues from their first meeting until, eventually, they're reconnected. When their first date—Arthur's first date ever, Ben's first since breaking up with his ex—doesn't quite go as planned, they have a do-over date. And another. And another. Albertalli and Silvera balance cynicism and starry-eyed optimism to paint an honest, compelling picture of adolescent romance. VERDICT A must-purchase. Part feel-good, part star-crossed, this seamless blend of the authors' styles will appeal to fans old and new alike.–Alec Chunn, Eugene Public Library, OR

Zoraida Córdova. Bruja Born . 352p. (Brooklyn Brujas: Bk. 2). Sourcebooks/Fire. Jun. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492650652. POP
Gr 9 Up –In the wake of her younger sister Alex coming into her powers as an Encantrix, everything Lula thought she knew about herself and magic seems less certain. Lula Mortiz has always been the healer, the beautiful one. That was before Alex’s spell to dismiss her Encantrix powers went awry in Labyrinth Lost, sending Lula and all of her family to the underworld of Los Lagos. When Lula is involved in a fatal bus crash, she’s determined to bring back her boyfriend. Maks has been the one stable thing in her life, but every bruja knows it’s impossible to beat Death. This sequel picks up shortly after the events of the previous installment, but from Lula’s first-person perspective. Córdova blows the world of the “Brooklyn Brujas” series wide. VERDICT A fast-paced story sure to appeal to fans of the original and urban fantasy.– Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

Alexandra Diaz. The Crossroads. 336p. S. & S. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534414556.
Gr 6-9–This sequel to The Only Road sees the internal border crossings of Jaime and his cousin Ángela as they start new schools and begin to recover from their arduous journey to the U.S. An isolated ranch where Jaime’s older brother works is the setting for the teens’ emotional roller coaster of guilt, loneliness, loss, and fear. Tensions peak when Jaime learns that the gang they fled retaliated by attacking their beloved Abuela, who eventually dies, and when the grandfatherly ranch manager, Don Vincente, is detained after 60 years in the U.S. Jaime succumbs to the pressure and punches a school bully, which does little to lessen his grief, the constant dread of being deported, and the embarrassment of being the new English-language learner bound by strict no-Spanish rules. VERDICT Fans of The Only Road will appreciate following Jaime and Ángela on the next phase of their lives, while teachers and librarians may find the text useful to counter unsubstantiated myths about Central Americans fleeing to the U.S.– Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL

Margarita Engle. Jazz Owls . 192p. S. & S./Atheneum. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534409439.
Gr 7 Up –Set during the Zoot Suit riots, this novel in verse tells a fictional account of a dark time in American history. Marisela and Lorena are jazz owls who work all day and dance all night. They also dance during the day as they twist and turn trying to navigate their place in Los Angeles during World War II. They face racism at home for their Latino heritage despite having family members serving overseas. Marisela falls in love with a musician, while Lorena dreams about saving enough money to go to school. The novel focuses on Marisela and Lorena with occasional verses from her parents, brother, and friends. Engle’s approach to a topic that may seem hard for teens to grasp is successful as readers will be cheering for the jazz owls to be able to not only dance, but to overcome racism. VERDICT A quick read perfect for history buffs, dance enthusiasts, poets, and just about anyone looking for a great story. Recommended.–Katie Llera, Bound Brook High School, NJ

Patrick Flores-Scott. American Road Trip . 336p. Holt. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627797412.
Gr 7 Up— This novel paints an emotional portrait of the highs and lows on the journey to young adulthood. The plot focuses on high school junior Teodoro and the Avila family as they enter a period of crisis and struggle to maintain a cohesive unit. Teens will encounter relatable issues of economic hardship, wavering academic self-confidence, feuding parents, and a sense of growing despair as family members continue to grow farther apart. Teodoro's sudden romantic interest in a childhood friend becomes a catalyst for taking charge of his future and improving his grades. Shortly after, his older brother, Manny, returns from several military tours with a difficult case of PTSD and depression. As the Avila family is pushed to the brink, Teodoro's older sister takes the reins and plans a road trip that may just save everyone. VERDICTA must-purchase for fans of realistic fiction.– Monica Cabarcas, Albemarle High School, Charlottesville, VA

Mia Garcia. The Resolutions. 416p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Nov. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062656827.
Gr 9 Up–On New Year’s Eve of their junior year, four friends create resolutions for one another. Ryan, still heartbroken over his first boyfriend, is urged to kiss someone wrong for him and share his art with the world. Nora, who feels shackled to her mother’s Puerto Rican restaurant, is told to choose her own adventure. Lee, still mourning the loss of her mother to Huntington’s Disease, is encouraged to relearn her mother’s native Spanish and decide whether she will be tested for the devastating disease. And Jess, a perfectionist, is pushed to loosen up by saying yes to everything. As the year progresses, the resolutions force the four to tackle new challenges, but their friendship sustains each of them. VERDICT This celebration of Latinx culture and the power of a community to create healing and growth is recommended as a first purchase.–Elizabeth Lovsin, Deerfield Public Library, IL

Guadalupe Garcia McCall. All the Stars Denied . 400p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. Lee & Low/Tu Bks. Sept. 2018. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781620142813.
Gr 6 Up— A harrowing account of a lesser known episode in the United States' unseemly history of discriminatory immigration policies. Estrella del Toro is witnessing change all around her Monteseco, TX, community. Empty homes and classrooms denote the friends and neighbors being "repatriated," or deported en masse to Mexico during the 1930s, many of whom are American citizens and never lived in Mexico. The "mexicanos" who remain face bigotry from Anglo-owned businesses who refuse services and segregate sections of their town. Activism runs in Estrella's family, but after speaking out against the injustices, the authorities retaliate against the del Toro family, rounding them up, burning their ranch to the ground, and forcefully boarding them onto trains headed toward Mexico. Estrella, her mother, and toddler brother struggle to reunite with her father, navigating unjust policies and unfamiliar bureaucracies. VERDICT An intense and enlightening historical fiction title that’s highly recommended for all libraries. – Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library

Anna-Marie McLemore. Blanca & Roja . 384p. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250162717.
Gr 8 Up— Magical realism extraordinaire McLemore crafts a queer, Latinx mash-up of "Snow White," "Wild Swans," and Swan Lake told from four perspectives. Blanca and Roja del Cisne are sisters, destined to be ripped apart by a curse that will turn one of them into a swan. Enter a blue-eyed boy named Yearling, who can turn into a bear, along with his best friend Page, who is sometimes a boy, sometimes a girl, sometimes in-between. Real-world problems of small-town life, family betrayal, and developing crushes among the quartet are entangled with the very eminent danger of the curse of the swans. The most magical element of this fairy tale is the focus on very real identities and how they intersect. Any fan of McLemore's body of work, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, or Malinda Lo's fantasy will revel in this novel. VERDICTA magical and lovely first purchase for all YA shelves.–Angela Wiley, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Janelle Milanes. Analee, in Real Life. 416p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Sept. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534410299.
Gr 9 Up–Analee is a 16-year-old girl from Florida, but she feels more comfortable being Kiri the Night Elf Hunter in her online role-playing game. She uses these games and her virtual crush to hide from reality—primarily the grief from losing her mother, the conflicting emotions of her father remarrying, and the confusion about a riff with her best friend. That is, until she becomes lab partners with the star soccer player and school heartthrob, Sebastian. What starts as mutual silence turns into an unlikely friendship. This coming-of-age story boasts a refreshing revelation at the end, dissecting complicated themes through quirky humor and the occasional fun list. VERDICTAn entertaining novel for all teen collections.– Haley Amendt, Hinton Municipal Library, Alta.

Getting Real with Janelle Milanes About Analee, in Real Life

Mark Oshiro. Anger Is a Gift . 464p. Tor/Tor Teen. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250167026.
Gr 8 Up –High schooler Moss is a survivor. He’s witnessed his father’s death at the hands of the police and has anxiety, but his friends and mother help him through panic attacks. He struggles with self-consciousness and body image, and his dating life as a large, gay, African American male teen has been nonexistent—until he meets Javier, an undocumented immigrant from a different school, and begins to fall in love. As Moss starts his junior year, metal detectors and random locker searches arrive at West Oakland High. Both new policies cause immediate issues for innocent students. Moss’s group of friends is affected and they begin organizing. Tragedy strikes during a planned school walk out, and Moss must stand up and fight for what is right. This timely title will provoke much-needed discussion. VERDICT A strong addition to the current wave of excellent social justice–themed contemporary realistic titles. Give this to fans of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give .–Kristin Lee Anderson, Jackson County Library Services, OR

Mark Does YA: The Prolific Critic and Creator Talks About Anger Is a Gift

Jenny Torres Sanchez. The Fall of Innocence. 448p. Philomel. Jun. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781524737757.
Gr 9 Up –At eight years old, Emilia DeJesus survived a brutal attack on the playground by a teenager with special needs who lived at the group home next to her school. Emilia didn’t speak for an entire year after the event, insisting only on cawing, like the crows she believed saved her when she was attacked. Soon after, Emilia’s dad left her family because he couldn’t handle their pain. Eight years later, Emilia lives a mostly ordinary life, although she still has an affinity for birds. She has returned to school. She bears no physical injuries. She has a perfect boyfriend, whom she very much enjoys kissing. But the attack still casts an omnipresent shadow over her family’s life. But an unexpected revelation about her attack swiftly brings her anxieties to the forefront and sets Emilia’s world spinning. VERDICT This beautiful story would be strong choice for those who enjoy a character-driven plot and don’t mind an unhappy ending.– Liz Overberg, ­Zionsville Community High School, IN

Ibi Zoboi. Pride. 304p. HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062564047. POP
Gr 8 Up –This Bushwick-set, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice tackles gentrification, Blackness, and romance with honesty, humor, and heart. Afro-Latina Zuri Benitez is proud of her Dominican and Haitian heritage, close-knit family, and bustling block. However, the teen knows that the renovation of the abandoned house across the street into a mansion portends a gentrifying trend that she’s not quite ready for. It also ushers in the arrival of the wealthy Darcy brothers—Ainsley, the charming and friendly college boy who is possibly striking up a romance with Janae, Zuri’s college freshman sister; and Darius, the too-cool-for-school younger brother, who is as handsome as he is snooty. Zoboi follows her novel American Street with this send-up of Austen’s classic, an insightful commentary on socioeconomic class, changing neighborhoods, and the pressures of growing up and falling in love as a second-generation immigrant. VERDICT This excellent coming-of-age take on a classic belongs on all YA shelves.– Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal

“Reverse-Gentrifying the Brit-Lit Canon”: An Interview with Ibi Zoboi

Adult Books 4 Teens

Naima Coster. Halsey Street . 332p. Little A. Jan. 2018. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781503941175.
Penelope is in a quarter-life crisis. Having dropped out of art school, she spends her days underemployed, drinking gin, and taking anonymous lovers. She can no longer hide out in Pittsburgh when she receives a call that her father, the incomparable Ralph Grand, has harmed himself, and she must come back to her home in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and care for him. Matters are further complicated when Penelope must reach out to her estranged mother, Mirella, now living in the Dominican Republic, who abandoned her father a few years before to rediscover herself back in the country of her birth. With great subtlety and detail, Coster has woven a tale that deals with gentrification, loneliness, and a very flawed and complex family. VERDICT This is a tender story that packs as much hurt as it does heart. Recommended for fans of Zinzi Clemmons’s What We Lose and Brit Bennett’s The Mothers.– Christina Vortia, Hype Lit, Land O’Lakes, FL

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Shelley Diaz


Shelley Diaz (sdiaz@mediasource.com) is the Reviews Editor at School Library Journal.

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