Rivalries, Rumbles, and Teen Love: 'West Side Story' Read-Alikes

Hand these four titles to tweens and teens drawn to Steven Spielberg's take on the classic musical.

West Side Story

PG-13. December 10. 20th Century Studios.

Steven Spielberg directs this new adaptation of a classic musical about feuding gangs and a young couple caught in the crossfire.


Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Tu Books. 2016.
Gr 6 Up –In this story set on the border of Texas and Mexico during the Mexican Revolution, Mexican American teens Joaquin and Dulcena must keep their love secret as racial struggles between the brown-skinned Tejanos and white-skinned Rangers threaten to tear their town apart. Readers who swoon over Tony and Maria in the movie will enjoy this tale of star-crossed lovers.

Becoming Beatriz by Tami Charles. Charlesbridge. 2019.
Gr 8 Up –In 1984 Newark, NJ, Puerto Rican Beatriz dreams of being a dancer, but she’s caught up in a gang rivalry that killed her brother. Can she escape gang life to follow her dreams? Readers interested in the tension between rival gangs who also enjoy the dancing in the musical should pick this one up.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Delacorte. 2016.
Gr 8 Up –Jamaican Natasha and Korean American Daniel meet by chance and fall in love over the course of one day, even as the clock ticks down on Natasha’s family’s deportation in this moving romance. Hand to readers seeking a captivating love story.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. Philomel. 2019.
Gr 9 Up –In 1957 Spain, the white son of an oil tycoon finds himself falling for a Spanish girl who opens his eyes to the lingering repression from the Spanish Civil War. With a lush historical setting and a captivating cast of characters, this is another moving tale of unlikely teen romance.

Abby Johnson is the collection development leader at Floyd County (IN) Library.

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