Refugee by Alan Gratz

71TYwaGsuIL1930s Nazi Germany, Josef and his Jewish family must flee the country, to escape the madness of Hitler, and the horrors of WWII.
1994 Cuba, Isabel’s family and fellow residents encounter civil unrest, riots, and dictator Castro with hopes for a better future in America.
2015 Syria, the Middle East war rages on, destroying the country, leaving Mahmoud, his parents, and siblings on a dangerous journey to Europe.
This story does not shy away from the atrocities of war, the unconditional sacrifices or the treacherous travel conditions refugees must face. And although this is an immensely important and very current topic, I was unhappy with how the stories jump from one character to another, making it rather difficult to find cohesiveness.
– KC
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Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

piecing me together

Jade is an African American teen trying to find her footing on the streets of Portland, Oregon but she is far from your typical high school student. Attending a mostly white private high school, she finds herself stereotyped, wrongfully accused, pigeonholed. Yet she is artistic, creative, compassionate, strong and determined to break that mold, unleash her silence and become more.

**2020 Middle School Nutmeg nominated book**

-KC

 

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki

29981020.jpgFreddy continuously finds herself being broken up with by her dream girl, Laura Dean. They break up, they get back together, they break up again, and so the cycle goes. Until one day Freddy receives advice telling her to break up with Laura Dean first. She begins to question who is really at fault in their relationship. Throughout this story of young love, readers follow Freddy through failing friendships, new relationships, self discovery, and most importantly, a realization and embrace of what is best for her. For fans of realistic fiction and graphic novels with beautiful art, this book is highly recommended!

– Indiana

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

41716953Through a weekly class pen-pal assignment, a wonderful romance flourishes between Jo and Kurl. These characters and their relationship develop through interactions with grief, bullying, homophobia, and abuse. The boys must overcome their family secrets and personal conflicts in order to support one another and hold onto the love they have. For fans of contemporary romance, this book is a must read!

– Indiana

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

35442700After his fathers death, Jordan and his mother attempt to get their old food truck running again. When things don’t go exactly as planned, Max, who is practically a stranger, attempts to save the day. Readers follow Max and Jordan as they quickly become food truck connoisseurs and maybe more than strangers. Throughout the book, both main characters attempt to overcome serious issues, including mental illness and sexual assault. If you enjoy realistic fiction (or prickly pear), give this book a try!

Indiana

How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation by Maureen Johnson

resistThis is an outstanding collection of personal stories, poems, music, and interviews from some of the most influential icons in music, acting, politics, sports, and writing, etc… of the 21st century. Although marketed for YA, anyone can read this and get inspired. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

KC

Buried Beneath The Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

buriedKidnapped in the middle of the night by the Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist group, young men and young women are ripped from the safety of their homes to be catapulted into a horrifying nightmare. While the boys are whisked away to begin life anew as soldiers, the girls are forced to become wives, religiously convert, and submit-comply or be killed. A courageous look at this tragic scenario, collected from countless interviews with the surviving victims.

KC