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Recommended reads on this page include realistic fiction representing a variety of cultures, perspectives, and settings. You'll also find some romantic comedies, a novel in verse, and some survival stories too. Genre information can be found at the end of each book description.
All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
All American Boys by
ISBN: 9781481463348, 316 p.
Publication Date: 2017-08-29
When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Two teens--one black, one white--grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension. African American fiction; Multiple perspectives; Realistic fiction.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by
ISBN: 9781442408937, 384 p.
Publication Date: 2014-04-01
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship - the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. Coming-of-age stories; First-person narratives; LGBTQIA fiction.
Barely Missing Everything, by Matt Mendez
Barely Missing Everything by
ISBN: 9781534404465, 320 p.
Publication Date: 2020-03-03
Juan has plans. He’s going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself - or at least find something better than his mom Fabi’s cruddy apartment, her string of loser boyfriends, and a dead dad. His best friend JD has plans, too. He’s going to be a filmmaker one day, like Quinten Tarantino or Guillermo del Toro (NOT Steven Spielberg). He’s got a camera and he’s got passion - what else could he need? Fabi doesn’t have a plan anymore. When you get pregnant at sixteen and have been stuck bartending to make ends meet for the past seventeen years, you realize plans don’t always pan out, and that there some things you just can’t plan for. Multiple perspectives; Realistic fiction.
Be Not Far from Me, by Mindy McGinnis
Be Not Far from Me by
ISBN: 9780062561633, 256 p.
Publication Date: 2021-01-26
When Ashley goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. Catching her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends Ashley running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she is alone-- and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest, with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg. Survival stories.
Charming As a Verb, by Ben Philippe
Charming As a Verb by
ISBN: 9780062824141, 336 p.
Publication Date: 2020-10-13
Henri is a first-generation Haitian teen living in New York City, and he feels constant pressure — to do well in school, to earn money, and to be as charming and as likable as possible. Part of his grand plan? He walks dogs as a side hustle for an online business for uptown dog walking. But his big secret? He also runs the dog walking company, pocketing profits both ways. It’s a pretty benign hustle, all things considered, and it gets him closer and closer to his goal of attending Columbia…until a classmate named Corrine catches on to his scheme and wants something in return for her silence. First person narratives; Romantic comedies.
Darius the Great is Not Okay, by Adib Khorram
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by
ISBN: 9780525552970, 336 p.
Publication Date: 2019-08-20
Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian—half, his mom’s side—and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. This book is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough—then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay. Coming-of-age stories; Realistic fiction.
Dear Martin, by Nic Stone
Dear Martin by
ISBN: 9781101939529, 240 p.
Publication Date: 2018-09-04
Writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventeen-year-old college-bound Justyce McAllister struggles to face the reality of race relations today and how they are shaping him. Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. African American fiction; Realistic fiction.
Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
ISBN: 9781481481977, 416 p.
Publication Date: 2019-09-03
The drought - or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it - has been going on for a while now. Everyone's lives have become an endless list of don'ts : don't water the lawn, don't fill up your pool, don't take long showers. Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa's quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don't return and her life-and the life of her brother-is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she's going to survive. Multiple perspectives; Realistic fiction; Survival stories.
The Henna Wars, by Adiba Jaigirdar
The Henna Wars by
ISBN: 9781624149689, 389 p.
Publication Date: 2020-05-12
Bengali Irish teen Nishat can be anything she wants to be—anything except a lesbian, that is. Her parents think she can simply "choose" to be straight, but Nishat's very real crush on Flávia, a Brazilian Irish girl she went to primary school with and who has just resurfaced, proves this is indisputable attraction. Things get complicated when both girls enter a school competition as mehndi (henna ) artists. Among issues of cultural appropriation, thieving tactics, and potential sabotage, Nishat needs to figure out if her all-consuming feelings are worth defying her parents over. LGBTQIA fiction; Realistic fiction.
Keeper, by Mal Peet
ISBN: 9780763687465, 240 p.
Publication Date: 2016-05-10
When acclaimed South American journalist Paul Faustino begins his interview with World Cup soccer star El Gato, he expects to be recording the thoughts of a goalkeeper at the height of his career. He never envisioned hearing about a young, lonely boy growing up in the middle of a rain forest, who wandered upon a mysterious soccer field and an apparition that appeared to him daily and trained him to become the greatest goalkeeper ever known. El Gato's mystical revelations are saturated with reverence for the vanishing jungle. Both lyrical and gripping. Realistic fiction; Sports fiction.
Orchards, by Holly Thompson
ISBN: 9780385739788, 336 p.
Publication Date: 2012-02-14
After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves. As the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Novels in verse; Realistic fiction.
Red, White & Royal Blue
Red, White and Royal Blue by
ISBN: 9781250316776, 448 p.
Publication Date: 2019-05-14
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz, with his sister and the Veep's genius granddaughter, are the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. Then photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids. The plan for damage control: stage a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. LGBTQIA romances; Romantic comedies.
The River, by Peter Heller
The River by
ISBN: 9780525563532, 272 p.
Publication Date: 2020-03-03
Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddles and picking blueberries and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman? Psychological fiction; Survival stories.
The Speed of Falling Objects, by Nancy Richardson Fischer
The Speed of Falling Objects by
ISBN: 9781335928245, 320 p.
Publication Date: 2019-10-01
Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home. Coming-of-age stories; Survival stories.
Sunrise Over Fallujah, by Walter Dean Myers
Sunrise over Fallujah by
Call Number: https://shop.scholastic.com/parent-ecommerce/books/sunrise-over-fallujah-9780439916257.html
Publication Date: 2009-04-15
Robin "Birdy" Perry, a new army recruit from Harlem, isn't quite sure why he joined the army, but he's sure where he's headed: Iraq. Birdy and the others in the Civilian Affairs Battalion are supposed to help secure and stabilize the country and successfully interact with the Iraqi people. Officially, the code name for their maneuvers is Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the young men and women in the CA unit have a simpler name for it: WAR. Coming-of-age stories; Historical fiction; War stories.
Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas
Wild and Crooked by
ISBN: 9781547600021, 448 p.
Publication Date: 2019-06-04
In Samsboro, Kentucky, Kalyn Spence's name is inseparable from the brutal murder her father committed when he was a teenager. Forced to return to town, Kalyn must attend school under a pseudonym. Gus Peake has never had the luxury of redefining himself. A Samsboro native, he's either known as the "disabled kid" because of his cerebral palsy, or as the kid whose dad was murdered. Gus just wants to be known as himself. When Gus meets Kalyn, her frankness is refreshing, and they form a deep friendship. Until their families' pasts emerge. And when the accepted version of the truth is questioned, Kalyn and Gus are caught in the center of a national uproar. Multiple perspectives; Mysteries; Realistic fiction.