1. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Sixteen-year-old Deka yearns to be accepted by her village. But, when her blood runs gold—the colour of impurity— she knows she will have to choose between staying in her village and facing the consequences, or joining the fight in an army of young girls like her.
2. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
This YA fantasy novel revolves around sixteen-year-old Bree; after an accident claims her mother’s life, she is sent to a new school for bright students. Just when it looks like she might be able to move on, Bree’s life is turned upside down yet again when she witnesses a demon attack. A mage known as Merlin attempts to wipe her memory of what she saw, but the attempted erasure has the opposite effect. With her own powers suddenly unlocked, Bree must team up with fellow teenager, Nick; together, they infiltrate the dangerous world of a magical society in the hopes of stopping an impending war.
3. Home Body by Rupi Kaur
This illustrated collection of poems takes the form of honest (and sometimes difficult) conversations with oneself. Some prominent themes therein include: nature vs. nurture and light vs. dark.
4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
High school student Starr Carter is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her best friend. Because of the nature of his death, Khalil becomes a national headline. Everyone wants to know what truly happened the night of his death; Starr is the only one who can answer that question, but which path she chooses could turn her community upside down.
5. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Vignes sisters are identical twins from a small black community in the southern United States. When the sisters decide to run away from home at the age of sixteen, their paths—their families, even their racial identities—diverge radically. One sister and her daughter return to the small southern town; the other sister, who has secretely passed for white, lives with a husband who doesn’t know anything about his wife’s past. Despite the sisters’ diverging paths, the lives of their daughters eventually intersect.