6 Best Books for Teens of 2019
We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World
Written by Malala Yousafzai
In this beautifully written collection of stories, Malala uses her voice as an international activist to share the messages from displaced girls from all over the globe. “It takes the vastly oversimplified discussion about refugees, and turns it on its head,” says Kyra, a high-school sophomore.
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Written by Laurie Halse Anderson
Written by a leading activist for sexual assault survivors, these collected poems recount what happened to the author as a teenager and her path to recovery. “She often uses the environment to convey internal struggle,” says Adiah, a high-school senior. “The climate constantly changes and adapts to the narrator, and it makes the book feel real and holistic.”
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Written by Brigid Kemmerer
In this fairy-tale retelling, a prince is doomed to continuously repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year unless a girl falls for him. The problem: He turns into a beast just when he has a chance to break the curse. “I absolutely couldn’t stop reading,” says Lili, a high-school junior. “The short chapters kept the storyline from getting boring. The transitions between the old, cursed land and the current world we know were great.” Our teen testers are looking forward to the follow-up, A Heart So Fierce and Broken, which comes out in January.
Written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
With space travel, creatures from other planets, and cool blasters, this book reminded our teen testers of Star Wars. “I liked that the alien species were from different cultures and we learned about how their world worked,” says William, an eighth grader.
On The Come Up
Written by Angie Thomas
In this new work from the author of The Hate U Give, the daughter of an underground hip-hop legend records the song “On the Come Up” to protest racial profiling, but some see it as inciting violence. “I was engrossed from the first chapter,” says Katherine, a high-school senior. “The dialogue is so real, and helps convey a powerful message about prejudice.”
Written by Thanhha Lai
Many of our teen testers were already familiar with Lai’s writing from reading Inside Out & Back Again, a middle-school favorite and Parents Best Children’s Book in 2011. Her new novel about siblings separated near the end of the Vietnam War also gives readers a window in the life of a refugee—and its long-term implications. When the brother and sister are finally reunited six years later, he doesn’t know who she is. “This book is about wanting to forget the past while wanting nothing more than for someone else to remember,” says Kyra, a high-school sophomore.