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If you like The Hate U Give you might also enjoy...

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin book cover

In this roller-coaster ride of a debut, the author summons the popular legacy of Martin  Luther King Jr. to respond to the recent tragic violence befalling unarmed black men and boys. Seventeen-year-old black high school senior Justyce McAllister, a full-scholarship student at the virtually all-white Braselton Prep, is the focus. After a bloody run-in with the police when they take his good deed for malice, Justyce seeks meaning in a series of letters with his "homie" Dr. King. He writes, "I thought if I made sure to be an upstanding member of society, I'd be exempt from the stuff THOSE black guys deal with, you know?" While he's ranked fourth in his graduating class and well-positioned for the Ivy League, Justyce is coming to terms with the fact that there's not as much that separates him from "THOSE black guys" as he'd like to believe. Despite this, Stone seems to position Justyce and his best friend as the decidedly well-mannered black children who are deserving of readers' sympathies. They are not those gangsters that can be found in Justyce's neighborhood. There's nuance to be found for sure, but not enough to upset the dominant narrative. What if they weren't the successful kids? While the novel intentionally leaves more questions than it attempts to answer, there are layers that still remain between the lines. Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in the face. Take interest and ask questions. (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2017)


Into the White by Randi Pink

Into White by Randi Pink

Stuck in a mostly white  high school in Montgomery, Ala., bullied by black students who should be her allies, Toya Williams prays to Jesus one night to be white . Lo and behold, she wakes up “white  as a Bing Crosby Christmas,” though the change is invisible to her family. Blond, blue-eyed Toya (posing as an exchange student) is befriended by the white  alpha girls and lusted after by the quarterback. It’s great until she realizes that being white  means starving herself (size six is fat in her new world), hearing casual racial slurs, being expected to be available to popular guys, and betraying her beloved older brother. Debut author Pink cuts some corners: the white  alphas are caricatures, Toya’s squabbling parents are painted with a broad brush, and the hero who helps Toya see the value in herself and her community seems too good to be true. But Pink isn’t afraid of being provocative (Jesus makes regular appearances), and the book dives into  thorny issues of identity, self-image, and the internal effects of racism in a strikingly frank way.  (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 27, p)


All American Boys bookcover

All American Boy by Jason Reynolds

Two boys, one black and one white, act out an all-too-familiar drama when the former is brutally beaten during an arrest and the latter witnesses it. Rashad wasn't trying to steal that bag of chips, but Officer Paul Galuzzo beats him to a pulp rather than hear him out. Quinn doesn't know that, but he does know that no one should be treated the way he sees family friend and surrogate father Paul whaling on that black kid. Day by day over the next week, each boy tells his story, Rashad in the hospital, where he watches endless replays of the incident, and Quinn at school, where he tries to avoid it. Soon Rashad's a trending hashtag, as his brother and friends organize a protest he's not sure he wants. Meanwhile, Quinn negotiates basketball practice with his best friend—Galuzzo's little brother, who expects loyalty—and Rashad's, who tells him bluntly, "White boy like you can just walk away whenever you want." In a series of set pieces, Rashad contemplates his unwanted role as the latest statistic, and Quinn decides whether he'll walk away or stand. Reynolds and Kiely supply their protagonists with a supporting cast that prods them in all the right ways; Rashad's strict, ex-cop dad provides unexpected complexity. If the hands and agenda of the authors are evident, their passion elevates the novel beyond a needed call to action to a deeply moving experience. (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2015)


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie book cover

Alexie nimbly blends sharp wit with unapologetic emotion in his first foray into young-adult literature. Fourteen-year-old Junior is a cartoonist and bookworm with a violent but protective best friend Rowdy. Soon after they start freshman year, Junior boldly transfers from a school on the Spokane reservation to one in a tiny white town 22 miles away. Despite his parents' frequent lack of gas money (they're a "poor-ass family"), racism at school and many crushing deaths at home, he manages the year. Rowdy rejects him, feeling betrayed, and their competing basketball teams take on mammoth symbolic proportions. The reservation's poverty and desolate alcoholism offer early mortality and broken dreams, but Junior's knowledge that he must leave is rooted in love and respect for his family and the Spokane tribe. He also realizes how many other tribes he has, from "the tribe of boys who really miss . . . their best friends" to "the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa lovers." Junior's keen cartoons sprinkle the pages as his fluid narration deftly mingles raw feeling with funny, sardonic insight.  (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007)


How it went down by Kekla Magoon

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon book cover

A racially charged shooting reveals the complicated relationships that surround a popular teen and the neighborhood that nurtured and challenged him. Instead of a gangster after retribution, 16-year-old African-American Tariq Johnson's killer is a white man claiming to have acted in self-defense. Despite their failure to find a weapon on the black teen, the police release the shooter, rocking the community. On its face, this novel sounds like an easy example of fiction "ripped from the headlines." However, Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award-winning writer Magoon provides an intriguing story that allows readers to learn much about the family, friends and enemies of everyone affected. There are young men attempting to navigate the streets and young women, including one who tried in vain to save Tariq, wishing for better lives but with little idea how  to change their paths. There are the grief-stricken family and adults who seek to give voice to powerless people but also serve themselves. The episode affects even those who think they have moved away from the community. As each character reflects on Tariq, a complex young man is revealed, one who used his considerable charm to walk the tightrope of life in his neighborhood. Magoon skillfully tells the story in multiple, sometimes conflicting, voices. This sobering yet satisfying novel leaves readers to ponder the complex questions it  raises. (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2014)