realistic and contemporary fiction

Grades 7+


The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas

2017- Balzer & Bray

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Keywords: Activism, Gangs, Justice, Media, Police, Protest, Race Relations, Urban


The Sun is Also a Star

By Nicola Yoon

2016- Delacorte Press

Natasha, whose family is hours away from being deported from the United States, meets Daniel, a first generation Korean American who strives to live up to his parents' expectations. Natasha is unfailingly logical; Daniel, hopelessly romantic. Together, they navigate the most important day of their lives, while coincidences (or fate) interweave their experiences with countless others across New York City.

Keywords: Destiny and Fate, Diversity, Immigration, Jamaican Americans, Korean Americans, Logic, New York City, Romance.


We Are All Made of Molecules

By Susin Nielsen

2015- Wendy Lamb Books

Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless. Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules.

Note to Teachers: Set in Vancouver, local author

Keywords: Bullies, Canada, Dysfunctional Family, High School, Moving, Siblings, Vancouver