This year’s list of titles with the descriptions pulled from the OLPL catalog:
Ace of spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
At Niveus Private Academy, Devon and Chiamaka are the only students chosen to be Senior Prefects who are also black, which makes them targets for a series of anonymous texts revealing their secrets to the entire student body. Both students were on track toward valedictorian and bright college futures, but this prank quickly turns into a very dangerous game and they are at more than one disadvantage as it looks like things could turn deadly.
Firekeeper’s daughter by Angeline Boulley
Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.
Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
Eighteen-year-old Muslims Adam and Zayneb meet in Doha, Qatar, during spring break and fall in love as both struggle to find a way to live their own truths.
Not so pure and simple by Lamar Giles
High school junior Del Rainey unwittingly joins a Purity Pledge class at church, hoping to get closer to his long-term crush, Kiera.
Almost American girl: an illustrated memoir by Robin Ha
For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation–following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married–Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn’t fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to–her mother.
How it all blew up by Arvin Ahmadi
Fleeing to Rome in the wake of coming out to his Muslim family, a failed relationship, and blackmail, eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi embarks on a more authentic life with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel before an encounter with a U.S. Customs officer places his hard-won freedom at risk.
We are not free by Traci Chee
For fourteen-year-old budding artist Minoru Ito, her two brothers, her friends, and the other members of the Japanese-American community in southern California, the three months since Pearl Harbor was attacked have become a waking nightmare: attacked, spat on, and abused with no way to retaliate–and now things are about to get worse, their lives forever changed by the mass incarcerations in the relocation camps.
Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields? Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.
Tokyo ever after by Emiko Jean
It isn’t easy being Japanese American in a small, mostly white, northern California town, being raised by a single mother. When Izumi Tanaka discovers her father is the Crown Prince of Japan, it means irreverent Izzy is literally a princess. She travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew– and discovers being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape–until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. A flying demon feeding on human energies. A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts–and fails–to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
You should see me in a crown by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
Gender queer: a memoir by Maia Kobabe
Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly every day, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry.
Last night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the feeling took root–that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible. But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father–despite his hard-won citizenship–Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her fathers’ wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.
Game changer by Neal Shusterman
All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it. Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension–and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own. The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes. And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…
Today tonight tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time. Tonight, she puts up with him. When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves.
Cemetery boys by Aiden Thomas
Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school’s bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family.
The loop by Ben Oliver
Luka Kane has spent 736 days wrongfully imprisoned inside the Loop awaiting his execution. Each day is the same. Each day is torturous. But things are starting to change. Whispers of war are circulating. Strange things are happening to the prisoners. And the warden delivers a message: Luka, you have to get out … Now Luka must decide whether breaking out of the Loop is his only way to survive.
Check, please!: Book 1, #Hockey! by Ngozi Ukazu
Eric Bittle is a former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier. But as accomplished as he is, nothing could prepare him for his freshman year of playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, Massachusetts. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South! For one? There’s checking. Second, there is Jack–his very attractive but moody captain.