Many young adult books embrace the idea of a fresh start and characters who also have to rise up, advocate, reassess, and sometimes just get over it. Those journeys are valuable to our students and to put the right book in their hands is important as they start a new year with the best intentions.

These books will inspire students to rise above challenges and embrace new beginnings.



We Deserve Monuments 
Jas Hammonds (Award and Honor Winner 2023)

Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she's uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery's mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about.






Lesbianas guide to catholic school

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School 
Sonora Reyes (Award and Honor Winner 2023)

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. 

After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. 






Burn Down, Rise Up 
Vincent Tirado (Award and Honor Winner 2023)

For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police only look for the white kids. But when her crush Charlize's cousin goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention.

Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York's past. 





Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet
 Laekan Zea Kemp

Penelope and Xander navigate first love and the struggles that come with growing up. Rich with Mexican culture and mouth-watering descriptions of the food that connects them, this emotional contemporary is sure to resonate with many readers who have questioned their place in the world.







Genesis Begins Again
Alicia D. Williams

Thirteen-year-old Genesis is determined to fix her family, and she’s willing to try anything to do so…even if it means harming herself in the process. When Genesis starts to find a thing or two she actually likes about herself, she discovers that changing her attitude is the first step in helping change others.







Hearts Unbroken
Cynthia Leiticia Smith

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting.





ForgiveMeNotForgive Me Not

Jennifer Baker

After driving drunk and causing the accident that kills her little sister, Violetta is incarcerated. Under the juvenile justice system, her fate lies in the hands of those she’s wronged—her family. With their forgiveness, she could go home

Denied their forgiveness, Violetta is now left with two options, neither good—remain in juvenile detention for an uncertain sentence or participate in the Trials. The Trials are no easy feat, but if she succeeds, she could regain both her freedom and what she wants most of all: her family’s love.






Can’t Take That Away 
Steven Salvatore

Carey Parker dreams of being a diva, and bringing the house down with song. They can hit every note of all the top pop and Broadway hits. But despite their talent, emotional scars from an incident with a homophobic classmate and their grandmother's spiraling dementia make it harder and harder for Carey to find their voice.

Carey finds the confidence to audition for the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the school musical, setting off a chain reaction of prejudice by Carey's tormentor and others in the school.



Pair a lesson on tension with any of the books mentioned! 

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