3 On A YA Theme: More Teens of Color on 2018 YA Book Covers
“3 On A YA Theme” is sponsored by Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
Debut author Tochi Onyebuchi delivers an unforgettable fantasy adventure that explores the meaning of justice and guilt. Packed with dark magic and thrilling action, Beasts Made of Night is a gritty fantasy perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Nnedi Okorafor. In the city of Kos, corrupt mages magically call forth sin from sinners in the form of sin-beasts—lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. Taj is a talented aki, young sin-eaters indentured to slay sin-beasts. When Taj is called to eat a member of the royal family’s sin, he’s thrust into a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos.
A couple of months ago over on my personal blog, I rounded up a bunch of forthcoming YA books that featured teens/characters of color on the cover. It’s become an annual post, as I love seeing how we’ve moved over the last few years to putting more characters who aren’t white onto our YA covers.
Since posting that collection of covers, though, even more 2018 YA reveals have happened. It seems only fitting to bring together some more of the badass covers featuring people of color we’ll be seeing in the very near future.
Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro (May 22)
Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.
Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.
When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.
Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi (March 27)
For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert (August 7)
Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.
Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.
From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon (June 5)
Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.
When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.
Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?
Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.
Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen (July 31)
What would you do if the sun became your enemy?
That’s exactly what happens to Viola Li after she returns from a trip abroad and develops a sudden and extreme case of photosensitivity—an inexplicable allergy to sunlight. Thanks to her crisis-manager parents, she doesn’t just have to wear layers of clothes and a hat the size of a spaceship. She has to stay away from all hint of light. Say goodbye to windows and running outdoors. Even her phone becomes a threat when its screen burns her.
Viola is determined to maintain a normal life, particularly after she meets Josh. He’s a funny, talented Thor look-alike who carries his own mysterious grief. But the intensity of their romance makes her take more and more risks, and when a rebellion against her parents backfires dangerously, she must find her way to a life—and love—as deep and lovely as her dreams.
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (June 5)
In Monday’s Not Coming, we meet a girl named Claudia whose best friend is missing and no one seems to notice until she shows up…one year later. We follow Claudia’s painstaking mission to convince everyone around her that something is wrong. Through the relationships with her beloved Southeast D.C. family and classmates, you’ll see the toll gentrification and mental health takes on her community as she battles against time. But the very core of the story focuses on the fierce love between two best friends, willing to do anything to save one another.
Not The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi (June 19)
Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.
Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo (May 8)
Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With her signature warmth and humor, Maurene Goo delivers a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.
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