Latest posts by Amanda Shepard (see all)
- 5 YA Authors for Your 2018 Reading List - December 31, 2017
- Asexual Erasure in Television and Film Adaptations - November 26, 2017
- Reading Recommendations for Depression Awareness Month - October 19, 2017
This past year has been a great year for young adult (YA) fiction with a lot of new, diverse authors breaking into the community. The inclusion of these authors in the YA community creates hope for the future, showing we’re moving in the right direction. Many of the authors that debuted this year already have projects on deck for 2018, meaning that the YA book community will continue to incorporate issues of feminism and diversity.
Many of these debut authors feature main characters from communities often underrepresented in the book community, or create a platform for readers to talk about social justice issues. YA literature has often been an avenue for promoting prominent social change, and the authors listed below show that they’re up to the task of representing important social issues and diversity in their texts.
The YA community has been largely influential in including more diversity in the publishing industry, and many debut authors from 2017 show that they’re not backing down when it comes to representation in their books. With new projects coming in 2018, these are authors you’ll definitely want to add to your to-be-read list for the new year.
Angie Thomas burst onto the young adult scene in February with her book The Hate U Give, which has now been on the New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks. The Hate U Give follows the story of Starr Carter, struggling to find her voice after her childhood friend was unjustly killed by the police. Thomas’s book received seven starred reviews, with Booklist calling it “An inarguably important book that demands the widest possible readership.” Focused around the Black Lives Matter movement, Starr’s story is one that demands to be heard. Thomas recently announced a new project for 2018, On the Come Up, which is scheduled to be published in May.
Also debuting in February, Ibi Zoboi’s book, American Street, follows the story of Haitian immigrant Fabiola Toussiant, whose mother was detained as they made their way into America. Not only did Zoboi’s novel receive five starred reviews, it was also a finalist for the National Book Award. Zoboi draws from her own experience in the story, making Fabiola’s story feel all the more authentic, representing a population that is often forgotten about in YA literature. She’s currently working on a middle grade text, My Life as an Ice-Cream Sandwich, scheduled to be released sometime in 2018.
Heather Kaczynski is a new author in the YA dystopian fiction realm with her book Dare Mighty Things, set in a future where we’ve stopped all travel to space. That is, until NASA announces a new competition for a space expedition with a few simple rules: under 25, gifted, and willing to face danger. For Cassandra Gupta, this sounds like a dream come true. All she has to do is win the competition. The first in a series, Kaczynski’s work is most notable for its inclusion of an asexual character, but she also features a cast of diverse characters supporting Cassandra in her journey. With a cliffhanger ending, you’ll definitely be anticipating the next book, One Giant Leap, which comes out next fall.
Jackson’s debut novel, Allegedly, follows the story of Mary B. Addison, a sixteen-year-old girl who spent six years in prison after allegedly killing a baby at the age of nine. Now, Mary finds herself pregnant, desperate to keep custody of her baby. But the only person who can help her is her mother, who she has never trusted. With four starred reviews, this book unflinching shows the reality of the broken justice system, especially when it comes to people of color. Jackson has another book set up to come out in June, Monday’s Not Coming, which is sure to be as honest and important as her debut.
In S.K. Ail’s debut novel Saints and Misfits, Janna Yusuf is an Arab Indian-American teenager that doesn’t fit into anyone’s box—and she doesn’t care, until she meets a boy named Jeremy. But Muslim girls aren’t supposed to date. Janna’s attraction to Jeremy has her questioning where she wants to fit in terms of her culture and her religion, determining what it means to be a saint or a misfit, and whether she has the courage to speak up about a monster hidden in her Muslim community. Ali gives a voice to a community not often represented in the YA community, one that’s severely lacking in almost any kind of media. Though Ali doesn’t have anything specific announced for 2018, she’s working on new projects.
These books made an impact in the YA community, and the authors included here are only a small sampling of those that will be contributing to this genre in the coming year. Even more books by authors of color will be released, and Bustle put together a list of books you should definitely keep your eye on. Since the YA community is especially vocal about realistic representation, I hope that this is a trend that will continue. There’s nothing more important than being able to see yourself reflected in the books that you’re reading, especially as a teen.