By: Kylie J.

All of these books are great reads but pay attention to the content warnings that we have included, and be sure to get support if you need it. 

1. Where the Crawdads Sing- By: Delia Owens 

Kya, also known as the Marsh Girl by the local town residents, is a shy and intelligent young lady who grows up in the deep part of the marsh. There she was abandoned by her entire family and left to fend for herself. For years alone, she lives off the land, exploring and learning by watching the wild. She encounters a few "friends" along the way, but most of them disappoint her. She's convinced life is better alone, despite wanting to be with someone who will love her and never leave her. 

I loved this book but I loved the characters even more. They are relatable in many ways. Kya can be understood by just about anyone. You will love her even against the hate she receives. The imagery and wording is gorgeous. You won't want to put it down. Highly recommended. 

2. The Way I Used To Be- By: Amber Smith 

Content Warning: Sexual assault, suicide, underage drinking and PTSD. 

Starting high school didn't change who Eden was as a person. But the night her brother's best friend rapes her, her world changes forever. What Eden once loved and who she once loved, she now hates. She knows she's supposed to tell someone what happened but she keeps it inside instead. And she buries the way she used to be. This changes her relationship with everyone including herself. 

This book brought me into tears, it's so heart touching and very powerful. I recommend it to all the girls out there. I think this story is the reality lots of girls have to face on a daily basis. This book can be too much for some people so please if you need help or feel alone, reach out to someone. Everyone is cared for even if it doesn't seem like it at the moment. 

3.  Monday's Not Coming- By: Tiffany D. Jackson 

Content Warning: Death and abuse 

When Claudia's best friend, Monday, goes missing, it feels like she's the only one who notices that she's gone. Everyone tells her to be quiet and mind her own business. But she knows something is wrong. When she unearths some painful, shocking secrets about her best friend's life she then feels like she never really knew her. 

This book was sad and full of emotion from page one until the very last. This book takes you on an adventure of a girl to find her best friend. She also has to find herself along this journey. The twist of events in this book was amazing. This book is one that you can devour in a few days.

4.  Sadie- By: Courtney Summers 

Content Warning: Death 

Sadie doesn't have an easy life. She is raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town. Trying her best to keep food on the table and a bed to sleep in. But one day when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles beneath her feet. After a terrible police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice so she hits the road following a few small clues to find him. Then West McCray, a radio host working on a segment about small towns, hears Sadie's story and becomes obsessed with finding the missing girls. He starts his own podcast tracking Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, before it's too late. 

It's a book that pulls you in from the very first page. It talks about mature and horrifying real issues, that I don’t think people talk about enough. I would say only read it if you are prepared for it. If you are looking for a thriller that will make you feel a roller coaster of emotions, I would recommend Sadie. 

5.  How To Make Friends With the Dark- By: Kathleen Glasgow 

Content Warning: death, self-harm, suicide, PTSD, underage drinking, drug use, abuse, eating disorders 

This book is about a girl named Tiger. It's always been just her and her mother against the world. But one day her mother dies. And now it's just Tiger. Her world becomes dark but now she's gotta find a way to live in a world without her mother.

This book is a tearjerker. You will cry but I think it will help you grow and heal if you have ever lost someone important to you. It also kinda explores how people cope in the good and bad ways. The storytelling is so real and emotional. I think, dear reader, you might relate so much to it. This book is truly a one of a kind.

6.  Children of Blood and Bone- By: Tomi Adeyemi 

This story is about a girl named Zélie she recalls when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was killed, so this left Zélie without a mother and her people without any hope. Only a few people remained with magic, and they were hidden. Zélie is one of the people. With the help of a princess, Zélie must learn to control her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is against her.

This book is such a good read! I would recommend this for any fan of mythology or magic and creative imagination. It moved me so much and will surely open your eyes to the complicated society around us. There is also a sequel to this book, Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

7.  Anger Is A Gift-  By: Mark Oshiro 

Content Warning: Death, police brutality, racism, assault, violence 

Years ago, Moss Jefferies' father was murdered by a police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media made his father out to be a bad man. This and  lack of accountability has left Moss with extreme panic attacks. Now, he's in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his classmates find themselves being treated like criminals by their own school. There are new rules in place, random locker searches, and intimidation from the Oakland Police stationed in their school. Despite them being young, the students organize and push back against the administration. But when tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice about himself.

This book is so well written with amazing characters. Experiencing this horribly unfair and frightening world of police brutality and racism is the reality that people face on a daily basis. Moss, as a character, was amazing and so relatable. 

And honestly this is what real black kids in America go through, it's downright crazy. I'm a black female living in America and I can relate to this story. If kids can be brutalised at school, and be denied opportunities to succeed in life because of the color of their skin, this world is broken. 

.This story is important and hits you really hard with realities. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of The Hate U Give, Dear Martin, Dear Tyler Johnson and other novels depicting teens dealing with social justice issues. 

8.  A Danger To Herself And Others- By: Alyssa Sheinmel

Content Warning: eating disorders, mentions of suicide, depersonalization 

Hannah was away at summer school when her dorm mate Agnes, suffered serious brain damage after falling out of their 2nd story window. Hannah now finds herself institutionalized because she's a danger to herself and others. But Hannah is certain that this is all a big mistake. She would never hurt Agnes. She loves her. She keeps telling herself that it will only be a matter of time before they realize that she's innocent. But those days turn to weeks and that turns to months and Hannah finds that she is not any closer to the outside world where she was free. 

A Danger to Herself and Others is a compelling story about mental health that will have you second guessing yourself up until the very last page. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrill. 

9.  The Hate U Give- By: Angie Thomas 

Content Warning: Police brutality, death, racism

This book is about 16-year-old Starr Carter who moves beContent Warning:een Content Warning:o places: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy prep school she attends where she is one of a few black kids. Starr's world is torn apart when she witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil. Khalil is killed by a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. His death became a national headline. Some are calling him a thug who deserved to die. Protesters take to the streets to honor Khalil. But the cops and the local drug dealer try to intimidate Starr and her family. If she doesnt speak out there could be no justice for Khalil murder. She must decide to speak up or stay quiet. Whatever her choice it will change her life and the lives of everyone else lives forever. 

This book shows the reality of it all. This isn't just a book, it's how society and the world is. It contains some very powerful messages. They show how not everything in this society is rainbows and sunshine. This book is filled with characters that you can relate to, and scenarios that you read about far too often. This book will have your emotions going crazy. It is a real eye-opener. I think everyone should read. 

10.  All The Rage- By: Courtney Summers 

Content Warning: Sexual assault, mention of suicide 

This book is about a small town where everyone knows everyone. Romy who is from the wrong side of town is assaulted by a boy who is rich and has connections. But he gets away.

 It has cost her everything when she tries to come out with the truth. She is bullied and tormented by her once so called friends. Her only safe place is a diner where she works. There, no one knows of her past. But when a girl goes missing she has to speak up or else another girl could get hurt. 

This book captures so much of the trauma forced on girls. Romy’s story feels real and completely honest as it examines the treatment of women today. This is not a happy book but it’s the truth that I think a lot of people don’t want to face today. I think All the Rage is an honest portrayal of the struggles that women go through on a daily basis. 

11.  Piecing Me Together- By: Renée Watson 

Jade knows what she wants. She knows that she wants to escape her poor neighbourhood, go to a great college and buy her mama the house she isn’t able to afford on her own. She goes to an almost-all-white private school, but she is constantly reminded of where she comes from. It's a good thing though. 

She joins a program called Woman to Woman. But it isn't what she really wants. But she accepts it because it might be the only thing that will help her figure out who she is as a young woman and an aspiring artist.

This book is a beautifully written story, one that taught me a lot, but also let me relate to a lot as a black young woman. I like that this book brings up issues that I haven't seen before in any other books where the characters are young, black teenagers and who are also a female. Such as voicing against racism as a bystander and voicing injustices. 

I think everything was put into this book flawlessly. I enjoyed Jade's evolution from someone unsure of herself to someone who was vocal about what she wanted. I think we need more books like this in the world that have a voice for black women. 

12.  The Darkest Minds- By: Alexandra Bracken 

Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, with a weird feeling that something about her had changed. Her parents locked her in the garage and called the police. She is sent to a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” Now 6-years later, when the truth comes out, RuBy: has to escape the camp. She makes it out but just barely. Now she’s on the run. She then joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. When they arrive at a safe haven nothing is what they thought it would be. RuBy: will be faced with a terrible choice. 

The Darkest Minds is one of the best books I have ever read! I can't even properly express how much I love it and the series.The plot is fantastic and the characters are some of the best I've ever seen or read about. If you're looking for a book series to read and enjoy this is one of my favorites.

If you find yourself in need of some extra support, reach out to a trusted adult and check out the following resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 

National Alliance on Mental Illness:

The Trevor Project (support for LGBTQ+ youth): 

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network:

National Eating Disorders Association: 

Anti-racism Resources: 

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