Black History Month YA Reading List

This Black History Month and all year long, we’re celebrating Black stories. Keep scrolling for Underlined’s official Black History Month YA reading list, and don’t forget to check out #allwaysblack, a community dedicated to Black literature – reading it, sharing it, talking about it, posting about it, living it, loving it. Get social with @allwaysblack.

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Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce

By Nic Stone

The stunning sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin. Incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas.

In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller, Nic Stone delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juveni...

Off the Record

Off the Record

By Camryn Garrett

The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade.

Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she's equal parts excited ...

145th Street: Short Stories

145th Street: Short Stories

By Walter Dean Myers

From the award-winning author of Monster, this collection of powerful and poignant stories about 145th Streetan unforgettable block in the heart of Harlem—celebrates African-American life in all of its glory.

“Myers is a master.” —The New York Times Book Review


On Harlem’s 145th Street, things happen that don’t happen anywhere else in the world.

Get to kn...

Bitter

Bitter

By Akwaeke Emezi

From National Book Award finalist Akwaeke Emezi comes a companion novel to PET that explores both the importance and cost of social revolution--and how youth lead the way.

Bitter is an aspiring artist who has been invited to cultivate her talents at a special school in the town of Lucille. Surrounded by other creative teens, she can focus on her painting--though she hides a secret from everyone around her. Meanwhile, the st...

Chlorine Sky

Chlorine Sky

By Mahogany L. Browne

"An absolute masterpiece." -Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X

From the first ever poet-in-residence at Lincoln Center comes a bold coming-of-age story told in verse about a young woman who loses a best friend, but finds herself in the process. The joys of basketball, the tumult of high school, and the bonds of family are lyrically woven together in this must-read novel.

Dear Martin

Dear Martin

By Nic Stone

"Powerful, wrenching.” –JOHN GREEN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down

"Raw and gripping." –JASON REYNOLDS, New York Times bestselling coauthor of All American Boys

"A must-read!” –ANGIE THOMAS, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U...

Mare's War

Mare's War

By Tanita S. Davis

Meet Mare, a World War II veteran and a grandmother like no other. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less than perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American Battalion of the Women's Army Corps. Now she is driving her granddaughters—two willful teenagers in their own rite—on a cross-country road trip. The girls are initially skeptical of Mare's flippy wigs and stilletos, but they soon ...

Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman

Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman

By Kristen R. Lee

A striking debut novel about racism on elite college campuses. Fans of Dear White People will embrace this activist-centered contemporary novel about a college freshman grappling with the challenges of attending an elite university with a disturbing racist history, which may not be as distant as it seems.

Savannah Howard sacrificed her high school social life to make sure she got into a top college. Her sights were set on an ...

Sun Keep Rising

Sun Keep Rising

By Kristen R. Lee

When rent increases put a teen mom at risk of losing her home, she resorts to a dangerous game to keep her family afloat. But all games have consequences, and this isn't one she can afford to lose. A gripping story about race, income instability, and the strength it takes to survive from a critically acclaimed author.

"Kristen R. Lee is a miraculous story weaver"-Mahogany L. Browne, author of Vinyl Moon

B’onca always kn...

This Is My America

This Is My America

By Kim Johnson

"Incredible and searing." --Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.


Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on dea...

Vinyl Moon

Vinyl Moon

By Mahogany L. Browne

A teen girl hiding the scars of a past relationship finds home and healing in the words of strong Black writers. A beautiful sophomore novel from a critically acclaimed author and poet that explores how words have the power to shape and uplift our world even in the midst of pain.

When Darius told Angel he loved her, she believed him.
 
Angel feels out of sync with the rhythms of her new neighborhood. At school, she...

Invisible Son

Invisible Son

By Kim Johnson

Coming 05.14.24

From the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of This Is My America comes another thriller about a wrongly accused teen desperate to recclaim both his innocence and his first love.

Life can change in an instant. 
When you’re wrongfully accused of a crime. 
When a virus shuts everything down. 
When the girl you love moves on. 

Andre Jackson is determined to reclaim his identit...

The Gilded Ones

The Gilded Ones

By Namina Forna

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TEEN VOGUE
 
"A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold. Must read!" –Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
 
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she w...

The Gilded Ones #2: The Merciless Ones

The Gilded Ones #2: The Merciless Ones

By Namina Forna

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The epic, hotly anticipated sequel to the instant bestseller The Gilded Ones about a girl with the power to remake her world—or destroy it.

“Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Mulan, and the Dora Milaje from Black Panther are going to adore [The Gilded Ones].”—BuzzFeed

It's been six months s...

The Gilded Ones #3: The Eternal Ones

The Gilded Ones #3: The Eternal Ones

By Namina Forna

The dazzling finale to the groundbreaking, New York Times bestselling Gilded Ones series. One girl holds the power to defeat the gods—but can she become one?

Mere weeks after confronting the Gilded Ones—the false beings she once believed to be her family—Deka is on the hunt. In order to kill the gods, whose ravenous competition for power is bleeding Otera dry, she must uncover the source of her divinity. But...

Nubia: The Awakening

Nubia: The Awakening

By Omar Epps, Clarence A. Haynes

From beloved actor and producer Omar Epps and writer Clarence A. Haynes comes the biggest epic fantasy of the year. A powerful saga of three teens, the children of refugees from a fallen African utopia, who must navigate their newfound powers in a climate-ravaged New York City. Perfect for fans of Black Panther and Children of Blood and Bone.

For Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho, Nubia is a mystery. Before they were born, a...

Nubia: The Reckoning

Nubia: The Reckoning

By Omar Epps, Clarence A. Haynes

The sequel to Nubia: The Awakening, the epic fantasy from actor and producer Omar Epps and writer Clarence A. Haynes! A powerful saga of three teens, the children of refugees from a fallen African utopia, who must navigate their newfound powers in a climate-ravaged New York City.

Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho were among the first of a new generation of Nubians to awaken to extraordinary powers—gifts their parents lost when...

Skin of the Sea

Skin of the Sea

By Natasha Bowen

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The must-read Black mermaid fantasy series that #1 NYT bestselling author Nicola Yoon calls “epic and original,” in which one mermaid takes on the gods themselves. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and anyone who can't wait for the live-action The Little Mermaid.

“Riveting.” —NPR
“Evocative.” —Ente...

Soul of the Deep

Soul of the Deep

By Natasha Bowen

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Skin of the Sea, in which the world must pay the price for one mermaid’s choice, and a dark force reverberates across realms. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and those eagerly anticipating the live-action film adaptation of The Little Mermaid.

One life.
One choice.
One sacrifice.

To save those closest to her, ...

Pet

Pet

By Akwaeke Emezi

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • STONEWALL BOOK AWARD WINNER • ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S 100 BEST YA BOOKS OF ALL TIME

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by The New York Times • Time • Buzzfeed • NPRNew York Public Library • Publishers Weekly • School Library Journal

A genre-defying novel from the award-winning author NPR describes as &l...

Bad Witch Burning

Bad Witch Burning

By Jessica Lewis

For fans of Lovecraft Country and Candyman comes a witchy story full of Black girl magic! One girl′s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future.

Practical Magic meets Black Girl Magic in this powerful addition to the YA canon. I couldn′t put it down.” —#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Vi...

The Sum of Us (Adapted for Young Readers)

The Sum of Us (Adapted for Young Readers)

By Heather McGhee

The New York Times bestseller, adapted for a new generation of young readers, leaders, thinkers, and activists. A groundbreaking call to action that examines how racism affects and harms all of us and how we need to face it head-on, together.

The future can be prosperous for everyone, but only if we address the problems of racial and economic inequality.

McGhee believes that all people, of all ages and all backg...

Notes from a Young Black Chef (Adapted for Young Adults)

Notes from a Young Black Chef (Adapted for Young Adults)

By Kwame Onwuachi, Joshua David Stein

This inspiring memoir, now adapted for young adults, chronicles Top Chef star and Forbes and Zagat 30 Under 30 phenom Kwame Onwuachi's incredible and odds-defying fame in the food world after a tough childhood in the Bronx and Nigeria.

Food was Kwame Onwuachi's first great love. He connected to cooking via his mother, in the family's modest Bronx apartment. From that spark, he launched his own catering ...

The Beautiful Struggle (Adapted for Young Adults)

The Beautiful Struggle (Adapted for Young Adults)

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Adapted from the adult memoir by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Water Dancer and Between the World and Me, this father-son story explores how boys become men, and quite specifically, how Ta-Nehisi Coates became Ta-Nehisi Coates.

As a child, Ta-Nehisi Coates was seen by his father, Paul, as too sensitive and lacking focus. Paul Coates was a Vietnam vet who'd been part of the Black Panthers and wa...

Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers

Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers

By Michelle Obama

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Michelle Obama’s worldwide bestselling memoir, Becoming, is now adapted for young readers.

Michelle Robinson was born on the South Side of Chicago. From her modest beginnings, she would become Michelle Obama, the inspiring and powerful First Lady of the United States, when her husband, Barack Obama, was elected the forty-fourth president. They would be the first Black...

Dreams from My Father (Adapted for Young Adults)

Dreams from My Father (Adapted for Young Adults)

By Barack Obama

Now adapted for young adults—the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, which Toni Morrison called “quite extraordinary,” offers an intimate look at Barack Obama’s early days. This is a compelling journey tracing the future 44th president's odyssey through family, race, and identity.
 
A revealing portrait of a young Black man asking questions about self-discovery and belonging—long before he...

Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition, Adapted for Young Adults)

Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition, Adapted for Young Adults)

By Bryan Stevenson

The young adult adaptation of the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestseller Just Mercy--now a major motion picture starring Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Foxx, and Brie Larson and the subject of an HBO documentary feature!

In this very personal work--adapted from the original #1 bestseller, which the New York Times calls "as compelling as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so"--acclaimed lawyer and soc...

Friday I'm in Love

Friday I'm in Love

By Camryn Garrett

It's too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if Mahalia had a coming-out party? A love letter to romantic comedies, sweet sixteen blowouts, Black joy, and queer pride.

A perfect ode to romantic comedies, wrapped in a dazzling rainbow dress.” —Rachael Lippincott, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Five Feet Apart and She Gets the Girl

Mahalia Harris wants.

She wants a b...

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute

By Talia Hibbert

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, comes a laugh-out-loud story about a quirky content creator and a clean-cut athlete testing their abilities to survive the great outdoors—and each other.

Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones...

Instructions for Dancing

Instructions for Dancing

By Nicola Yoon

AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A charming, wholehearted love story that's sure to make readers swoon."—Entertainment Weekly

"Nicola Yoon writes from the heart in this beautiful love story."—Good Morning America

“It’s like an emotional gut punch—so beautiful and also heart-wrenching."—US Weekly

In this romantic page-...

Finding Jupiter

Finding Jupiter

By Kelis Rowe

Sparks fly when Orion and Ray meet for the first time at a roller rink in Memphis. But these star-crossed souls have a past filled with secrets that threaten to tear them apart before their love story even begins. Found poetry, grief, and fate collide in this powerful debut.

Ray: Just once I’d like my birthday to be about me, and not the day my father died. I want to be Ray Jr., the tall girl from Memphis with the poetry ...

Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory

By Nic Stone

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin delivers a gripping romance about two teens: a certified genius living with a diagnosed mental disorder and a politician's son who is running from his own addiction and grief. Don't miss this gut punch of a novel about mental health, loss, and discovering you are worthy of love.

Scars exist to remind us of what we’ve survived.
 
DETACHED...

You Bet Your Heart

You Bet Your Heart

By Danielle Parker

A riveting, swoon-worthy teen romance centered on two high achievers fighting for the title of high school valedictorian and falling in love along the way, from debut author Danielle Parker.

Sasha Johnson-Sun might not know everything—like how to fully heal after her dad’s passing or how many more Saturdays her mom can spend cleaning houses. But the one thing Sasha is certain of? She will graduate this year as Skyline Hi...

The Homecoming War

The Homecoming War

By Addie Woolridge

When plunging enrollment forces two rival high schools to merge, two class presidents must work together to make the schools unite. But when a mutual crush emerges, they'll both have to figure out what they want and where their loyalties lie before they become the most hated people at school.

Meg Williams is on the way to making her dreams come true. As the incoming Junior class president for Hirono High School, all she needs are a ...

The Black Queen

The Black Queen

By Jumata Emill

Nova Albright was going to be the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High—but now she's dead. Murdered on coronation night. Fans of One of Us Is Lying and The Other Black Girl will love this unputdownable thriller.

Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is dead. Murdered the night of her coronation, her body found the next morning in the old slave cemetery she spent her weekends ...

Wander in the Dark

Wander in the Dark

By Jumata Emill

In this new pulse-pounding thriller from the author of The Black Queen, two brothers must come together to solve the murder of the most popular girl in school after one of them is caught fleeing the scene of her death.

Amir Trudeau only goes to his half brother Marcel’s birthday party because of Chloe Danvers. Chloe is rich, and hot, and fits right into the perfect life Marcel inherited when their father left Amir&rsquo...

There's No Way I'd Die First

There's No Way I'd Die First

By Lisa Springer

A spine-tingling contemporary horror-comedy novel that follows a scary-movie buff as she hosts an elaborate Halloween bash but soon finds the festivities upended when she and her guests are forced to test their survival skills in a deadly game, from debut author Lisa Springer.

Seventeen-year-old Noelle Layne knows horror. Every trope, every warning sign, every survival tactic. She even leads a successful movie club dedicated to the ...

Monstrous

Monstrous

By Jessica Lewis

Forced to spend her summer in her aunt's strange small town, a teen girl discovers dark secrets hidden in the woods. From the author of Bad Witch Burning comes another pulse-pounding novel perfect for fans of Supernatural and Lovecraft Country.

Don't go outside past dark. Come straight home after church. And above all—never, ever, go into Red Wood.

These are the rules Latavia's aunt gives her when L...

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