These three books all deal with important issues without being pedantic. Instead, they're fun, fast-moving page-turners that we think you'll love. Sellout by Ebony Joy Wilkins (Scholastic Press, pictured). NaTasha has grown up as the only African-American in her Connecticut school district, but she hasn't felt like she's missed out on anything. She has good friends, a crush-worthy guy and a comfortable life. But Tilly, Tasha's grandmother from Harlem, wants her to know her roots, so she brings Tasha to her house for the summer. There, Tasha meets girls who have grown up completely differently -- and she finds parts of herself, and inner strengths, that she didn't know were there. The book isn't flawless, but it's written with an honesty that resonates, like in these lines: "They hated me. My hair, my skin, my body, my voice -- they hated everything I hated about myself."
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (PUSH). Natalie Sterling, class president and perfect student, is about to lose some control in her carefully planned life. And when she does, she has to question her views on feminism, power, love, friendship and what really matters. Vivian creates characters you want to be friends with -- and guys you want to fall for -- in this novel full of heart.
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin (Dial). Phoebe's best friend and boyfriend are hiding a secret -- theyare faery siblings come to collect a debt owed by Phoebe's ancestors. The magical aspects of the story are engaging and mysterious, but underneath it all, this is a compelling story about Phoebe's own esteem issues, and how a friend -- and a guy -- affect them. Werlin tells the tale very naturally, and Phoebe's realizations feel insightful and earned.
PS-Read about more books we loved!