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Teen Books with a BIPOC Protagonist

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In joy, grief, love, self-discovery, and chosen family.

The Poet X
Acevedo, Elizabeth
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers--especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami's determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she doesn't know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can't stop thinking about performing her poems.
Children Of Blood And Bone
Adeyemi, Tomi
Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.
Amari And The Night Brothers
Alston, B. B.
Thirteen-year-old Amari, a poor Black girl from the projects, gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician.
The Weight Of The Stars
Ancrum, Kayla
Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn't an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the "wrong" side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends. One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann's offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the girls are brought together despite themselves--and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria's mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system. Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And now it's up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more.
The Black Flamingo
Atta, Dean
Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he's navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican--but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough. As he gets older, Michael's coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs--and the Black Flamingo is born. Told with raw honesty, insight, and lyricism, this debut explores the layers of identity that make us who we are--and allow us to shine.
Felix Ever After
Callender, Kacen
Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.
Daughters Of Jubilation
Corthron, Kara Lee
In the Jim Crow South, white supremacy reigns and tensions are high. But Evalene Deschamps has other things to worry about. She has two little sisters to look after, an overworked single mother, and a longtime crush who is finally making a move. On top of all that, Evvie's magic abilities are growing stronger by the day. Her family calls it jubilation--a gift passed down from generations of black women since the time of slavery. And as Evvie's talents waken, something dark comes loose and threatens to resurface ... And when the demons of Evvie's past finally shake free, she must embrace her mighty lineage, and summon the power that lies within her.
Turtle Under Ice
Del Rosario, Juleah
After her mother died a few years ago, Rowena and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive. When Ariana disappears-- at night, in the middle of a snowstorm-- Row is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why. And she comes to realize that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone.
The Marrow Thieves
Dimaline, Cherie
In a future world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America's indigenous population -- and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow -- and dreams -- means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a 15-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones, and take refuge from the 'recruiters' who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing 'factories.
Raybearer
Ifueko, Jordan
Raised in isolation, Tarisai yearns for the closeness she could have as one of the Crown Prince's Council of 11, but her mother, The Lady, has magically compelled Tarisai to kill the Crown Prince.
Monday's Not Coming : A Novel
Jackson, Tiffany D.
When her friend Monday Charles goes missing and Monday's mother refuses to give her a straight answer, Claudia digs into her disappearance.
Warcross
Lu, Marie
When teenage coder Emika Chen hacks her way into the opening tournament of the Warcross Championships, she glitches herself into the game as well as a sinister plot with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
Tigers, Not Daughters
Mabry, Samantha
Three sisters in San Antonio are shadowed by guilt and grief over the loss of their oldest sister, who still haunts their house.
Sanctuary
Mendoza, Paola
In 2032, when sixteen-year-old Vali's mother is detained by the Deportation Forces, Vali must flee Vermont with her little brother, Ernie, hoping to reach their Tía Luna in the sanctuary state of California.
Rebel Seoul
Oh, Axie
In 2199 in the Neo State of Korea, eighteen-year-old Jaewon is partnered with supersoldier Tera, but their evolving love is threatened when Jaewon must choose among conflicting loyalties -- to the totalitarian government that promises to end all war, the nationalist rebels his father followed, or the crime syndicate staging a coup.
Juliet Takes A Breath
Rivera, Gabby
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn't sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But don't worry, Juliet has something kinda resembling a plan that'll help her figure out what it means to be Puerto Rican, lesbian and out. See, she's going to intern with Harlowe Brisbane - her favorite feminist author, someone whose last work on feminism, self-love and lots of other things will help Juliet find her ever elusive epiphany. There's just one problem--Harlowe's white, not from the Bronx and doesn't have the answers. Okay, maybe that's more than one problem but Juliet never said it was a perfect plan... Critically-acclaimed writer Gabby Rivera adapts her bestselling novel alongside artist Celia Moscote in an unforgettable queer coming-of-age story exploring race, identity and what it means to be true to your amazing self. Even when the rest of the world doesn't understand.
This Side Of Home
Watson, Renée
Twins Nikki and Maya Younger always agreed on most things, but as they head into their senior year they react differently to the gentrification of their Portland, Oregon, neighborhood and the new--white--family that moves in after their best friend and her mother are evicted.