Celebrate Black Voices: YA Books

Join us at CPL as we celebrate Black History Month by reading one of these fantastic YA books by Black authors!


cover art, Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

What it’s about: Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing–in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own.

Why you should read it: Tessa is a genuine protagonist that you can’t help but root for! A perfect read for fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series.


cover art, Early Departures by Jason A. ReynoldsEarly Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

What it’s about: What if you could bring your best friend back to life–but only for a short time? Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know that he died, and that he’s about to die again. He doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save him. And that the reason they haven’t been friends for two years is because Jamal blames Q for the accident that killed his parents. But what if Jamal could have a second chance?

Why you should read it: An engaging friendship story that reminds us to make the most of the time we are given!




cover art, Grown by Tiffany D. JacksonGrown by Tiffany D. Jackson

What it’s About: When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields? Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted

Why you should read it: A thought provoking thriller that gradually leads to an astonishing and chilling climax!




cover art, Punching the Air Punching the Air by Ibi Aanu Zoboi and Yusef Salaam 

What it’s about: At just sixteen years old, Amal is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth in a system designed to strip him of both.

Why you should read it: This award winning book, written in verse, is emotionally intense and provides an accurate depiction of the anti-blackness found in the U.S. criminal justice system.



cover art, Pet by Akwaeke EmeziPet by Akwaeke Emezi

What it’s about: There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told.

Why you should read it: This award winning book will make you ask yourself what really makes a monster, and how do you save the world from something if no one will admit it exists? Perfect for fantasy and horror fans!




cover art, Wings of Ebony by J. ElleWings of Ebony by J. Elle

What it’s about: “Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon–a hidden island of magic wielders. Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Why you should read it: While it may be a fantasy, it highlights the genocide, colonialism, and institutional racism that Black people still endure to this day.