This week, The Thread is sharing some of our favorite books of the year.
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'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas' debut novel was both the critical darling and the best-selling juggernaut of 2017 young adult fiction. The novel follows Starr, a 16-year-old black girl from a poor neighborhood who navigates the nearly all-white crowds at her elite prep school in the suburbs. When Starr sees her childhood friend Khalil shot and killed by police, the worst moment of her life turns into a national headline. Thomas' timely and heartbreaking book explores the choices Starr must make next.
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'Akata Warrior' by Nnedi Okorafor
"Akata Warrior" is the sequel to Nnedi Okorafor's "Akata Witch," which has been hailed as "the Nigerian 'Harry Potter.'" It's a flattering comparison — but it doesn't give enough credit to Okorafor's wild imagination, with which she's crafted a magical world all her own. The books follow Sunny, an American-born girl whose family moves back to Nigeria, where she discovers the powers that run in her bloodline. In this new sequel, Sunny continues her studies of increasingly complicated magic, and must confront her own daunting destiny.
'The Pearl Thief' by Elizabeth Wein
Elizabeth Wein delivers a fast-paced, character-driven historical murder mystery, set in Scotland in the 1930s. The mystery revolves around 15-year-old Julia, who wakes up in the hospital with a head injury she can't explain. As she tries to piece together what happened, she makes friends with a set of Traveller siblings, whose family is shunned by the town. Her search for answers is magnified when a body is discovered, and the blame seems to fall on her friends. ("The Pearl Thief" is a prequel to the much-loved novel "Code Name Verity," but it stands on its own.)
'Long Way Down' by Jason Reynolds
Told in free verse, "Long Way Down" is a slim, quick read that sticks in your gut. The entire novel takes place over the course of a single minute — the time it takes for an elevator to descend from the eighth floor to ground level. In that elevator is 15-year-old Will, carrying a gun, out for revenge for his older brother's death. But on each floor, he is visited by a growing chorus of ghosts — those who lived or died by violence. Will must decide before the elevator doors open whether he will carry out his plan.
'I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter' by Erika L. Sanchez
Growing up, Julia never had to worry about being perfect — that was her older sister Olga's job. Stay at home. Follow the rules. Listen to your mother. But when Olga is killed in an accident, the weight of her family's expectations fall to Julia, grief-stricken and suddenly the target for her mother's every criticism. As Julia struggles to live in the shadow of her sister, she learns new, hard truths about her family — including that Olga was not as well-behaved and mild-mannered as she thought.
'Shadowhouse Fall' by Daniel Jose Older
Daniel Jose Older thrilled readers with "Shadowshaper," and its sequel is equally dazzling. The novels unfold in a world where murals can be magic, and the artists behind them can unleash powerful spirits. Sierra, who discovers her talents in the first novel, returns in "Shadowhouse Fall" to face a battle against the Hound of Light, which threatens the future of her entire community.
'One Dark Throne' by Kendare Blake
2017 is the year of the sequel: "One Dark Throne" continues the story that kicked off in "Three Dark Crowns." The books follow a set of triplets all born with equal right to be queen — but only the last girl standing can take the role. Your sibling rivalry has nothing on this. Three sisters, three dark plots — only one throne.
'Warcross' by Marie Lu
"Warcross" has earned a fleet of comparisons — think "Hunger Games," "World of Warcraft," and "Ready Player One," all in a blender. This cyberpunk romp takes place in a world obsessed with an online game — Warcross. Everyone lives to log on and battle it out; the heroes of the game become instant celebrities. Teenage hacker Emika accidentally throws herself into the chaos when she interrupts the international championships, and becomes a contestant herself.