Madeline (Maddy) Whittier, seventeen-year-old protagonist of Everything, Everything, is allergic to, well, everything, and has never been outside. But that doesn’t stop her from vividly imagining the world and taking risks to experience more, just like being a brand new mom didn’t stop the book’s author, Nicola Yoon, from writing.
Could the novel To Live by Chinese author Yu Hua be one of the greatest novels in the past fifty years? It probably is—at least in this author’s opinion. At any rate, it deserves to be in the discussion.
The book was initially banned in China, a banning which, naturally, led to worldwide fame for Yu Hua and launched his career abroad. The book went on to win a number of international awards and was then made into a movie—also banned in China.
Adi Alsaid’s 2014 debut YA novel Let’s Get Lost takes road-trip fiction to great lengths—more than 4,000 miles! School Library Journal review said, “Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper Towns, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary novels.” His wry and subversive Never Always Sometimes, released last month, introduces more quirky outsider characters and poses that famous “Harry Met Sally” question: “Can people who are attracted to one another be friends?”
America’s racial problems are far from resolved, as evidenced by the continued victimization of Black people young and old at the hands of police and neighborhood vigilantes. Kekla Magoon’s How It Went Down, a Coretta Scott King Honor book, is an especially timely read in view of the national conversation on race and state violence. The novel centers on the causes and consequences of the shooting death of fictional teenager Tariq Johnson, and achieves more objectivity than real-life news outlets.