Winner of the National Book Award, the Printz, the Walter, the Pura Belpre, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and my heart. (In adult books this sweep is known as Colson-ing, for kids it's pulling an Angie Thomas.) Xiomara is an aspiring poet who keeps her writing and her questions of faith secret from her devout Dominican mother. The Poet X is about discovering a community, feeling proud in your skin, the power of words, and the importance of finding your voice. Written in verse, it's a super fast read but every line is a gut punch.
THE young adult book of the year, full stop.
Castle "Ghost" Cranshaw wants to be the greatest...something. Turns out he might be a great sprinter, if he doesn't sabotage his chances. I'm not generally a sports novel reader, but this, the first book in store favorite Jason Reynolds' track series, made me dig my running shoes out of the closet.
Do yourself the favor. It's a uniquely American epic following X from childhood church pews to Harlem hustling and all the way to Mecca. It's compulsively readable and as relevant as ever.