Having a few of these amazing books on deck is a must for every Black girl.
A la Carte by Tanita S. Davis
When Lainey’s best friend (who she wishes was her boo) leaves town, that also leaves Lainey questioning her dream of becoming a celebrity chef.
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
To win the heart of his ex-best friend Gaby, Jackson considers going down a road he’d sworn off for good.
Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
Her sister’s murder leads Zephyr to unleash a hidden power that may end up saving more than just herself.
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
The shooter says Tariq had a gun, but no weapon was ever found in this all-too-real novel inspired by all-too-familiar events.
Aya by Marguerite Abouet
A graphic novel with a #boss African girl living a normal teenage life? Gotta cop that, like yesterday.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
If award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood had a soundtrack, this book would be the lyrics. (Literally, this book uses poetry to describe her growing up years in the South. And. It. Is. Amazing.)
Disgruntled by Asali Solomon
A West Philadelphian (born and raised), Kenya can never seem to fit in. When her parents split up, she and her mother move to white suburbia and the struggle to find herself gets even harder.
Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
Romeo and Juliet get a hip-hop makeover? Yaaaasssss.
Caught Up by Amir Abrams
When summer comes, Kennedy trades in her good-girl image to run with a new crew. But will she find out that doing hoodrat things with her friends can lead her down a dangerous road before it’s too late?
Fake ID by Lamar Giles
As Nick investigates the mysterious murder of his newfound friend, he learns the blood may be on his dad’s hands.
He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
There’s nothing like rallying against a cause to bring two opposites together. But will real love blossom?
Sweet 16 to Life by Kimberly Reid
Wannabe detective Chanti and her friend MJ are on a quest to discover everything they need to know about Lux’s disappearance — so they don’t go down for the crime themselves.
Indigo Summer by Monica McKayhan
Indigo may be a little too late in expressing her feelings for Marcus, who is already checkin’ for another girl.
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince
This true story reps goal digging at its best.
This Side of Home by Renée Watson
A radical change in the neighborhood sends twin sisters’ struggle for identity in two separate directions.
A Matter of Souls by Denise Lewis Patrick
Through a collection of short stories, centuries of the African-American experience is brought to life.
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
After a tragic accident, Rachel moves in with her Black grandmother and is faced with the reality of her mixed identity.
Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
In this dystopian novel, it’s not your skin color that separates you anymore, but your blood type.
Long Division by Kiese Laymon
Get your sci-fi fix with this tale of one teen’s journey through time to solve the disappearance of a girl named Baize, who’s gone missing from his new town.
The Keysha Diaries, Volume 1 by Earl Sewell
Keysha’s determined to keep things all the way real, and she thinks the only way to do that is to run with the wrong crew. Will things ultimately get a little too real for her to handle?
The Good Braider by Terry Farish
Forced to flee her home in Sudan, Viola witnesses war crimes and refugee life on her journey toward safety in the U.S., where her newest challenge will be balancing her African culture with her new American way of life.
The Sista Hood: On the Mic by E-Fierce
An aspiring MC spends her summer writing beats and spittin’ lyrics with her new best friend, who she ends up catching feelings for. Will she win him over with her skills or will he fall in love with her competition?
Crazy Love by Amir Abrams
A spoiled rich girl, who gets everything she wants, becomes obsessed with her new college bae — and she’ll do whatever it takes to make sure he stays hers.
Did we miss your fave on this list? Add it to the comments below!
This post was excerpted from an article that originally appeared in Sesi’s Summer 2015 issue. Subscribe here to get the current issue, on sale now.