An Incomplete Suggested Reading List
Diversity / Identity
The Border by Don Winslow.
After the slaughter of their families in Northern Mexico, Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys narrowly escape into the Sonoran Desert, pursued by the La Frontera gang. Home fire by Kamila Shamsi. An immigrant family is driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences. Suddenly, two families' fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined. What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy.
In this meditation on the politics of race today Chariandy writes a letter to his now thirteen-year-old daughter drawing upon his personal and ancestral past, as well as the experiences of growing up a visible minority within the land of one's birth.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.
A concentration camp detainee who is forced to mark fellow inmates with tattoos, falls in love
with one of the prisoners. Based on a true story.
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey.
In Bombay, in 1921, Perveen Mistry has just joined her father's law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. She is appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid who has left three widows behind who live in full Purdah — strict seclusion. But all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity and Perveen becomes suspicious.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
With heart-racing action scenes the author plunges the reader into chaos almost
immediately and keeps the drama and bloodshed coming until the very end.
Circe by Madeline Miller.
A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story, this #1 New York Times bestseller is both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.
Provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.
Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan.
Nameless, ageless, genderless first-person narrators bring readers into offbeat yet recognizable places in this sparkling, mind-bending collection. Graphic-novel and text enthusiasts alike will be drawn to this breathtaking combination of words and images.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.
Jude, seventeen and mortal, gets tangled in palace intrigues while trying to win a place in the treacherous High Court of Faerie, where she and her sisters have lived for a decade.
Hey Kiddo: How I lost my mother, found my father and dealt with family addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.
This is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.
The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-Benson ; art by Kelly Mellings.
Pete, a young Aboriginal gang member, is sent to jail for killing his mother's boyfriend during a fight. While there, he realizes that he has become a negative influence on his younger brother and decides to turn his life around with the help of traditional Aboriginal healing circles and ceremonies.
Young Frances by Hartley Lin.
Law clerk Frances is recruited by her firm's notorious senior partner and she seems poised for serious advancement in this intimate study of work chaos and finding yourself through work and an unexpected romance.
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
Manhattan 1946. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, she opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs--each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station and soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war.
The Gown by Jennifer Robson
In London, 1947, burdened by onerous rationing, two embroiderers in a famed Mayfair fashion house are chosen to take part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown. In Toronto, 2011, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother.
The Requiem by Frances Itani.
Bin Okuma, a celebrated visual artist, has suddenly lost his wife, Lena. Pulled into memories he has avoided, he revisits the places that have shaped him. He embarks on a journey that encompasses art and music, love and hope.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.
In the last days of slavery on Barbados, a young slave develops a close relationship with his
master’s brother. He escapes by hot air balloon and the pair head to Canada in an amazing tale of adventure.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
A novel which brings the unglamorous reality of the late-19th-century Parisian demi-monde into stark relief while imagining the life of Marie Van Goethem, the actual model for the iconic Degas statue Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.
Mystery / Thriller
Full Disclosure by Beverley McLachlan.
Jilly is building her own criminal defence firm and making a name for herself as willing to take
risks in the courtroom when she agrees to defend an affluent client despite predictions that the case is a sure loser.
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly "Cat's Table" with an eccentric and unforgettable group of grownups and two other boys. At night they spy on a shackled prisoner - his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever.
Still Life by Louise Penny.
The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines - a place so free from crime it doesn't even have its own police force.
The Huntress by Kate Quinn.
A British journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot hunt down a killer in the aftermath of World War II
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen.
A wild child’s isolated, dirt-poor upbringing in a Southern coastal wilderness fails to shield her from heartbreak or an accusation of murder.
The Takedown by Corrie Wang
Living in a technologically advanced near-future Brooklyn, 17-year-old Kyla Cheng, better known as Kyle, has it all: top grades, popularity, three fabulous best friends, and the attention of Mackenzie Rodriguez. But in one click, she risks losing everything when a video of her and her English teacher having sex surfaces.
Becoming by Michelle Obama.
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir Michelle Obama invites readers into her world,
chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her life in the White House.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.
A memoir about growing up biracial in apartheid South Africa by the host of the “Daily Show”.
I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Juctice and Hope by Chessy Prout
The numbers are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story of one of those girls. This memoir is more than an account of a horrific event. It takes a magnifying glass to the institutions that turn a blind eye to such behaviour and a society that blames victims rather than perpetrators
Educated by Tara Westover.
Tara is raised by survivalists in Idaho, isolated from society. Abused, suppressed yet with a will to learn and educate herself, Tara reaches her dreams.
Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road by Kate Harris.
As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she most craved--that of a generalist explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and philosopher--had gone extinct. From her small-town home in Ontario, it seemed as if Marco Polo, Magellan and their like had long ago mapped the whole earth. Harris tells of a harrowing journey travelling by bicycle along the Silk Road, the same route used by Marco Polo.
Realistic Fiction / Families / Relationships / Romance
What if It’s Us? by Becky Albertali and Adam Silvera.
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
Internment by Samira Ahmed.
Internment is a timely work of fiction, imagining what could easily happen when people are controlled by fear and prejudice.
After the Fire by Will Hill
A teen raised in an isolated religious cult deals with the aftermath of the fire that destroyed her community. An astonishing saga of suffering and joy, guilt, evil, redemption and truth.
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton.
At the heart of this fun story is an unsentimental treatment of how
a bullied boy and his bullies discover their commonalities.
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Extraterrestrials offer depressed, acerbic Henry Denton the chance to save the Earth from certain destruction by pressing a red button. Bitterly funny, with a ray of hope amid bleakness.
Elevation by Stephen King.
An eerie tale of Scott Carey of Castle Rock. Carey has a mysterious disease in which he loses weight but
looks the same. These oddities bring his small community closer together.
The Martian by Andy Weir
When a freak dust storm brings a manned mission to Mars to an unexpected close, an astronaut who is left behind fights to stay alive.
Nemesis by Brendan Reichs
Min is not your average 16-year-old. Living in a trailer park in an isolated town high in the mountains of Idaho, she’s learned to keep pretty much to herself. Every two years on her birthday, she’s murdered. And every two years she comes back, completely unharmed.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
In a future in which a pandemic has left few survivors, actress Kirsten Raymonde, travels with a troupe performing Shakespeare and finds herself in a community in which a prophet will not let anyone leave alive.
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi.
Bands of child soldiers roam from village to village, pillaging and brutally murdering, all in the name of endless civil war. Against the backdrop of this blood-soaked chaos, two unlikely allies, a crippled teenage “war maggot” and a half-man/half-beast genetically altered killing machine, risk their lives and their freedom to save a boy forced into servitude by rebel soldiers.
Book Club Recommends
Burn for Burn by Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han.
A refreshing and entertaining novel about revenge in which three girls conspire to
finally punish High School’s most popular, meanest kids.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.
Dragged to a treacherous magical land, Feyre discovers that her captor is Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose Tamlin forever.
The Circle by David Eggers
Mae Holland is thrilled to be working for the most powerful Internet company in the world, but as her life beyond the company campus grows distant, a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken and her role in the Circle becomes increasingly public.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.
Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school,
carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters who form the only family she has ever known.
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link.
Stories from Michael Chabon, Holly Black, Peter Buck, and others are compiled in this exciting fantasy collection for young adults. J
Six of Crows by Leigh Bordugo.
Six dangerous outcasts must learn to work together after they are offered an impossible heist that can save the world from destruction.