10 Diverse Books to Add to Your Classroom Library (Fall 2018)

Hi, friends! It’s Danielle from Nouvelle ELA, and I’m here to share with you my most anticipated reads for this fall. I’m constantly on the lookout for diverse books to add to my classroom library, and I’m excited to share with you some soon-to-be-published titles. Also, keep reading to find out how to score free books for your classroom library!

I cohost the YA Cafe Podcast, a roundtable discussion about a new YA book each week. Our show breaks down into a spoiler-free and spoiler section, and our whole goal is to help you figure out which books you’d like to add to your classroom library. We’ll help you know which books hook reluctant readers, which books will resonate with your avid sports fans, and which books maybe need a content warning.

10 Diverse YA Books for Fall 2018

Here are ten books we’ll be talking about in the fall on the podcast and in IG stories. I haven’t finished reading all of these books yet, but I’ve been researching them, and I’m confident in my recommendations.

1. Mirage by Somaiya Daud (28 August 2018)

Eighteen-year-old Amani has grown up on a poor moon under the rule of an oppressive empire. She dreams of a life where she and her family can safely farm and barter for what they need to survive, and maybe even have a little leisure time left to read her precious poetry. But when Amani is kidnapped and taken to the Royal Palace, she learns she must act as the body double for the cruel princess and put her very life on the line for a regime that seeks to wipe out her culture.

This is a book of court intrigue, rich prose, and a connection to spirituality and tradition. I LOVED this book, and you can read my full review here.

2. Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan (04 September 2018)

Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl. Ia is a skilled pirate and a brutal outlaw who risks everything to fight the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. She is captured and placed in the regime’s military academy, and everything she’s every believed is tested.

This is a thrilling sci-fi adventure with a bold heroine.
This is an anthology of short stories written by authors your students will definitely know and love, as well as some newcomers. Every story is an #OwnVoices story, meaning that authors are writing protagonists who share in their identity and experiences. The stories range in setting and genre, so your students will be sure to find something that suits them.

I enjoyed Nijkamp’s This is Where it Ends and Before I Let Go, so I’m really looking forward to reading this anthology. I’ve started it, and am intrigued so far!

[This post includes Amazon links for your convenience.If you choose to order through these links, Amazon will give me a small kickbackthat I put towards maintaining my teaching blog. This kickback does not increase your costs.]

4. A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney (25 September 2018)

An urban-fantasy reimagining, A Blade So Black follows Alice’s journey from real-world Atlanta to the nightmare world of Wonderland. When her mentor is poisoned, Alice has to embark on a dangerous journey to find the antidote. The twists and turns take her through numerous perils, and she has to stay focused and determined to keep from losing her head.

Y’all. I LOVE reimaginings, and this one sounds right up my alley! I love dark fairy tales like The Hazel Wood, and I think A Blade So Black will really amp up the tension to the next level.

5. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (02 October 2018)

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. In this bright new saga, the half-kitsune, half-human Yumeko sets out on a brave quest for survival. She meets one of many who would steal the scroll for themselves and attempt to harness the dragon’s wish, a young Samurai Kage. Kage and Yumeko form a fragile alliance to find the scroll, with a horde of demons at their backs and the weight of survival on their shoulders.

This is the follow-up to A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue, but it focuses on a new main character: Monty’s sister Felicity. In a society that believes that only men possess the intellect and determination to go to medical school, Felicity wants to study to become a doctor. She works against everything her parents tell her to want for her life in order to pursue her own dreams. Felicity gets an opportunity to research with one of her idols, as long as she can make the journey across Europe to meet him. She has no money to get there, though, and is forced to accept the patronage of a woman who insists on accompanying her. Soon, Felicity is thrust into another romp of a cross-continent adventure, and must keep her wits about her to get out of the dangerous situation.

Gentleman’s Guide was a fun and fast-paced book, and I’ve no doubt this one will be equally awesome. Felicity was a rockstar, even as supporting cast, and I can’t wait to have her front and center.

7. The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young (02 October 2018)

After a long battle with cancer, Sasha Cade dies. Her best friend Raquel is totally devastated. When she receives a letter from Sasha, Raquel is ready to do anything to connect again. Sasha has created an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel in an attempt to share one last secret with her friend. Her letter leads Raquel to her grave and introduces her to a mysterious stranger and the secret only he knows.

I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m expecting it to be partly mystery, partly grief, and partly self-discovery. I think it will be great for fans of Someone Else’s Playlist.

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8. Blanca y Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (09 October 2018)

Sisters, friends, and rivals… The del Signe sisters are cursed, and they know it. Their fate is wrapped up with a bevy of swans in the forest, and one day, they’ll play a twisted game that ends with one of them becoming a swan forever. But when two boys are unexpectedly drawn into the ‘game’, the spell stretches and expands, wrapping up the four fates forever.

This is a novel grounded in a fairy tale tradition, but with the rich complexities of contemporary YA. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read by Anna-Marie McLemore so far, and I’m eagerly awaiting this book.

9. Odd One Out by Nic Stone (09 October 2018)

The New York Times best-selling author of Dear Martin has brought us a new contemporary YA novel about the complications of friendship, young love, and everything in between. This isn’t your standard love triangle, but rather a rich tapestry of the complexities of loyalty and sexuality and growing into yourself. Uncertainty is highlighted here, and the “moral” is that sometimes we have to live in that uncertainty for a while.

10. The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta (30 October 2018)

A sweeping LGBT fantasy set in renaissance Italy featuring magic, intrigue, and a debt repaid. Teodora is a mafia don’s daughter, and slightly magical. Her magic is her secret and her shame, since she turns her family’s enemies into decorative objects: mirrors, boxes, candlesticks… When the land’s ruler sends out poisoned letters to the Five Families, Teo’s father falls ill and only she can find the antidote. She must travel disguised as a boy, and encounters numerous challenges along the way. She also meets Cielo. A magic-wielding strega, Cielo can shift between appearing as male or female, and is able to disappear into a crowd. As the two form an unlikely alliance, Teo must reconsider everything she’s ever known, especially when it comes to matters of her own heart.

I know, right? These books sound AMAZING!

Getting Free Books for Your Classroom Library

One question I get all the time is how I’m able to read books for free and in advance for our podcast. This is a great question that has implications for building your classroom library.

Basically, the publisher sends me early copies of books for free in exchange for my fair and honest review. Read more about how to get early copies, and how to involve students in the review process.

I also recommend involving students in the book selection process. You can have students apply to be part of a Classroom Library Advisory Board and help you pre-read some of the advanced copies you receive. You can also download this FREE review sheet for students.

Be sure to check out the YA Cafe Podcast for more in-depth reviews for teachers and librarians. :) We also send out a monthly newsletter about more books you may enjoy.

Happy reading!

Resources from other Coffee Shop teachers:
Getting Your Teens to Actually Read (blog post by Room 213)
Genre Exploration Flipbook (by The Classroom Sparrow)
Text Features Preview Activity (by Addie Williams)

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