What's Up in YA

📖 6 Rad YA Books By Black Male Authors

Hey YA Readers: Let’s highlight some awesome YA books by black male authors to kick off February.

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This month, “What’s Up in YA?” will highlight some amazing black YA authors, including an interview, book round-ups (including a look at some books by female-identifying authors hitting shelves in 2019), and more.

In light of a number of awesome books by black male-identifying YA authors hitting shelves this year, let’s talk about a few books by these writers to put on your TBR right now. Some of these are new releases while others are back list reads worth revisiting or picking up for the first time.

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

If you’re looking for a fantasy duology, Onyebuchi’s series — both titles available now — will be up your alley. The story is set in a walled city where corrupt mages can draw sins from sinners in the form of a beast. These beasts are lethal. But good mages exist here, too, and they use the power of sin-eaters to keep the beasts at bay. Taj, one of the most talented of these sin-eaters, finds himself smack in the middle of a dark conspiracy attempting to destroy the entire community.

A Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

What happens when a teen boy from French Canada is plopped deep into the heart of Austin, Texas? He tries to navigate the experience by keeping tabs on how the typical American teenager acts. This funny and awkward read is about a fish out of water and features a flawed and compelling main character.

The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds (March 5)

If you’re itching for a book that flirts with genre, this is a winner. Jack and Kate meet at a party and soon they’re best friends, then maybe something more. Except…Kate dies. The story doesn’t end there though, as Jack is taken to the beginning of their relationship and is given the chance to prevent her death. A Groundhog Day style story with romance.

A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson (April 2)

If you’re looking for queer-themed historical thriller, this book should absolutely be on your radar. Pitched as Aristotle and Dante meets Code Name Verity, the story follows two boys whose lives have been shattered by war and how far they’re willing to put them back together — and how much they’re willing to give up to be together. This one is at the top of my TBR and has gotten so much great buzz!

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

For readers wanting a Black Lives Matter story, Cole’s wildly underrated debut novel is one to pick up. The story follows Marvin as he unravels what happened to his twin brother Tyler following a party where Tyler’s gone missing.


Spin by Lamar Giles

When DJ Parsec is found dead, two of the key suspects are her best friend (they were on the outs) and one of her biggest fans. Neither are the killer, and the story unfolds as the two work together to find out what happened to the up-and-coming star. Compelling, character driven, and a mystery leaves readers guessing until the end.



Thanks for hanging out, y’all, and we’ll see you again later this week!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Instagram and editor of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and Here We Are.