The Poet X

Fifteen-year-old Xiomara is a Dominican American teen living in Harlem. Her twin brother, Xavier, a smart, gentle boy, can do no wrong in their mother’s eyes. Xiomara can do no right. She often feels unseen and misunderstood, even by Xavier despite their closeness and despite the fact she has always defended him, whether from bullies or from their mother’s judgment—the mother doesn’t know he’s gay

Saints and Misfits

Teenager Janna Yusuf loves photography, the stories of Flannery O’Connor, and hanging out with friends. She willingly helps her Uncle Ali, the Imam at her mosque, with his thoughtful, engaging advice column. She’s less enthused about giving up her room when her older brother, Muhammad, moves back into the small apartment she shares with their mother.

The Marrow Thieves

“It began as a rumor, that they had found a way to siphon dreams right out of our bones.” In a not-too-distant future when environmental devastation has killed millions, many people no longer dream when they sleep. At the Canadian government’s new residential “schools,” the dreams of Indigenous people are distilled from their marrow for later use by the wealthy and privileged. Sixteen-year-old Frenchie escaped school Recruiters at 11 and has been with his found family ever since.

A Different Pond

A Vietnamese American boy’s predawn fishing outing with his dad is the subject of a narrative shaped by an exquisite accounting of details. So much beyond the action is conveyed through beautifully weighted sentences. At volume’s end, both the author and illustrator share memories of growing up in Vietnamese families that came to the United States when they were children.

Long Way Down

Will learned “The Rules” from his older brother, Shawn. No. 1: No crying. No. 2: No snitching. No. 3: Get revenge. When Shawn is shot and killed, Will’s grief is trapped behind a wall of unshed tears. He’s sure he knows who did it: Riggs. And of course he won’t tell the police.

When Dimple Met Rishi

Teenage Dimple Shah loves coding and wants to be an app designer. She’s not interested in having a boyfriend, let alone thinking about getting married, something her traditional Indian parents can’t understand. Rishi Patel embraces traditional Indian values, respects his parents and their opinions, and wants to make them happy. When Dimple and Rishi’s parents decide that the two would be a good match, Rishi embraces the idea—he likes everything he’s learned about Dimple—and agrees to attend the same summer app development program for high school students that Dimple is going to.

Moxie

Vivvy loves the Riot Grrrl bands and zines of her mother’s youth, but unlike her mom at 16, Vivvy is not a wave-maker or rule-breaker in their small east Texas town, until anger at the rampant sexism at her school spurs her to action. Vivvy creates an anonymous zine, Moxie, calling it out. Some of the sexist behavior is verbal, some of it physical, some of it psychological, all of it is some form of assault.

Midnight at the Electric

In 2065, Adri moves in with her newly discovered cousin, Lily, while she trains for her future life as a settler on Mars. Loner Adri worries living with elderly, open-hearted Lily will be hard, but Lily is respectful of Adri’s privacy and Galapagos, a giant tortoise on Lily’s Kansas farm, is a peaceful companion.

The Leaf Reader

Marnie Wells has taught herself tasseomancy, divination with tea leaves. Now, months after the disappearance of a girl named Andrea, Andrea’s best friend, Matt, seeks Marnie out. Matt’s been receiving cryptic emails from someone claiming to be Andrea and doesn’t know whether to believe it’s her. Marnie finds herself drawn to Matt and colliding with the wider circle of friends Andrea was part of, all of them wealthy kids at the upscale high school that Marnie attends only because her grandmother teaches there.

Flying Lessons & Other Stories

“Blame my Uncle Kenneth. Everybody else does.” (Tim Tingle) “It’s a lot of pressure to pick a good elf name.” (Tim Federle) “Nani wears a fur coat to the beach.” (Soman Chainani) Whether starting with irresistible opening lines like these, or easing more quietly into the lives of their characters, the ten short stories in this anthology are wonderfully crafted slices of life.