The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/ Hachette
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Violently taken from her human home, Jude has struggled to navigate the dark world of the Fae. Jaded from years of being viewed as inferior for being human, she publicly challenges the wicked Prince Cardan and his friends, unleashing the prince’s wrath upon her and her sisters. After finding a taste for bloodshed, Jude seeks to be an equal in the twisted and unyielding Courts of Faerie through deception and dangerous alliances. In doing so, she discovers that rebellion in the world of Faerie is much closer than she had thought.
Though flawed, Jude’s character grows into a strong female lead in this richly detailed and vividly imagined telling of the dark world of the Faerie. She is forced to endure bullying and the always persistent insecurity of being viewed as different by her peers. Teens will find solace in her strength and perseverance through these timelessly relevant themes.
Fans of This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab will enjoy the dichotomy of good and evil, fans of Riverdale will enjoy the similar dark and atmospheric tone, and those who loved the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor will love this well-crafted world where humans coexist with mischievous creatures.
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Soho Teen / Soho Press
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Through her camera lens, aspiring filmmaker Maya Aziz filters the two worlds she struggles to reconcile. Her parents’ Indian Muslim world is steeped in tradition and compliance while Maya’s contemporary American life promises independence and opportunity. Then a nearby terrorist attack sparks mounting hatred and fear which threatens both of Maya’s worlds.
As a dutiful daughter, Maya endures her mother’s matchmaking to find an acceptable Indian-American Muslim boyfriend. She is surprised by her attraction to the witty desi, Kareem, while her charming longtime crush, Phil, shows a new interest. Unfortunately, Phil is everything unacceptable to her parents, mainly White. However, Maya resists her parents’ expectation of pre-law at nearby University of Chicago by secretly gaining acceptance to her dream film school at NYU.
Teens will relate to this well-drawn and complex contemporary Muslim girl who is trying to retain her culture while striving to be “just an American.” Her first person narrative is a perfect combination of teenage snark, humor, and poignancy. The timely issues of prejudice, hatred, and bullying will resonate with many teens. Ahmed’s use of the cryptic third person passages within Maya’s narrative will draw in teens with their building tension. Through them she paints a compassionate picture of terrorist in preparation.
Recommended for readers searching for diverse titles such as Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi and S.K. Ali’s Saints and Misfits. Fans of timely issue-driven realistic fiction such as Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give will appreciate this thoughtful look at prejudice.