** Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park, which is one of the loveliest books I've ever read. I was particularly struck by Park's parents in this book. Both parents have moments where you want to shake them and say, ‘Can't you see how this choice is hurting ____?’ But they also both have moments where something clicks into place and they see the full picture and act without hesitation to do to the right thing. It's kind of beautiful.
** Nnedi Okorafor's Binti "trilogy" of novellas ("trilogy" because there's now an additional short story) and Akata Witch series, both of which are amazing Afro-futurist awesomeness
** Oddity, by Sarah Cannon, which is straight-up one of THE FUNNIEST books I've ever read. Imagine the SciFi show Eureka with a dark twist: children going missing. A group of middle-schoolers tries to find out what's going on.
** Justina Ireland's Dread Nation -- What if the Civil War had been interrupted by zombies and free Black women were actively trained to fight them off and Lincoln had been shot but survived?! This is an intended series for which I'm anxiously awaiting the next entry.
** The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, by Sonia Manzano (Sesame Street's Maria!), which takes its initially unlikeable protagonist on a journey into social justice. That makes it sound SO BORING, but imagine a 16-year-old Nuyorican discovering the Young Lords when they take over her church. It's amazing.
** Sometimes We Tell the Truth, by Kim Zarins. Zarins came to the brilliant conclusion that Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are basically Boccaccio fan fiction, so she updated the Tales using contemporary fandoms as a set of stories told on a school bus trip from CT to DC.
** Laurel Garver's currently two-book series Never Gone and Almost There (with maybe other books in the works). These two books explore a teen girl's grief over her father's death and how she tries to make sense of the world (and her faith) in the aftermath.
I tried to limit myself to Americans, since much of my favorite YA is from elsewhere.”