#‎ColorMyBookshelf‬: Teen Reads

Say it Rah-shay By Mar 17, 2014 28 Comments

My teen has recently become enchanted by love stories. When she is not scribbling away the epic tome of love lost and found that she has been writing in the journal that she guards like a treasure, she can be found with her nose in a book. She has been going through books so quickly that I can hardly keep up. As a library chick, I am open to pretty much whatever she wants to read but at times our choices can be limited. Recently she mentioned that she is looking for books with girls like her; African American/Black young women.

Where are these books? I don’t think there is anything wrong with knowing where we come from and where we have been. There are scores of books set during slavery and Civil Rights and they are excellent reads, some I cannot say enough about. However can we balance this with a book for the modern young lady who who is working through her first crush and worried about the science fair?

When I attended the last Book Buzz during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, there were only a handful of books being buzzed about featuring characters of colors. A few featured Martin Luther King and multicultural characters from other countries and one featuring the favorite chestnut: The inner city youth. Thank you but once again I ask WHERE ARE THE CHARACTERS OF COLOR?

By chance I found a list of books on Goodreads that I ordered for work and for my daughter. Take a look; perhaps some of these books will be of interest.



Pointe by Brandy Colbert.

Because the description hints at a young woman with an eating disorder, this book brought to mind Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, which I recently read. While Wintergirls does not mention a kidnapping, there are secrets which guide the main characters actions. Pointe seems to be of a similar feel and I loved the idea of a Black classical dancer.

About Pointe:

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor. 

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Brandy Colbert dazzles in this heartbreaking yet hopeful debut novel about learning how to let go of even our most shameful secrets.

Buy it here:


The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

The Bee LOVED Heist Society Series by Ally Carter and The Fourth Stall series by Chris Rylander so I was happy to see Varian Johnson’s newest title. This reminds a bit of Veronica Mars, full time student, part time PI.

About The Great Greene Heist:

Saving the school — one con at a time.

Jackson Greene has reformed. No, really he has. He became famous for the Shakedown at Shimmering Hills, and everyone still talks about the Blitz at the Fitz…. But after the disaster of the Mid-Day PDA, he swore off scheming and conning for good.

Then Keith Sinclair — loser of the Blitz — announces he’s running for school president, against Jackson’s former best friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby hasn’t talked to Jackson since the PDA, and he knows she won’t welcome his involvement. But he also knows Keith has “connections” to the principal, which could win him the election whatever the vote count.

So Jackson assembles a crack team to ensure the election is done right: Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess and cheerleader. Charlie de la Cruz, point man. Together they devise a plan that will bring Keith down once and for all. Yet as Jackson draws closer to Gaby again, he realizes the election isn’t the only thing he wants to win.

Buy it here:


Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

This title looks amazing. Dysfunctional family, secrets and a protagonist who is may or may not be reliable.

About Complicit:

Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else. But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know this one simple truth: She’s not the crazy one and never has been.


When reading Complicit, trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award–winning author of Charm & Strange.

Buy it here:



Fake ID by Lamar Giles

I am I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) was an OK book – which took forever for me to read  – but it’s premise of hiding one’s true identity made me finish it. This book, along with Boy Nobody (The Unknown Assassin) by Allen Zadoff makes me think Fake ID will be the next big thing for teens trying to solve the issue of identity and discovering who they are. 


About Fake Id:

Debut author Lamar Giles takes readers on a wild and dark ride in this contemporary Witness Protection thriller. Fake ID is a compelling story full of twists and turns—sure to appeal to fans of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, and John Grisham.

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight. In fact, his name isn’t really Nick Pearson. He shouldn’t tell you his real name, his real hometown, or why his family just moved to Stepton, Virginia. And he definitely shouldn’t tell you about his friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy Eli was uncovering when he died. About how Nick had to choose between solving Eli’s murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program said to do.

But he’s going to tell you—unless he gets caught first. . . .


Buy it here:



This post was inspired by the Twitter conversation #colormyshelf in which authors, librarians, readers question where the characters of color are in children’s books.


Tell me…what are your children reading? What was the last book with a character of color (not just Black!) that really created a buzz for you?


Disclosure: Affiliate links were used in this post. If you click a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. 



I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.


  1. My kids are still little, so we are still into things like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate and The Magic Tree House. My oldest is nine and he is kind of starting to outgrow the Magic Tree House books now though ;(

  2. Jessica says:

    Great reading list ideas. My daughter loves to read but these are just a tad too advanced for her! When I was in high school I enjoyed these kinds of books though.

  3. brett says:

    Do you know that I’m finding that I enjoy teen reads more than adult books lately? Not sure why… Hunger Games, and now the Divergent series. And of course Harry Potter!!

  4. Liz Mays says:

    Complicit and Pointe definitely sound like books I would enjoy. My kids are older so I honestly can’t remember the characters in their favorite books.

  5. You found a ton of good books. I heard pointe is a good one.

  6. Tess says:

    No teens right now, but I would love to read these. lol They sound so interesting.

  7. Aimee Ramos Fauci says:

    These books look good enough for me to read! My girls are still elementary age, but I am going to pin some of these books for me.. thanks. Connecting from House of Faucis

  8. What a great round up of teen novels. My kids are only 5 and 6, so we're still in chapter books. 🙂

  9. Shell says:

    I love goodreads for finding book suggestions. My to be read list is always growing.

  10. Kecia says:

    Interesting books! Pointe really has be intrigued. My kiddos are 3 and 3 months, so we are still reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Dr. Seuss here!

  11. Rosey says:

    My teen used to love to read, but these days she’s moved away from it. Someday she’ll go back to it, I hope. 🙂 My little one’s a huge reader. Right now the classic stories like Goodnight Moon and Green Eggs and Ham rule our reading time. 😉

  12. Debbie L. says:

    These sound like very interesting books. Soon Isa will be at the young adult age and I will definitely be checking out teen books.

  13. Karen says:

    My daughter is only a toddler so it’s mostly picture books and nursery rhymes. Maybe when she’s a teen she’ll be into these types of books.

  14. Debra Fazio-Rutt says:

    We're just starting on chapter books in my house – Diary of Wimpy Kid kind of books. I'm all for anything though that gets kids and adults reading!

  15. Oh great more books to be put on my tbr list! lol thanks for giving me more books to love.

  16. Fake looks like something I want to read for myself! Great ideas.

  17. I love YA/Adolescent lit. Pointe looks so good; I'm definitely going to have to read it. I love dance books.

  18. These sound like great recommendations of books. Will have to keep them in mind.

  19. Janel C. says:

    Rachee…thanks for sharing a great compilation of teen books! Complicit sounds like a very compelling thriller!

  20. My daughter would love Pointe when she’s a little older. She’s a dancer too! 🙂

  21. These look like books that my sister, who loves YA books, would love. I'm going to tell her about these books and see what she thinks of them.

  22. Toni says:

    I love to read and being a dancer Pointe is really one I want to get to when I finish my current book. I am hosting a reading challenge so these will definitely be added to my list!

  23. Desiree M. says:

    This is an awesome roud up of books! I would love to read Point myself.

  24. Tracey says:

    These look great. It’s always important to encourage teens to read.

  25. Lisa says:

    My tween is currently looking for new reads – I will have to show her these. Thanks!

  26. A few friends have YA book lovers so I will share these titles with them. Great reviews too.

  27. Shell Feis says:

    My boys are too young to read, but these sound like great books- I’d love to read a couple of them!

  28. Oh, these all look like great reads! I couldn’t get enough of books when I was that age.

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