Back to school season is ultimately upon us whether we are ready for it or not! Even though this teacher could have used another month off I still can’t help but get excited for the fresh beginnings of a brand new school year! There is also nothing better than delving into some good back to school diverse reads to really get me into the school mode.
Here are five essential back to school reads with diverse characters and own voices authors to add to your back to school supply list!
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Emoni Santiago plays by the rules but the one place where she breaks them is when she is in the kitchen. She creates the kind of food that has magical and healing properties that revives everyone around her. Emoni has been dealing with some tough choices throughout her life when she got pregnant as a freshman and has to take care of her Abuela. When her high school offers an elective to study abroad in Spain for a culinary arts program she knows it’s an opportunity she can’t pass up. Despite the lack of money and time, Emoni knows that her passion for food is one that she simply cannot ignore.
This is an inspiring back to school read for those that have a dream that seems impossible. Not to mention, reading about the food will definitely give you a hankering for some good back to school snacks.
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Tanner Scott’s family moved from California to Utah which is known to be a devout Mormon community. Unfortunately, this has pushed him back into the closet. The bisexual teen expects to coast his way into his last semester of high school when he ultimately falls for the Mormon prodigy Sebastian who mentors the class he is enrolled in. Now Tanner must figure out whether he wants to coast through his senior year or risk outing himself to have a chance with his new crush.
Autoboyography seems to be an adorable rom-com back to school read that I definitely want to delve into. This is the first young adult romance by Christina Lauren and I know they will deliver the kind of fluffy romance that will leave us smiling from ear to ear. I have a feeling this is the kind of book that will make us nostalgic for first love and those obligatory butterflies.
Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes
Analee Echeverria is the kind of girl who is trying to figure out who she is after losing her mother to cancer three years ago. She plays two different identities. In school, she is a shy and awkward teenager. At home, she is the online avatar elf hunter of her favorite online game named Kiri who takes no prisoners. She would much prefer to get lost in her online world and avoid the world of high school until she gets an offer from the most popular jock in school. This offer makes Analee realize that she has an inner fierceness that is slowly waiting to come out.
Analee in Real Life was the first YA book I read with the main character who is Cuban and it made my heart so happy as a Cuban American woman. This fake dating trope has the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before feels only with a clever twist. The thing I loved about Analee, in Real Life is that it illustrates the reality of what high school is really like without sugarcoating it. Milanes perfectly depicts the journey that Analee goes through in high school and slowly finds the Kiri that is inside her all along.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
The Nowhere Girls brings together three different girls from vastly different backgrounds to vindicate the rape of a classmate. Grace Salter is the new girl whose family had to escape their community due to their mother turning from a Baptist preacher to a radical liberal. Rosina Suarez is a queer girl from a Mexican family with a pension for punk music. Erin Delillo lives for marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Together these girls create the secret group The Nowhere Girls and they combat the sexist attitudes running throughout their school and bring justice to the rape of their classmate.
Amy Reed’s book is giving me the Foxfire girl power vibes from the nineties and this is the exact kind of book we need in our #MeToo culture. The Nowhere Girls is the perfect book that tackles serious issues that high school students face in their day to day realities.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Vivian Carter is tired of the sexist culture that pervades through the school and she begins to take action when she hears four little words. “Make me a sandwich.” Vivian is officially fed up and she decides to create a feminist zine and names it Moxie. Vivian’s mom used to be in the riot girl crowd and this influenced her to create the Riot Girl movement in her school. Vivian brings together all kinds of girls from all different backgrounds to come together to take a stand against the prevalent sexism in their school. She meets girls like Lucy Hernandez who is the quintessential Moxie girl and she encourages Vivian to push the boundaries of Moxie. Vivian gets all the girls together to spark the Moxie movement and they learn to find their own inner Moxie girl!
This book will teach women and girls everywhere to do what makes them happy and let go of the stereotypes and unrealistic expectations that are put upon them. Moxie is the kind of book that should be required reading in schools because it truly explores the different facets of feminism and how we view it in our society today. Not to mention, it will also inspire us to let our badass riot grrrl self out and live our best Moxie lives!