Tag: interracial relationships

This Side of Home

This Side of Home by Renée Watson

Recommend this book to readers of contemporary teen fiction who love straightforward prose. Readers looking for stories of teens making a difference in their communities will find an engaging heroine here.

Diverse content: The protagonist is a Black teen struggling with the community displacement afflicting her “gentrifying” neighborhood. A pervasive, centuries-old problem is brought into focus. The protagonist’s best friend is economically displaced by the gentrification in a historically Black neighborhood.

Study this for how it lets the characters directly address social issues. I appreciate the fact that the author let us hear the main character’s thoughts about her neighborhood and the changes; sometimes authors don’t go there, perhaps out of fear that it would be “preachy” or didactic if a character discusses their opinion on a political or social issue. But here is an example of how to do this. I love these teens engaged with analyzing and critiquing the city they live in. It felt authentic.

Interracial Relationships. Religion. Judaism (Hasidic).

Say What You Will

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Recommend this for teens who like a good romance, winning characters and plenty of romantic obstacles. Another theme is friendship and the struggle to find new friends. The writing is smart and funny, and so are the characters. (There is sexual content, fyi.)

Diverse content: The two teen lovers are disabled in different ways. Matthew is OCD and Amy has cerebral palsy, but Amy’s overprotective mother is the biggest obstacle. A secondary character, Sanjay, is of Indian descent.

Study this for well-written, complex and compelling teen characters. This is an un-romanticized rendering of teens dealing with disability in a world not as welcoming as it should be. So study this for an un-romanticized romance.