Summertime and the reading is easy. Here are some YA books we’re devouring this summer. Pick up these titles at your local independent bookstore.
Writing in Color
Edited by Nafiza Azad and Melody Simpson
Simon & Schuster Canada (August 2023)
So, you’re thinking of writing a book. Or, maybe you’ve written one, and are wondering what to do with it. This collection of essays, written exclusively by authors of colour, will empower writers of all ages and backgrounds to find their voice as they put pen to page.
Nafiza Azad is a self-identified island girl. Born in Lautoka, Fiji, she currently resides in BC where she reads too many books, watches too many K-dramas, and writes stories about girls taking over the world.
Melody Simpson is the founder of Melanin in YA, a database for all things Black in traditional young adult publishing. Her short story, “The Guardrail Disappears” can be seen in the feminist horror anthology Betty Bites Back: Stories to Scare the Patriarchy. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Who Owns the Clouds
By Mario Brassard, illustrated by Gérard Dubois
Penguin Random House Canada (January 2023)
Even though Mila is no longer a child, she is overcome by memories—memories of a childhood halfway between reality and dreaming. In her dreams, Mila and her family leave their bombed village to stand in line for weeks on end, suitcases in hand, hoping to move on to better lives. But the memories of her uncle’s disappearance, and the approach of looming clouds, keep blurring the lines between past and present, real, and unreal. A powerful and visually arresting fictional memoir of trauma, memory, and hope in the aftermath of war.
Mario Brassard received a bachelor's degree in French Studies from the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières. He has published four children’s novels in French which all received high accolades, including Ferdinand F., 81 ans, chenille, which won the Governor General's Award.
Gérard Dubois studied graphic design at the École Supérieure des Arts Estienne in Paris before moving to Montreal. His illustration work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and others. He has received multiple awards from the Society of Illustrators and his art has been exhibited in galleries around the world.
Visions of the Crow
By Wanda John-Kehewin, illustrated by nicole marie burton
Portage & Main Press (April 2023)
Damon Quinn just wants to get through his senior year. After he is seized by a waking dream, Damon is forced to confront his mom with some hard questions. Damon must look within himself, mend the bond with his mother, and rely on friends to find the answers he needs.
Wanda John-Kehewin is a Cree writer who uses her work to understand and respond to the near destruction of First Nations cultures, languages, and traditions. A published poet, fiction author, and film scriptwriter, she writes to stand in her truth and to share that truth openly. She is the author of the Dreams series of graphic novels.
nicole marie burton is a comics artist and children’s book illustrator living on unceded Algonquin land. She is a founding member of the Ad Astra Comix publishing collective. Her published works include The Beast and The Boy Who Walked Backwards.
What a Desi Girl Wants
By Sabina Khan
Scholastic Canada (July 2023)
Mehar hasn’t been back to India since she and her mother moved away when she was only four. But when her father announces his engagement, Mehar reluctantly agrees to return for the wedding. Once there, Mehar meets Sufiya and their friendship slowly starts to blossom into something more. After realizing that socialite Naz is using her father for his money, she decides to stop the wedding. But what happens if it means putting her relationship with Sufiya at risk? The romance of Becky Albertalli meets the nuanced family dynamics of Darius the Great is Not Okay in this YA novel from Sabina Khan.
Sabina Khan writes about Muslim teens who straddle cultures. She was born in Germany, spent her teens in Bangladesh, and lived in Macao, Illinois, and Texas before settling down in British Columbia with her husband, two daughters, and the best puppy in the world.
By Leanne Lieberman
House of Anansi Press (April 2023)
Jess cleans homes to save money for college. While cleaning a gorgeous country home, she discovers the trashed bedroom of the teenaged daughter, Quinn. Gradually Jess learns that Quinn’s life is not what it’s supposed to be. She begins to imagine becoming friends with Quinn, and when she begins to write down a new story for Quinn, she risks turning her back on the opportunities that are right in front of her. Will she become so wrapped up in someone else’s life that she misses a chance to create her own?
Leanne Lieberman is the author of five young adult novels, including The Most Dangerous Thing, Gravity, The Book of Trees, and Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust. Her adult fiction has been published in New Quarterly, the Antigonish Review, and Grain.
The Melancholy of Summer
By Louisa Onomé
HarperCollins Canada (May 2023)
Summer and her parents are on the run, each in their own way. Under investigation for fraud, Summer's mother and father have left town without a word, leaving a stunned seventeen-year-old Summer behind. A she feels increasingly haunted by the absence of her parents, she must learn how to offer more of herself to herself. From acclaimed author Louisa Onomé comes the perfect embodiment of a Sad Girl Summer novel.
Louisa Onomé is the Nigerian Canadian author of the critically acclaimed young adult novels Like Home and Twice as Perfect. She holds a BA in professional writing from York University. When she is not writing, her hobbies include picking up languages she may never use, crying over her favourite video games and perfecting her skin-care routine.
By Tegan Quin and Sara Quin, illustrated by Tillie Walden
Farrar Straus & Giroux (May 2023)
Before Tegan and Sara took the music world by storm, they were just two identical twins trying to find their place in a new home and new school. This effervescent blend of fiction and autobiography offers a glimpse at the two sisters before they became icons, exploring their shifting relationship, their own experiences coming out, and more. Perfect for teenagers and readers of all ages.
Tegan Quin and Sara Quin have sold well over one million records and released numerous studio albums. They have received three Juno Awards, a Grammy nomination, a Governor General's Performing Arts Award, and more. They are executive producers of the TV series High School based on their New York Times -bestselling adult memoir of the same name.
Tillie Walden is a cartoonist and illustrator from Austin, TX. She is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, where she now teaches. As of 2022, she has published three graphic novellas and an Eisner Award-winning memoir, Spinning.