There has been a fire raging inside of us all lately. It is hard for us to put that fire into action, though, and we can end up burning out. If you are looking for a way to direct that urge to do something and make change in this world, then listed below are books that provide social commentary on our current situation. All writing is political – the books below are more directly political as they critique our status quo, adding embers to the fire within us to promote positive change.
If you haven’t heard about The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, you have been living under a rock. Part of an auction between thirteen publishing houses, The Hate U Give was purchased by Balzer + Bray and debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller’s list (and has been sitting around the top for the past 38 weeks). A written testament to the Black Lives Matters movement, THUG is one of the most powerful books to be published in 2017. Starr’s journey will allow the reader to understand when it is important to stand up and speak even though the world is telling you to sit down and shut up.
Not everyone will be able to relate to the circumstances that has made Juliet a “ferocious c*nt” but everyone will find themselves in Juliet Takes A Breath. This book will transform how you view the world, queer politics, and feminism while giving you a fantastic protagonist in Juliet Milagros Palante. Juliet Takes A Breath critiques the exclusionary aspects of feminism that are prevalent in current discourse. The reader comes to learn and grow with Juliet about intersectionality and how this impacts queer spaces, feminism, and race relations.
Reynolds and Kiely write a dual-narrated expose of the type of police brutality that is seen in the United States. It is a powerful social commentary and a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement that allows readers to see the effects of police brutality on a victim and critique their perspective of the BLM through the eyes of someone who wants to sympathize with the police. All-American Boys has won awards and deserves to be on your bookshelf.
Nic Stone makes a name for herself among the elites that depict race relations in young adult fiction with Dear Martin. This book is about 200 pages, which is on the shorter end for novels, but you feel as though you ran a marathon when you finish it. Raw, emotional, and socially relevant, Dear Martin is the book to pick up if you only have time to read one of the books on this list. This book is so fantastic because it is true, raw, and real: something that wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the fresh voice Stone provides.
This anthology is edited by Ellen Oh and created in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. It features an all-star cast of writers and is targeted to a Middle Grade audience, but it can teach lessons to readers of all ages. Confronting stereotypes of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, the stories come together to weave a critique to the status quo that is all too common in fiction today. Anthologies can leave the reader wanting more, but each author has a long repertoire of works behind them that can be sought out and read after a taste of their writing.