Back to School Chapter Book and Young Adult Recommendations


Going back to school often brings about complicated feelings in teens, whether that be the excitement of seeing friends and classmates, the anxiety of moving to a new school, or the anticipation of starting classes. We know that not all kids feel the same way about starting the school year.


Books are a great way to create community and help kids feel less alone. The recommendations below encompass what it means to be an adolescent and the ups and downs that come with it (and some of them add a lot of mystique and thrill to it!).


For more chapter book and YA book recommendations, visit our Bookshop page.


  • New Kid by Jerry Craft

  • A heartwarming graphic novel about starting at a new school, fitting in with those who are different from you, and staying true to who you are and where you come from. If you like this one, don’t miss Class Act, the second in the series!

  • We love graphic novels because they are accessible for such a wide variety of ages and reading levels, and are always popular with the youth we serve. Educators, we recommend using a discussion guide from the author’s website.


  • The Only Black Girls In Town by Brandy Colbert

  • Alberta is thrilled when Edie moves to town because it means she will no longer be the only Black girl in town. She hopes to have a friend who finally understands what it’s like to be her in such a white place. When the girls find a box of old letters, they learn secrets about the past as well as lessons about themselves.

  • This story touches on what it means to be a Black girl living in America, both in the present and in the past.


  • Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

  • Piddy Sanchez is a hardworking and ambitious young Latina who wants to learn more about the father she’s never met. One day, she starts receiving threats from a bully and doesn’t know why. While grappling with her racial and cultural identity, fitting in, and staying true to herself through it all, Piddy learns who she really is.

  • This is an accessible, engaging and great book to facilitate conversations about bullying, racism, and jealousy. We suggest using this author-sponsored discussion guide to help.


  • Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

  • A YA thriller that exposes the insidious nature of institutionalized racism. Housed in the halls of an elite private school, an anonymous source begins revealing dark secrets about the two Black students at the school. At first thought to be a school prank, a shocking twist happens that reveals much more.

  • This book is perfect for lovers of Gossip Girl and thrillers, but make it Black and queer. On the author website, you can find character introductions, content warnings, and a Spotify playlist to go with the book.


  • Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

  • Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a coming of age novel about a teenage girl learning how to love her own body without changing it, all while navigating the complexities of high school relationships - romantic, platonic, and familial.

  • This book touches on themes of body image, sexuality, race, and grief in a way that is relevant to the lives of all teenagers today.


  • A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

  • For her senior project, Pip decides to investigate the well-known murder case that occurred in her town five years ago. At first she aims to cast doubt on the supposed story, but soon, she discovers dark secrets that may put her own life in danger.

  • This is a great read for mystery lovers!

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