We’ve assembled a list of new and forthcoming immigrant stories and books starring first-generation American teens:
America, Border, Culture, Dreamer by Wendy Ewald (Little, Brown, Oct.). First- and second-generation immigrants to the U.S. from all around the world collaborate with renowned photographer Ewald to create a catalogue of their experiences.
Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi (Knopf). This memoir recounts the true story of one teenager’s experience growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East.
American Panda by Gloria Chao (Simon Pulse). Mei’s parents want her to become a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, despite her germaphobia and her crush on a Japanese classmate.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 2017). After her mother is detained by immigration officers, Fabiola Toussaint has to move from Haiti to Michigan alone, starting over with loud cousins, a new school, and an ache in her heart where her mother should be.
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (Little, Brown). In search of answers after her mother’s suicide, Leigh travels to Taiwan, where her mother grew up, to meet the family she has never known.
The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis (Balzer + Bray). Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos must figure out how to survive the abuse of his parents, Greek immigrants who expect him to be someone he is not.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial, Aug.). When Darius’s mother gets word that her father is seriously ill, the family travels to Iran to see him. There, Darius learns that though he is Iranian to his high school classmates, he is American to his Iranian relatives.
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi (Viking). Scott Ferdowsi, the son of Iranian immigrants, can’t handle the pressure of deciding what to do with his life. With college applications looming, he sneaks off to Washington, D.C., to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in the psychology of success.
Dream Country by Shannon Gibney (Dutton, Sept.). This novel tells the story of five generations of young people from a single African-and-American family pursuing an elusive dream of freedom.
I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman (Viking). A fateful accident draws three strangers together, among them Harun, a first-generation American son of Pakistani immigrants, whose struggle to reconcile his family’s beliefs with his own identity has put him at an emotional crossroads.
The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Scholastic Press, 2017). Michael grudgingly goes along with his parents to rallies organized by an anti-immigrant group they belong to until he meets Mina, a beautiful Muslim refugee from Afghanistan.
Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (Soho Teen). American-born Maya Aziz, 17, must cope with Islamophobia at school and a culture divide at home with her parents, Indian immigrants who expect her to follow a certain path.
My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (Holt, July). Actress Guerrero recounts how, when she was 14, her undocumented immigrant parents and older brother were taken from their home, detained, and deported. Only she, having been born in New Jersey, was allowed to stay.
Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi (Feiwel and Friends, June). Muslim-American teen Lulu Saad must learn to navigate racial and religious tensions in her predominantly white, suburban high school.
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani (First Second, 2017). Priyanka Das’s mother left India years ago and doesn’t want to discuss why, but the discovery of a pashmina shawl hidden in a forgotten suitcase helps Priyanka imagine a homeland she has never known.
Proud: Living My American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad (Little, Brown, July, simultaneous publication with adult memoir). The story of Olympic fencer, black Muslim activist, and Time “100 Most Influential People” honoree Muhammad, the first American Olympian to compete wearing a hijab, and the first Muslim-American woman to win an Olympic medal.
Sadia by Colleen Nelson (Dundurn). Sadia, a Muslim teenager, must decide how far she is willing to go to defend her beliefs when faced with a discriminatory rule that means choosing between wearing her hijab or playing for her basketball team.
Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream by Julissa Arce (Little Brown, Sept.). A true story from social justice advocate and bestselling author Arce about her journey to belong in America while growing up undocumented in Texas.
The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard (Candlewick). Fifteen-year-old poet Alice and 16-year-old Manny, a refugee and former child soldier from Sierra Leone, help each other heal from trauma in a small town in Australia.
Unsinkable by Jessica Long (HMH, June). Born in Siberia with fibular hemimelia, Long was adopted from a Russian orphanage at 13 months old and has since become the second most decorated U.S. Paralympic athlete of all time.
The War Outside by Monica Hesse (Little, Brown, Sept.). As World War II rages across Europe and the Pacific, two first-generation immigrants, Margot and Haruko, meet when their families are forced into an internment camp because of their heritage—German and Japanese, respectively.
We Are All That’s Left by Carrie Arcos (Philomel). After her mother is gravely injured in an explosion at a farmer’s market in Rhode Island, Zara searches for answers about the past her mother won’t talk about—growing up in war-torn Bosnia—while she struggles to find her own path forward.
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017). This novel, inspired by Perkins’s own experience as the youngest of three sisters who arrived in the United States in the 1970s, presents a multigenerational story about finding identity and acceptance.
For more of the latest developments in the YA category, see our 2018 Spotlight on YA.