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2017 Books for the Holidays: Diverse Books Reading List

The US is filled with distinct stories and perspectives, and below are some of our favorite books from 2017 that focus on different aspects of American identity. These books will give you a deeper understanding of another’s or your own experience.

Check out all our 2017 holiday lists here.

  1. 1
    Lucky Boy Book Cover Picture
    Lucky Boy Book Cover Picture

    Lucky Boy

    by Shanthi Sekaran

    Solimar Castro-Valdez embarks on a perilous journey across the Mexican border. Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life in Berkeley, but she can’t get pregnant. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Soli’s son comes under Kavya’s care, Kavya finally can be the kind of mother she dreamed of being. Lucky Boy gives voice to two mothers bound together by their love for one boy. His destiny and that of his two mothers teeters between two worlds as Soli fights to get back to him.
    Lucky Boy Book Cover Picture
    Lucky Boy Book Cover Picture

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  2. 2
    Meddling Kids Book Cover Picture
    Meddling Kids Book Cover Picture

    Meddling Kids

    by Edgar Cantero

    With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn. A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids is strikingly original and dazzling.
    Meddling Kids Book Cover Picture
    Meddling Kids Book Cover Picture

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  3. 3
    We Were Eight Years in Power Book Cover Picture
    We Were Eight Years in Power Book Cover Picture

    We Were Eight Years in Power

    by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published inThe Atlantic along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development. He explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the most recent presidential election.
    We Were Eight Years in Power Book Cover Picture
    We Were Eight Years in Power Book Cover Picture

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  4. 4
    Boy Erased (Movie Tie-In) Book Cover Picture
    Boy Erased (Movie Tie-In) Book Cover Picture

    Boy Erased (Movie Tie-In)

    by Garrard Conley

    When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.
    Boy Erased (Movie Tie-In) Book Cover Picture
    Boy Erased (Movie Tie-In) Book Cover Picture

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  5. 5
    Chemistry Book Cover Picture
    Chemistry Book Cover Picture

    Chemistry

    by Weike Wang

    Three years into her graduate studies, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She’s tormented by her failed research by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. This winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas for a different kind of chemistry–one in which the reactions can’t be quantified, measured, and analyzed; one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart.
    Chemistry Book Cover Picture
    Chemistry Book Cover Picture

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  6. 6
    The Lauras Book Cover Picture
    The Lauras Book Cover Picture

    The Lauras

    by Sara Taylor

    After a fight with Alex’s father, Ma takes Alex on a pilgrimage of self-discovery through her own enthralling past. Slowly, Alex begins to realizes that the road trip is not a string of arbitrary stops, but a journey whose destination is perhaps Ma’s biggest secret of all. Told from the perspective of Alex, a teenager who equates gender identification with unwillingly choosing a side in a war, and written with a stunningly assured lyricism, The Lauras is a fearless study of identity.
    The Lauras Book Cover Picture
    The Lauras Book Cover Picture

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  7. 7
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes Book Cover Picture
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes Book Cover Picture

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes

    by Jamie Ford

    Ernest Young, a half-Chinese orphan, is astounded to learn he will be raffled off at the World’s Fair. The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love. Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes Book Cover Picture
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes Book Cover Picture

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  8. 8
    Green Island Book Cover Picture
    Green Island Book Cover Picture

    Green Island

    by Shawna Yang Ryan

    Taipei, February 28, 1947: As an uprising rocks Taiwan, a young doctor is taken from his newborn daughter by Chinese Nationalists, on charges of speaking out against the government. Although he eventually returns to his family, his arrival is marked by alienation. Years later, this troubled past follows his youngest daughter to America, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family. A stunningly lyrical story of a family and a nation grappling with the nuances of complicity and survival.
    Green Island Book Cover Picture
    Green Island Book Cover Picture

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  9. 9
    Sour Heart Book Cover Picture
    Sour Heart Book Cover Picture

    Sour Heart

    by Jenny Zhang

    This debut story collection  conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City.  Jenny Zhang’s stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again.
    Sour Heart Book Cover Picture
    Sour Heart Book Cover Picture

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  10. 10
    Called to Rise Book Cover Picture
    Called to Rise Book Cover Picture

    Called to Rise

    by Chief David O. Brown and Michelle Burford

    On July 7, 2016, protesters marched in the streets of Dallas to demonstrate against the killings of unarmed black men by the police. As the peaceful event drew to a close, a sniper opened fire, targeting white cops and killing five of them. Into this charged situation stepped Dallas police chief David O. Brown, who, with a historic new tactical approach, quickly ended the gunman’s siege and calmed his community and the nation. Called to Rise explores the keys to that dialogue that have made Brown a leader on the front lines of social change.
    Called to Rise Book Cover Picture
    Called to Rise Book Cover Picture

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