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Updated by Jen Blair on Dec 11, 2017
Headline for Holiday 2017 Blair Best Books - Realistic Fiction
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Jen Blair Jen Blair
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Holiday 2017 Blair Best Books - Realistic Fiction

Here are my favorite realistic fiction books from the last year. There are some amazing reads in here. Keeping it REAL.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Vivian Carter has had enough. Enough with boys making stupid jokes about girls, harassing girls in the hall of her high school and teacher and administrators who do nothing to stop it. Enter, Moxie. A zine inspired by her mother’s 1990’s Riot Girl days. Viv’s small zine's influence grows beyond her wildest dreams. Apparently, she was not the only one fed up. Girl Power, indeed.
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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Aza can’t think about anything because of her “intrusives” - obsessive thoughts that take over her mind and her life. Although she is smart with great friends, she finds it hard to stay present in her own life. When she and her friend, Daisy, attempt to help the son of a local missing millionaire, things start to look up. Until everything spirals out of control for her again. Look, it’s John Green. It’s brilliant. Just read it.
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Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Justyce is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and accepted to Yale. He knows he is a good kid making good choices and never worries about the police. Then, one day he has an encounter with a police officer who clearly doesn’t know anything about his background, and judges him solely on the color of his skin. Justyce tries to make sense of this world by writing letters to Martin Luther King, Jr. “What would Martin do?” A compelling page-turner that explores relevant social justice issues.

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

Grace has always known that she was adopted and loved by her family. But after she gives up her own baby for adoption, she decides to find her biological siblings and meet them for the first time. All the feels. Literally all of them. I cried so hard reading this book. The emotional truth in the story of these three siblings coming together and finding family is unparalleled.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Julia can never please her immigrant mother. She is too outspoken. She is too ambitious. After the death of her “perfect” older sister, Julia must find a way to grieve for her sister as she tries to keep her family from falling apart. Julia is so strong. She refuses to bow to anyone else’s wishes and yet remains so vulnerable. One of the most compelling characters I have read all year.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

320 pages. 60 seconds of one young man’s life. An elevator ride you will never forget. Will must decide if he will avenge the death of his brother. Or not. A fast read, but one that will stay with you long after you have finished reading this book.

Release by Patrick Ness

One day of Adam Thorn’s life where he must confront his religious father, an abusive boss, his ex-boyfriend, and the fact that his best friend is leaving town. The author wanted to pay tribute to Judy Blume and Virginia Woolf and… he succeeded. Unforgettable.
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Solo by Kwame Alexander

From the outside, Blade Morrison seems to have it made. As the son of famous rock star, Rutherford Morrison, he seems to have it all: he lives in a mansion, drives a cool car, has a cool girlfriend. But his life is not as easy as it seems, with his father constantly battling his drug and alcohol addictions, his mother gone and now a family secret has come to light and has thrown his world into chaos. The only thing he can think to do is travel to a small village in Ghana where the people there change Blade, and his father, forever. Told in verse with some of Blade’s songs included.
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Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

Wren has been in a downward spiral ever since middle school, when she started hanging out with her drug-using, manipulative “friend.” Her parents are no longer able to control her and send her to a wilderness camp. Wren hates her parents. Hates camp. Hates everyone in the camp. But wilderness camp may be the only place for her to discover how strong and capable she truly is.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

A portrait of a neighborhood told by a tree. Red (the tree) has watched over this neighborhood for years. But when a Muslim family moves in and finds a hate message scrawled on their home, Red and local animals band together to find a way to send a message of love and tolerance to all.
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You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Beginning with new immigrant teens Sonia and Tara and their struggles to assimilate in 1970’s New York City against the wishes of their VERY traditional mother, Ranee, You Bring the Distant Near tells the story of three generations of teenagers struggling to honor their culture, while honoring their strength as women. I fell in love with all three generations of women and cried my way through to the end.