You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Read (and Love) Joy’s Top Ten #ownvoices Jewish Books

Growing up, finding a young adult novel with authentic, nuanced Jewish rep that wasn’t about the Holocaust or anti-Semitism was a difficult task. Which let’s face it, is problematic. The Holocaust is not the only Jewish narrative.

Well, times have thankfully changed! Here’s my top ten list of contemporary #ownvoices YA novels with varied and authentic Jewish representation. In some, the character’s Jewishness is a minor but clearly present factor; in others it’s a more major presence. All are fabulous reads! 

Call it my Chanukah wishlist come true!


 

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Color Me In By Natasha Díaz Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525578239
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Delacorte Press - August 20th, 2019

Sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom's family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.


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It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories By Katherine Locke (Editor), Laura Silverman (Editor), Mayim Bialik (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Katherine Locke (Editor), Laura Silverman (Editor), Mayim Bialik (Foreword by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525646167
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 17th, 2019

For sheer variety of Jewishness, this is my top pick of the list. Plus it’s short stories, so you can dip in and dip out. It's a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be.


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Hope and Other Punch Lines By Julie Buxbaum Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524766771
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Delacorte Press - May 7th, 2019

Abbi Hope Goldstein has lived most of her life in the shadow of iconic ‘Baby Hope’ photo of her wearing a birthday crown and carrying a red balloon as behind her, the South Tower of the WTC collapses. This summer she hopes for anonymity as a camp counselor a few towns away from her suburb. But when Noah Stern, whose world was also shattered that day, convinces her to team up to find answers about the other people in the photo, their summer takes a very different direction.


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Kissing in America By Margo Rabb Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062322388
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: HarperCollins - May 24th, 2016

Still grieving from the death of her father, sixteen-year-old Eva ends up on a road trip across the country with her best friend, and learns about love and life.


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Our Year of Maybe By Rachel Lynn Solomon Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781481497763
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - January 15th, 2019

A powerful contemporary about the complicated aftermath of a kidney transplant between friends.


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You Asked for Perfect By Laura Silverman Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9781492658276
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Sourcebooks Fire - March 5th, 2019

Senior Ariel Stone has spent his life in search of perfect....until a failed calculus quiz puts his future on the line, forcing Ariel to enlist his classmate, Amir, as a tutor. But can Ariel let go of his quest for perfect to add a relationship to his life?


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Sick Kids In Love By Hannah Moskowitz Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781640637320
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Entangled: Teen - November 5th, 2019

Chronically ill Isabel has one firm rule: No dating. But then she meets another sick kid...It’s complicated. It’s dangerous. He’s gorgeous and fun. But is he worth breaking the rules for?


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Little & Lion By Brandy Colbert Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316349017
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - July 3rd, 2018

When Suzette returns to LA from boarding school to support her step-brother with his recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, she doesn’t plan on meeting someone and falling in love.


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The Upside of Unrequited By Becky Albertalli Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780062348715
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 30th, 2018

From the award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (which became the HBO movie LOVE SIMON), comes this tale of seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso, who knows all about unrequited love, even as her twin sister Cassie tells her to get over herself and get that first kiss. But neither of them anticipate that Molly just might fall for her Tolkein-superfan co-worker Reid.


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