Claudia Gray managed to accurately capture the feel of the Star Wars Universe while simultaneously exploring a new perspective that focuses less on heroes, and more on the people that are actually wrapped up in the mess of this intergalactic war. This was the Star Wars book I didn't know I needed. It has sent me down both a spiral of consuming Star Wars novels, and made me a strong fan of Claudia Gray.
By all accounts this should have been a pretty standard YA novel. Instead it took the tropes and turned them over to discuss things like what defines person-hood, what makes a person good or bad, and how do we stand up for the things we want to fight for. I'm not sure when it happened, but I was pulled in and could not put it down until I was done.
Poet X is a wonderful coming of age novel completely written in verse. It's beautifully written and navigates a wide variety of social roles and expectations. I think it can be summed up in the two lines: And I think about all the things we could be if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.
This has got to be one of the most appropriately named books out there. Jason Reynolds has managed to approach all of our insecurities in a way that inspires one to overcome their obstacles. It's beautifully unifying, incredibly heartfelt, and I feel fuller having read it.