Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (2017)

long wayAn unforgettable novel in verse about one boy’s role in a cycle of violence.

Recommended grade level: 8 and up

Pages:   320 (for ISBN 9781481438254)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, verse, diverse, own voices, African-American, reluctant readers, award winners

Tone/Style: spare, hard-hitting

Pace: fast

Topics: inner city life, gangs, ghosts

Themes: revenge, grief, cycle of violence, decisions, family

Summary: An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.
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5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (2015)

5to1A dystopian society, Indian culture, and feminist commentary combine to make this a unique read.

Recommended grade level: 7-10

Pages:  244 (for ISBN 9780385391535)

Genre(s) and keywords: dystopian, verse, diverse, Asia (India, fictionalized)

Tone/Style: bleak, determined

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Booked by Kwame Alexander (2016)

bookedKwame’s novel-in-verse follows in the tradition of Newbery Award-winner The Crossover.

Recommended grade level: 4-8

Pages:   320 (for ISBN 9780544570986)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, verse, sports, diverse, reluctant readers, African-American protagonist

Tone/Style: cool, lyrical

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Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle (2013)

51Oei844sIL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A simple but emotion-packed middle grade boy-and-his-dog story.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 224 (for ISBN 9780805095166)

Genre(s) and keywords: novel in verse, realistic fiction, animal fiction, reluctant readers, Latino/Latina

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Hidden by Helen Frost (2011)

8901945A hidden girl, hidden feelings, and messages for the reader hidden in the text itself–there’s a lot to find in this novel in verse.

Recommended grade level: 5-9

Pages: 176 (for ISBN 9781250056849)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, verse (partially)

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May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (2012)

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An atmospheric novel-in-verse about self-sufficiency and strength of will.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 240 (for ISBN 9781582463933)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, survival, verse

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