Think back to the New Year's resolutions you set for yourself. While some of us hit the ground running with self-improvement goals for 2024, most of us find it difficult to keep up the motivation to keep working toward our resolutions. After January passes, it can feel next to impossible to follow through with your goals.
However, there are a plethora of books that can help you feel the same inspiration you felt on January 1st. These books range from fiction to nonfiction, young adult to general adult. It's important to note that many contain heavy and mature themes, so be sure to do your research before getting into your next read. Here are some books to read if you want to…
…be more mindful of your social media consumption
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In 2017, a group of junior boys at Albany High School created a racist Instagram account. When it was discovered, the fallout impacted the entire community. As the victims' mental health worsened and those involved began to sue, how much could Albany take before it fell apart?
Personally, I enjoyed reading this book. Slater goes into the heads of specific people in some chapters, while zooming out and providing historical and scientific context to issues like racial discrimination. Some chapters are presented in verse. While Accountable goes far beyond social media, delving deep into the lives of both the aggressors and the victims, this fast-paced book will definitely make you think twice before hitting like on everything your peers post.
This book follows three DC prep-school students: Cora, Bryn, and Georgie. After causing a serious accident, once-popular Bryn is now an outcast. Her only friend is Georgie, a girl who attended weight-loss camp over the summer and is now the subject of multiple misogynistic rumors. Queen bee Cora, whose boyfriend is caught in the crossfire of the rumors surrounding Georgie, struggles to keep her head above the water and carve out her place within her family.
Craving various things, like attention and stability, each of the characters makes questionable decisions about how to present themselves online, leading to a downward spiral of cyberbullying and wildfire rumors. The Rumor Game will make you question everything you thought you knew about social media behavior.
…reconnect with your heritage
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When his cousin in the Philippines dies––and no one tells him why––high school senior Jay must travel there himself and seek a difficult truth. Patron Saints of Nothing details the joys of reconnecting with your heritage while discussing difficult topics, such as drugs, mixed relationships, religion, economic inequality, discrimination, and classism. Engaging and heavy at the same time, this book is worth an incremental, contemplative read––one that will encourage you to explore your own heritage as well.
In his debut novel, Tommy Orange tells the stories of twelve characters from Native communities coming together for the Big Oakland Powwow. As they each make their journeys to Oakland from various areas in the United States, their lives collide in ways no one could have imagined. This not-very-long read is filled with poetic nuance and meaning.
An especially outstanding character is Orvil, a teenager who wants to dance at the powwow after teaching himself about his culture. The themes of There There are sure to resonate with any teen reader who wants to dive deeper into their own heritage.
…get out of your comfort zone
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Marnie Barnes is a prickly, awkward teenager. But when she realizes that she's similar to the universally hated Pride and Prejudice character Mary Bennet, she embarks on a journey to win the Hunt Prize, a prestigious award that her perfect-seeming older sister won years ago. As Marnie starts an organization that lets kids read to adoptable animals, she does things she's never done before––making a friend, falling in love, finding her place in her huge family, and becoming the main character of her own life.
Reshma Kapoor is the valedictorian of her high school and a self-described “study machine”––but when literary agent Linda Montrose sees Reshma’s writing online and reaches out, Reshma sees a can’t-miss opportunity to write a novel and secure admission into the university of her dreams.
Writing the perfect young adult novel, however, will require Reshma to do things she’s never done before: make a friend, go on a date, attend a party, and more. Enter Title Here is a perfect read for any teen looking to increase the variety of their experiences and leave their comfort zone once and for all.
…fight for a cause that interests you
Abby, Christine, and Brit are best friends. When new student Sasha finds herself in a difficult situation, the girls take it upon themselves to petition the school for free menstrual products. But when their requests are repeatedly ignored by an administration that prioritizes sports and spectacle, can the four girls stand up for what they believe in? And what happens when one of them betrays her friends?
Go with the Flow is a fast-paced, engaging graphic novel filled with necessary information and great art. Readers are sure to learn more about teen activism and feel inspired to raise awareness for an issue they care about.
Kim Hyun Sook attends college in 1983, a time in which South Korea is ruled by the Fifth Republic. At first, Hyun Sook just wants to get through her classes––but when she's invited to an underground book club, she slowly finds herself unable to resist the pull of freedom of expression.
This story is amazing. The tight, intense plot almost reads like a fictional dystopia, but the events depicted in the book actually occurred, which makes it all the more interesting. It's a lesson in history and social awareness.
The treatment of those who read banned literature or protested is unbelievable and hard to swallow. The art, which is in black and white, showcases the story perfectly.
Keeping up with your goals the entire year isn't an easy feat––but these books will definitely help you get to where you want to be. Happy reading!