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Akata Witch and 5 Other Books to Read if You Loved Black Panther


If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, stop reading this right now and go buy a ticket. If you have, and you’re craving more African fantasy, more girl inventors, or more badass female warriors, you’ve come to the right place. Black Panther truly had it all–a beautiful African-inspired setting, a power struggle between two princes, an all female army, a thread of social and political commentary, and a shirtless Michael B. Jordan…the list goes on! If you’re feeling the Black Panther-shaped hole in your heart right now, let us fill it with these 6 amazing reads! Wakanda Forever.


Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor’s YA fantasy is a modern classic, and its Nigerian setting and story steeped in African lore is everything you need after leaving Wakanda. Akata Witch blends mythology, fantasy, history, and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound. Sunny is kind of like Shuri–the kid sister figure that you do. not. want to mess with. The best part? Its sequel, Akata Warrior, is now available too!


Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh


Mariko from Renée Ahdieh’s Flame in the Mist is basically like if Nakia and Shuri were combined into one completely badass character. After she narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, Mariko must give up her dreams of being an alchemist and inventor, and goes undercover to infiltrate the Black Clan. Part spy, part inventor, totally. kick. ass. The sequel, Smoke in the Sun, is available this June!


Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

In this thrilling debut based on Nigerian culture we follow Taj, the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. This darkly beautiful fantasy explores themes of class inequality, political conspiracy, and the true meaning of justice and guilt. If you loved the political undertones and power struggles in Black Panther, welcome to the city of Kos. And don’t fret, because the conclusion to this duology, Crown of Thunder, is coming this fall!


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

If you thought Okoye, the spear-wielding general of the Wakanda army was inspiring AF, you need to be introduced to a Ms. Helene Aquilla of Sabaa Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes series. She’s the only woman at Blackliff, a training academy for the Empire, and to say she holds her own would be an understatement. We couldn’t help but get series Helene vibes watching the fiercely loyal Okoye on screen. Okoye is to Prince T’Challa as Helene is to the Emperor. The third book, A Reaper at the Gates, hits shelves this summer!


City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

We haven’t even begun to talk about Erik Killmonger. City of Saints and Thieves is set in a fictional Kenyan city and follows a girl named Tina who, after her mother is mysteriously murdered, is determined to find her killer. Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for Sangui City’s local gang. We can’t help be reminded of her when watching Erik, who was orphaned after his father was killed and who you better believe is holding a grudge, eventually leading him to challenge the throne in Wakanda.


Warcross by Marie Lu

Not only did we draw parallels between the technologically evolved country of Wakanda and Marie Lu’s near-future Tokyo, we needed another comparison to Shuri because she is, in our humble opinion, easily the best character. Her lab of high-tech gadgets made us think of none other than Emika Chen, with all of her futuristic Warcross gear. Where one invents, the other hacks, and they both have a sharp wit, a keen mind, and are total badasses.





Looking for more Black Panther content? Check out Tochi Onyebuchi’s piece!















12 YA Love Stories to Read If You Have Love, Simon Fever

Raise your hand if you’re completely obsessed with Love, Simon, the new teen romcom based on Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda! The story follows Simon, a not-so-openly gay teen trying to navigate high school, keep his friend group together, and e-flirt with a mysterious classmate named Blue. Whether you’re one of the … Continued
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7 Important Books to Celebrate During Black History Month

Black History Month is here, and now, more than ever, we need to celebrate the accomplishments of those who have left a mark on black history and acknowledge that there is still work (and reading!) to do. Luckily, we have a long list of books to explore. Read on for some of our favorite books that … Continued
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10 Books to Read if You’ve Already Finished Stranger Things

Stranger Things season 2 just came out on Friday, and if you’re like all of us over at Penguin Teen HQ, then you’ve deffffinitely already finished. (Why are we like this??) Never fear—we’ve got plenty of eerie reads to tide you over until (hopefully) the next season.   Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra … Continued
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I Want to Hear Your Story: Joy McCullough on Publishing Her Novel, BLOOD WATER PAINT in Today’s Landscape

When it came time to decide on the dedication for my debut novel, Blood Water Paint, there was never really any question. The book was for my daughter. I was given slight pause, though, since I have two children. I didn’t want my son to feel left out. (I’ve never quite gotten over when my … Continued
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Ocean’s 8: The YA Cast

The Ocean’s 8 trailer dropped today and we can’t. stop. watching. it. Unfortunately we have to wait until next June to see it, but that doesn’t mean we’re just going to sit over here stamping our feet like Veruca Salt. What are we doing? Assembling a crime team made up entirely of our favorite YA … Continued
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11 Creepy Lines From Books That Will Give You Chills

October 31st is practically on our doorstep, which means every day should be spent selecting Halloween candy, picking out scary movies, and cuddling up with books that will chill your blood, send shivers down your spine, and bring out the goosebumps. Read on for some of the creepiest lines from YA books to get you … Continued
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Artemisia Gentileschi and 7 Other Real Women to Inspire You During Women’s History Month

Every March, we celebrate all of the women that have made an impact on our history and our lives. We try to always celebrate women, but this month especially, the power of a woman is undeniable. That’s why we’re telling you about 8 real women–some you may know, some you may not–that have been seriously inspirational … Continued
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8 Book Recommendations from Alwyn Hamilton for Your LAST JEDI Hangover

Alwyn Hamilton, author of the Rebel of the Sands series and one of our resident Star Wars enthusiasts, has blessed us with a list of books to read after seeing The Last Jedi, because we know it’s hard to go on with life after you’ve seen it. Never fear, we’ve got exactly what you need right … Continued
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Girl Wonder: Tochi Onyebuchi on Shuri’s Role in Black Panther

Revolution hums like a drumbeat through every frame of Black Panther. Revolution roars in the plot. It sings every time a freight train whisks down a length of high-speed rail. It glows in the beautiful black skin of every single principal character in this film. And it shines as bright as a million suns in … Continued
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9 Heroines Who Are Ready to Join the Rebel Alliance

  Already seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi but can’t seem to get enough of it? Want to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi but you’re too worried about what is going to happen to our friends in the Rebel Alliance to do so? Have no fear–we’ve got you covered, regardless of your current Star … Continued
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