Arya Shahi‘s An Impossible Thing to Say is a bold novel-in-verse starring a Persian American teen navigating his first crush, his family’s post-9/11 dynamics, and the role of language in defining who we are. If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is a YA debut from Jen St. Jude about queer first love and mental health at the end of the world-and the importance of saving yourself, no matter what tomorrow may hold. Moderated by Aiden Thomas (The Sunbearer Trials).
Omid needs the right words to connect with his newly met grandfather and distant Iranian heritage, words to tell a special girl what she means to him and to show everyone that he truly belongs in Tucson, Arizona, the only home he’s ever known. Neither the school play’s Shakespearean English nor his parents’ Farsi seems up to the task, and it’s only when Omid delves into the rhymes and rhythms of rap music that he starts to find his voice. But even as he does so, an act of terrorism transforms familiar accents into new threats.
Then a family member disappears, and it seems everyone but Omid knows why. When words fail altogether and violence takes their place, what will Omid do next?
Avery Byrne has secrets. She’s queer; she’s in love with her best friend, Cass; and she’s suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to live: an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.
Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is a celebration of queer love, a gripping speculative narrative, and an urgent, conversation-starting book about depression, mental health, and shame.