3 New YA Books About Debate

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

Soho Teen

Translated for the first time from Japanese, author Chesil’s “enigmatic and powerful” (Kirkus Reviews) debut tells the story of Ginny Park, a Zainichi Korean girl born in Japan and living in Oregon as she takes to the road in search of a place she might finally belong.

As a fan of contemporary YA, I think that it’s the normal activities and little details told creatively that make contemporary YA fiction so exciting and memorable. So while extracurricular activities might just seem like the regular trappings of high school life, I love it when YA authors can really infuse a lot of humor, details, and heart into an activity that YA characters take part in. I’ve noticed lately that some fun debate team–centered YA novels are releasing this spring, so I thought it would be fun to shout about a few of them! From enemies-to-lovers romcoms to coming-of-age, these fun new YA books about debate are TBR-worthy!

Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta cover

Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta

In this funny, contemporary adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Leela Bose is a master speech competitor who meets her match with Firoze Darcy, an arrogant private school guy who’s just joined the league. She’s determined to one-up him in their debates, but that gets complicated by their intermingling friend group and a few surprising revelations that have Leela wondering if maybe she was too quick to judge.

cover of TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo (June 7)

TJ Powar is a high school debater who becomes the target of a cruel meme making fun of her and her cousin, contrasting the two girls and poking fun at her cousin’s body hair. TJ has her own involved body hair removal process, but she cancels it all on the spot to make a point, and hopefully craft an argument for why she’s still worthy of respect and still beautiful, even if she doesn’t conform to beauty standards. But as the hair grows out, TJ has a harder time keeping hold of her confidence.

That's Debatable cover

That’s Debatable by Jen Doll

Millie has won the state debate tournament three years in a row, and she’s bound and determined to go out with another win. Tag doesn’t really care about winning — he just loves making passionate arguments for the side he believes in. But when the tournament takes an unexpected turn, Millie and Tag must work together and they find that maybe there’s something they can teach each other.

And if you’re looking for a great backlist title about debate, I highly recommend Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner, which is about a mock trial team challenging sexism head-on!

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