Click here to see all of the current Best Fiction for Young Adults nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley
Page Street Kids / Macmillan
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Mirabelle is a talented pawn in her mother’s quest for power. Josse is the bastard son of King Louis XIV, and is not predisposed to kindness towards the murderer of his father, despite his complicated relationship with both his father and his legitimate siblings. Mirabelle and Josse become unlikely allies as the Shadow Society, lead by Mirabelle’s mother, begins to terrorize the French people.
Mirabelle’s character is strong, though vulnerably naive. Josse’s character is loving, but prone to wallowing in learned helplessness. The two are pitted against heinous villains and are supported by surprising friends, so their growth becomes a seamless part of this reimagining of history featuring magical powers and dragons.
Fans of Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King series and the older The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz will enjoy this title.
How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
Delacorte Press / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Tiger Tolliver’s last communication with her mother is a harsh argument about an ugly dress–then her mother dies of an aneurysm. Tiger doesn’t know who her father is or have any relatives who can keep her. Facing overwhelming guilt and grief, Tiger will have to “make friends with the dark.”
As with her first gritty novel, Girl in Pieces, Glasgow doesn’t hesitate to “go there” as she address a multiplicity of social issues. Tiger’s relationship with her best friend, Cake, is fully developed. Tiger’s growth and resilience as she navigates the foster system are equally well plotted with an unflinching portrayal of a system populated by both parents who can be bizarre and unkind as well as parents who genuinely shepherd youth through trauma with care and concern. Finally, Glasgow addresses abusive relationships as Tiger’s new guardian–a half-sister who grudgingly accepts the task of guardianship–must free herself from a violent, emotionally abusive partner.
Readers who appreciate the raw treatment of issues like Heroine by Mindy McGinnis or Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo, or The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner will gravitate toward this title.