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.
Dig by A.S. King
Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
The Hemingway grandchildren dig through their own warped identities and personal tragedies stemming from their dysfunctional family’s start with their deeply flawed grandparents, Gottfried and Marla.
Teens will be enthralled with the harrowing stories of the five Hemingway grandchildren: The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. Dig feels almost as surreal and out there as I Crawl Through It, but it is easier to follow as King reveals more and more of the connections between the seemingly disparate characters through the alternating point-of-view chapters. Overall, King straddles the line of surreal and realistically poignant throughout the book, addressing issues like domestic violence, racism, sexual assault, and figuring out who you are in a family where you don’t quite belong.
Fans of King’s other works such as I Crawl Through It, the magical realism of Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block or Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, or the fascinating character development of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton will be entranced with Dig until the very end.
–Molly Dettmann and Ness Shortley
The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie
Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication date: March 26, 2019
What do you do when the only person you love is taken from you? If you’re Poe Blythe, you dedicate your life to getting revenge. To do this, she must travel beyond the walls of the Outpost and the Admiral whose thirst for gold puts her people in conflict with the river raiders responsible for killing the one Poe loves. On that journey, she discovers things are more complicated than she ever imagined. What will she do when she’s forced to choose between the avenging her fallen love and doing what’s right?
Poe Blythe is a complicated character. She’s driven and ruthless and competent. She doesn’t like relying on others, but over the course of the novel, she has to decide who to trust and how much. In this dystopian future, humans are less technologically advanced and have to contend with the machines and tools left behind by their ancestors; they also have to wrestle with the decisions made by long-dead politicians that have divided people into those who live in the safety of the Outpost and the raiders who make their home along the river—and the way current politicians seek to vilify those on the opposite side for their own gain. This is a revenge road trip story that also deals with the weighty issues of grief, the harm of stereotypes, and the things people do for the ones they love.
Fans of Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, and the videogame “Horizon: Zero Dawn” will find a lot to love here.
— Ness Shortley