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.
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Henry Holt and Company / Macmillan
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Ana is a Fantasist, one of seven hybrid princesses who inhabit The Kingdom. Since the main purpose behind her creation is to “please” humanity, her murder of the young man with whom she is obsessed raises questions about her humanity as well as the violent, bizarre behavior of some of the other park inhabitants.
Readers must piece Ana’s story together through transcripts of her trial, other court documents, and memories. Ana’s naiveté makes her a sympathetic character despite her violence. Rothenberg incorporates shades of Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Westworld delightfully mixed with Disney Princess culture. The pacing of the story along with plot twists make this a worthwhile science fiction/dystopian novel that raises familiar themes of marketplace entertainment versus conservation as well as humanity’s responsibilities to its scientific creations. The fast-paced and thought-provoking story with its blend of mystery, drama, romance, and science fiction will have broad appeal.
Fans of Rachel Vincent’s Brave New Girl and Lauren Oliver’s Replica will find this an engaging and accessible title.
We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar
Sourcebooks Fire / Sourcebooks
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Against a backdrop of 1983 New York City, all Michael wants to do is fall and love and lose his virginity without catching something. Is that too much to ask? With the AIDS epidemic on the horizon and his possible first time with Gabriel just around the corner, Michael needs to decide if the possibility of catching something is going to outweigh his feelings for Gabriel. If so, what does that mean for them, and if not, how can he be sure he won’t die?
We are Lost and Found explores identity and sexuality during a time when exploring your sexuality could be dangerous. This book takes a much needed look at queer history, and it shows how complicated family truly can be. Dunbar’s thoughtful prose pays homage to all of those that came before. With an authentic voice, flawed characters, and a quiet plot, this book is a coming of age story that many teens today can still relate to.
Those that were engulfed by the writing of Robin Talley’s Pulp or the heart-wrenching storytelling in History is All You Left Us by Adam Silvera will not be able to put We Are Lost and Found down.