Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.


Cover Art

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Holiday House
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-0823447176 

Meet Charlie Vega, half Puerto Rican in a white Connecticut town, proudly body-positive (or trying to be) despite her mother’s fat-shaming, and never been kissed. Charlie is best known as the best friend of Amelia, who is intelligent, beautiful, and all-around amazing in every way. When a cute coworker takes an interest in her, Charlie might finally be seen for herself instead of the fat girl standing in Amelia’s perfect shadow. But Charlie has been comparing herself to her BFF for years, and old habits die hard. Can Charlie throw off mistrust and self-doubt and learn to love herself first?

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Introducing Your 2022 Best Fiction for Young Adults Team

Hello, YALSA members and Hub readers! I am Allie Stevens, and this is my second year to serve as coordinator for the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults blogging team. I have been on selected list blogging teams for several years, including as coordinator of the 2019 Quick Picks team. I work as the Director of the tiny Calhoun County Library in Hampton, AR and live on an 80-acre farm with my partner, our two kids, two dogs (Nala is pictured below), and three cats. 

The Best Fiction for Young Adults team selects titles based on literary merit and appeal to young adult readers (ages 12-18), taking into account factors such as relevant themes for teens, realistic language, a well-designed and smoothly paced plot, and deep characterization. We consider only prose or verse fiction titles – no nonfiction or graphic novels. Team members discover and read books all year and suggest them to the rest of the team; each book is read and voted on by a minimum of 3 committee members before it becomes an official BFYA nomination. The blogging process will look a little different this year, with one featured review per week rather than a long-form blog post for every nominated title. After a title becomes an official nomination, every member of the team reads it and it is discussed. After the nominations window closes in early November, the team begins to vote on the titles that will appear on the final Best Fiction for Young Adults list. 

Eligible titles for this year’s list will have US publication dates between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021, and anyone can nominate titles for committee review by filling out this form. (Please note: publishers and authors cannot nominate their own books, although they are free to submit titles to the committee for evaluation. Email alliestevens020@gmail.com for a list of mailing addresses.)


The rest of the #BFYA2022 team is made up of librarians from all over the country. They are: 

  • Lindsay Bailey – Belfast, ME
  • Heather Christensen – Portales, NM
  • Matt Clark – Toronto, ON
  • Megan Jackson – Philadelphia, PA
  • Stephanie Johnson – Monroe, NC
  • Amanda Kordeliski – Norman, OK
  • Shelbie Marks – Oklahoma City, OK
  • Kali Olson – Minneapolis, MN
  • Beth Slade – Hudson, OH
  • Andrea Vernola – Kalamazoo, MI
  • Courtney Waters – Jefferson City, MO

We are ready to hit the ground running after ALA Midwinter Conference, and are so excited to share our nominations for the #BFYA2022 selected list with you all this year! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions and share any suggested titles through our field nomination form

Happy reading! 

— Allie Stevens (she/her)

2022 Best Fiction for Young Adults Coordinator

2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults

2021 BFYA Top Ten

The 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults list is now available!

The full list consists of 85 titles selected from 124 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. From that list, and after receiving teen feedback during a virtual session in early January, the team created a short list of the top ten titles.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten titles:

  • Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis. Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062561626.
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. Swoon Reads/Macmillan. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781250250469.
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. HarperTeen/HarperCollins. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062882769.
  • Deeplight by Frances Hardinge. Amulet Books/ABRAMS. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781419743207.
  • Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780062840356.
  • More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780316492355.
  • Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. Amulet Books/ABRAMS. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781419739828.
  • This Is My America by Kim Johnson. Random House Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780593118764.
  • We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez. Philomel Books/Penguin Random House. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781984812261.
  • What I Carry by Jennifer Longo. Random House Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780553537710.

The suggestion form for the 2022 Best Fiction for Young Adults list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.

A very big thank you goes out to the members of the Best Fiction for Young Adults Blogging Team for all the hard work, time, and effort they put into creating the list. The members are: Coordinator, Allie Stevens, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR; Heather Christensen, Portales High School Library, Portales, NM; Michael Fleming, Juanita High School Library, Kirkland, WA; Laura Giunta, Garden City Public Library, Garden City, NY; Stephanie Johnson, Union County Public Library, Monroe, NC; Amanda Kordeliski, Norman Public Schools, Norman, OK; Lisa Krok, Morley Library, Cleveland, OH; Jodi Kruse, R.A. Long High School Library, Longview, WA; Shelbie Marks, Del City Library (Metropolitan Library System), Oklahoma City, OK; Kali Olson, The Blake School, Minneapolis, MN; Karen Stevens, Somerville Public Library, Somerville, MA; Andrea Vernola, Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo, MI; and Emily Walker, Lisle Library District, Lisle, IL.

We’d also like to give a special thank you to all the teens who participated in the teen feedback session. Thank you!

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 18 Edition

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.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron Book Cover
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
HarperVoyager / HarperCollins
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
ISBN: 978-1616208967 

The first volume in a West African-inspired fantasy trilogy, Kingdom of Souls introduces Arrah – the first person in her family to not possess magic, much to her mother’s disappointment. In her desperation to have powers of her own, she strikes a bargain with the Demon King, a decision which ties her fate to his and may cost her everyone she loves and everything she knows. 

An extremely dark and at times disturbing story, Kingdom of Souls begins with incredible world-building and richly complex and sympathetic, though often flawed, characters. Common fantasy tropes are used and twisted around into a fresh, energetic storyline that is full of exciting twists and rapidly-paced action. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 18 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 11 Edition

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.

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly Book Cover
Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly
Scholastic Press 
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
ISBN: 978-1338268492

Her whole life, Sophia was told by everyone that her soft heart made her weak. After losing her heart to the queen’s huntsman (who also narrates the story), she gets a clockwork replacement from the seven men of the woods, and begins a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she gains some unlikely alliances, who all help her see that kindness and empathy have a power of their own.

In this feminist retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, characters are often not what they first appear: a frighteningly large spider proves to be a gentle chef, a charming prince may be a heartless opportunist, and a wicked queen is a female ruler trying to hold her own in a world dominated by powerful men. Sophia grows from a browbeaten princess in need of rescuing to one who recognizes her own worth and figures out how to save not only herself but her entire kingdom.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 11 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 4 Edition

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.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger Book Cover
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, illustrated by Rovina Cai
Levine Querido 
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
ISBN: 978-1646140053

Lipan Apache teenager Elatsoe “Ellie” Bride lives in an alternate modern world populated by ghosts and vampires and fairy rings. Ellie has inherited the power to call on animal spirits, and she is content to explore her abilities slowly and quietly. But then her cousin Trevor dies in a violent car accident, and his ghost appears in a dream to warn Ellie that he’s been murdered, begging her to protect his family. Now Ellie must tread carefully to track a killer in a seemingly perfect small town, helped by her overly-enthusiastic best friend, her ghost dog Kirby, and the stories she’s learned about the abuses suffered and powers wielded by her powerful sixth-great-grandmother.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 4 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 27 Edition

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.

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender Book Cover
King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
ISBN: 978-1338129335

When Kingston James saw a dragonfly land on his brother’s casket, he knew his brother was showing him he wasn’t truly gone. King constantly searches for his brother’s dragonfly to talk to; seeing the dragonflies always helps. Before his death, Khalid overheard King’s best friend Sandy confide a secret and pushed King to end the friendship over it. Now Khalid is gone, Sandy is missing, and King is alone and realizing he has the same secret.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 27 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 20 Edition

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.

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare Book Cover
Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare
HarperTeen / HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062854599 

When Quinn’s mother dies and her father decides he’s had enough of being an ER doctor, they move to an old house in the quiet town of Kettle Springs, MO to get a fresh start. What they don’t know is that the town’s older and younger generations are pitted against each other, with the older citizens determined to “make Kettle Springs great again” and the younger citizens who like to broadcast their pranks on social media and have little regard for tradition and old-fashioned social mores, a battle that culminates in a murderous rampage by Frendo, the town’s corn syrup factory clown mascot. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 20 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 13 Edition

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.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender Book Cover
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins
Publication Date:  May 5, 2020 
ISBN:  978-0062820259 

Felix worries that he’s one marginalized identity too many–Black, queer, and transgender. Still, Felix has his ride-or-die BFF Ezra at his side and a spot at a prestigious summer arts program that will help him get into the college of his dreams. But when an anonymous bully publicly displays images of Felix pre-transition along with his deadname, all his fears and doubts come flooding back. Now Felix must redefine his relationships with family, friends, enemies–and himself.

Felix and his friends are truly authentic teenagers: cocky, pretentious masters of the universe one minute; scared, confused, angry kids the next (and often both at the same time).  Felix’s defense mechanism of rejecting people before they can validate his self-doubt will be very familiar to many teen readers, who will also recognize the breakdown of social cliques and the willingness to open up to peers outside of their established friend groups that comes at the end of high school as students look toward “the real world” of college and beyond.  Throw in a diverse cast that talks about issues affecting queer communities and a heartfelt queer romance that’s begging to be adapted into a Netflix rom-com, and Felix Ever After (and its gorgeous cover art) is a crowd-pleasing addition to YA lit’s growing collection of #ownvoices trans stories. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 13 Edition

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 6 Edition

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.

Save Steve by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
HarperTeen / HarperCollins
Publication date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062876270

Cam is a hopeless romantic, heavy on the hopeless, because when his longtime crush, Kaia, continues to date popular bro Steve (who is definitely wrong for her), instead of Cam, he will do anything to get close to her.  This includes volunteering himself as chairperson of a fund-raising committee to help Steve get the cancer treatment he needs, which will show Kaia what a great guy he is, as well as giving them serious quality time. Cam’s getting the quality time and credit for his selflessness, the only problem is that Steve is on to why Cam is so helpful, and he’s determined to make Cam pay.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, November 6 Edition