Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney and Illustrated by Robyn Smith

Cover Art

Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney, Illustrated by Robyn Smith 
DC Comics
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
ISBN: 978-1401296407

Nubia has Amazonian strength, but after using her strength to stop a robbery, she is the one who ends up in handcuffs. Even a superhero is not immune to racist police brutality, and sadly, this is not the first time something like that has happened to her. When her best friend is repeatedly harassed by a white boy who will not take no for an answer and a protest turns deadly, Nubia must decide whether she is going to potentially reveal her secret identity to protect the ones that she loves.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Nubia: The Real One by L.L. McKinney and Illustrated by Robyn Smith

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott

Cover Art

The Seventh Raven by David Elliott
HMH Books for Young Readers/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-0358252115

Once upon a time, there were seven brothers. Six of them were named Jack, like their father. They were rowdy, bold, and brash, like their father. But the seventh son was unlike his brothers. He was quiet and thoughtful, and his name was Robyn. Jack and his wife loved their sons, but they wished for a daughter, and when their dream came true, they were happy. But April was sickly and dying, and Jack cursed his sons in anger, turning them into birds. The six brothers were sad and confused and wanted to return to their lives. But Robyn was not like his brothers. As a raven he felt like he was finally free. When April grows up, she learns about her brother’s curse and sets off on an adventure to bring them home. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that have been suggested by the team or through the  title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


Alienated. By Simon Spurrier. Art by Chris Wildgoose. 2020. BOOM! Studios. $19.99 (9781684155279). 

Three teenagers named Sam (Samuel, Samantha, and Samir) encounter an alien with incredible powers that bonds to them. But will they use those powers for good or for evil?

Asadora!, v.1. By Naoki Urasawa. VIZ Media / VIZ Signature. $14.99 (9781974717460). 

A storm sweeps into Nagoya, and young Asadora—with the help of unlikely friends—must find a way to rescue her family. But there’s more to the storm than just rain and wind as Asa soon discovers.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.

Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).

Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough. 

Amari and the Night Brothers. By B. B. Alston. Read by Imani Parks. Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, $64.99 (9780063057968).

Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


Becoming Muhammad Ali. By James Patterson and Kwame Alexander. Art by Dawud Anyabwile. 2020. Little, Brown/JIMMY Patterson. $16.99 (9780316498166).

James Patterson and Kwame Alexander tackle the life of Cassius Clay before he became Muhammad Ali in this novel that mixes prose and verse.

Chlorine Sky. By Mahogany L. Browne. Penguin Random House/Crown. $17.99 (9780593176399).

In this novel in verse, Mahogany Browne explores what it’s like to lose a best friend but find yourself.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


The Awakening of Malcolm X. By Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers. $17.99 (9780374313296). 

While serving a sentence in Charlestown Prison, Malcolm Little is introduced to the teachings of Islam and begins to correspond with Elijah Mohammad. As he struggles to process his anger and his past, he begins to solidify his beliefs and become the man known as Malcolm X. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

An Interview with 2021 Morris Award finalist Nina Kenwood, author of It Sounded Better in My Head

The William C. Morris Award is awarded each year to a debut YA publication. After considering the wealth of excellence each year, the committee selects 5 finalists, announced in December. From these, the winner is chosen (2021: Kyrie McCauley’s If These Wings Could Fly) though all of the finalists demonstrate unique greatness in every page. You can watch the 2021 Morris Award Celebration event, where each of the finalists offered some amazing reflections on their work and these times.

In It Sounded Better in My Head, author Nina Kenwood provides a glimpse into that tenuous stretch of time between finishing school and making University departures that is common to so many teens. Kenwood, writing from Australia, is able to shine a light on the unique aspects of the Australian system while tapping into the universal experiences of those late teenage years. From social anxieties to relationship questions, family turmoil and looming adulthood, It Sounded Better in My Head covers a lot of ground. We are thankful to Nina for taking the time to answer some questions and for her remarkable book!

Author Nina Kenwood
author photo by Lian Hingee

THE HUB: Since a ton of our readers likely aren’t familiar with the Australian Educational System, perhaps we should start there. The book opens just as Natalie and her friends have finished their final final exams, which I understand is part of the placement process for University. Would you explain that system a bit more? Help us know where Natalie is in life?

Continue reading An Interview with 2021 Morris Award finalist Nina Kenwood, author of It Sounded Better in My Head

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 2-3 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le

Cover Art
Cover Art

Ghosted in L.A., vol. 2–3 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios
Publication Date: September 1, 2020; December 29, 2020
ISBN: 9781684155415, 9781684156047

In the second and third volumes of Ghosted in L.A., college student Daphne adjusts to her new home with the ghosts of Rycroft Manor. On top of school work and navigating relationships with her ghost roommates, she also must deal with sinister forces both inside and outside the house. Meanwhile, her gay ex-boyfriend Ronnie joins the Rycroft crew and tries to fit in among the other queer students at college. These worlds collide in the culmination of the series, which wraps up tidily in the third and final volume.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 2-3 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked Audiobook By Kerri Maniscalco cover art

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco; Narrated by Marisa Calin
Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
ISBN: 9780316428460

Twins Emilia and Vittoria are part of a long line of witches, which they keep secret to avoid persecution. One evening, Vittoria goes missing. When Emilia finds Vittoria’s body, her heart missing, she vows vengeance and will do anything to find her sister’s killer even if it means using dark magic and joining forces with the Wicked, princes of Hell that have their own nefarious agendas. If Emilia doesn’t keep her wits about her, the price of vengeance just might be too high.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Truth Project by Dante Medema

Cover Art

The Truth Project by Dante Medema
Quill Tree Books / Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 30, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062954404

High school senior Cordelia has her senior writing project all planned: she’ll take a DNA test just like her sister did, and write about identity and her family history. She also manages to get paired with her childhood crush, Kodiak, on the project. But when her genealogy results come in, Cordelia learns her father is not who she thought — which sends her spiraling as her plan for her senior year completely changes.

This free verse novel has a lot of white space on the page and reads quickly. Poems are short and spaced out. Additional storytelling comes in the form of text messages and emails, adding some variety while keeping things fast-paced. The writing is clear, and the plot is straightforward. The search for identity is a familiar theme with strong emotional appeal to teens, and many teens will relate to Delia’s sense of being out-of-place even among the people who know her best.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Truth Project by Dante Medema