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!

What to Do After Your Debut? Keep Writing, Of Course!

The 2021 Morris Award Finalists (shown above) were announced in December, and the winner will be revealed at the ALA Youth Media Awards on January 25. First granted in 2009, the William C. Morris YA Debut Award recognizes the most impressive debut published in Young Adult Literature each year.

With more than a decade of winners to look back on, let’s see which of our former debuts are still impressing readers today.

2010’s Morris Award went to L. K. Madigan’s Flash Burnout. Tragically, the author passed away just a year after receiving the award. The rest of the finalists from that year, however, have continued to contribute to YA in significant ways, perhaps none more notably that Nina LaCour, who went on to win the 2018 Printz Award for We Are Okay. LaCour’s latest novel, Watch Over Me, has been nominated for the 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults Selected List.

In fact, several names on the 2021 BFYA nominations list were originally finalists for the Morris Award, including 2015’s Jessie Ann Foley, 2016’s Anna-Marie McLemore, 2018’s Nic Stone, and David Yoon in 2020.

Last year’s winner, Ben Phillippe, has been nominated. Both the winner of the 2019 Morris Award and one of its finalists have companion books that were nominated — Adib Khorram with Darius the Great Deserves Better and Tomi Adeyemi with Children of Virtue and Vengeance. And Becky Albertalli, the winner in 2016, is enjoying praise this year for Yes No Maybe So, cowritten with Aisha Saeed.

What about books out in 2021? Morris Award recipients have those, too!

Just released is Concrete Rose, 2018 Morris Award winner Angie Thomas’s follow up to The Hate U Give.

And out in August is In the Wild Light from 2017 Morris Award winner Jeff Zentner.

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

The moral of the story is this: no matter which finalist is chosen in 2021, we will look forward to reading them for years to come.

2021 Youth Media Awards

As we gear up for ALA Midwinter and the 2021 Youth Media Awards (YMA), we thought it could be fun to highlight a few YMA-related stories. In the coming weeks, we’ll focus on those titles from the past and present award cycles that might inspire you and your readers!

But first, a reminder: you can follow along with the Youth Media Awards announcements starting at 8 am CT on Monday, January 25. You can watch with ALA’s streaming platform or through the various social media platforms using the hashtag #alayma.

To begin our dive into these special awards, let’s look at the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Established in 2000, this award is granted each year to the “best book written for teens, based entirely on literary merit.” Mike Printz was a high school librarian for years, and he believed wholeheartedly in finding the right book for the right reader at the right time. In honor of 20 years of service to young adult readers, here are a few then and now connections:

Continue reading 2021 Youth Media Awards

2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

2021 Great Graphic Novels Top Ten

The 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is now available!

The list consists of 126 titles selected from 145 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The books, recommended for those aged 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. View the full list.

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

  • Almost American Girl by Robin Ha. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9780062685094.
  • Blue Flag by Kaito. 
    • Vol. 1. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713011. 
    • Vol. 2. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713028. 
    • Vol. 3. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713035. 
    • Vol. 4. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713042. 
    • Vol. 5. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713059. 
  • Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence by Joel Christian Gill. Oni Press. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781549303357. 
  • Go With the Flow by Karen Schneemann, art by Lily Williams. First Second / Macmillan. 2020. $21.99. ISBN: 9781250305725.
  • Guantánamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison by Sarah Mirk, art by Gerardo Alba, Kasia Babis, Alex Beguez, Tracy Chahwan, Nomi Kane, et al. Abrams ComicsArts / Abrams Books. 2020. $24.99. ISBN: 9781419746901. 
  • The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado, art by DaNi. Hill House Comics / DC Comics. 2020. $22.99. ISBN: 9781779504524. 
  • The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Random House Graphic / Penguin Random House. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9780593125298. 
  • Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. First Second / Macmillan. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781250171115. 
  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru. DC Comics. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9781779504210. 
  • Wonder Twins by Mark Russell, art by Stephen Byrne.
    • Vol. 1: Activate! Wonder Comics / DC Comics. 2019. $16.99. ISBN: 9781401294649. 
    • Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall of the Wonder Twins. Wonder Comics / DC Comics. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9781779501790. 

The suggestion form for the 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens 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.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team for all the great work they put into curating this list. The members are:

Crystal Chen, coordinator, The New York Public Library, Bronx, NY
Erin Durrett, Clinton-Macomb Public Library, Clinton Township, MI
Denise Farley, Dekalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Traci Glass, Lincoln City Libraries, Lincoln, NE
Thea Hashagen, Mill Valley Public Library, Mill Valley, CA
Kacy Helwick, New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA
Tina H. Lerno, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Mike Pawuk, Cuyahoga County Public Library, South Euclid, OH
Christine Pyles, Euclid Public Library, Euclid, OH
Celeste Rhoads, The American Library in Paris, Paris, France
Shaira Rock, Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst, IL
Becky Standal, Longview Public Library, Longview, WA
Isaiah West, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Largo, MD

2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers

2021 Quick Picks Top Ten

The 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list is now available!

The list of 64 titles is drawn from 81 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The list identifies titles aimed at encouraging reading among teens who dislike to read. View the full list.

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

  • Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis. Katherine Tegen Books. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062561626.
  • Found by Joseph Bruchac. 7th Generation. 2020. $9.95. ISBN: 9781939053237.
  • Golden Arm by Carl Deuker. HMH Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780358012429.
  • Heartstopper Vol. 1. by Alice Oseman. Graphix. 2020. $14.00. ISBN: 9781338617443.
  • Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds. Illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781534444959.
  • The Loop by Ben Oliver. Chicken House. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781338589306.
  • #NoEscape by Gretchen McNeil. Freeform. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781368026260.
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. Blazer + Bray. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062996480.
  • Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. First Second Books. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781250171115. ISBN: 9781250171115.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Scholastic. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781338503265.

The suggestion form for the 2022 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers 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.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2021 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team for all the great work they put into curating this list. The members are:

Coordinator Molly Dettmann, Norman North High School, Norman, OK
Megan Baird, Main Library-Yuma County Library District, Yuma, AZ
Kathleen J. Barker, History UnErased, Plymouth, MI
Sarah Carnahan, Pulaski Academy, Little Rock, AR
Barbara Dinan, Plymouth District Library, Plymouth, MI
Elizabeth Giles, Kansas City Public Library, MO
Aimee Haslam, Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, VA
Marie LeJeune, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR
Jessica Levy, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Kat Reynolds, University of Southern California, South Pasadena, CA
Maryjean Riou, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ 
Lorraine Roussin, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, TX
Jennifer Sutton, Lake Park High School-East Campus, Roselle, IL
Jade Valenzuela, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM
Emily Williams, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City, OK
Administrative assistant Dana Hutchins, Jackson Middle School, San Antonio, TX

2021 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

2021 Amazing Audiobooks Top Ten

The 2021 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list is now available!

The list consists of 81 titles selected from 149 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The list is aimed towards young adults aged 12-18 and is drawn from the previous year of spoken-word releases. The committee listened to over 400 titles this year in their quest to choose a myriad of audiobooks that would appeal to all subsects of the teen audience. View the full list.

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

  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, read by Avi Roque, Macmillan Audio, 2020. 13 hours, 47 minutes. DD, 9781250619129. 
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, read by Melania-Luisa Marte and Elizabeth Acevedo. Quill Tree Books, 2020. 5 hours, 32 minutes. DD, 9780063011816.
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Book 1 by Holly Jackson, read by Bailey Carr, Melissa Calin, Michael Crouch, Gopal Divan, Robert Fass, Kevin R. Free, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Carol Monda, Patricia Santomasso, Shezi Sardar and Amanda Thickpenny. Listening Library, 2020. 10 hours, 53 minutes. LD, 9780593155264. 
  • Kent State by Deborah Wiles, read by Christopher Gebauer, Lauren Ezzo, Christina DeLaine, Johnny Heller, Roger Wayne, Korey Jackson, and David de Vries. Scholastic Audio, 2020.1 hour, 58 minutes.  DD, 9781338636352.
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2020.18 hours, 54 minutes. DD, 9781797113463.
  • Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt. Blackstone Publishing, 2020. 13 hours, 48 minutes. DD, 9781094149226. 
  • The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep: Voices from the Donner Party by Allan Wolf, read by Bahni Turpin, Whitney Dykhouse, Teri Schnaubelt, Tim Gerard Reynolds, Lauren Ezzo, Eric G. Dove, Ramón de Ocampo, and Shaun Taylor-Corbett. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, 2020. 9 hours, 54 minutes. CD, 9781713547969. 
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, read by Jason Reynolds and introduction by Ibram X. Kendi. Little, Brown Young Readers, 2020. 4 hours, 11 minutes. DD, 9781549184253. 
  • We Are Not Free by Traci Chee, read by Scott Keiji Takeda, Dan Woren, Ryan Potter, Ali Fumiko, Sophie Oda, Andrew Kishino, Christopher Naoki Lee, Grace Rolek, Erika Aishii, Brittany Ishibashi, Kurt Sanchez Kanazawa and Terry Kitagawa. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. 10 hours and 26 minutes.  DD, 9780358343561. 
  • When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, read by Full Cast. Listening Library, 2020. 3 hours, 42 minutes. LD, 9780593162590.

The suggestion form for the 2022 Amazing Audiobooks 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.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

A huge thanks goes out to the members of the 2021 Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Team for all the wonderful work they put into curating this list. The members are: Coordinator Danielle Jones (she/her), Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon
Rachel Adams (she/her), King County Library System, Issaquah, Washington
Emily Blaeser (she/her), Meinders Community Library, Pipestone, Minnesota
Jaimie Crawford (she/her), Loudoun County Public Library, Sterling, Virginia
Candace Fox (she/her), Cleveland, Ohio
Annie Jansen (she/her), Penn State Brandywine Vairo Library, Media, Pennsylvania
Gina Kromhout (she/her), Avon Lake Public Library, Avon Lake, Ohio
Kristin Kern (she/her), St. Charles City-County Library, St. Charles, Missouri
Natalie LaRocque (she/her), Palatine Public Library District, Palatine, Illinois
Heather Murfee (she/her),  Midlothian Library, Midlothian, Virginia
Cathy Outten (she/her), California State University, Long Beach, California
Allison Suzanne Riendeau (she/her) Sharon Public Library, Sharon, Massachusetts
Beth A. Slade (she/her), Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, Ohio
Kiera O’Shea Vargas (she/her), EPIPHANY, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee
Tara Williams (she/her), Washington County Public Schools, Abingdon, Virginia

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 30 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

Raybearer by  Jordan Ifueko; Narrated by  Joniece Abbott-Pratt
Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
ISBN: 978-1094149189

Tarisai has grown up living a privileged life surrounded by tutors, luxury, and protection in her realm, but she has never received love and closeness from anyone around her. She especially longs for attention from her mother, called The Lady. At 11 years old, Tarisai is sent to Oluwan City to compete for inclusion on Crown Prince Ekundayo’s governing Council of Eleven. If chosen, she will bond eternally with Prince Dayo and her Council siblings via a mystical Ray, and gain the human closeness she so craves. But Tarisai learns that before she was born, The Lady commanded a djinn to impregnate her with a child who must someday grant her third wish. Tarisai is that child. And The Lady’s third wish is to kill the prince Tarisai is now sworn to protect. 

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 30 Edition

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, December 29 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Book Cover
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Hachette / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 978-1368052405

Shocked and confused, Avery Kylie Grambs is pulled from class and whisked away to the reading of billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s will-a man whom she’s never met-and inherits his fortune. Abruptly moving into his mansion filled with secret passageways and disinherited family members, Avery tries to solve the puzzle of why she is Tobias’ heir rather than his four brilliant, handsome teen grandsons and their families. 

The Inheritance Games is built on short, dialogue-driven chapters and the promise of puzzles, passageways, and mysteries to uncover in every page turn. Avery is clever, likeable, and well-developed as she navigates the treacherous waters of her newfound fame and fortune after a lifetime of financial struggle. Equally likeable (albeit each in their own ways) are the competitive Hawthorne grandsons, who set aside their discontent at disinheritance to work with (and sometimes against) Avery to try and solve the riddle of her inheritance. While there are many characters to follow throughout, each is distinct and developed enough that they are not difficult to track. In true Barnes fashion, clues are interwoven throughout the story and, if the reader is clever enough, they might be able to take a guess at the final big reveal, which both solves the question of Avery’s inheritance and sets up neatly for an upcoming sequel reluctant readers can look forward to devouring.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, December 29 Edition

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

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, December 17 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Drifting Dragons Vol. 1 by Taku Kuwabara Book Cover
Drifting Dragons, Vol. 1 by Taku Kuwabara

Drifting Dragons, vol. 1–5 by Taku Kuwabara
Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: December 17, 2019; December 17, 2019; February 18, 2020; April 3, 2020; August 25, 2020
ISBN: 9781632368904, 9781632369444, 9781632369451, 9781632369512, 9781632369529

Drifting Dragons is a historical fantasy and cooking manga that chronicles the daily life and adventures of the crew of a draking (dragon-hunting) airship. The Quin Zaza is introduced as one of the few draking ships still in operation in this world, and the crew has no port to call home. They follow the dragons and sell the meat, oil, and other byproducts to the locals wherever they are after a successful hunt. The series features a large ensemble cast, but the main characters are Takita, a young woman who is new to the ship and the draking world, and Mika, a brazen man whose driving motivation is how much he enjoys eating dragons. Mika’s appetite leads to many scenes of food preparation and chapters often end with a recipe.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, December 17 Edition