Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Boys Run the Riot, v.1 by Keito Gaku

Boys Run the Riot Cover Art

Boys Run the Riot, v.1 by Keito Gaku
Kodansha Comics / Kodansha USA
Publication Dates: May 25, 2021
ISBN: 9781646512485

Ryo spends his days at school and at home without letting anyone know that he is transgender. In his free time, it is only the clothes he wears that make him feel like his true self. When Jin—a new cisgender student who has to repeat the grade Ryo is in—runs into him at a clothing shop, they find that they both have the desire to wear clothes that reflect themselves. Ryo confides in Jin about his gender identity, and the two decide to start their own clothes business with Ryo designing and Jin marketing. Rounding out the group is cisgender classmate Itsuka, who is bullied for his interest in photography. The three work together to create a business that makes clothes that defy people’s assumptions about them. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Pumpkin by Julie Murphy

Pumpkin Audiobook by Julie Murphy cover art

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy; narrated by Chad Burris
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release date: May 24, 2021
ISBN: 9780063088764

Look out, Clover City, you’ve got a new queen.

It’s not always easy to be the fat, flamboyantly gay kid in small-town Texas, which is why Waylon Brewer can’t wait until graduation. Then, he and his twin, Clementine, can move to Austin, and he can go full Waylon and become his best, fabulous self.  

Except Clementine doesn’t want to go to Austin, something Waylon finds out the same night his boyfriend dumps him. When Waylon hears the news, he impulsively creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show. Much to his dismay, the video is shared with his whole school, and he is nominated for Prom Queen. With help from some friends and some fellow queens, Waylon decides to embrace the nomination. Along the way, he learns that he doesn’t have to wait to be fully himself.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Love is a Revolution

Love is a Revolution Cover Art

Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson
Bloomsbury YA/Bloomsbury
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 9781547600601 

Nala has always avoided spending time with members of Inspire Harlem, a community service organization that her cousin-sister-friend Imani is involved in, finding them judgmental and not very fun. But when Imani asks Nala to go to one of their events on her birthday, Nala reluctantly agrees. There, she meets Tye, an incredibly cute and passionate activist. Nala finds herself telling a few little white lies to try and impress him, and it works. But as their relationship gains steam, Nala starts to wish that Tye knew and liked the real her. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles

Things We Couldn't Say Cover Art

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles
Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338734188

Gio’s life is complicated… not because he is bisexual. Not because of his father’s drinking problem. Gio’s life is complicated because his mother, who he has not seen or heard from in eight years, is back in town. She wants to meet and talk, but Gio is confused. Should he forgive her? Should he tell her that she gave up her chance to be in his life? Adding to Gio’s confusion is the attractive new boy that he meets in school. Are they friends? Or more than friends? There are no simple answers, but Gio is bound and determined to figure things out anyway.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Juliet Takes a Breath: The Graphic Novel by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote

Juliet Takes a Breath Cover Art

Juliet Takes a Breath: The Graphic Novel by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
ISBN: 9781684156115

Meet Juliet, a queer Puerto Rican college student from the Bronx eager to begin her internship in Portland with white feminist author Harlowe Brisbane. Unfortunately, Juliet quickly feels overwhelmed and frustrated as she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about women’s history, feminism, or even her own identity. Compounding her misery are a break-up with her girlfriend Lainie and a fight with her mother, who refuses to accept that Juliet is a lesbian. When Harlowe uses Juliet’s internship to justify her own racism, Juliet is forced to look elsewhere for community. She finds love and support in her extended family, a writing group for queer women of color, and a very cute library intern named Kira.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton and others

Blackout Cover art

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon; narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt, A.J. Beckles, Jordan Cobb, Dion Graham, Imani Parks, Shayna Small, and Bahni Turpin
Quill Tree Books
Publication date: June 22, 2021
ISBN: 9780063088122

Blackout subtly weaves six unique novellas featuring Black characters by six Black authors into one connected story in New York City during a summer blackout. Tiffany D. Jackson’s story focuses on exes Tammie and Kareem who run into each other at the same summer internship opportunity. Nic Stone’s contribution is a queer male/male love story about Tremaine and JJ. Ashley Woodfolk tells a cute sapphic romance between Joss and Nella that takes place at a senior living facility. Dhonielle Clayton tackles a friends-to-lovers romance in the New York Public Library. Angie Thomas tells of a love triangle with some emotional baggage. Nicola Yoon’s meet cute of Seymour and Grace is a heartwarming end to this high-interest book about Black Love.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous Cover Art

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
Sourcebooks/Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
ISBN: 978-1728209425 

Sunny Song is an aspiring influencer, but those plans come derailed when she accidentally makes an inappropriate livestream, AKA #BrownieGate. Her parents respond by sending Sunny to a technology detox camp at a working farm. There Sunny is supposed to be learning how to live without technology.  She still tries to boost her social media following and win a coveted spot on a team of content creators, thanks to a secret illegal phone that she snuck in with her. However, Sunny feels conflicted as she grows close to the son of the camp owner and may just be convinced to take the whole digital detox camp more seriously. 

Sunny’s story feels very relevant to a world full of distraction due to technology and social media. She is a likable character but has her flaws and makes mistakes, which makes her more relatable. The plot is nicely paced, with a fun hook right at the beginning that pulls the reader into the story.  

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Small Favors Cover Art

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 27, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593306741

The residents of Amity Falls live small, peaceful lives, toiling away on farms, helping their neighbors, and tending to the town. Ellerie Downing’s life is no different. She helps her father with the beekeeping, cooks and mends for her family, and takes care of her two younger sisters. But something wicked is stirring in the woods surrounding Amity Falls. The monsters of legend that stalked the area have returned and have cut off their peaceful little town from the rest of the world. 

As summer turns to fall and supplies start to run low, the residents turn to a tricky and magical creature who promises to give them their heart’s desire in return for a small favor. But when the town folk begin to turn on each other, Ellerie realizes that something even more sinister is at play in Amity Falls and she must race against time to save her town and her family.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Hazards of Love, v.1: Bright World by Stan Stanley

The Hazards of Love Cover Art

The Hazards of Love, v.1: Bright World by Stan Stanley 
Oni Press 
Publication: March 30, 2021 
ISBN: 9781620108574 

The Hazards of Love is a fantastical cautionary tale of why you should never make a deal with a magical cat. Amparo is a known delinquent and is facing suspension for pulling the fire alarm at their school. To make matters worse, they have a crush on lolanthe, a straitlaced and rule-abiding student. Enter a magical cat with a solution to their problem. Instead of fulfilling the promise of making Amparo a “good person,” the scheming cat takes over their body and then imprisons Amparo’s soul in a strange place called Bright World. Bright World is full of unusual, brutish, and dangerous human-animal crossbreeds that feed off human memories, slowly turning them into mindless zombies before finally eating their bodies. Amparo must use their quick wits to escape and return home but soon finds themselves in thrall to a black deer named El Ciervo. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Middletown by Sara Moon

Middletown by Sarah Moon | Audiobook cover art

Middletown by Sarah Moon, narrated by Hope Newhouse
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Release date: April 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-1662083341

The story opens with thirteen year old Eli sleeping with her seventeen year old sister, Anna, while waiting for her mom to come home after a night of drinking. This time, their mom is caught drunk driving for the second time and is sentenced to mandatory rehab for at least 90 days. Anna and Eli struggle to find money to pay the bills and feed themselves while attending school and navigating parent-teacher conferences. On top of this, Eli has feelings for one of her best friends, Mina. At the same time, she finds out that Anna was sexually harassed by the coach at her high school and tries to encourage other girls to speak up. When the schools try to get in contact with a guardian and send a social worker to their home, Anna and Eli run away to try and find a place where they belong.

The narrator does a great job of capturing the different female voices within the story. The audiobook captures the pacing and progression of the story in an engaging way.

Similar to Crank by Ellen Hopkins, this story draws attention to the resilience required to overcome addiction and continue to be in relationship with family and friends. For readers who enjoy texts about being resilient, try Parenthesis by Élodie Durand, No Longer Human by Junji Ito, and The Sea in Winter by Christine Day.

– Caitlyn Seale 


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 title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.