In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner; narrated by Michael Crouch Listening Library Release date: August 8, 2021 ISBN: 9780593399040
Cash and his friend Delaney are barely surviving in their small Appalachian town. Cash is being raised by his grandparents after his mother succumbed to opioid addiction, and Delaney is running from drug dealers and an unstable home while working at Dairy Queen. A small but profound scientific discovery by Delaney gives her leverage to earn them both places at a prestigious boarding school. Cash is torn between going and leaving behind the grandparents who have raised him and grabbing the otherwise unattainable opportunities the scholarship would give him. Convinced by Delaney to go to the new school, he discovers his inner poet, and goes through many coming of age experiences.
Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve; narrated by MW Cartozian Wilson Recorded Books Release date: April 27, 2021 ISBN: 9781705028339
High school senior Dean has things planned out. In a year, Dean will be majoring in theatre at NYU and living in New York with his girlfriend, Zoe, and his best friend, Ronnie. Plus, Dean just landed the lead role in the school play, Shakespeare’s Romeo. As Dean settles into the role, something is made clear, being a male feels right. Dean is transgender. The story follows Dean as he navigates what being trans means for him and comes out to his friends, family, and community.
In this honest story of self-acceptance, coming out, and navigating new relationships, listeners are granted an inside look into the coming-out process that is both engaging and validating. The story is made even more validating because of the narration. The narrator has a male voice – a voice that probably sounds closer to what Dean hears in his head rather than the high-pitched voice Dean complains of throughout the story.
American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar Random House / Alfred A. Knopf Publication Date: March 9, 2021 ISBN: 978-1984897152
When Rani meets Oliver, sparks fly. Unfortunately, he is her Indian parents’ worst nightmare. As their relationship deepens, Rani finds herself breaking all the rules to be with Oliver, rejecting her parents’ ideas of propriety in the name of love. Sure, Oliver tends to romanticize her culture as “exotic” and he has expectations she doesn’t always feel comfortable with, but all relationships require compromise and sacrifice, right? When an unexpected family emergency takes Rani away to her family’s home in Pune, India for the summer, she must decide how much she is really willing to give up to be what Oliver needs.
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.
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.
Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram Dial Books / Penguin Random House Publication Date: August 25, 2020 ISBN: 978-0593108239
Things have been better for Darius Kellner ever since his life-altering trip to Iran to meet his mother’s family for the first time. He video chats regularly with his first and best friend Sohrab in Iran. His relationship with his father is finally based on more than a mutual affection for “Star Trek” (though they do still love their “Star Trek”). Darius made the varsity soccer team, works at his favorite tea shop, and even has a boyfriend. But now Sohrab isn’t answering Darius’s calls. Trent the bully is still on Darius’s case. His visiting grandmothers are practically strangers to him. And Darius’s feelings for boyfriend Landon and teammate Chip are all confused. Darius might be doing better than okay–but does “better” mean having to settle for less than best?
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Edited by Ibi Zoboi, with stories by Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Liara Tamani, Renée Watson, Rita Williams-Garcia and more. Balzer + Bray Publication Date: January 8th 2019 ISBN: 9780062698728
Black Enough is a collection of 17 short stories written by some of the biggest name Black authors of YA. The young Black people in these stories confront all the typical teenage life experiences as well as some atypical ones. Some have tragedy and some romance, and all of the stories are shaped with rich plots and emotions.
During the Teen Feedback Session at ALA Midwinter, teens from Seattle and Oregon shared their opinions about the books on the Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 list. With their input, the BFYA 2019 Blogging team determined the BFYA 2019 Top Ten:
Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram follows Darius Kellner, tea afficionado, fractional Persian, and dedicated Trekkie as he travels to Yazd with his family to meet his maternal grandparents for the first time. Darius doesn’t know what his relatives will think of his limited Farsi or his medication and he isn’t sure what he’ll think of Iran. No one is more shocked than Darius when exploring Yazd and learning about his namesake with his new friend Sohrab finally give Darius permission to be entirely himself. Darius the Great is Not Okay is the winner of YALSA’s 2019 Morris Award. Today I’m thrilled to have Adib Khorram here to answer some questions about his debut novel.
Congratulations on Darius the Great is Not Okay’s selection as a 2019 Morris Award finalist! Where were you when you heard? Who was the first person you told about the big news?