Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

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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.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve | Audiobook | Audible.com

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.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

American Betiya Cover Art

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. 

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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.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, August 28 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.

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?

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, June 4 Edition

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.

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#ALAMW19 Recap: Best Fiction for Young Adults 2019 Top Ten

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:

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#ALAMW19 Recap: Interviewing Adib Khorram, author of Darius the Great is Not Okay, 2019 Morris Award Winner

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?

Adib Khorram (AK): Thank you very much indeed! I was doing the dishes when I got the call from my editor—and the first person I told was my agent. (I think the text of the email just read AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!) Continue reading #ALAMW19 Recap: Interviewing Adib Khorram, author of Darius the Great is Not Okay, 2019 Morris Award Winner