Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Book cover for Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall; narrated by Kathleen McInerney, Robbie Daymond and Rob Shapiro
Listening Library
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 9780593340806

Bitter Rock has a long history of disappearances. In 2003, Sophia’s mother vanished and now years later, Sophia returns to discover the truth about what happened to her. Not everything is not as it seems. There is just something a little off, not quite right about Bitter Rock. The horrifying truth will have dire consequences for Sophia and the friends she meets on the island.

This horror novel weaves the supernatural with the psychological and forces the listener to ask, how well do we know our friends, our family? Can we trust what we see with our own eyes? This was deliciously creepy and Marshall did a great job of keeping the pace and the multiple narrators provided depth that provoked fear and sympathy for the characters.

Readers who enjoyed Marshall’s Rules for Vanishing, will be pleasantly surprised to see some minor characters featured more prominently in Our Last Echoes. However, one does not have to read one to enjoy the other. And for more island monsters, try Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand.

–Lorrie Roussin

Other Nominated Titles

  • My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows; narrated by Fiona Hardingham (June 22, 2021)
  • The Witch King (The Witch King Duology) by H.E. Edgmon; narrated by Dani Martineck (June 1, 2021)
  • Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom’s Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder; narrated by Amanda Dolan (March 30, 2021)
  • Pumpkin (Dumplin’) by Julie Murphy; narrated by Chad Burris (May 25, 2021)
  • Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar; narrated by Reena Dutt and Shubhangi Karmakar (May 25, 2021)

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.

Spotlight on Pride!

Though COVID cases are declining in most of the country, many communities have again chosen to forego in-person Pride events this year. But even if can’t wave a flag and take to the streets, you can still celebrate all the LGBTQ+ representation in new and forthcoming YA titles. Here’s a veritable parade of books to ensure your collection gives voice to love in all its forms!

No Way, They Were Gay? Cover Art

No Way, They Were Gay? by Lee Wind
This collection combines primary sources and historical analysis to provide an in-depth look at prominent figures and their identities. Part of Queer History Project, No Way, They Were Gay? is out now from Zest Books, an imprint of Lerner.

Out! Cover Art

Out! How to Be Your Authentic Self by Miles McKenna
An Amazing Audiobooks nominee, this memoir / survival guide from YouTuber Miles McKenna is a generous and open-hearted handbook for kids everywhere. Full of resources and support, this book (out now from Amulet, an imprint of Abrams) is a must-have for LGBTQ+ teens and their allies.

Loveless Cover Art

Loveless by Alice Oseman
From the creator of the beloved graphic novel series Heartstopper comes this novel about Georgia who starts to understand herself as asexual/aromantic once she gets to college. An excellent reminder of one of the least understood aspects of the LGBTQ+ community, Alice Oseman’s latest will be an important addition to your collection for older teens. It will publish in November from Scholastic.

Things We Couldn't Say Cover Art

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles
This sophomore offering from rising star Jay Coles is also coming this fall from Scholastic. It introduces Gio, a queer Black kid navigating the complications of the sudden return of his birth mom after 8 years of absence as well as the ordinary but never easy reality of figuring out who you are and how you love.

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating Cover Art

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
In this novel, Bangladeshi and Irish writer Jaigirdar introduces Hani who tries to come out to her friends as bisexual . . . but they doubt her because she’s only dated boys before. Under pressure to prove it, she lies and says she’s dating Ishu, the only other Bengali kid in their year. Released in May from Page Street, Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating tackles toxic friendships, racism, and relationships.

The Girl from the Sea Cover Art

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
For fans of the graphic novel, Molly Knox Ostertag’s latest was released at the beginning of the month and is already being lauded as a beautiful and emotional story. After being saved from drowning by Keltie, Morgan faces her unexpected and growing feelings for the girl from the sea. She and Keltie begin a summer romance, but Morgan feels she must keep it a secret. Teens will identify with Morgan’s uncertainty in this lovely coming of age story.

The Darkness Outside Us Cover Art

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
Fans of science fiction will rejoice at Eliot Schrefer’s latest (released June 1 from Katherine Tegan Books) featuring two boys who find themselves alone, together on a space ship. Sworn enemies, they realize they must work together to survive and accomplish their mission. Their trust quickly turns to something more as this mystery plus love story unfolds.

Pumpkin Cover Art

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy
Julie Murphy’s back, this time bringing us Waylon Russell Brewer who can’t wait to escape his small town in West Texas. Waylon is white and fat and openly gay, and after his audition tape for a TV drag show gets circulated at school, he ends up running for prom queen. If you loved Murphy’s Dumplin’, you’ll find the same humor and charm here along with another healthy does of disruption to stereotypical beauty standards. Available now from Balzer + Bray.

Love & Other Natural Disasters Cover Art

Love & Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura
Is this a new trope: Fake lovers to real ones? Sugiura has brought us a fun summer romance that starts as a plan to invoke jealousy. Nozomi thinks Willow is perfect, even though she knows Willow’s not over her ex. Seizing the opportunity to be close to her, Nozomi agrees to pose as Willow’s new girlfriend and hopes to see fake love turn into true love. Released in early June, this one is sure to be a delightful summer read.

All Kinds of Other Cover Art

All Kinds of Other by James Sie
Jules and Jack are both new sophomores in their Los Angeles high school. Both have come from painful freshman years at their old schools, and both are looking to make a new start. When they meet, their commonalities turn to sparks, and they have to face hard decisions about who they want to be and who they want to be with.

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. 

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

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, May 15 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.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Page Street Kids / Page Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
ISBN: 978-1624149689

Nishat is a closeted Muslim lesbian in a family with strong Bangladeshi standards She is expected to have an arranged marriage with a man. When she falls for Flavia, she is dismayed to discover that Flavia’s cousin is none other than her nemesis at school, Chyna.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, May 15 Edition