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.

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

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.

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

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre. By Alverne Ball. Art by Stacey Robinson. Abrams/Megascope, $15.99 (9781419755170).

Greenwood—also known as Black Wall Street—was a bustling district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with many successful Black-owned businesses. In 1921, a white mob descended on Greenwood, destroying businesses and devastating the community. One hundred years later, Across the Tracks pays homage to Greenwood.

Alone. By Megan E. Freeman. 2020. Penguin Random House/Crown, $17.99 (9780593176399).

Maddie finds herself completely, totally alone when she wakes up from a secret sleepover and discovers that everyone was evacuated overnight from her town, her state, and maybe her whole half of the country. She has to survive natural disasters, the elements, looters, wild animals, and her own crushing loneliness.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

Due to the large number of nominees, not all titles are shown here. See full list below.

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


Amari and the Night Brothers. By B.B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062975164).

Amari’s brother Quinton has disappeared, and her only hope of finding him is to follow in his footsteps and become a Junior Agent with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. 

Amber and Clay. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick Press, $22.99 (9781536201222). 

In ancient Greece, two unlikely friends Rhaskos and Melisto find their lives intertwined in a search for freedom and purpose. As a ghost bound to Rhaskos, Melisto must help free him before she can find her own rest in the Halls of Hades.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Summer

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Blackout Cover Art

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
HarperCollins / Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
ISBN: 978-0063088092

It’s a hot, muggy summer day in New York City. When the power goes out, sparks fly. All across the city, an interconnected group of Black teens finds love. Bitter exes cross paths at a competitive internship before they’re forced to walk home together. Old friends reconnect on the subway and at the library. New attractions bloom at a nursing home and in a rideshare. Everyone is on their way to the same block party in Brooklyn, and who knows how their stars will have realigned when the lights finally come back on… 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Noelle: The Mean Girl by Ashley Woodfolk

Noelle the Mean Girl Cover Art

Noelle:The Mean Girl by Ashley Woodfolk
Penguin Workshop/ Penguin Random House
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593096079 

Noelle is losing control of her life. First, she has a crush on her friend Tobyn. Next, her younger brother Pierre keeps getting beat up. Then when her father loses his job, she decides to work more hours at her grandparent’s Chinese restaurant, an obligation which interferes with school and practicing her cello for the upcoming showcase. Can Noelle figure out how to handle all of these changes without letting her temper get the best of her and lashing out at those who love her most?  

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Noelle: The Mean Girl by Ashley Woodfolk

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Muted by Tami Charles

Muted by Tami Charles
Scholastic Press / Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338673524

Denver and her best friends are taken under the wing of music legend Sean “Mercury” Jones aka Merc to become the next big thing, but at what price? As Merc becomes more controlling and cuts the girls off from family and friends, will they even make it out alive?

Muted flows from the first page with verse that feels like lyrics to a song (not including the song or two that is included). Readers will immediately be hooked by Denver and her dreams of music stardom. Then, what at first seems like an inspiring read about friends making music, quickly turns sinister as Merc takes control, further calling readers to race through to see how everything plays out. Each section reads quickly with plenty of white space to help with the overall flow of the book, but does not lessen the overall emotional impact of emotional abuse that is ripped from the headlines.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Muted by Tami Charles

Black History – Black Futures

As we continue in our celebration of Black History Month, we equally celebrate the voices creating rich and brilliant Black Futures. Like this short film from The Movement for Black Lives, countless YA authors are sending visions of a future world into the present and into the hearts of young adult readers everywhere. Here are a few recent or forthcoming examples:

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

This title, selected for the 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten, draws upon West African folklore and Western fairy tales to create an immersive and complex world that is sure to engage and delight.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Described as perfect for fans of the Dora Milaje from Black Panther, this newly-released high fantasy is poised to join a powerful cohort of strong female characters.

Continue reading Black History – Black Futures

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

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 16 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

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee; narrated 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
Release date: September 1, 2020
ISBN: 9780358343561

Fourteen Japanese American teens are cruelly taken from their San Francisco homes to  internment camps purportedly to protect the U.S. west coast from Japanese espionage or sabotage during World War II.  The Nissei’s stories start the same, but have many different outcomes as they make their choices and too many choices are made for them.

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 16 Edition