Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

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 field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.


Cover Art

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Holiday House
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 978-0823447176 

Meet Charlie Vega, half Puerto Rican in a white Connecticut town, proudly body-positive (or trying to be) despite her mother’s fat-shaming, and never been kissed. Charlie is best known as the best friend of Amelia, who is intelligent, beautiful, and all-around amazing in every way. When a cute coworker takes an interest in her, Charlie might finally be seen for herself instead of the fat girl standing in Amelia’s perfect shadow. But Charlie has been comparing herself to her BFF for years, and old habits die hard. Can Charlie throw off mistrust and self-doubt and learn to love herself first?

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

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, March 20 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.

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins
Publication date: February 4, 2020
ISBN: 978-0062937049

When painfully shy Jamie and change-averse Maya are forced by their mothers to team up to canvas for a local progressive political candidate, it’s not the ideal summer either of them planned. Cultural misunderstandings fly as Jamie helps plan his little sister’s bat mitzvah and Maya fasts for Ramadan, and they never know when the face on the other side of the door they’re knocking on will be an unfriendly one. Still, as election day gets closer, so do Jamie and Maya. And while falling in love might be easy, separating the personal from the political is harder than it seems.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 20 Edition

#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:

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

A Morris Award Reflection

Three years ago, I sat in a locked room and deliberated with my Morris Award Committee colleagues. We laughed and argued over the merits of each of our five finalists before reaching a decision. I was teary-eyed as our winner was announced and the audience cheered. I celebrated at the Morris/Nonfiction Award Ceremony and flew home that night, exhausted.

There is something special about the Morris Award because it is given to a debut novel. I feel a special connection to the five debut authors whose work I spent a lot of time with. Sort of the way I feel about my nieces and nephews — proud, but not because I had any real part in their creation. Like a good Auntie following my siblings’ children, I have followed the career paths of  the five 2016 Morris finalists. Here’s what they have been up to since 2016.

Continue reading A Morris Award Reflection

#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, December 10 Edition

The House of One Thousand Eyes by Michelle Barker
Annick Press
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
ISBN: 978-1773210711

When Lena’s subversive uncle disappears without a trace in Communist East Berlin, she risks everything to find out what happened to him.

Following her confinement in a mental institution due to her breakdown over the tragic death of her parents in a factory accident, Lena is released to live with her stern auntie in East Berlin. Because everyone thinks Lena is simple, she is allowed to work night shifts as a cleaning girl at the State Security Service’s headquarters; she lives a regimented, routine life and looks forward to Sunday afternoons spent with her beloved uncle Erich, a writer with subversive ideas and a loose regard for authority. One night following one of their Sunday outings, Erich disappears. Lena mounts a frantic search for him, one which leads her to dead ends everywhere she looks: his books vanished from the shelves of libraries and bookstores and all records of him purged from official files; it is as if he never existed. Desperate to discover what happened to him, Lena begins a quiet but dangerous investigation, snooping around Stasi offices in the dead of night, despite the watchful eyes of her coworker Jutta, her strict aunt at home, and who knows whom else. What she uncovers shakes up everything she thought she knew, casting new light on her parents’ deaths and making her question everything she had been told about the “Better Germany.”

Continue reading #BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, December 10 Edition

#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, August 3 Edition

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Balzer & Bray/HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
ISBN: 9780062570604

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to rise at Gettysburg and ended the war- not due to one side’s victory, but instead due to both sides’ fear.  The compromise that ended the Civil War abolished slavery in the South, but introduced the Negro and Native Reeducation Act, which allows former slaves, and their children, two options- either fight shamblers on the frontier, or attend special combat schools, in training to protect the lives of right white Southerners. Even though she’s the daughter of a white plantation owner and former slave, Jane can’t escape the future that has been preordained for her—she has spent her entire life learning the arts of combat and Southern society in order to take up the mantle as an Attendant. As Jane’s education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore nears its end, and her future looms closer, a close friend asks Jane to search for his lost sister as entire families also begin to go missing. Jane, along with another Attendant who also straddles both worlds, ends up in the West, where they must battle both the undead—and the living—for their very existence.

Continue reading #BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, August 3 Edition

#QP2019 Nominees Round Up, June 5 Edition

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
ISBN:  978-0062643800

It’s three months before prom and Leah’s squad is in shambles.

Leah has the greatest friends in the universe…so why hasn’t she come out as bi to anyone yet? Especially Simon, her BFF, came out to her to her last year before anyone else in the squad. Maybe it’s because she is starting get to feelings, REAL feelings, for someone in her group circle and that someone is dating her friend. Throw in the spring musical, college acceptances (and rejections), and senior prom, and Leah may just completely lose it.

Continue reading #QP2019 Nominees Round Up, June 5 Edition

Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Beck Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda took the book world by storm when it was published in 2015 earning Albertalli a National Book Award nomination. and winning the William C. Morris YA Debut Award in 2016. The movie adaptation (retitled “Love, Simon”) will hit theaters in March 2018 and Albertalli’s companion novel Leah on the Offbeat will release in April. Any fan of this book knows you can’t have too much Simon, but in the meantime these books can fill that Simon shaped hole in your heart until 2018 rolls around.

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Vidcon Special: Youtuber and YA Book Crossovers

While librarians will be arriving in droves in Orlando for the 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference in the next few days, across the continent in Anaheim, another theme-parked arena, flocks of digital content fans and creators will be swarming for the 7th annual Vidcon, June 23-25, and many of these attendees will be teens. Studies are showing that a majority of teens are big consumers of online video. Short Vines are grabbing interest, but Youtube is still where a lot of time is being spent watching favorite Youtubers,  and for some of the Youtube stars, the fandoms run deep. Youtuber-YA Crossover-2

In honor of Vidcon, here are a handful of Youtubers with huge fan bases that have recently published books, and some YA book suggestion crossovers that might have some of the same appeals and feels.

tyler oakleyBinge by Tyler Oakley

Tyler Oakley – 8+ million subscribers

Book – Binge

Oakley began making videos in 2007, and is a leading youth voice for LGBTQ+ rights and teen suicide prevention.  Binge can be laugh out loud funny and turn around and be deeply heartfelt and inspiring.  Aside from his Youtube channel, he also has a podcast: Psychobabble Tyler Oakley.

simon        9780525428848_HoldMeCloser_BOM_CV.indd         Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli (2016 Morris Award Winner, 2016 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Character-driven, heartfelt, and authentic, this will appeal to Oakley fans with both its humor and feels. Not-so-openly-gay Simon Spier is falling in love with an online friend whose identity he is uncertain of, but is pretty sure that he goes to his school. When a classmate uncovers his secret relationship, he blackmails Simon into helping him try to win over one of Simon’s best friends. Simon fears of being outed are less about being ostracized, and more about what will change once everyone knows. Though on one side this is a light-hearted and romantic novel it also deals with the difficulty of change, complexity of identity, and the importance of growth

Hold Me Closer: the Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Written in play format, the larger-than-life Tiny Cooper is telling his life story as a musical.  A hopeless romantic with a witty take on life, Tiny hits the issues head-on. Both Tiny and Oakley serve as positive role models and cheerleaders, each with a charming sense of humor. Tiny also has real depth in his autobiographical play that Oakley fans will resonate with as he looks at the sober side of the nature of love.

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2014 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

This book parallels Binges as a  book of self discovery, and of finding and managing the Diva within. Equally filled with hysterical hijinks, Better Nate is the story of a small town 8th-grade boy running away to New York City to follow his dreams of being on Broadway in a musical production of E.T. As Nate gradually falls in love with the city, issues bubble up around sexuality, family, and of who you are, and can be, in the world. Continue reading Vidcon Special: Youtuber and YA Book Crossovers