Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott

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The Seventh Raven by David Elliott
HMH Books for Young Readers/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-0358252115

Once upon a time, there were seven brothers. Six of them were named Jack, like their father. They were rowdy, bold, and brash, like their father. But the seventh son was unlike his brothers. He was quiet and thoughtful, and his name was Robyn. Jack and his wife loved their sons, but they wished for a daughter, and when their dream came true, they were happy. But April was sickly and dying, and Jack cursed his sons in anger, turning them into birds. The six brothers were sad and confused and wanted to return to their lives. But Robyn was not like his brothers. As a raven he felt like he was finally free. When April grows up, she learns about her brother’s curse and sets off on an adventure to bring them home. 

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

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.


The Awakening of Malcolm X. By Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers. $17.99 (9780374313296). 

While serving a sentence in Charlestown Prison, Malcolm Little is introduced to the teachings of Islam and begins to correspond with Elijah Mohammad. As he struggles to process his anger and his past, he begins to solidify his beliefs and become the man known as Malcolm X. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) / Macmillan
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250766564 

In 2004 Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine is navigating her complicated identity as the daughter of a white French mother and an Ojibwe father. Though she’s delayed college due to her grandmother’s ill health, Daunis has her family, her best friend, and the cute new boy on her brother’s hockey team to pass the time. But then tragedy strikes in the form of a deadly new drug that rocks her close-knit community. Using her love of science and her understanding of traditional Anishinaabe medicine, Daunis agrees to go undercover for the FBI, but what she finds cuts close to the bone, and Daunis will have to draw on all her strengths to face the hardest truths.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

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One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Inkyard Press / Harlequin
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-1335145802

Happi is still mourning the loss of her sister, Kezi, who died in police custody after attending a protest. Kezi, who was Black, was “one of the good ones” — a bright student, activist, and educational YouTuber with a dedicated following. Reluctantly, Happi agrees to join her older sister Genny, Kezi’s former girlfriend, and a friend on the graduation road trip Kezi never got to take, using the route Kezi planned on Route 66 based on her passionate research of the Negro Motorist Green Book, the book that helped Black drivers navigate trips through the Jim Crow South.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

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A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
ISBN: 978-1534471245 

Cuban-American Lila Reyes is grief-stricken after the death of her abuela and breakups with her best friend and her boyfriend. Her parents send her from vibrant, sunny Miami to gloomy old England for a change of scenery and a chance to heal, but Lila has a plan for her life, and it involves running the family bakery with her sister after high school instead of summer at her cousins’ English inn. Determined not to enjoy herself, Lila nevertheless cannot resist the call of the inn’s kitchen, which dares her to mix Cuban spice with traditional British baking. Soon, a group of friends (including the cute, thoughtful boy whose family owns the village tea shop) makes life in England not only bearable but thoroughly enjoyable. Now Lila is doing more than falling in love with her new home — she’s questioning everything she thought she knew and everything she thought she wanted.    

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

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The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593353806

Nora O’Malley is a seventeen-year-old trying to have a normal life in a small town with her older sister, a private detective. Nobody knows that she spent her childhood helping her mother con wealthy men all over the country and is in hiding from the worst of them all – the dangerous man her mother attempted to con and wound up marrying. When an awkward morning at the bank with her ex-boyfriend Wes and current girlfriend Iris is interrupted by a bank heist going terribly wrong, Nora will have to use her skills from her past life to get herself and others out alive.

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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.


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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?

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Introducing Your 2022 Best Fiction for Young Adults Team

Hello, YALSA members and Hub readers! I am Allie Stevens, and this is my second year to serve as coordinator for the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults blogging team. I have been on selected list blogging teams for several years, including as coordinator of the 2019 Quick Picks team. I work as the Director of the tiny Calhoun County Library in Hampton, AR and live on an 80-acre farm with my partner, our two kids, two dogs (Nala is pictured below), and three cats. 

The Best Fiction for Young Adults team selects titles based on literary merit and appeal to young adult readers (ages 12-18), taking into account factors such as relevant themes for teens, realistic language, a well-designed and smoothly paced plot, and deep characterization. We consider only prose or verse fiction titles – no nonfiction or graphic novels. Team members discover and read books all year and suggest them to the rest of the team; each book is read and voted on by a minimum of 3 committee members before it becomes an official BFYA nomination. The blogging process will look a little different this year, with one featured review per week rather than a long-form blog post for every nominated title. After a title becomes an official nomination, every member of the team reads it and it is discussed. After the nominations window closes in early November, the team begins to vote on the titles that will appear on the final Best Fiction for Young Adults list. 

Eligible titles for this year’s list will have US publication dates between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021, and anyone can nominate titles for committee review by filling out this form. (Please note: publishers and authors cannot nominate their own books, although they are free to submit titles to the committee for evaluation. Email alliestevens020@gmail.com for a list of mailing addresses.)


The rest of the #BFYA2022 team is made up of librarians from all over the country. They are: 

  • Lindsay Bailey – Belfast, ME
  • Heather Christensen – Portales, NM
  • Matt Clark – Toronto, ON
  • Megan Jackson – Philadelphia, PA
  • Stephanie Johnson – Monroe, NC
  • Amanda Kordeliski – Norman, OK
  • Shelbie Marks – Oklahoma City, OK
  • Kali Olson – Minneapolis, MN
  • Beth Slade – Hudson, OH
  • Andrea Vernola – Kalamazoo, MI
  • Courtney Waters – Jefferson City, MO

We are ready to hit the ground running after ALA Midwinter Conference, and are so excited to share our nominations for the #BFYA2022 selected list with you all this year! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions and share any suggested titles through our field nomination form

Happy reading! 

— Allie Stevens (she/her)

2022 Best Fiction for Young Adults Coordinator

2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults

2021 BFYA Top Ten

The 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults list is now available!

The full list consists of 85 titles selected from 124 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. From that list, and after receiving teen feedback during a virtual session in early January, the team created a short list of the top ten titles.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten titles:

  • Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis. Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062561626.
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. Swoon Reads/Macmillan. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9781250250469.
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. HarperTeen/HarperCollins. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9780062882769.
  • Deeplight by Frances Hardinge. Amulet Books/ABRAMS. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781419743207.
  • Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780062840356.
  • More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780316492355.
  • Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. Amulet Books/ABRAMS. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781419739828.
  • This Is My America by Kim Johnson. Random House Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780593118764.
  • We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez. Philomel Books/Penguin Random House. 2020. $18.99. ISBN: 9781984812261.
  • What I Carry by Jennifer Longo. Random House Books for Young Readers. 2020. $17.99. ISBN: 9780553537710.

The suggestion form for the 2022 Best Fiction for Young Adults list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.

A very big thank you goes out to the members of the Best Fiction for Young Adults Blogging Team for all the hard work, time, and effort they put into creating the list. The members are: Coordinator, Allie Stevens, Calhoun County Library, Hampton, AR; Heather Christensen, Portales High School Library, Portales, NM; Michael Fleming, Juanita High School Library, Kirkland, WA; Laura Giunta, Garden City Public Library, Garden City, NY; Stephanie Johnson, Union County Public Library, Monroe, NC; Amanda Kordeliski, Norman Public Schools, Norman, OK; Lisa Krok, Morley Library, Cleveland, OH; Jodi Kruse, R.A. Long High School Library, Longview, WA; Shelbie Marks, Del City Library (Metropolitan Library System), Oklahoma City, OK; Kali Olson, The Blake School, Minneapolis, MN; Karen Stevens, Somerville Public Library, Somerville, MA; Andrea Vernola, Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo, MI; and Emily Walker, Lisle Library District, Lisle, IL.

We’d also like to give a special thank you to all the teens who participated in the teen feedback session. Thank you!

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.