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.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After Audiobook by Emiko Jean - 9781250804167

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean, narrated by Ali Ahn
Macmillan Audio
Release date: May 17, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250804167

First book of the Tokyo Ever After series, the story begins with a report from a newspaper about an unnamed princess. Juxtaposed between each news article, Izumi struggles with the “cultural punches” of beauty standards, not knowing her father, and being a unilingual Pan-Asian. When her friend Nora accidentally stumbles across a scrapbook with a name, Izumi has to decide whether she wants to learn more about her father, her father’s family, and herself.

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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.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella Is Dead cover art

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron; narrated by Bahni Turpin
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Release date: September 4, 2020
ISBN: 9781547605590

In Mersailles, Cinderella is more than just a fairy tale: her story is a guide for how women should behave.  All girls are required to attend the annual ball where they are either chosen as a wife or sent away, never to be heard from again.  Sophia would much rather marry her childhood best friend, Erin, and makes the decision to flee.  She ends up at Cinderella’s mausoleum, where she meets the last descendent of one of Cinderella’s stepsisters and learns the real truth behind the fairy tale while becoming entangled in the movement to topple the monarchy.

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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… 

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#AA2019 Nominees Round Up, April 4 Edition

The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton, narrated by Rosie Jones
Audio Published by Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
ISBN: 978-1538540589

Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles starts out with an ever-so-brief history of Bellehood and we are instantly set on Camillia, a brown girl living with her adopted sisters, trained from the very beginning to bring Beauty to a world where people are born ugly and gray. Clayton created a world where Belles are trained for years in order to transform those that could pay, into beautiful creatures. Camillia not only wants to be a Belle; she wants to be the Favorite, chosen by the queen to live in the royal palace and to tend to the royal family and those at Court. However, Favorites must be recognized as the most talented Belle in Orleans. However, things do not go as planned as Camillia and her sisters arrive at court. When her sister Amber is chosen as the Favorite, Camillia’s world seems to teeter.

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#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, March 30 Edition

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Freeform Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
ISBN: 978-1484728499 

Camille is a Belle, one of a select few blessed by the Goddess of Beauty with the ability to restore beauty to the cursed people of Orleans. On their sixteenth birthday, she and her sisters must compete for the privilege of being chosen the Queen’s favorite, to live in the the royal palace and serve the royal family and their court. Camille’s journey to attain this coveted position is a riveting one, bursting with twists and intrigues at every turn. However, once she finally achieves what she’s worked her whole life for, she begins to discover that not everything is as it seems on the surface. Beneath the glimmering facade of Orleans’ stunning opulence and obsession with beauty lie dark secrets and ominous forces that threaten to topple to kingdom and unbalance Camille’s world.

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2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Book Blitz!

On the Schedule at a Glance in the Symposium’s program, Saturday’s list of events included a “Book Blitz” from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The only information about this event were a few pages in the program dedicated to Book Blitz Author Bios and a small box that stated: Each attendee will receive 6 tickets to exchange with these authors for free signed books!

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Symposium veterans knew what to expect from the Blitz, but newcomers could be heard Friday evening and Saturday afternoon pondering, “What is this Book Blitz all about?”

This tweet from attendee Lauren Regenhardt sums up the experience pretty well:

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2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Diverse Teen Fiction

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Diverse Teen Fiction: Getting Beyond the Labels

Moderator: Dhonielle Clayton (middle school librarian, VP of Librarian Services of We Need Diverse Books, author of Tiny Pretty Things)

Panelists: Swati Avasthi (author of Chasing Shadows, 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults), I.W. Gregorio (author of None of the Above), Fonda Lee (author of Zeroboxer), Stacey Lee (author of Under a Painted Sky), Anna Marie McLemore (author of The Weight of Feathers), Renee Watson (author of This Side of Home)
TinyPrettyThingsChasingShadowsNoneoftheAboveZeroboxerUnderPaintedSkyweightoffeathersThisSideHome
  • All children need access to diverse books.
  • We need to change the landscape.
  • Mirror books: books that reflect your experience.
  • Window books: shows you an other experience.

What was your first mirror book?

Avasthi: It was actually Little House on the Prairie, while she was not white, personality-wise she felt akin to Laura. She felt conflicted when reading it though because at the time there was no difference when it came to identifying Native Americans and Indians. Did that mean she was a savage? In her twenties she found Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, and she feels that this was really her first mirror book and it taught her that there doesn’t need to be just one experience.

Gregorio: For her it was In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord. The character was the same as her, but the experiences was not hers. The main character was a first generation immigrant, and she was a second generation immigrant who grew up in upstate New York.  When she read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan in college, it was then that she found a book much closer to her experience as second generation immigrant. This shows how much diversity is needed in diverse fiction. There are multiple stories and different experiences.

Fonda Lee: She read lots of sci-fi and fantasy, which was greatly lacking diversity. The Sign of the Chrysanthemum by Katherine Paterson was the first Asian character she read. Years later she drew inspiration from reading Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman, since it was a great example of fantasy drawing from other cultures. Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Diverse Teen Fiction

Realistically Speaking! New & Upcoming Realistic YA Fiction for Your Spring Reading

Vanishing GirlsHappy March, dear Hubbers! I’m trying to think of something fun and pithy to say about March, but, alas, I can think of nothing. So, let’s get to the main topic at hand – ALA Midwinter. Yes, I know Midwinter has been over for a month now, but I had put off so much work at my library preparing for Midwinter (shh – don’t tell my boss!) that when I came back, I was like, “uh, I have a ton of stuff to do.” Well, most of that “ton of stuff” is done, so I was finally able to dive in to a few of the ARCs that I brought home with me from Chicago.

As always, there are some great new and upcoming teen reads that I hope you will check out and recommend to teens! From a finale in a two-book series (a two-book series – I haven’t seen one of those in forever!) to ballerinas at each other’s throats to sisters and the complicated relationship they have, readers will have plenty to choose from in the upcoming months. One thing I will say that’s not related – I just finished Noggin by John Corey Whaley (I know, I know – I’m behind), and wow, did I love that book! I almost thought about sneaking it in this list, but I’m sure I would have been caught! Ha! Anyways…here we go…first up: something I know a lot about – sisters!

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