Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Chicken Girl by Heather Smith
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Social media has a way of ruining images of people and causing unnecessary chaos. Smith’s novel uses real life issues to help the reader explore themes of gender transitions, sexuality, and family caregivers. Poppy, the protagonist, learns that it is hard to remain optimist in life given some of life’s harsh circumstances. She also learns that life is bigger than self.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session is one of the best parts of every ALA conference. Local teens get the opportunity to read books that have been nominated for #BFYA and give their feedback about the titles. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of real teens, and the group in New Orleans were particularly amazing. They all sounded like professional book reviewers, and I wish there had been time to talk with them at length about the books they enjoyed.
Here are some of the titles the teens particularly liked from this year’s #BFYA nominees list along with a little of their feedback and a link to each title’s nomination post (when available.)
The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith Penguin Teen/Penguin Random House Publication Date: September 5, 2017 ISBN: 978-0143198659
Fourteen-year-old Bun O’Keefe lives in isolation with her neglectful hoarder mother in rural Newfoundland, Canada, until one day her mother tells her to get out, and so she does. Bun leaves their overstuffed, suffocating house and hitchhikes to St. John’s, the nearest city. Once there, she is lucky to run into Busker Boy, a young man who recognizes her vulnerable naivete and offers to take her in to his “temporary accomodations”, a rented room in a house he shares with a loveable ragtag group of young people, from drag queen Cher to Chef to Big Eyes, a former Catholic schoolgirl rebelling against her strict upbringing. Surrounded by a semblance of family for the first time in her life, Bun slowly adjusts to the feeling of being loved and cared for; but with every step she takes forward towards acceptance into her new makeshift family, the ugliness of life threatens to pull her a step backwards. Weighty issues such as sexual abuse, parental neglect, racism, homophobia, and suicide feature in this story but never overwhelm it, as the warmth of the characters and the love they share for one another ultimately lifts them up each time despair threatens to overwhelm them in turn.