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.
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?
Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow; Narrated by Andrea Laing and Jennifer Haralson Macmillan Audio Publication Date: June 2, 2020 ISBN: 978-1250755018
Tavia and Effie are best friends living their lives and trying to survive their junior year of high school. Set in a current-day Portland where magic and fantastic creatures are part of the norm, the girls each have secrets that could destroy their families and communities. Effie is running from literal demons in her past, finding solace in her seasonal Renaissance Fair performances as a mermaid. Tavia is hiding her powers as a siren, one of the most feared magical creatures, after a recent siren murder trial becomes national news. When Tavia lets her powers escape during a traffic stop, the girls’ carefully balanced lives begin to tumble. This book is part contemporary fiction, part black fantasy and part social justice.
Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster Publication Date: August 11, 2020 ISBN: 978-1534448636
Three years ago, ICE deported Sia’s mother to Mexico, and now she’s presumed dead after attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert. Ever hopeful, Sia retreats to the desert, lighting candles to guide her mother’s return. Eventually Sia’s mom does appear, flying an alien spacecraft and claiming that extraterrestrials are hunting her. Together with her best friend Rose and would-be boyfriend Noah, Sia tries to find the truth in her mother’s fantastical claims.
This is a fast-paced genre mash-up with elements of mystery, fantasy, and Mexican folklore. Short chapters keep the story moving, along with discussions of compelling issues such as deportation, racism, sexual assault, and grief. The alien subplot, however, adds a dose of levity and intrigue. The main characters are a diverse lot with engaging backstories that highlight Sia’s Latinx heritage, Noah’s mysterious family life, and Rose’s tense relationship with her fanatically religious father. Over the course of the story, Sia learns a lot about the people in her life, and that everyone faces challenges or carries scars that aren’t always visible to others.
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.
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publication Date: June 16, 2020 ISBN: 978-0062936929
Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Or at least that is what Skye Shin has been told her entire life. But Skye loves to dance and, frankly, she’s really good at it. So when Skye nails her audition to compete in an International K-Pop competition she vows to prove to everyone that her body doesn’t define her talent.