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

BFYA Fall Roundup Art
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.


The City Beautiful. By­­ Aden Polydoros. Harlequin/Inkyard Press, $19.99 (9781335402509).

Amidst the glitz and glamour of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Alter Rosen, a gay, Jewish, Romanian immigrant teen, becomes possessed by the dybbuk of his murdered friend and must avenge the deaths of his friend and a growing number of other local Jewish boys.

Curses. By Lish McBride. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781984815590).

When Merit refuses to marry a prince, she is cursed to live as a beast. Tevin’s family runs cons on rich girls, but when his mom runs afoul of the beast she trades him for her freedom. This fresh, gender-bent Beauty and the Beast retelling examines what “beastly” really is. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Fall

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi
Penguin Random House / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593109427 

Parvin Mohammadi can’t wait to start high school after a magical summer at the beach with her first-ever boyfriend — but when he dumps her on the first day of high school in front of her friends for being “too loud,” Parvin hatches a scheme to become the perfect rom-com girl so hunky sophomore Matty Fumero will ask her to homecoming. Parvin will do whatever it takes to suppress her loud, hairy, flashy, prank-obsessed self and live her high school dream, even if the boy she’s growing closer to in her Farsi classes seems to like those things about her. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

Booklist: Fiction and Nonfiction for Teen Poets and Writers

In 1996, the Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month to encourage the reading of poetry and increase awareness of American poetry.  It is a great time to support and inspire the teen writers and poets who frequent your library!  Below is a sampling of fiction and nonfiction books to help you do just that.

YA Fiction Featuring Teen Writers

Words and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett

Ever since her beloved Uncle Joe died, aspiring writer Anna has lost her muse.  This poignant debut novel follows Anna through her grief journey as she struggles to rediscover her passion for writing and cope with the knowledge that she may not have known her uncle as well as she thought.

Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (2015 Morris Award Winner, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Top Ten)

In this novel in journal format, Gabi explores her feelings about her friend’s pregnancy, finds her voice in poetry, and works on her school’s zine.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

During November of her senior year, Darcy wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month that was picked up by a major publisher.  In this unique book, chapters from Darcy’s novel alternate with her adventures in New York as she foregoes her first year of college to dedicate herself to the publication process. Continue reading Booklist: Fiction and Nonfiction for Teen Poets and Writers

YA Titles Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) celebrates the heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans. September 15th is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this month.The term Hispanic or Latino refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

To commemorate this month, I am highlighting some of the recent and forthcoming YA books either written by, or about, Hispanic and Latino fictional or real characters.

Soulprint-199x300Megan Miranda’s Soulprint, published this past February, is about Alina, a half-Hispanic 17-year-old, who has been confined on a secluded island for most of her life. She’s not confined for a crime that she committed in her present life, but for the past incursions of her soul. In this novel set in the not too distant world, scientists have discovered a way to create a fingerprint called a  “Soulprint” of a particular soul that allows them trace its passage from individual to individual. Alina happens to possess the soul of the late June Calahan, a Soul Database hacker who blackmailed public figures with nefarious past lives. Broken out of prison by three strangers, Alina hopes to finally escape from June’s shadow and begin to live her own life, but her rescuers have ulterior motives.

huntedlivingMatt De La Peña’s The Hunted (published in May) is the sequel to the 2014 Pura Belpre Honor winner The Living (2014 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults). A tsunami has sunk the cruise ship Mexican-American teen Shy Espinoza was working on for the summer. He and teens Marcus and Carmen and their adult guide Shoeshine have survived the sinking ship; escaped an island harboring a deadly secret and survived over a month at sea. They have discovered that some of the passengers were working for an evil biotech company responsible for a deadly contagion ravaging Southern California. In an area of California patrolled by rival gangs, the dead and dying, and those desperate to survive, they struggle to make it to the nearest operating laboratory in Arizona. By bringing the chemical formula and samples of the vaccine there, they hope scientists will be able to duplicate the vaccine samples and save the population.

shadowshaperShadowshaper (June) by Daniel José Older is an inventive tale that combines contemporary and magical realism in a stunning way. Sierra Santiago, a graffiti artist, is stunned when she notices the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears. Her ill grandfather gives her a strange warning and old men from her Brooklyn community begin mysteriously disappearing. After a zombielike corpse crashes a party one night and chases her, she and a cute guy from her neighborhood try to find out what’s going on and discover her family’s magical abilities. Sierra’s forced to do battle with a crazy anthropologist who wants that magical power for himself. What’s not to love about a kickass Latino heroine?

Photo Sep 12, 3 22 24 PMIn Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not (June), it’s been very hard for Puerto Rican Aaron Soto, 16, to find happiness since his father’s suicide and Aaron’s attempted coming out and subsequent rejection by the boy he likes and by his friends. The grief and the scar on his wrist prevent him from ever completely forgetting. Maybe the solution is to have The Leteo Institute erase parts of the memory, even if he risks severe amnesia and possibly death.

 

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What’s Trending in YA?

I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few publisher previews recently and have noticed a few recent trends in YA publishing. Since I haven’t been able to attend all the previews it’s not a completely comprehensive list so I welcome any suggestions for those I’ve missed.

Road Trips:

  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (5/2015). Teenaged girl still grieving over her father’s death a drive me crazy mcvoyporcpine of truth konigsburgRabb - Kissing Americafew years before contrives with her best friend to enter and win a teen game show to win a trip to CA to follow her crush.
  • The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg (5/2015). Two teens embark on a road trip to uncover the root cause of three generations of family estrangement and solve their difficult family issues.
  • Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy (4/2015). Two girls who don’t really like each other, now related due to their grandparents’ wedding, try to get along as they accompany their grandparents on their California road trip honeymoon.

Mental Illness:

  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (4/2015). Caden, 14, is gradually descending into made you up zappiaone stolen thing kephartchallenger deepschizophrenia and lives in two worlds – the real one and the one in his delusions.
  •  One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart (4/2015). Girl who steals things then weaves them into elaborate nests is also losing the ability to speak due to a mental disorder.
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (5/2015). Girl with paranoid schizophrenia

Death/Dying:

  • The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell (5/2015). Seventeen-year-old Japanese boy dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease) wants to die on his own terms.
  •  Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (5/2015). Two teens with terminal TB

Kidnapping:

  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (6/2015). Teenaged Emmy’s friend and neighbor Oliver Our Endless Numbered Daysshackled leveenemmy & oliver benway disappeared when they were in 3rd grade and she’s been overprotected by her parents ever since. Oliver returns years later after he finds out he was kidnapped by his father and must try to adjust to life with Emmy and his community again.
  •  Shackled by Tom Leveen (8/2015). Teenager suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend disappeared six-years ago determines to find her after thinks she sees her again.
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (3/2015). Seventeen-year-old Peggy recounts how when she was 8, her mentally ill survivalist father kidnapped her from London and took her to an isolated forest where they survived off the grid after he told her the world had been destroyed.

Continue reading What’s Trending in YA?

¡Viva! YA Literature for Hispanic Heritage Month

Image courtesy of Flickr user Classic Film
Image courtesy of Flickr user Classic Film

September 15 – October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month which honors the history, culture, and contributions of Americans of Hispanic/Latino descent. As someone who works in a primarily Spanish-speaking community, this national observance is especially meaningful for myself, my colleagues, and the patrons we serve. Hispanic Heritage Month presents the opportunity to showcase literature in which many of our readers see their personal and unique experiences reflected, celebrated, and made visible to the world around them. Here are a few titles for you to enjoy that feature Hispanic/Latino characters and/or are written by Hispanic/Latino authors. ¡Viva!

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafónmarina

I’ve been a fan of Ruiz Zafón since 2001, when he transfixed me with his stunning gothic novel for adults, Shadow of the Wind; naturally it’s been wonderful to see his young adult fiction (orig. published in Spanish) translated into English. The Prince of Mist (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults) was lauded for its gorgeous attention to historical detail, haunting mood, and suspenseful twists. Ruiz Zafón’s Marina continues the same lush storytelling tradition. Fifteen-year old Oscar Drai’s adventure begins when he encounters the mysterious Marina while exploring an older part of Barcelona. They go to a cemetery where they witness a woman dressed in black placing a rose on an unmarked grave. Marina and Oscar choose to follow the woman, and are soon drawn into a world full of dark secrets involving a dead actress, a reclusive industrial tycoon, and creepy science experiments. Continue reading ¡Viva! YA Literature for Hispanic Heritage Month

Beyond The History Books: Genre Guide to ‘Off The Beaten Path’ Historical Fiction

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Definition

Historical fiction can be a deceptively complex genre to define.  It would seem initially that any fiction set in the past might be considered historical fiction but as we examine this basic distinction, it becomes significantly less simple.  After all, how far into the past does a novel need to be set to be considered historical rather than contemporary realistic fiction?  Do we use a specific range of years? Do we consider the likely cultural memory and lived experiences of the intended audience?  For the purposes of this guide, I’ve decided to define historical fiction as a novel set in the past in which the particular realities of that time and place play a significant role in the narrative.

Characteristics

The genre of historical fiction is vast and varied.  The idea of compiling a definitive genre guide is fairly daunting  so I chose a focus: “off the beaten path” historical fiction–novels set in the past that feature perspectives, places, time periods, or events frequently unexplored in both the average history class curriculum and historical fiction.

Appeal

These novels expand the genre beyond the ‘white people in interesting clothing’  approach that can dominate the historical fiction shelves. In the process of creating history, many voices have been silenced, forgotten, or shoved aside. Good historical fiction–like all good fiction–weaves an absorbing story with complex characters, providing us with an opportunity to counteract simplified or biased versions of history.  Through fiction, readers can look at well-known events from a new perspective, immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures, or see an exploration of their heritage.

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