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 Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert Macmillan / Flatiron Books Publication Date: January 30, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-250-14790-5
After years of living as transients to escape their bad luck, Alice and her mother Ella think they can finally settle down and have a normal life in New York. But people claiming to be “Hinterland”, characters from Alice’s grandmother’s collection of dark fairy tales, kidnap Ella. Alice and her classmate Finch travel to The Hazel Wood, her grandmother Althea’s estate, to rescue Ella and discover the truth about The Hazel Wood, The Hinterland and Alice herself.
American Panda by Gloria Chao Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster Publication Date: February 6, 2018 ISBN: 978-1481499101
Pushed into early graduation, Mei Lu is an uncertain freshman at MIT. Her unyielding Taiwanese immigrant parents’ plans for her are clear: medical school followed by marriage to a fellow Taiwanese doctor. Unfortunately, Mei is a germaphobe whose passion is dance, and she does the unthinkable by falling for an unacceptable Japanese boy.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, narrated by Rebecca Soler Audio Published by Macmillan Audio Publication Date: January 30, 2018 ISBN: 978-1427293534
Alice Crewe and her mother Ella have moved all her life, and Alice has never been sure what exactly her mother is searching for–or running from. All she knows is that no matter what happens, her mother won’t let them return to the Hazel Wood, Alice’s grandmother’s vast estate. Alice has never met her grandmother, the infamous recluse Althea Proserpine, whose one book of fairy tales, Tales from the Hinterland, is an out-of-print cult classic–a classic Alice has never read, having her copy stolen. All she has is the table of contents, which includes “Alice Three Times,” a story she is certain she has a connection to. When Ella disappears, Alice’s classmate Ellery Finch, an Althea Prosperpine fanboy, teams up with Alice to find her, his ability to retell the stories from Althea’s book crucial to their search. Alice soon realizes that the Hinterland is real–and it’s after her.