Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Hunting By Stars by Cherie Dimaline

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Hunting By Stars: A Marrow Thieves Novel by Cherie Dimaline
ABRAMS/Amulet Books
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
ISBN: 978-1419753473 

In a near future ravaged by climate and disease, some people have stopped dreaming. These people go mad or waste away, so the government has done the unthinkable: Set up residential “schools” where the bone marrow of Indigenous people is harvested for the dreams they still carry. Métis teen Francis “French” Dusome has been on the run for most of his life, ever since the day his brother sacrificed himself so French could get away. French survives in the wilderness with a close knit group whose members–including Rose, Miig, Wab, and Chi-Boy–are from tribal nations all over North America; together, they are family. So when French is captured, there’s no question that he will be looked for. But new threats bring new danger, and the group is forced to separate. Now Rose is desperately searching for French–and running right into the deceptively open arms of a strange new group. Miig is leading the others south–crossing the U.S. border where the line between friends and those pretending to be friends is very thin. And French is imprisoned in a place where so many of his people have gone to die–and about to face terrible choices that will harm those he loves no matter what he decides. Reuniting will require sacrifices, betrayals, and desperate bids for a survival that is anything but assured. 

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Alone by Megan E. Freeman

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Alone by Megan E. Freeman
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
ISBN: 978-1534467583

Taking advantage of her divorced parents, Maddie convinces her mom she is staying with her dad and vice versa in order to pull off a sleepover at her grandparents’ empty apartment. In the morning, she awakes to find she is alone. The entire town, including her family, have been evacuated and stripped of all forms of communication. Maddie has no other option but to fend for herself, living off what the town left behind. With only George the Rottweiler for companionship, Maddie survives a fire, flood, tornado, and several harsh winters in her quest to stay alive and one day see her family again. 

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

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.

*Prices shown are for Library Digital Download.

Admission. By Julie Buxbaum. Read by Julia Whelan. 2020. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group/Listening Library, $63 (9780593216996).

Chloe, privileged daughter of a beloved celebrity, watches helplessly as her mother is caught up in a college admission scandal benefiting her. Julia Whelan skillfully unpacks the emotions that go with Chloe’s questioning whether her parents believe she is enough. 

Amari and the Night Brothers. By B. B. Alston. Read by Imani Parks. Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, $64.99 (9780063057968).

Amari believes her missing brother is alive. When a mysterious suitcase appears in her closest, she is whisked away to a land of magic. To find her brother, Amari must pass a series of tests in order to enter the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Strong narration supports this fantastical adventure.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

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When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris; Narrated by Preston Butler III
Quill Tree Books
Publication date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 9780063064317

Looking like they do, with brown skin, Jay, his friends and neighbors live knowing they are already one step behind.  Living in their neighborhood presents its own challenges where drug deals, violence, and both police interference AND ignorance are day to day problems. But now Jay’s sister Nic has disappeared and going missing in their neighborhood isn’t enough to warrant police investigation.  Not wanting to worry his grandmother, Jay strikes out on his own to find her leading him into danger and into finding an unlikely friend.  

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 6 Edition

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Light It Up by Kekla Magoon
Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers / Macmillan
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
ISBN: 978-1250128898

The community of Underhill reacts after an unarmed thirteen-year-old girl is shot and killed by a police officer while walking home. Tensions mount even more upon the arrival of White supremacist demonstrators. The citizens of Underhill prepare  for possible havoc as they protest and await the announcement of the officer’s verdict.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, August 20 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Belly Up Book CoverBelly Up by Eva Darrows
Harlequin Inkyard Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
ISBN: 978-1335012357

Serendipity (Sara) spends one drunk post-breakup night with a boy she meets at a party. She can’t find the boy, but does discover soon after that she’s pregnant. As a high-achieving 17 year old, Sara is faced with unexpected and challenging choices, as well as a brand new school and town.  When Sara decides to keep the baby, she has to figure out how to balance her priorities, navigate dating, and finish her senior year, all in maternity jeans.  Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, August 20 Edition

#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, November 16 Edition

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
ISBN: 978-1481481960 

What would happen if you turned the handle on your sink and no water came out? How would the world react if there was no more usable water? The people of California are about to find out.

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#ALAAC18 Recap: #BFYA2019 Teen Feedback Session

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.)

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#BFYA2019 Nominees Round Up, April 13 Edition

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Simon and Schuster BFYR / Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
ISBN: 9781442472457

This thrilling sequel to Scythe finds Citra and Rowan both gleaning in hopes of preserving the Scythedom. However, there is an increasing divide between the new and old orders of scythes putting both Citra and Rowan’s lives in danger. Will the Thunderhead be forced to intervene to save them and all of humanity?

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Diversify YA Life: Social Justice League-Reader’s Advisory for Teens Dealing with Social Issues

As library workers, especially those of us who work with teens, our role can shift to “social worker” in an instant. Our teen patrons visit the library everyday and they begin to trust and confide in us.  Because most of us don’t have the training to work with at-risk youth, we can feel a little helpless but we don’t have to because we have the power of a good book.

About a year ago, a member of my book discussion group seemed to be questioning his sexuality and he never talked about it.  I gave him Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith to read because I thought the ending was perfect for his situation.  He loved the book and now he’s very open with his sexuality and he accepts who he is.  Did my recommendation help him? I don’t really know but I like to think it gave him some perspective.  When I see a teen who I think or know is struggling with a personal problem, I’ll strike up a book conversation on their next library visit asking them what they like to read.  If they are a reader, I’ll find a book from their favorite genre that deals with the subject they are struggling with.

In my library, I see homeless teens, teens with alcoholic parents, teens living with a dying parent, and teens dealing with gender identity and body image.  I used to feel powerless but after I recommended Grasshopper Jungle, I realized that I could be an effective adult in the lives of teens. Below are a list of good books that blend popular genres with social issues.  Gone are the days of feeling helpless. Say goodbye to sifting through numerous Google results.  You now possess the power of reader’s advisory in a flash.  You are the newest member of the Social Justice League!

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