One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston; narrated by Natalie Naudus Macmillan Audio Publication Date: June 1, 2021 ISBN: 978-1250803184
August Landry arrives in New York City with all of her possessions in five boxes. She’s 23 years old and her move to New York lets her escape the earlier years of her life which were spent working with her mother, an amateur detective, trying to track down August’s missing uncle. August moves into an apartment with Niko, a psychic, his girlfriend Mya, an artist, and Wes, a tattoo artist. August never had time for friends and fun when she was helping her mom, but she quickly becomes a part of Niko, Mya, and Wes’ chosen LBGTQ+ family. Then, August meets Jane on the Q Train. Jane isn’t like any other girl August has met before. Their relationship is full of the twists and turns of first loves. McQuiston asks the listener to travel along with them on a slightly sci-fi route, because, as August soon discovers, Jane has been stuck on this particular train since the 1970s.
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Publication Date: August 10, 2021 ISBN: 978-1534448667
Mexican American Moon Fuentez lives in the shadow of her sister Star’s social media fame and her mother’s disdain, so when she is cajoled into accompanying Star on an influencer tour to take her sister’s pictures and sell merch, Moon is prepared for a disappointing summer. But over the course of the tour, a slow-growing relationship with perpetually grumpy, impossibly attractive Santiago gives Moon the courage to embrace her art and her life, and face her family’s abuse.
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The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson; Narrated by Fajer Al-Kaisi, Feodor Chin, Gisela Chípe, Michael Crouch, Janina Edwards, James Fouhey, Renata Friedman, Catherine Ho, Nicole Lewis, Omar Leyva, Guy Lockard, Jesus E. Martinez, and Lisa Renee Pitts Listening Library Publication Date: August 11, 2020 ISBN: 978-0593121610
Through poetry, essays, lists, and letters, The Talk gives 17 different conversations that delve into race, racism, identity, and self-esteem. Coming from a variety of experiences, which are often intergenerational and intersectional, this is a conversation starter for dissecting structural racism, moves to be more antiracist, and ways to be more inclusive with a focus on being affirming to listeners.
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.
King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender Scholastic Press Publication Date: February 4, 2020 ISBN: 978-1338129335
When Kingston James saw a dragonfly land on his brother’s casket, he knew his brother was showing him he wasn’t truly gone. King constantly searches for his brother’s dragonfly to talk to; seeing the dragonflies always helps. Before his death, Khalid overheard King’s best friend Sandy confide a secret and pushed King to end the friendship over it. Now Khalid is gone, Sandy is missing, and King is alone and realizing he has the same secret.
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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.