Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson, narrated by Shaun David Hutchinson Simon & Schuster Audio and Blackstone Audio Publication Date: May 21, 2019 ISBN: 978-1508286158
Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson is a memoir narrated by the author retelling his high school and college years through depression, anxiety, self-identity, and leading to his suicide attempt at nineteen years old. Hutchinson recounts his young adult years honestly including a disclaimer right at the beginning of the book “I’LL KEEP THIS SHORT. A LOT HAPPENS IN THIS MEMOIR. There’s drug use, sex in the backseat of Mustang, discussion of homosexuality, alcohol use, a smidge of profanity, and a little petty theft.”
June is LGBTQ Pride Month: a time celebrate and recognize the impact that LGBTQ people have in the world. June was chosen for Pride Month as a way to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots that have been seen as the landmark event that propelled the movement for LGBTQ civil rights.
My favorite movie of 2018 was Bohemian Rhapsody. I was thrilled to see it, and Rami Malek, win awards, but, as interesting as Freddy Mercury’s story is, I find Queen guitarist Brian May’s story equally as interesting. Not only is he one of the world’s greatest guitarists, he built his own guitar and has a PhD in astrophysics. Although he is now in his 70s he still plays and recently released a new single, “New Horizons”, to celebrate the space probe of the same name as it flew past Ultima Thule, the farthest object in the solar system that a spacecraft has visited. Brian May might be described as a Renaissance Man and I wondered are there Renaissance Teens who might be inspired by these books I think reflect aspects of Brian May’s life?
The Past and Other Things that Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson Simon Pulse Publication Date: February 19, 2019 ISBN: 9781481498579
Dino’s family runs a funeral home preparing bodies for burial, and up until now, the bodies have stayed dead. July, Dino’s ex-best friend, wakes up while he’s preparing her body for her funeral. In her not-dead state, she and Dino must figure out why this has happened, and how to fix it, all while avoiding detection and grappling with their present and past.
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 Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster Publication Date: February 6, 2018 ISBN: 978-1481498548
Elena lives a fairly normal teen life despite the notoriety and ridicule she endures due to her scientifically proven virgin birth. However, Elena believes the voices she hears from inanimate objects prove her destiny is something extraordinary. When she heals her longtime crush who is dying from a gunshot wound, Elena’s voices send her on a mission to possibly save the world–or end it.
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson, narrated by Candace Thaxton Audio Published by Simon and Schuster Audio Publication Date: February 6, 2018 ISBN: 978-1508245636
Elena Mendoza is the product of parthenogenesis, or virgin birth. It’s a fact; proven by a doctor and peer-reviewed medical journals. Because of this information, Elena grows up with her classmates and community thinking her an oddity, students at her school calling her “Mary” to persecute her difference. Her best friend Fadil, is really her only friend. One day while on her break at Starbucks, Fadil literally pushes Elena into taking to her crush Winifred “Freddie” Petrine. Elena approaches just as another student at their high school, David Combs, shoots Freddie. This leads the Starbucks siren to inform Elena of her healing capabilities and encourages her to save Freddie’s life. In the aftermath of the healing, David is “raptured” by a bright light and disappears. This chain of events sets off an apocalypse, one in which Elena is cast in a starring role. Elena then learns that her healing capabilities are not limited to Freddie alone, as she heals a neighborhood stray and an elderly neighbor. Should she listen to the voices that tell her to use her healing powers to save humanity, to her friends or family that provide conflicting viewpoints, or to her intuition? Elena is confounded and paralyzed with indecision but inevitably has to choose a course of action.