Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve; narrated by MW Cartozian Wilson Recorded Books Release date: April 27, 2021 ISBN: 9781705028339
High school senior Dean has things planned out. In a year, Dean will be majoring in theatre at NYU and living in New York with his girlfriend, Zoe, and his best friend, Ronnie. Plus, Dean just landed the lead role in the school play, Shakespeare’s Romeo. As Dean settles into the role, something is made clear, being a male feels right. Dean is transgender. The story follows Dean as he navigates what being trans means for him and comes out to his friends, family, and community.
In this honest story of self-acceptance, coming out, and navigating new relationships, listeners are granted an inside look into the coming-out process that is both engaging and validating. The story is made even more validating because of the narration. The narrator has a male voice – a voice that probably sounds closer to what Dean hears in his head rather than the high-pitched voice Dean complains of throughout the story.
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.
Amari and the Night Brothers. By B.B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062975164).
Amari’s brother Quinton has disappeared, and her only hope of finding him is to follow in his footsteps and become a Junior Agent with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.
Amber and Clay. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick Press, $22.99 (9781536201222).
In ancient Greece, two unlikely friends Rhaskos and Melisto find their lives intertwined in a search for freedom and purpose. As a ghost bound to Rhaskos, Melisto must help free him before she can find her own rest in the Halls of Hades.
The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers Publication Date: April 6, 2021 ISBN: 978-1534477858
White teen Sky is one of the only openly gay people in his small town of Rock Ledge, MI, and he has a major crush on a fellow classmate named Ali, an Arab-American. Sky and his best friend Bree, also white, concoct a plan for Sky to enact a dramatic promposal that will get Ali to go to prom with him. Plans get derailed when photos involving Sky and Ali are sent out to the entire senior class through a hacked email newsletter, along with racist and homophobic comments. Sky is devastated, believing that his classmates will shun him. Much to his surprise, his classmates show support in growing numbers. Sky, Bree, Ali and their friends Marshall, a straight black teen, and Teddy, Marshall’s athletic white friend, join forces to suss out the bully responsible for the offensive email while publicly showing support for Sky and Ali with DIY t-shirts and clever hashtags.
The Hub Challenge 2021 is in full swing, and readers are taking advantage of all the ways to participate! Even if you didn’t sign up officially, you can always join the fun by keeping a copy of the Bingo Challenge board handy for inspiration.
Several of our Challenge participants have tackled that “Read an Amazing Debut” square, and others are curious about how to connect with those titles that might be Morris Award-contenders for 2022. To begin, some participants are using the 2021 Morris Award finalists to earn their Amazing Debut square.
Here is Leanna Chappell, Hub Challenge participant and Head of Youth Services at the Swanton Public Library in Ohio, describing her love of Christina Hammonds Reed’s tremendous debut The Black Kids:
American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar Random House / Alfred A. Knopf Publication Date: March 9, 2021 ISBN: 978-1984897152
When Rani meets Oliver, sparks fly. Unfortunately, he is her Indian parents’ worst nightmare. As their relationship deepens, Rani finds herself breaking all the rules to be with Oliver, rejecting her parents’ ideas of propriety in the name of love. Sure, Oliver tends to romanticize her culture as “exotic” and he has expectations she doesn’t always feel comfortable with, but all relationships require compromise and sacrifice, right? When an unexpected family emergency takes Rani away to her family’s home in Pune, India for the summer, she must decide how much she is really willing to give up to be what Oliver needs.