Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2020) Nominees Round Up, April 26 Edition

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Crown Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
ISBN: 9781524720209 

Delia and Josie’s late night horror show on the local cable station is the pinnacle of campiness but it solidifies the bond these two girls have with one another. Yet, decisions on the horizon about the future of the show and their life after high school are complicating life. Dreams and hopes that include Delia’s possible reunion with her father, lead them to hijinks at Shivercon, a horror convention, and discovering who they are and want to become.

Zentner’s lyricism highlights the strength of Delia and Josie’s connection using dialogue and setting amidst the backdrop of family tribulations, romantic interests, and a loveable dog. Readers feel a deep familiarity that mirrors his last two books about the power of friendship while embarking on an adventure. It is lighthearted where there is darkness and hope when there is tragedy expounding life lessons and reflection throughout the journey.

It’s goofy humor hearkens to Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang, the Lumberjanes graphic novels, and Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series while maintaining the quintessential Zentner’s vibes from his other novels, if readers haven’t already been introduced.

–Alicia Abdul and Molly Dettmann


Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
ISBN: 978-0062847195 

When Mickey Catalan, star softball catcher, is sidelined after a car crash mangles her hip, she quickly takes to her pain medicine to help push her to recover faster. She soon discovers it isn’t enough, and her life spirals out of control as her need for relief leads her to lie, steal, and try harder drugs that could not only jeopardize her sports career, but end her very life.

This is a book that will stick with you long after you finish it. It’s a gritty read that captures the absolutely devastating repercussions of drug abuse on users, and how quickly even the most put together people can succumb to the siren song. Readers can see themselves in Mickey, whether they are star athletes or they have simply thought “that would never happen to me.” The title’s  “best” quality is the author’s meticulous research and horrifying details about a strong girl who falls so far.  The raw and real prose give it tons of teen appeal

Fans of gritty realistic fiction by Ellen Hopkins, or Kathleen Glasgow’s Girl in Pieces, or any teen dramas where substance abuse or mental health is featured as more than a “very special episode” plot line.

–Molly Dettmann and Jodi Kruse