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.
You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
Sourcebooks Fire / Sourcebooks
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Ariel’s whole life has revolved around creating the perfect high school resume, but when he fails a calculus quiz, everything seems to unravel at once. Reluctantly, he asks handsome Amir to tutor him. As a romance begins, everything Ariel has built starts to crumble, and he isn’t sure if what makes him happy is worth holding onto.
This timely book about high-achieving students will resonate with teens as they navigate life in today’s education system. Silverman’s dive into the high risk atmosphere of competitive high schools shows how dangerous it is to put so much pressure on youth. You Asked for Perfect is filled with perfectly crafted characters and a plot that makes you rethink what should be most important for high school students.
Give this book to fans of American Panda by Gloria Chao, I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez, and Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Hachette
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Dove aka Birdie is yearning for independence from her parents as she nears graduation and falls in love. She knows her parents wouldn’t approve of Booker—nor do they seem overly welcoming to Aunt Carlene, back from rehab, and living with them above her mom’s hair salon. When family truths emerge, Birdie finds new life in growing up.
Colbert’s masterful character development instantly imprints Birdie on readers’ hearts. She is deciding how to navigate romantic and familial relationships while discovering what she stands for yet ultimately recognizes her parents’ motivations for keeping secrets long buried. As she makes tough decisions—whether it be losing her virginity or forming a relationship with her sister—Birdie grows up amid the rich cultural backdrop of Chicago, and it is in these decisions that teen readers will experience Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors. As a story about identity and discovery, this conventional (and comforting) teen theme with Colbert’s signature focus on family dynamics reflects the qualities of engaging young adult literature.
Comparisons have been made to works by Nicola Yoon and Nina LaCour, which are fitting, but the book fits well alongside coming-of-age anthems like contemporary Angie Thomas’ On the Come Up to classics like S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders that mesh atmosphere, place, and character.
–Alicia Abdul and Ness Shortley