Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Nominations Round-Up, Winter

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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.

Ace of Spades. By Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $18.99 (9781250800817). 

Ambitious queen bee Chiamaka and loner scholarship kid Devon are the only Black students at school. That’s all they have in common until an online bully going by the name “Aces” starts spilling all their secrets. Chiamaka and Devon will have to join forces to bring Aces down—or lose everything.

Bad Witch Burning. By Jessica Lewis. Penguin Random House/Delacorte Press, $17.99 (9780593177389). 

Katrell’s ability to converse with the dead has been earning her enough money to help her mom pay bills and buy food. When she makes a startling discovery about her abilities around the same time she receives a dire warning to stop using her magic, Katrell is faced with an impossible decision.

Barry Squires, Full Tilt. By Heather Smith. 2020. Penguin Random House Canada/Penguin Teen, $17.99 (9780735267466). 

After watching a performance of Irish step dancers, Barry Squires decides he was meant for tap shoes. The trick will be convincing everyone around him to give him a chance.

Beasts of Prey. By Ayana Gray. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99 (9780593405680). 

Unlikely duo Koffi and Ekon may have conflicting ulterior motives, but they must cooperate to survive the Greater Jungle and find the legendary monster called the Shetani—a magical, murderous beast that has been plaguing the area for almost 100 years.

The Block. By Ben Oliver. Scholastic Press/Chicken House, $18.99 (9781338589337). 

After the events of The Loop, Luka finds himself once again held prisoner by Happy, who tries to use him to find out where his friends are. Escape is only the first step, though—to take Happy down, Luka and his crew will need to find a whole army.

Bluebird. By Sharon Cameron. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (9781338355963). 

In 1946, German-born Eva arrives in America, recruited to help with the top secret Bluebird program. But Eva is only interested in one thing: justice for those who suffered at the hands of her father.

The Corpse Queen. By Heather M. Herrman. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99 (9781984816702). 

Molly’s talent as a grave-robber comes in handy when she is enlisted to help her aunt procure bodies for surgical students.  

Dark and Shallow Lies. By Ginny Myers Sain. Penguin Random House/Razorbill, $17.99 (9780593403969). 

After Grey’s best friend, Elora, has disappeared, she returns to her coastal Louisiana hometown for her regular summer-break visit. But when she gets there, she starts to see the cracks in the veneer of La Cachette and must pick apart the secrets before it’s too late.

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love. By Jared Reck. Penguin Random House/Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9781524716110). 

Oscar knows what he wants to do after high school: cook for his wise-cracking Swedish grandfather’s food truck. Change comes in the form of Lou, an overachiever with big plans and ideas. Now Oscar must reckon with the new girl in his life, his grandfather’s past, and his own future.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry. By Joya Goffney. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780063024816). 

To prevent the contents of her missing journal from going public, Quinn, a wealthy Black senior at a predominantly white high school, must face seven of her biggest fears. Reluctantly she teams up with attractive and mysterious Carter to complete the list and find the blackmailer.

Flash Fire. By T.J. Klune. Macmillan/TorTeen, $18.99 (9781250203687). 

Nova City is experiencing a period of relative calm, but a sinister pharmaceutical tycoon has white teens Nick and his Extraordinary boyfriend, Seth (aka Pyro Storm), in his crosshairs with plans that may threaten anyone else with Extraordinary powers as well.

Gilded. By Marissa Meyer. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $19.99 (9781250618849). 

Cursed by the god of lies, the village blames Serilda for every unlucky instance, though their children love her well-spun stories. But when she tries to spin a tale to save two moss maidens from the wicked Erlking, she gets caught in a dangerous web of deception.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating. By Adiba Jaigirdar. Page Street Kids, $17.99 (9781645672579).

When Hani’s friends don’t believe she’s bisexual, she fake-dates Ishu, who agrees with the scheme in exchange for a dose of Hani’s popularity. As expectation mounts to be everything they claim to be, the girls must decide if peer and parental pressure outweigh their new chance at a happily ever after.

The Heartbreak Bakery. By A.R. Capetta. Candlewick Press, $18.99 (9781536216530). 

After a bitter breakup, Syd bakes ALL THE FEELINGS into a batch of brownies—literally, because everyone who eats them breaks up, too. Now Syd must undo the damage. But with cute bike messenger Harley helping out, finding the perfect recipe to mend heartbreak is more complicated than Syd ever imagined.

How It All Blew Up. By Arvin Ahmadi. 2020. Penguin Random House/Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780593202876). 

When eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi is faced with the choice between coming out as gay to his Muslim family or giving in to a bullying blackmailer, he runs away to Rome instead. He falls quickly into a vibrant life among new friends, but Amir can’t outrun his life or family forever.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe. By Raquel Vasquez Gilliland. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99 (9781534448667). 

When Moon Fuentez reluctantly agrees to accompany her social-media influencer twin, Star, on a national charity tour, she forms a snarky, tender connection with Santiago, who is overshadowed by his own famous sibling.

Hunting By Stars. By Cherie Dimaline. ABRAMS/Amulet Books, $18.99 (9781419753473). 

In a dystopian future where people have stopped dreaming, the government harvests bone marrow from Indigenous people for the dreams they still carry. When French is captured, his found family refuses to forget him. Reuniting will require sacrifices, betrayals, and desperate bids for a survival that is anything but assured.

A Lesson in Vengeance. By Victoria Lee. Penguin Random House/Delacorte Press, $18.99 (9780593305829). 

Felicity is back at the Dalloway School after the death of her best friend, and despite her intentions to leave the darkness behind, she can’t help being intrigued by new girl Ellis Haley and her request for assistance with her research on the school’s history with deadly witchcraft.

Like Spilled Water. By Jennie Liu. 2020. Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab, $18.99 (9781541572904). 

When her life turns upside down after her brother’s suicide, Na begins to question the traditional way of life for Chinese young women and wonders if it is possible to fulfil her duty to her parents without giving up her own dreams.

List of Ten. By Halli Gomez. Sterling Publishing/Sterling Teen, $17.95 (9781454940142). 

Troy, a white teen living with Tourette Syndrome and OCD, has plans to kill himself on the 10th anniversary of his diagnosis, believing there cannot possibly be a good life for him in the future. As his circumstances change, however, he begins to find reasons to live.

Little Thieves. By Margaret Owen. Macmillan/Henry Holt & Co. Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781250191908). 

Vanja, the goddaughter of Death and Fortune, is a thief of epic proportions, stealing not only gold and jewels but even a certain princess’s identity. But her hustle threatens to collapse when a lesser god puts a curse on her that will only break if she returns everything she stole.

Margot Mertz Takes It Down. By Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy. Penguin Random House/Philomel, $18.99 (9780593205259).

Margot Mertz is building her college fund by quietly solving people’s Internet emergencies, but when a fellow classmate asks her to take down a local revenge-porn site, she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

The Mirror Season. By Anna-Marie McLemore. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $18.99 (9781250624123). 

Latinx teen Graciela struggles to piece her shattered world back together and reclaim the gifts that earned her the nickname “La Bruja de los Pasteles” after she and a soon-to-be transfer student, a white cis boy named Lock, are sexually assaulted at a party. 

Misewa Saga. By David A. Robertson. 

  • v. 1: The Barren Grounds. 2020. Penguin Random House Canada/Puffin, $17.99 (9780735266100).
  • v. 2: The Great Bear. Penguin Random House Canada/Puffin, $17.99 (9780735266131).

Indigenous foster kids Morgan and Eli feel lost and isolated in their new home. But when Eli’s drawings open a portal to another world populated by talking animals, Morgan and Eli finally feel at home. They need the world of Misewa. And as it turns out, Misewa needs them too.

On the Hook. By Francisco X. Stork. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (9781338692150). 

Sixteen-year-old Hector lives in the El Paso projects with his mother and sister. He’s a good student who plays chess and wins essay contests, but when a couple of drug dealers in his neighborhood target his family, he is determined to get revenge.

The Other Merlin. By Robyn Schneider. Penguin Random House/Viking Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9780593351024). 

Prince Arthur would rather be a librarian. Lancelot is a disgraced guard who flirts with all the boys. Merlin is an ambitious bisexual girl named Emry in disguise as a boy. Fate has big plans for these kids—if they can survive all the courtly intrigue and adolescent drama.

The Other Side of Perfect. By Mariko Turk. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Poppy, $17.99 (9780316703406). 

After a severe injury, half-Japanese, half-white teen Alina is forced to give up her lifelong dream of becoming a professional ballerina and figure out who she is without being able to participate in the passion that previously defined her life.

Perfect on Paper. By Sophie Gonzales. Macmillan/Wednesday Books, $18.99 (9781250769787). 

For 10 dollars, students can slide a letter into locker #89 and get personalized advice for all their relationship woes. Secretly, it’s Darcy Phillips writing to everyone. When she’s found out by new student Brougham, all of Darcy’s carefully kept secrets threaten to spill out into the open.

Skin of the Sea. By Natasha Bowen. Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9780593120941). 

Semidele is a mermaid, one of the Mami Wata who collect and bless the souls of those who die at sea. But one day, she saves a life instead and unleashes the wrath of the gods. Now, Semi must journey long and far to make amends—and save the world.

Somewhere between Bitter and Sweet. By Laekan Zea Kemp. Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780316460279). 

Mexican-American young adults Pen (an aspiring baker and the heir apparent to her family’s restaurant) and Xander (an undocumented immigrant searching for the father who abandoned him) develop a tender connection amidst their own personal crossroads and trouble in their Austin, TX, neighborhood.

A Spindle Splintered. By Alix E. Harrow. Macmillan/, $17.99 (9781250765352). 

Folklore aficionado and Sleeping Beauty scholar Zinnia Grey has a genetic disorder that will likely kill her soon. When she is transported into a fairy tale after jokingly pricking her finger on a spinning wheel, she jumps at the chance to save Aurora in the hopes of saving herself too.

Starfish. By Lisa Fipps. Penguin Random House/Nancy Paulsen Books, $17.99 (9781984814500). 

Ellie’s sister gave her the name Splash at her fifth birthday party, and Ellie can no longer recall a time when she wasn’t shamed for being fat. With the help of a supportive dad and some therapy, Ellie begins to demand to be treated like a human being.

Sugar Town Queens. By Malla Nunn. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $17.99 (9780525515609). 

When mixed-race teen Amandla discovers that her white mother’s wealthy and estranged family has been living in nearby Johannesburg, South Africa, she sets out to uncover the secrets that have forced her and her mother to fend for themselves in the impoverished Sugar Town township.

Sway With Me. By Syed M. Masood. Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. $17.99 (9780316492416). 

Worried that he will be alone when his guardian—a centenarian great-grandfather—dies, Arsalan seeks out the help of his classmate Beenish, whose stepmother is a matchmaker. In exchange, he agrees to participate in a Bollywood-inspired dance number at her sister’s wedding.

The Upper World. By Femi Fadugba. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $18.99 (9780063078598). 

After an accident, Esso finds himself seeing glimpses of the past and the future in a place called The Upper World. Fifteen years later, Rhia is approached by the mysterious Dr. Esso, who believes she has the keys to returning to the past and undoing a tragedy that changed the course of both their lives.

Walls. By L.M. Elliott. Workman Publishing/Algonquin Young Readers, $19.95 (9781643750248). 

When white teen Drew’s father’s military job takes their family to Berlin in 1960, Drew’s mother urges him to befriend his cousin Matthias, who lives in USSR-controlled East Berlin. Chapters open with succinct descriptions of historical events and photographs for additional context.

What About Will. By Ellen Hopkins. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $17.99 (9780593108642). 

When Trace’s older brother Will suffers a head injury playing football, no one knows how hard things will get. Their mom spends most of her time on the road, their dad works a lot, and Trace is left to figure out when it’s time to speak up about Will’s addiction.

When We Make It. By Elisabet Velasquez. Penguin Random House/Dial Books, $19.99 (9780593324486). 

Puerto Rican teen Sarai navigates life in 1990’s Bushwick, Brooklyn, as her community faces gentrification, poverty, and addiction.

Where the Rhythm Takes You. By Sarah Dass. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (9780063018525). 

After her mother’s death, Afro-Caribbean teen Reyna abandons her artistic plans to work at the family hotel in Tobago. But when ex-boyfriend Aiden—now a famous musician—returns, Reyna must relive romantic regrets and decide if it’s worth taking a second shot at a life she never got to lead.

Within These Wicked Walls. By Lauren Blackwood. Macmillan/Wednesday Books, $18.99 (9781250787101). 

When Andromeda is hired to remove the evil spirits from Magnus Rorschach’s house, she has no idea what she’s getting into. As Andi falls for Magnus and begins to unravel what’s happening to his home, she must decide how much she is willing to risk to save him.

The Words in My Hands. By Asphyxia. Annick Press, $19.95 (9781773215280). 

In a near-future Australia experiencing economic collapse and food shortages, white Deaf teen Piper meets Marley, a Child of a Deaf Adult (CODA), who introduces her to sign language, the local Deaf community, and the practice of growing “wild food” illegally on public land in this colorfully illustrated epistolary novel.

Year of the Reaper. By Makiia Lucier. HarperCollins/Clarion Books, $17.99 (9780358272090). 

When a murderer connected to the queen threatens the fragile peace between two kingdoms ravaged by war and plague, nobleman Cas, newly home from his time as a prisoner of war, is tasked with finding the killer and uncovering her secrets.

You’ll Be the Death of Me. By Karen M. McManus. Penguin Random House/Delacorte Press, $19.99 (9780593175866).

Ex-friends Ivy, Mateo, and Cal attempt to relive the glory days of middle school when they find themselves alone in the high school parking lot and impulsively skip class. But when they stumble onto a crime scene, old secrets might break their new reconnection and get them all framed for murder.

Want a printable version of this round-up? Download the Winter nominations round-up.