Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Promise Boys by Nick Brooks

  • Promise Boys
  • by Nick Brooks
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • ISBN: 9781250866974

J.B., Ramón, and Trey are students at the prestigious Urban Promise Prep School, where they “promise” to follow the school’s strict disciplinary and academic codes, to set them on the path for college and save them from the streets. When their principal is murdered at school, the three become the prime suspects. The trio must join together to find out what really happened and prove their innocence.

Told in alternating viewpoints from the boys, their families, friends, teachers, and school donors, this fast-paced murder mystery unfolds into a compulsively readable story. Excellent characterization, tight pacing, and a memorable plot make this an easy sell.

Teen readers interested in real-life stories, thrillers, and relatable characters will most appreciate this title. Comparable titles include One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, Light It Up by Kekla Magoon, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

-Emily Williams

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: