Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Dear Medusa by Olivia Cole

  • Dear Medusa
  • by Olivia Cole
  • Publisher: Labyrinth Road
  • Release Date: March 14, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593485736

Alicia is starting her junior year of high school, but her reputation precedes her. What her classmates don’t know is why Alicia makes the decisions she does and just what happened between her and a beloved teacher. Abandoned by her best friend and disengaged with her home life, Alicia feels alone until anonymous letters start appearing in her locker to let her know she’s not the only one. 

Told using the metaphor of wolves, prey, and Medusa, this lyrical novel-in-verse shows just how isolating experiencing trauma can be, while also interweaving other complex issues that are important to teens. The book features a diverse cast of supporting characters who are allowed to shine in their own right. At the end of the novel, both Alicia and readers will feel as if they’ve undergone a transformation.

Teen readers who like a hard-hitting contemporary books that explore complex issues will be a fan of this one.  Similar titles include Lawless Spaces by Corey Ann Haydu and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Content warning for sexual assault.  

-Zoe Smolen

Other Nominated Titles

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: