Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
ISBN: 9781536204957

Twelve year old Sai is assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker. No one knows that she has been harboring a secret; her father is a conman. When they set out on a journey to chart the southern seas, she has no idea that the ship may actually be heading to the fabled Sunderlands, a land thought to be guarded by dragons. As Sai struggles to conceal her identity aboard the ship, she discovers that she is not the only one with a secret. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of One True Loves by Elise Bryant

One True Loves by Elise Bryant
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
ISBN: 9780062982865

Lenore (fans will remember her from Bryant’s Happily Ever Afters) is on a European cruise with her siblings and parents the summer after high school. She’s NYU bound in the fall – as long as she can pick a major by the end of the cruise. Also, her brother’s acting weird, and there’s an annoying guy hanging around. As Lenore struggles to make a plan for her future, she realizes maybe she doesn’t need to struggle alone. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
Wednesday Books
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
ISBN: 9781250783349

Millie Price is dead set on becoming a Broadway star, but her introverted dad is reluctant to let her leave home to attend a special musical theater school. When Millie discovers her dad’s LiveJournal from 2003, she decides that a deep dive into this history will help her find out who her birth mother is, in hopes that her newly found mom will support her dreams. 

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
ISBN: 9781250755544

Anastasia Romanov is the sole survivor of the slaughter of Russia’s royal family at the hands of the Bolshevik Red Army. Anastasia knows she must get to safety before the Red Army realizes she is not among the dead and tracks her down to finish the job. Anastasia enlists the reluctant help of a teen Bolshevik villager named Evgenia and, in spite of their differences, the two form an uneasy alliance as the Red Army closes in.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
Razorbill / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: March 2, 2022
ISBN: 9780593202340

Salahudin (Sal) and Noor are two Pakistani American teens trying to make the best of it before graduating and escaping Juniper, the California desert town where they have few prospects. Noor has had to apply for college in secret, since her abusive uncle expects her to stay and help run the liquor store as payment for him taking her in. Sal has recently lost his loving mother, Misbah, and he’s struggling to keep his family’s motel afloat while his alcoholic father descends into grief. Sal and Noor used to rely on each other, but since The Fight, things are awkward between them. Yet just as they start to reconnect and trust each other again, maybe even fall in love, Sal’s desperate attempts to make money to save his family’s motel endangers them both.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee

A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee
Clarion Books/HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
ISBN: 9780358469988

A broken teacup causes Miuko’s life to turn upside down when her journey to buy a new set of cups leads to a mysterious demon encounter that curses Miuko to slowly become a demon herself. Miuko’s condition is quickly discovered by her fellow villagers and she is forced to flee. In her quest to seek out the entity – god, spirit or demon – that might be capable of ridding her of the demon slowly taking over her body, she is joined by a host of new friends, many of whom are creatures inspired by Japanese mythology. Miuko revels in leaving behind the restrictions of life in her father’s inn and begins to question just how badly she really wants to remedy her current situation.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram

Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication Date: March 22, 2022
ISBN: 9780593325261

Hunter is a member of the internationally beloved boy band Kiss and Tell, on their first North American tour. He’s also the only queer member of the band, and going through his first breakup. A messy, public breakup, after his ex posts their texts online. As if that’s not enough, he’s contending with The Label creating and controlling his image of the perfect queer teen role model, and a budding romance with another musician on the tour. Homophobia is present in the text, though never condoned.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown

All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown
Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
ISBN: 9780063054974

Andrew and Jamie, both with secrets of their own, lost everyone they cared about after a deadly pathogen killed off much of the population, but they find each other when they need it most and begin a dangerous trek together to search for civilization.

All That’s Left in the World is told from the point of view of Andrew, an expert at telling hilarious sarcastic jokes, and Jamie, a hopeful and kind person who loves Hallmark movies. Andrew is looking for help after he gets his leg stuck in a bear trap when he comes across Jamie’s cabin, and the rest is history.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Answers in the Pages by David Levithan

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
ISBN: 9780593484685

Three different storylines intertwine to reveal the importance of stories, representation, and standing up for the right to read. The story opens from the perspective of Donovan who is reading a book titled, The Adventurers for school. His mom reads the last sentence of the book and goes on to challenge the title in front of the school board based on her presumption that the book contains LGBTQIA+ themes. This storyline is intersected with actual excerpts from The Adventurers, as well as the story of Gideon, a boy who is experiencing new feelings towards a boy who just moved to his school.

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Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Penguin Teen
Publication Date: September 21, 2022
ISBN: 9780735269934

Loosely based on the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female Chinese emperor, Iron Widow follows 18-year-old Zetian as she infiltrates the military to avenge her sister’s murder and then dismantle the patriarchal system that made the murder possible.

In Huaxia, a futuristic Chinese-inspired world, humans battle the alien Hundun in an endless war. To hold their own against the insectile Hundun, soldiers pilot giant mecha Chrysalises that take the shape of mythical animals and use qi as fuel, needing both the male yang and female yin energy. While male pilots are celebrated as idols, their female partners are subservient concubine-pilots, and usually die during battle.

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