Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray Penguin Random House / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Publication Date: September 28, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593405680
Koffi and her mother live with and work for the Night Zoo, caring for the magical, monstrous creatures within. When her mother’s life is threatened one night, Koffi accidentally unleashes a power she didn’t know she possessed and must run for her life. Meanwhile, Ekon, second son of a famed military hero, is desperate to prove to his brother that he belongs in the ranks of the Sons of the Six after a disastrous interruption to his final rite of passage. Koffi and Ekon meet by chance and each recognizes a potential path forward if they can locate the Shetani – a magical, murderous beast that has been plaguing the area for almost 100 years. Koffi wants to find the Shetani to sell it in exchange for freedom; Ekon wants to find the Shetani to kill it to prove his mettle as a warrior. Neither is honest with the other about their true motivations, but they will have to find a way to work together if either of them is to survive.
Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn Penguin Random House / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publication Date: August 3, 2021 ISBN: 978-0525515609
Biracial teen Amandla lives in Sugar Town, a township on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa with her single white mother. Ever cognizant of her mother’s fluctuating mental health, Amandla is concerned when her mother returns home from one of her secret trips to Durban with a large envelope full of cash and a mysterious note. Amandla and her friends decide to follow her mother to Durban where they discover that Amandla has an entire family she knows nothing about, with a history that will change everything she thinks she knows about herself and her mother.
Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood Hatchette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication Date: November 2, 2021 ISBN: 978-0316492416
Being homeschooled by his nearly 100-year-old great grandfather (Nana) has left seventeen-year-old Indian American Arsalan with an impressive vocabulary and not an ounce of cool. Considering that Nana doesn’t likely have many years left on this earth, Arsalan comes to the conclusion he needs to get engaged. Not married, just engaged. He just wants a guarantee that he won’t be left alone when Nana dies. So he makes a deal with Beenish, whose stepmother is the “premier matchmaking aunty of the Greater Sacramento Area” and so presumably knows something about the matchmaking process. Beenish agrees to set him up with someone if he will be her dance partner for her sister’s upcoming wedding. A wedding — Arsalan soon discovers — that Beenish wants to end before it happens, primarily through choreographing an outrageously inappropriate dance that will be sure to offend her sister’s in-laws-to-be.
Hunting By Stars: A Marrow Thieves Novel by Cherie Dimaline ABRAMS/Amulet Books Publication Date: October 19, 2021 ISBN: 978-1419753473
In a near future ravaged by climate and disease, some people have stopped dreaming. These people go mad or waste away, so the government has done the unthinkable: Set up residential “schools” where the bone marrow of Indigenous people is harvested for the dreams they still carry. Métis teen Francis “French” Dusome has been on the run for most of his life, ever since the day his brother sacrificed himself so French could get away. French survives in the wilderness with a close knit group whose members–including Rose, Miig, Wab, and Chi-Boy–are from tribal nations all over North America; together, they are family. So when French is captured, there’s no question that he will be looked for. But new threats bring new danger, and the group is forced to separate. Now Rose is desperately searching for French–and running right into the deceptively open arms of a strange new group. Miig is leading the others south–crossing the U.S. border where the line between friends and those pretending to be friends is very thin. And French is imprisoned in a place where so many of his people have gone to die–and about to face terrible choices that will harm those he loves no matter what he decides. Reuniting will require sacrifices, betrayals, and desperate bids for a survival that is anything but assured.
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Publication Date: August 10, 2021 ISBN: 978-1534448667
Mexican American Moon Fuentez lives in the shadow of her sister Star’s social media fame and her mother’s disdain, so when she is cajoled into accompanying Star on an influencer tour to take her sister’s pictures and sell merch, Moon is prepared for a disappointing summer. But over the course of the tour, a slow-growing relationship with perpetually grumpy, impossibly attractive Santiago gives Moon the courage to embrace her art and her life, and face her family’s abuse.
The Misewa Saga by David A. Robertson Penguin Random House Canada/Puffin Books –The Barren Grounds (vol. 1) Publication Date: September 8, 2020 ISBN: 978-0735266100
–The Great Bear (vol. 2) Publication Date: September 28, 2021 ISBN: 978-0735266131
Indigenous foster kids Morgan and Eli have been separated from their families and placed with a white foster couple in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Both children feel alone and different from everyone around them at their new home and school, but Morgan and Eli have a secret. They can cross into another world — the land of Askí, where across the Barren Grounds they’ve befriended the talking animal villagers of Misewa. All Eli has to do is draw a picture, staple it to the wall of the attic, and he and Morgan can step into a fantasy land. During their first adventure in Askí, the two meet and befriend a fisher named Ochek, the sole remaining hunter of his starving village. Together, they embark on a weeks-long voyage to discover what has happened to the summer birds that are meant to keep the land alive. As they travel, Morgan begins to learn how to live on the land as her people do, and Eli flourishes with opportunities to share his knowledge. Many dangers await, and even if Morgan and Eli do return home, they must figure out how to explain their long absence.
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.
The City Beautiful. By Aden Polydoros. Harlequin/Inkyard Press, $19.99 (9781335402509).
Amidst the glitz and glamour of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Alter Rosen, a gay, Jewish, Romanian immigrant teen, becomes possessed by the dybbuk of his murdered friend and must avenge the deaths of his friend and a growing number of other local Jewish boys.
Curses. By Lish McBride. Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781984815590).
When Merit refuses to marry a prince, she is cursed to live as a beast. Tevin’s family runs cons on rich girls, but when his mom runs afoul of the beast she trades him for her freedom. This fresh, gender-bent Beauty and the Beast retelling examines what “beastly” really is.
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger Levine Querido Publication Date: October 12, 2021 ISBN: 978-1646140923
Nina is a Lipan Apache teen in the very near future. Ever since her great-great-grandmother told an untranslatable Lipan story on her deathbed, Nina has been searching for answers. Oli is a cottonmouth person in the Reflecting World. Ever since his mother sent him away (as all cottonmouth mothers eventually do), Oli has been trying to make a new home for himself. As Nina learns more about the connection between her family and their land, Oli’s best friend falls dangerously ill. Now the cottonmouth boy ventures to Earth to seek the help of a human girl, and together they must turn the tides of change to protect those they love.
Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles Scholastic Press Publication Date: September 21, 2021 ISBN: 978-1338734188
Gio’s life is complicated… not because he is bisexual. Not because of his father’s drinking problem. Gio’s life is complicated because his mother, who he has not seen or heard from in eight years, is back in town. She wants to meet and talk, but Gio is confused. Should he forgive her? Should he tell her that she gave up her chance to be in his life? Adding to Gio’s confusion is the attractive new boy that he meets in school. Are they friends? Or more than friends? There are no simple answers, but Gio is bound and determined to figure things out anyway.
Small Favorsby Erin A. Craig Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press Publication Date: July 27, 2021 ISBN: 978-0593306741
The residents of Amity Falls live small, peaceful lives, toiling away on farms, helping their neighbors, and tending to the town. Ellerie Downing’s life is no different. She helps her father with the beekeeping, cooks and mends for her family, and takes care of her two younger sisters. But something wicked is stirring in the woods surrounding Amity Falls. The monsters of legend that stalked the area have returned and have cut off their peaceful little town from the rest of the world.
As summer turns to fall and supplies start to run low, the residents turn to a tricky and magical creature who promises to give them their heart’s desire in return for a small favor. But when the town folk begin to turn on each other, Ellerie realizes that something even more sinister is at play in Amity Falls and she must race against time to save her town and her family.