Best Fiction for Young Adults #BFYA2025 Quarterly Round-Up

All that Consumes Us. By Erica Waters. 2023. 400 p. HarperTeen, $19.99  (9780063115965). Gr. 9 – 12.

First generation college student Tara struggles to find her place on campus until she’s invited to join an elite society called Magni Viri. However, she soon discovers that the promise of scholarships and career advancement come with a dark, paranormal price tag she may be unable to pay.

The Bad Ones. By Melissa Albert. 2024. 384 p. Flatiron Books, $19.99  (9781250894892). Gr. 9 – 12.

While searching for her missing friend, Nora follows clues leading her to two buried secrets and an infamous goddess.

Breathing Underwater. By Abbey Lee Nash. 2024. 214 p. Holiday House, $18.99  (9780823457410). Gr. 9 – 12.

Seventeen-year-old Tess has been carefully balancing her grades and the swim team until a sudden epilepsy diagnosis upends it all. She’s desperate to hold onto her swim career, but it seems like everyone is standing in her way: her parents, her doctors, and even the cute boy next door.

Bright Red Fruit. By Safia Elhillo. 2024. 368 p. Make Me a World, $19.99  (9780593381229). Gr. 8 – 12.

When sixteen-year-old Samira’s overprotective Sudanese immigrant mother grounds her for the umpteenth time, she  takes refuge in an online poetry community. There she meets Horus, an older poet. When she ignores her friends’ warnings about him, there’s more at risk than her reputation, risks her mom didn’t prepare her for.

Cancelled. By Farrah Penn. 2024. 366 p. Viking Books for Young Readers, $19.99  ( 9780593528303). Gr. 9 – 12.

Senior Brynn Whittaker’s seemingly perfect life crumbles when a scandalous video implicates her at a Halloween party, sparking a battle against misogyny. Determined to clear her name and confront haters, Brynn and her friends begin a “Femolution”.

Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear. By Robin Wasley. 2023. 405 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665914604). Gr. 10 – 12.

Sid has never worried much about living on a fault line, one of the sites where the world’s magic was sealed away because of its dangerous potential. But everything falls apart when someone opens the fault line, bringing magic back to the town along with zombie-like creatures and apocalyptic circumstances.

Dragonfruit. By Makiia Lucier. 2024. 356 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780358272106). Gr. 8 – 11.

As a child, Hanalei and the princess of Tamarind were poisoned. Hanalei’s father stole a rare dragon egg intended to resurrect the princess and fed it to Hanalei, forcing them into exile. Now years later, Hanalei has a chance to find a new dragon egg and right the past.

A Drop of Venom. By Sajni Patel. 2024. 393 p. Hyperion, $18.99  (9781368092685). Gr. 10 – 12.

Separated from her family and in hiding, Manisha finds herself at the mercy of those in power. Manisha thinks she might be close to freedom when she’s violently assaulted and left for dead. When she awakes, she discovers she’s been granted powers that will make sure she’s never attacked again.

Looking for Smoke. By K.A. Cobell. 2024. 402 p. Heartdrum, $19.99  (9780063318670). Gr. 9 – 12.

When a Blackfeet girl is found murdered during a giveaway honoring a missing teen girl, four teens with complicated pasts find themselves named suspects. They have to work together to clear their names. But as time goes on, it looks increasingly likely that one of the four is the murderer.

The No-Girlfriend Rule. By Christen Randall. 2024. 323 p. Atheneum Books, $19.99  (9781665939812). Gr. 9 – 12.

Hollis has always wanted to play Secrets and Sorcery, but her boyfriend and his friends hold strict to their ‘no-girlfriend rule.’ So Hollis finds her own S&S group, joining an all-girl, queer-friendly game. As Hollis spends more time playing, she starts to realize that some things might have to change.

Phoebe’s Diary. By Phoebe Wahl. 2023. 460 p. Little, Brown, $19.99  (9780316363563). Gr. 9 – 12.

It’s 2006 and fifteen-year-old Phoebe is Not Like Other Girls. She loves indie rock, vintage fashion and really wants a boyfriend. (Ok, she actually is just like other girls).

A Place for Vanishing. By Ann Fraistat. 2024. 453 p. Delacorte Press, $19.99  (9780593382219). Gr. 9 – 12.

Libby is feeling fragile from her recent suicide attempt when she moves with her mom and sister to a Victorian mansion with macabre stained glass windows and odd bug-shaped masks. The house has been the source of several disappearances over decades, and before long, Libby begins to uncover its sinister intentions.

The Reappearance of Rachel Price. By Holly Jackson. 2024. 430 p. Delcourt Press, $27.59  (9780593374207). Gr. 9 – 12.

After Bel Price’s mother, Rachel, suddenly reappears after being missing for sixteen years, Bel is sure that Rachel is lying about where she’s been and is determined to uncover the truth about her sudden reappearance.

Rez Ball. By Byron Graves. 2023. 357 p. Heartdrum, $19.99  (9780063160378). Gr. 9 – 12.

Tre Brun is trying to prove he’s a great basketball player, but it’s hard when everyone just compares him to his older brother Jaxon who died in a car accident. When Jaxon played, Red Lake Reservation High School nearly went to state, and Tre is ready to win this time.

Running Past Dark. By Han Nolan. 2023. 324 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $19.99  (9781665931786). Gr. 9 – 12.

Scottie wants answers about her sister’s death. Why was Cait in the car with the town hero, Coach Jory? Was Cait lying when she accused the popular coach of rape? As she returns to the hostile environment of school, Scottie finds healing through Hellgate–an Ultra Runner’s nightmare.

Snowglobe. By Soyoung Park. 2024. 372 p. Delacorte Press, $20.99  (9780593484975). Gr. 8 – 10.

In a world plunged into eternal winter, only a chosen few get to live in the artificial climate of Snowglobe.  Chobahm’s dream is to be a director in Snowglobe, creating reality TV for those outside, but she’s given a different chance. She’s asked to replace everyone’s favorite star.

A Tempest of Tea. By Hafsah Faizal. 2024. 338 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $20.99  (9780374389406). Gr. 9 – 12.

Criminal mastermind and tearoom/illegal vampire speakeasy proprietor, Arthie Casimir, forges a band of unlikely partners to bring down the corrupt monarchy threatening her tearoom’s existence. But when their inner circle is betrayed, Casimir and her friends find themselves fighting for more than just the tearoom.  A captivating tale of vampires, found family and political intrigue.

That’s Not My Name. By Megan Lally. 2023. 296 p. Sourcebooks Fire, $11.99  (9781728270111). Gr. 9 – 12.

Mary is trying to figure out who she is and why her “father” has forgotten critical details about her health. Drew is the main suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend. His search for Lola leads him to Mary and some unexpected answers.

These Bodies Between us. By Sarah Van Name. 2024. 326 p. Delacorte Press, $19.99  (9780593646175). Gr. 8 – 11.

Callie is looking forward to a typical summer with her friends Cleo, Talia, and Polly, but her plans are quickly turned upside down. Cleo has found forums about girls turning themselves invisible, and she wants them all to try it. Callie’s scepticism turns into amazement when they actually do it.

Thirsty. By Jas Hammonds. 2024. 318 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250816597). Gr. 9 – 12.

As a biracial girl from a poor background, Blake Brenner has just wanted to feel seen. Now four years into a relationship with her beautiful and rich girlfriend who enables her drinking problem, Blake must navigate the summer before college and pledging a secret sorority for women of color.

This Day Changes Everything. By Edward Underhill. 2024. 280 p. Wednesday Books, $19.25  ( 9781250835222). Gr. 9 – 12.

Abby Akerman, from small town Missouri, plans to confess her love to best friend Kat at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Meanwhile, Leo Brewer, a trans boy from North Carolina, dreads being outed on live TV. They meet by chance in NYC, embarking on a journey that could change everything.

Under This Red Rock. By Mindy McGinnis. 2024. 326 p. Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99  (9780063230415). Gr. 10 – 12.

Neely, still reeling from her brother’s suicide, has been secretly living with schizophrenia. She finds comfort and stability working as a guide in the caverns–until her coworker and crush Mila is found brutally murdered and Neely begins to worry she’s the one responsible.

Wander in the Dark. By Jumata Emill. 2024. 387 p. Delacorte Press, $19.99  (9780593651858). Gr. 9 – 12.

After Amir is arrested for the murder of his classmate, Chloe, it’s up to his half brother Marcel to prove his innocence before Amir is indicted and the real murderer gets away.

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: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2025) Featured Review: Gorgeous Gruesome Faces by Linda Cheng

  • Gorgeous Gruesome Faces
  • by Linda Cheng
  • Narrated by Elaine Wang
  • Macmillan Audio / Macmillan
  • Publication Date: November 7, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250864994

Two years after the mysterious death of her best friend Mina, former teen pop star Sunny Lee is still searching for answers. Suspecting her other BFF Candie’s involvement, Sunny infiltrates a new K-pop workshop Candie is attending. As gruesome incidents begin to plague the workshop, Sunny must navigate a rekindled romance with Candie while uncovering the sinister secrets behind Mina’s death and the workshop’s dark promises of fame.

Gorgeous Gruesome Faces is a captivating audiobook that blends elements of mystery and psychological thriller, making it an excellent recommendation for fans of intense, character-driven narratives. Cheng’s masterful storytelling and the narrator’s compelling performance combine to create an immersive listening experience that keeps the audience on edge from start to finish. The intense story also features a light Sapphic romance appeal, complemented by gruesome pops of horror that add to its dark allure.


For readers captivated by the chilling atmosphere of Gorgeous Gruesome Faces, similar book titles include the eerie atmosphere of Tranq Thanh Tran’s She is a Haunting, the supernatural horror of Jujutsu Kaisen by Gege Akutami, and the darkly comedic thriller Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. In terms of television, the intense and gripping narratives of Squid Game and Yellowjackets offer a comparable tone, blending psychological drama with elements of horror. These selections are perfect for those who enjoy a mix of supernatural intrigue and high-stakes tension.

– Lorrie Roussin

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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2025) Feature Review: Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods by Grace Lin

  • Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods
  • by Grace Lin
  • Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication Date: September 12, 2023
  • ISBN: 9798885856409

Grace Lin introduces a wide variety of Chinese-American food and the myths and history behind them.

This is an excellent read for the reader interested in mythology, but who doesn’t have the time or attention span for an entire novel. The full-page illustrations introducing each dish/ story are bright and colorful and attract attention, but don’t feel too young. The book’s thickness and layout make it appealing for an older audience, as well as the 8-12 age range in which it was published. In addition, the subject matter makes it compelling for a wide range of readers. Because of the uniqueness of the content, this is perfect for a multigenerational reading transaction, and it won’t out remedial teen readers. 


Readers who enjoyed Hidden Systems by Dan Nott (2023), The Mona Lisa Vanishes by Nicholas Day and Brett Helquist (2023), Houses with a Story by Yoshida Seiji (2023), and Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (2013), will enjoy Chinese Menu

Josie Snow

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: The Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson

  • The Reappearance of Rachel Price
  • by Holly Jackson
  • Publisher: Delcourt Press
  • Release date: April 2, 2024
  • ISBN: 9780593374207

Annabel “Bel” Price’s mother disappeared when she was less than two years old, with Bel as the only witness, unable to remember anything.  Sixteen years after Rachel’s disappearance, a film crew comes to town to film a documentary when the impossible happens: Rachel reappears.  When Rachel’s explanation about where she was being kept for most of Bel’s life leaves her with more questions than answers, it’s up to Bel and the youngest member of the film crew to find out the truth.

Jackson knows how to plot a thriller, and this is no exception.  There are twists and turns around every corner.  The conclusion is shocking and will satisfy even the pickiest thriller lover.  Being inside Bel’s head gives insight to how living with the mystery of what happened to her mother has shaped her into the teenager that she has become but never becomes overwhelming or repetitive. 

Teen readers who enjoy intricately plotted thrillers with unbelievable twists and turns will enjoy this book.  Hand this to fans of Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy, The Summer She Went Missing by Chelsea Ichaso and That’s Not My Name by Megan Lally.

— Candace Fox

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Conditions of a Heart by Bethany Mangle

  • Conditions of a Heart
  • by Bethany Mangle
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Release date: February 20, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781665937634

Brynn Kwan is a lot of things–prom queen, head of the yearbook committee, high school senior. But she also has a secret–she also is chronically ill with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and POTS, conditions she inherited from her father. When Brynn ends up getting involved in a fight with the wealthiest student at her school, she finds herself banned from all senior activities–the same activities that give Brynn a sense of normalcy. With a lot of extra time on her hands, Brynn is left to deal with the ex-boyfriend she ghosted, her healthy sister who doesn’t seem to understand, and the body she inhabits. 

This title features a strong protagonist with inherited health conditions that make her everyday life challenging. We see the impacts of her and her father’s health on the rest of the family. Brynn has the same hopes and dreams that any high school senior has and we follow her journey to not only accept herself and her body, but to allow others to accept her and her body. This is a coming-of-age story that is relatable for all teens while highlighting the challenges that come with having an invisible disability and chronic pain. The story is well-paced and the main character is well-fleshed out. 

Teens who enjoy realistic fiction and coming-of-age stories will enjoy this one.  Some comparable titles include Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett and Where You See Yourself by Claire Forrest.

— Megan Nigh


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: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Duel by Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley

Fantasy-loving Lucy starts sixth grade in the school where her popular eighth grade sister, GiGi, is a fencing champion. Lucy and GiGi have not always gotten along, but things have gotten worse between them since their fencing instructor father passed away. When GiGi purposefully trips Lucy in the cafeteria, Lucy pulls out GiGi’s foil and challenges her to a duel. Threatened with being pulled from the team, GiGi concocts a plan: she’ll tell the coach that Lucy, who hasn’t fenced since her father’s death, is trying out for the team and needs to compete against her. 

Duel explores the complexities of relationships with family and friends, bullying, and grief. GiGi struggles with perfection, while Lucy is dealing with her sister’s bullying, and both feel abandoned by their mother. Aaron Bagley’s illustrations are highly detailed and brightly colored. Duel is told in both sister’s perspectives: Lucy’s thought boxes are colored in yellow and GiGi’s in purple to help the reader distinguish between the two. Lucy and GiGi are presented as biracial and supporting characters are a variety of different skin tones and body types.

Readers who enjoy stories with sibling rivalries like Sisters by Raina Telgemeier or Twins by Varian Johnson will find much to love here. Action-filled fencing scenes will entice readers of sports comics like Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson and Swim Team by Johnny Christmas.

—Kim Keown Farnsworth

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: 16, 2024
Release Date: February 13, 2024

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2025) Featured Review: This Terrible True Thing by Jenny Laden

Danielle is living in 1990’s Philadelphia, going to private school, and hoping to be accepted at the Rhode Island School of Design’s art program. But, this is the age of AIDS/HIV and Danielle’s father is gay at a time when very little is known about the disease or mentioned aloud. Her father falls victim to AIDS in a heart-wrenching manner and this propels Danielle to action and to speak out.

Gail Shalon had an age-appropriate voice which was perfect in voicing the pain Danielle felt when her father died. This is the author’s debut novel and takes parts from her own life.  In the print version are many drawings, poems, and journal entries, but the audio version stands on its own without these. In fact, the audio version won the Audie Award for YA 2024. The characters are multi-layered.

This audiobook can be enjoyed by fans of John Green, Jennifer Niven, and Bill Konigsberg. This historical fiction title depicts a time when so little was known about AIDS/HIV and being gay was a hidden topic.  

-Ellen Spring

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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2025) Feature Review: Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust by Neal Shusterman

This well-designed graphic novel features five stories rooted in Jewish folklore and cultural history and set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. Using the mythology of the Jewish people in a more modern setting, it allows for a new generation to learn about what gave many the strength to survive. Each of the stories works together with vivid graphics, to tell the story of a people relying on their own culture against a stronger opponent determined to destroy them all.

Author Neal Shusterman and illustrator Andrés Vera Martínez have collaborated to create several stories that will engage readers from the first page to the last. Mixing fantasy, reality, and mythology, these stories of survival and sacrifice help show what people need to believe to survive the most horrific events. After each story, the creators include great factual information to help all who read it put names and faces to those who may have lost their lives or survived this horrific event.
Give to readers who enjoyed Impossible Escape: A True Story of Survival and Heroism in Nazi Europe by Steve Sheinkin and Challenger Deep and Game Changer by Neal Shusterman.

Lindsay Bailey – Belfast Area High School

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass

  • Your Lonely Nights Are Over
  • by Adam Sass
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Release date: September 12, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593526583

Dearie and Cole are ready to take on their senior year as they always have, together as a team of fabulous, inseparable gay besties. But when a serial killer from decades earlier makes a comeback in their hometown, taking on senior year means taking on a murderer. Together, the two try to piece together how the past murders relate to the present so they can catch the serial killer before he catches them. 

This fast-paced thriller will have teens on the edge of their seat and keep them guessing. The classic murder mystery vibe is taken to new heights with a diverse group of characters, all members of their high school’s Queer Club, now having to fight for their lives. The book feels especially true to today, with the serial killer’s exploits featured in a true crime documentary that the teens use to try and solve the case.

Your Lonely Nights Are Over is a great pick for teens obsessed with true crime or serial killers who don’t mind a little blood. Teens who liked the murder mystery There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins or the irreverently ghoulish This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham are sure to enjoy this book.

-Kameron Morton

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: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Aya: Claws Come Out by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie

  • Aya: Claws Come Out
  • by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie
  • Drawn and Quarterly
  • Publication Date: February 6, 2024
  • ISBN-13: 9781770467019

It’s been more than a decade since the first volumes of Marguerite Abouet and Clément

Oubrerie’s sprawling historical novels centered the extended families of the famously independent title character and her two best friends in Yop City, a working class area of Abidjan, the largest city in the Ivory Coast. As this volume opens with the election of Mitterand, Aya, “the most sensible one in the neighborhood,” is at college for law. After the disco and neighborhood dramas of the 1970s incarnations, Claws Come Out has Reagan-era energy, maintained with the throughline of workplace farce as Aya seeks a corporate internship and Bonaventure takes Gregoire under his wing at his conglomerate, Solibra. A parallel storyline 3700 miles away, in Paris, finds Inno arrested after intervening in police harassment. He negotiates whether to push his asylum claim or return home with his French partner Seb, and his experiences are contrasted with those of his former flame Albert, as they are both forced into relationships of convenience.

Darker than the original series, but nonetheless maintaining an overt soap opera sensibility, Claws Come Out has an emphasis on mass media that provides timely commentary on fame and empathy as Bintou’s notoriety, found through role as a homewrecker, is her undoing. In the climactic sequence, Bintou’s televised interview is interrupted by breaking news from the University where the blameless Aya is arrested at a campus protest, a scene that could be ripped from the headlines today.

While earlier volumes were lighter in tone, with appeal to shojo and Austen readers alike, the cast of characters from Yopougon are now older, more serious, and more political, and as result it reads more like the work of Marjane Sartrapi or Zeina Abirachad. Characters negotiate arrest, deportation and systemic barriers to documentation in France, and the disenfranchisement of Cambodian students in the Ivory Coast is also emphasized, evoking gems like Hostage by Guy Delisle or Anthony Del Cole and Fahmida Azim’s I Survived a Chinese Internment Camp. This is a thoughtful series for teens with interest in global history and culture.

–Wendy Stephens

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: May 7, 2024
Release Date: October 24, 2023