Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: The Space Between Here and Now by Sarah Suk

  • The Space Between Here & Now
  • by Sarah Suk
  • Publisher: Quill Tree Books
  • Release date: October 31, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780063255135

Korean-Canadian teen Aimee has been diagnosed with Sensory Time Warp Syndrome, a condition that teleports her into her own memories when she encounters specific smells. Although her single dad insists she’ll eventually grow out of her STWS, she no longer feels in control, disappearing more frequently and for longer stretches of time. When one of her memories suggests there might be more to her mother’s disappearance than she first realized, Aimee travels to Korea to search for the truth before she loses her grip on the present completely.

The Space Between Here & Now uses magical realism to explore mental health, chronic illness, and the intergenerational trauma that comes with being the child of immigrants. The rich, sensory descriptions turn Aimee’s internal mental health journey into a landscape we can navigate with her. Her thoughtful narration will prompt readers to reflect on the ways we talk about disability and their relationships to their own pasts.

Aimee’s struggles will be relatable to teens with a variety of invisible disabilities. This story is a great follow-up to titles like The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan and Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi.

– Yona Yurwit

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: Till Human Voices Wake Us by Rebecca Roque

  • Till Human Voices Wake Us
  • by Rebecca Roque
  • Narrated by Imani Jade Powers
  • Imprint / Blackstone Publishing
  • Publication Date: February 27, 2024
  • ISBN: 9798212338356

Seventeen-year-old Cia does not wish to dwell on her fiery and mysterious past. That is until her best friend is found dead in the Quarry. Everyone believes her death was a suicide. Cia, though, believes differently. Especially, after she digs deeper into her town’s secrets, some of which involve her own family. 

Till Human Voices Wake Us takes the reader on a roller coaster of compelling and dark twists and turns. It is a young adult mystery/thriller that incorporates a lot of topics almost at once. Some of the topics featured in this novel include teen pregnancy, drug abuse,  secret societies, corruption, and LGBTQ characters and relationships. Yet, the author, Rebecca Roque, still somehow manages to keep it all from being overly complicated. 

The narrator did a fantastic job with narrating this story. She brought the characters to life, complete with accents, expression, diction, tone, and suspense. The reading and inclusion of Spanish, when spoken, sounded fluid and natural to the ear. All these aspects just add that extra layer to the overall performance.

Readers will find similar themes, pace, and of Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious, and Barry Lgya’s Time Will Tell will definitely love this story. They will find many of the same suspenseful elements as suspenseful tone, edgy betrayals, and young adult sleuths digging deeper and deeper into those specific societies’ and even family secrets. 

 -L.B. Ferguson

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: Oct. 31, 2023
Release Date: September 5, 2023
Release Date: February 20, 2024

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.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2024) Featured Review: Saints of the Household by Ari Tison

  • Saints of the Household
  • by Ari Tison
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • Release date: March 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780374389499

Max and Jay are brothers who rely on each for everything. In shifts, they attempt to protect their mom from an abusive father. They felt sure they were managing things, but one day they hear a friend in trouble in the woods and find themselves beating up a classmate. Unsure whether they were in the right, Max and Jay begin a journey of healing and self-discovery through an exploration of their Bribri American identity as well as looking outward to others to give them space to be who they want to become.

Ari Tison’s novel is heartbreaking and beautifully written. She has given us a novel with highly relatable characters that alternate telling their stories in short vignettes and verse making it poetic and impactful as she navigates brotherhood, trauma, and recovery.

This novel will appeal to any teen reader who appreciates a dramatic story or for anyone looking for an original coming of age novel. Recommend this book to teens who enjoyed All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir or Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley.

-Gia Kruz

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/BFYA24TeenFB

Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: A First Time for Everything

  • A First Time for Everything
  • by Dan Santat
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Release date: February 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781626724150

During the summer between middle and high school, author/illustrator Dan Santat took a life-changing trip with a group of students to Europe. Santat’s graphic novel memoir recounts his childhood and early adolescence, growing up in a small, do-nothing town as a child of immigrants. After a rough middle school experience, his chronically ill mother encourages him to sign up for a three week trip with other students on a cultural exchange journey across Europe. Filled with once-in-a-lifetime firsts, Dan discovers that beneath the exterior we share with the world, we are all much more alike than different.

Illustrated in Santat’s signature style, the full-color drawings are impeccably detailed and full of humor. Readers vicariously experience all the big emotions and experiences that accompany being a teen in the transitional space between middle school and high school: big humiliation, exhilarating freedom, first crushes, and being open to what the universe has to offer, all told with an engaging, feel-good touch. Backmatter includes information on Santat’s writing process, images of souvenirs, as well as actual photos taken on his transformative European adventure.

This book will appeal to teens in the 12-15 age range, graphic novel readers, and anyone with a love of or desire to travel. Also try Passport by Sophia Glock, Messy Roots by Laura Gao, and Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

-Katy Henderson

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: December 6, 2022

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.