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.