10 Fantasy Reads of 2023


Get out of the heat and into a comfy, air conditioned space with a cool glass of iced tea while embarking on a fantastical journey exploring ten exciting new worlds!


  • Blood Debts Volume 1
  • By Terry J. Benton-Walker
  • Publisher:  Tor Teen
  • Release Date:  April 4, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:  9781250825926

Thirty years after a New Orleans murder and tragic magical events, sixteen year old twins Clement and Cristina Trudeau have found destructive ways to cope with their father’s death and mother’s illness. They have also lost their close connection.

After discovering their mother’s illness is a curse placed on her by a member of the magic counselor of which the Trudeau family had once reigned over, they must find the wielder of the curse and solve a thirty year old murder. It is up to the twins who must learn to trust each other again to alleviate the divide between magical and non magical residents of New Orleans or history may repeat itself.

Racism, family dynamics, politics, and justice are some of themes visited in this contemporary fantasy novel. Blood Debts would appeal to fans of Spellbound and Delicious Monsters. (Benton-Walker, T. J.)

  • Bonesmith
  • By Nicki Pau Preto
  • Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderberry Books
  • Release Date:  July 25, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:  9781665910590

Wren is a disgraced Valkyr, a ghost fighting warrior, who has failed the trial to enter the House of Bone due to sabotage. She is sent to the far ends of the Dominions to the Border Wall which is the last stronghold against the Breach where the undead traipse freely with abandon. 

When a prince of the House of Gold is kidnapped and taken beyond the Border Wall, Wren seizes the opportunity to prove herself to her nearly absent father to rescue the prince. She cannot do it alone. She must ally herself with those who have a mutual dislike and distrust in order to delve deeper into the fight against the enemy they all face:  the undead. 
Much like in Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons, an unlikely cast of characters are thrown together for one common cause forging friendships in this Dark Fantasy. It is a novel of friendship, family dynamics, and adventure. (Pau, Preto)


  • Bring Me Your Midnight
  • By Rachel Griffin
  • Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
  • Release Date:  August 29, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN:  9781728256153

Forbidden love or arranged stability. A romantic fantasy novel of choice between duty and desire from the author of bestselling novels:  The Nature of Witches and Wild is the Witch.

Tana Fairchild is an islander witch who has been promised to marry a mainlander in  an alliance of peace. She must decide to do what is right for her coven or follow her heart.

By releasing most of their magic into the ocean to prove to the mainlanders they intend no harm, they are able to keep the peace. Tana misses the full moon, midnight ritual which has the dire consequences of destroying the peace between the two groups. She is left to deal with the repercussions alone.

She meets Wolfe, a witch from a coven that practices Dark Magic. He teaches her his form of magic, empowering her in a way she has never felt before and a bond forms between them. As time goes on, the ocean becomes more violent and in need of appeasement yet Wolfe encourages Tana not to release her magic.

She must make a choice. Marry Landon, a Mainlander she was promised to since she was young or follow her heart. A choice that could lead to deadly consequences for her coven and island to face. (Griffin, R.)


  • Her Radiant Curse
  • By Elizabeth Lim
  • Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Release Date:  August 29, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 7-12
  • ISBN:  9780593300992

Channi and Vanna are sisters, one is beautiful and the other is hideous to gaze upon to all except her sister. One was sacrificed to the Demon Witch who changes her face to a serpent. Channi has had to learn to live with her wits and cunning, skills that will be needed to protect her sister from the most dangerous of her suitors in the trial of betrothal for Vanna’s hand in marriage. 

An epic fantasy novel of a deep bond of sisters, journeys across oceans and seas and choices that will break one of their hearts. It delves into the idea of beauty and its effects on the one who is seen as beautiful and the one who is seen as monstrous. 

A mix of stories such as Beauty and the Beast and Homeric Epic tales, it is a book of love triumphing over what is perceived as ugly. (Lim, E.)


  • Nightbirds
  • By Kate J. Armstrong
  • Publisher:  Nancy Paulson Books
  • Release Date:  February 28, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:  9780593463227

The newest young women of four Nightbirds time has come to kiss their magic to a clientele who can pay. These women are the only ones allowed to possess magic in a world where it is against the law for women to practice magic. They are protected by the Great Houses when in reality they are glorified prisoners led to believe they are treasures to be kept safe not used for monetary gain and breeding tools for the next generation of Nightbirds in Simta, a link in the cycle of social elite and political control. 

The Nightbirds are the lottery winners in Utopia. The dark secret kept from the rest of the population as to how everything is so perfect. 

It is a lesson that knowledge is power. It is with the newfound knowledge they are not the only girls with power and they have been imprisoned to give off their gift, marry lords of the Great Houses and keep the cycle going by sacrificing themselves unknowingly. (Armstrong, K.J.)

According to The Bulletin of the The Center for Children’s Books, readers of Leigh Barudgo or Maggie Takudo-Hall’s The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea would love Nightbirds. (Tucker, A.)


  • Spice Road Volume 1
  • By Maiya Ibrahim
  • Publisher:  Delacorte Press
  • Release Date:  January 24, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN:  9780593126967

Sixteen year old Imani of Qalia is a Shield, a fighter of monsters and defender of her nation. She must go on an epic journey in search of her brother who has disappeared after stealing the precious, magical spice of Qalia. He had been thought dead, until it is rumored he is not only alive but sharing the secrets of the spice with others in far off lands. 

Imani is joined by other shields on a mission to return her brother to the Council for punishment in order to restore the family’s blemished name. 

Imani may not find her brother, but she does find more dwells in her heart and beyond her home nation in this fantastical, historical, action adventure set in the sandy deserts of the Middle East. 

Readers of City of Nightmares and Seven Faceless Saints will enjoy reading Spice Road. (Ibrahim, M.)


  • Starlings
  • By Amanda Linsmeier
  • Publisher:  Delacorte Press
  • Release Date:  June 27, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN:  9780593572337

Starlings – Amanda Linsmeier

A dark, paranormal fantasy and the story of Kit, a young teenage girl who learns of an entire side of her family she never knew existed. Her father had always claimed he had no family, but after his death she found a grandmother and the small retro town of Rosemont. 

The town, the people, and her newly discovered family are perfect, but nothing is as it seems. The women in Kit’s family history have always been esteemed. As time moves on, things are not as they appear on the surface.

Readers of House of Hollow and Small Fires will love Starlings. (Linsmeir, A.)


  • A Tall Dark Trouble
  • By Vanessa Montalban
  • Publisher:  Zando Young Readers
  • Release Date:  August 29, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN:  9781638930129

Present day twins Ofelia and Delfi live in modern day Miami. They are part of a family of Cuban Brujas (witches) who emigrated to the United States. The twins team up with best friend Ethan and Andres to solve a series of Miami murders using magic the girls Mami had forbidden them to use. 

Anita is in 1980s Cuba. Shedoes not want to join  the secret coven her mother belongs to. 

A fantasy novel of dual time periods, magic, and women finding their inner strength. It is a magical mystery and the lives of three women intersecting over different eras of time.

Readers of The Isles of Gods and House of Roots and Ruin will enjoy delving into the magical world of Ofelia, Delfi, and Anita. (Montalban,V.)


  • Title:  The Third Daughter, Volume 1
  • By Adrienne Tooley
  • Publisher:  Christy Ottaviano Books – Little Brown and Hachette
  • Release Date:  July 18, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 8-12
  • ISBN:  9780316465694

When Brienne, the prophesied third daughter of Velle is born, her oldest sister Elodie’s life changes dramatically. She is no longer the heir to the throne. 

In her need to protect Velle from the prophecy, Elodie seeks a sleeping potion from apothecary Sabine. Instead of a sleeping potion, she leaves with a vial of tears. Brienne is so saddened she falls into a deep sleep which Elodie is unable to wake her sister. 

In this LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, Elodie and Sabine grow closer as they work to awaken Brienne, New Maiden of Velle. A novel of love, friendship, sisterhood, and political intrigue, The Third Daughter is a must read for readers of Red Queen and Dance of Thieves. (Tooley, A)


  • Threads that Bind #1
  • By Kika Hatzopoulou
  • Publisher:  Razorbill
  • Release Date:  May 30, 2023
  • Reading Level:  Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN:  9780593528716

Threads that Bind #1 – Kika Hatzopoulou

Lo, the youngest of three descendants of the Greek Fates, is a private investigator, using her Fate-born abilities to solve crimes in the city of Alante. 

Someone has been kidnapping women, twisting the threads of their fate, and turning them into murderers. Lo allies with the right hand of the Mob Queen, Edei Rhuna to embark on a journey to catch the perpetrator all the while finding a bond forming a bond stronger than she expected. 

Lo and Edei find themselves in the darkest, shadiest corners of the city in their pursuit. A must read for fans of Song of Achilles and lovers of Greek and Roman mythology. (Hatzopoulou, K.)

-Jennifir Huston


Armstrong, K. J. (2023). Nightbirds. United States: Penguin Young Readers Group.

Benton-Walker, T. J. (2023). Blood Debts. United States: Tor Publishing Group.

Griffin, R. (2023). Bring Me Your Midnight. (n.p.): Sourcebooks.

Hatzopoulou, K. (2023). Threads That Bind. United States: Penguin Young Readers Group.

Ibrahim, M. (2023). Spice Road. United States: Random House Children’s Books.

Lim, E. (2023). Her Radiant Curse: An Enchanting Fantasy, Set in the Same World As New York Times Bestselling Six Crimson Cranes. United Kingdom: Hodder & Stoughton.

Linsmeier, A. (2023). Starlings. United States: Random House Children’s Books.

Montalban, V. (2023). A Tall Dark Trouble. (n.p.): Zando.

Pau Preto, N. (2023). Bonesmith. United States: Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Tooley, A. (2023). The Third Daughter. United States: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Tucker, A. (2023). [Review of the book Nightbirds, by Kate J. Armstrong]. Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books76(6), 184. doi:10.1353/bcc.2023.0059.

5 Haunting Summer Reads to Recommend

Summer is here and the temperatures are rising. Looking to “chill” with some creepy stories to read or recommend? Here are few that may just be sitting on your shelf waiting for the next reader.

  • Now Entering Addamsville
  • By Francesca Zappia
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Release Date: October 1, 2019
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN: 9780062935274

Zora lives in a small, insular community where everyone knows your name. Unfortunately, with her last name, that is not a good thing. Zora is a Novak. Her father, soon to be released from jail, is known for conning many in the town. Her mother is known for mysteriously disappearing in the town’s creepy woods. Twice. Meanwhile, Zora is known for being nearby when things catch on fire. She can see ghosts and secretly hunts “firestarters”. When the school janitor is murdered, and a group of ghost hunters arrive in town, Zora is forced to team up with her annoying cousin to protect her home. 

This witty mystery is creepy and fresh. The rag-tag “Scooby Gang” of characters that join forces are totally lovable. Put this book in the hands of fans of Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  • The Haunted
  • By Danielle Vega
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • Release Date: June 4, 2019
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-up
  • ISBN: 978045181467

Hendricks is supposed to be escaping a traumatic past. But her “new” house, a fixer-upper with dark secrets, is just a little too haunted. Rather than enjoying her new friends, Hendricks is forced to uncover the mystery surrounding her infamous house before it is too late. 

This is a deliciously creepy ghost story that will leave readers with goose-bumps. Put this book in the hands of readers who loved Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare or Asylum by Madeleine Roux.

  • Sawgirl Girls
  • By Claire Legrand
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Release Date: October 2, 2018
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
  • ISBN: 978006266601

Sawkill Rock appears idyllic and pastual. However, it is also where girls disappear. Legend tells of a terrifying evil that controls the land. Now, three girls with little in common must access their unknown strength to stay alive.

Feminist and fierce, this is a book you won’t soon forget. Be prepared for twists, surprises, a little romance and a lot of violence. Read-a-likes for Sawkill Girls are Wilder Girls, The Dead and the DarkThe River Has Teeth.

  • The Heartwood Box
  • By Ann Aguirre
  • Publisher: Tor Teen
  • Release Date: July 9, 2019
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-9
  • ISBN: 9780765397645

Araceli Flores’s parents are going to Venezuela. She’s going to a dusty old Victorian house in a tiny town filled with MISSING posters. Here is living with a great-aunt who leaves food out each day for a husband that has been missing decades. There are creepy lights in the woods, unexplained occurrences in the big house, and then she begins receiving letters from the past.

This book is like a genre casserole. The author threw in some mystery, history, sci-fic, and romance to make a delicious read! Put this one in the hands of fans of Stranger Things.

  • Kingdom of the Wicked
  • by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Publisher: Jimmy Paterson
  • Release Date; October 27, 2020
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-Up
  • ISBN: 9780316428460

Emilia and her sister are secret witches. The story begins with Emilia finding her sister brutally murdered. She is broken-hearted and determined to find out what happened. Doing so requires her to step out of her comfort zone to uncover her sister’s secrets and possibly use forbidden magic.

The world-building in this creepy fantasy is so good the reader may come close to forgetting they’re reading not reading realistic fiction. This story has it all: scares, mystery, and romance. Put this one in the hands of fans of Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber or The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

-Rachel Milburn

YALSA Names New Hub Blog Manager

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) has appointed Rachel Milburn as Hub Blog Manager.

Rachel is the Youth Services Manager at the Frankfort Community Public Library in  Frankfort, IN. Rachel loves to read and is excited for the opportunity to work with the YALSA books list teams. She will serve a one-year term with an option to renew based on performance.

Previously a member of the Hub Advisory Board, she anticipates learning more about YALSA as the Blog Manager. Rachel enjoys being a part of the Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Committee, an opportunity that introduces her to many great reads. Each year, she collaborates with local educators and librarians for county Battle of the Books (BOB) program. She leads a program that hosts an author from the BOB booklist to visit the library for area student to meet. Circulating Advancing Racial Equality Book Kits, Project Lit Book Club, and Diverse Reads are just a few of the book related programming and services she started at her library.

If you are interested in working with Rachel on the Hub Blog, we are still looking for members to volunteer for the Hub Advisory committee. Here’s a brief overview of the Advisory Board:

Hub Advisory Board

  • The Hub Advisory Board participates in the development and maintenance of the Hub and follows the guidelines for the site as set out by the YALSA Board of Directors.
  • The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager, who also acts as Chair, of the site and assists with the collection of content for the site, generates ideas for content, works on getting teen and library staff input and feedback, facilitates marketing and PR as needed, and writes for the site as needed.
  • Size: 7 virtual members including Member Manager, who is the chair, and two members from the previous year.
  • Term: July 1, through June 30

Think you would be a good fit for the Hub Advisory Board, use this link to fill out YALSA’s Volunteer form and be sure to check that you are interested in the Hub Advisory Board: https://www.ala.org/CFApps/volunteer/form.cfm 

Genre Spotlight: Horror for Teens

photography of cat at full moon
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Fall is an excellent time to get into some spooky, haunty, ghoulish titles, and there are a variety of new books to tantalize teens. Horror isn’t so much a genre with a specific set of rules, but a mood that comes into a variety of other genres whether it is fantasy, paranormal, mystery, historical, or realistic and can contain elements of slasher, body horror, gothic, dark fantasy, or folk horror just to name a few. There are a variety of short story collections and novels for teens, and some adult crossovers to suggest that will be sure to give teens thrills and chills in whatever their genre inclinations are.

Continue reading Genre Spotlight: Horror for Teens

Celebrate and Understand with YA: Juneteenth

As summer begins for libraries everywhere, it marks a time to celebrate and understand Juneteenth. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas were first informed of their freedom as a result of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Now a national day of observance , it is a perfect time to celebrate and understand Juneteenth with YA titles featuring black voices. Check out some of the Hub’s title selections that spotlight family, identity, and history which are cornerstones of Juneteenth celebrations as noted in this New York Times article.

Title Spotlight: Family

Brittney Morris’ The Cost of Knowing is a powerful story of two brothers, Alex and Isaiah, and their experiences as young Black men in America. The story highlights the power of the past, the ability of the future to overwhelm, the strength of familial bonds across generations, and the joy that is possible.

The saga of the Logan family is one that spans across generations of readers. The family’s story by Mildred D. Taylor began with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in 1976 and concluded with All the Days Past, All the Days to Come in 2021. Following Cassie Logan and her family, the saga is compelling and showcases how time, history, and the promise of the future can shape a family’s story that leaves an impact on the world.

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite follows the story of sisters Happi and Genny as they grapple with the death of their sister Kezi under suspicious circumstances after attending a social justice rally. As Happi and Genny go on a road trip using the original Green Book as their guide they rediscover the importance of family and sisterhood with a story interwoven with flashbacks and alternating perspectives.

Continue reading Celebrate and Understand with YA: Juneteenth

The Hub Member Manager Sought for 2021-2022 Term

We’d like to thank the Hub’s current member manager, Sara Beth Coffman for the tremendous work and dedication she’s put into The Hub the past year.

YALSA seeks a new Hub member manager for a one-year term starting October 1, 2021, with an option to renew based on performance. Main responsibilities include leading an advisory board to provide oversight in creating, soliciting, and managing content for the blog, as well as recruiting bloggers. Additionally, the member manager will help manage the selected lists blogging teams and the dissemination of the selected lists, as well as the promotion and technical maintenance of the blog.

The member manager will receive an honorarium for their one-year term, as well as a small stipend to attend YALSA/ALA conferences. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity. YALSA membership is required.

Interested individuals should send a cover letter and resume that includes management, writing, and web publishing experience. Familiarity with PHP, WordPress, HTML, and social media preferred, but not required. Send cover letters and resumes to Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org by September 13, 2021.

See the list of qualifications and responsibilities below.

List of Qualifications:

  • Strong project management and organizational skills
  • Ability to delegate work and to manage a variety of contributors and volunteers
  • Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills, in order to develop content and communicate with potential content providers
  • Experience in web publishing with responsibilities including but not limited to: utilizing video clips, audio, and social media, maintaining a high standard of writing, and ensuring compliance with policies created for the maintenance of the site
  • Knowledge of HTML and WordPress, which YALSA uses for administration of blog sites; as well as knowledge of plugins, tagging, categories, and other WordPress tools
  • PHP knowledge a plus
  • Ability to set and meet deadlines
  • Knowledge of best practices and current trends in collection development for and with teens in libraries
  • Ability to work well in a team environment
  • Ability to work well in a mostly virtual setting, including using tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Zoom, etc. to coordinate work and communicate with others
  • Personal membership in YALSA
  • A commitment to advancing the recommendations YALSA outlined in its report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action and Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.
  • A commitment to advancing and supporting YALSA’s mission and EDI Plan.
  • High ethical standards and no real or perceived conflict of interest with YALSA or its portfolio of print and web publications

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Oversight & Coordination

  • Communicate with the Advisory Board, Selected List Blogging Team Leaders, and YALSA’s Communications Specialist on a regular basis to generate ideas for content, assign tasks, discuss marketing strategies, and discuss site management
  • Work with the YALS and JRLYA editors and YALSAblog and Teen Programming HQ managers as appropriate to coordinate dissemination of information to members and the library community.
  • Maintain communication with YALSA member groups whose work relates to collection development and content curation
  • Oversee and help manage the posting and promotion of the selected lists
  • Follow all established and relevant ALA and YALSA policies and guidelines, enforce them as necessary and periodically conduct a review of them to ensure relevancy and currency
  • Direct questions about sponsorships, advertising, etc. to YALSA’s Executive Director
  • Develop a calendar for content, based on YALSA events and activities as well as those going on in the larger community related to collecting and curating library materials for and with teens
  • Write reports prior to the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting for submission to the YALSA Board of Directors

Seek Out & Manage Content & Contributors

  • With the Advisory Board, review and edit content submitted to the site to make sure the quality is acceptable, that it is aligned with YALSA principles, and that it includes YALSA branding prior to posting, when appropriate
  • With the Advisory Board, manage postings regularly to guarantee quality of content and appropriate tagging and category identification
  • With the Advisory Board, recruit a diverse group of contributors on a regular basis, which may include but is not limited to: YALSA members, authors and teens
  • Communicate regularly with bloggers to solicit content, share news, motivate bloggers, develop a blogging schedule, etc.
  • Interact with and provide any necessary training to contributors as needed at ALA’s Annual Conference, Midwinter Meeting, or YALSA’s Symposium and via virtual means
  • Effectively motivate, support and manage a large and fluctuating group of contributors and volunteers
  • Work with the Advisory Board to manage comments and spam daily to guarantee that the blog content is appropriate


  • Attend ALA and YALSA events to recruit contributors and inform member groups about the site
  • Answer questions and inquiries about the site in a timely fashion
  • Work with YALSAblog Member Manager to cross-promote the blogs and collaborate on projects that advance YALSA’s Organizational Plan
  • Utilize social media to increase awareness of the Hub and its content

Technical Maintenance

  • Work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist as appropriate to update and manage blog software
  • Monitor new technologies as they impact the site: add-ons and plug-ins to blog software, widgets or applications for hand-held devices, etc.

Selected Lists and Bloggers

  • Select bloggers and team leads for YALSA’s book lists: Amazing Audiobooks, Quick Picks, Best Fiction, and Great Graphic Novels for the Hub from volunteer applications with support from YALSA staff
  • Review applications for Selected List Teams and build a balanced roster for each team in terms of:
    • A balanced geographic distribution of members on the team
    • Representation of all library types (school, public, academic)
    • Inclusion of both younger and older adolescent focus of committee members
    • Representation of a variety of experience levels of team members
    • Diversity of team members in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, etc
  • With Coordinators, facilitate the work of these blogging teams on The Hub by communicating with bloggers about editing and scheduling of reviews
  • Support the dissemination and promotion of final lists
  • Work with the Advisory and the Award and Selected List Oversight Committee to oversee training for Selected List Teams and leverage existing YALSA resources to do so, and develop new as needed
  • Provide a template and sample posts for the blogging teams, and other resources as called for.
  • Communicate regularly with Selected List Team LeadsWork with the Advisory Board to update and/or create guidelines for the Hub, including public comment guidelines, so that they accommodate selected list efforts
  • Sit in on virtual meetings of Selected List Teams, as needed
  • Offer guidance, support, and expertise for Team Leads throughout term as needed
  • Communicate with YALSA Board and staff regarding the possible need to expand into a co-manager format, and/or increase the size or change the make-up of the Advisory Board
  • Communicate with YALSA staff regarding any possible back-end improvements needed to the site to accommodate the selected list effort

The Hub Challenge 2021 – Amazing Debuts

The Hub Challenge 2021 is in full swing, and readers are taking advantage of all the ways to participate! Even if you didn’t sign up officially, you can always join the fun by keeping a copy of the Bingo Challenge board handy for inspiration.

2021 Hub Reading Challenge Bingo

Several of our Challenge participants have tackled that “Read an Amazing Debut” square, and others are curious about how to connect with those titles that might be Morris Award-contenders for 2022. To begin, some participants are using the 2021 Morris Award finalists to earn their Amazing Debut square.

Here is Leanna Chappell, Hub Challenge participant and Head of Youth Services at the Swanton Public Library in Ohio, describing her love of Christina Hammonds Reed’s tremendous debut The Black Kids:

Continue reading The Hub Challenge 2021 – Amazing Debuts

The Hub Reading Challenge – How to Get Started

There are several ways to approach the 2021 Reading Challenge here at The Hub, though there’s no easy way to five in a row! One way to get started is to look at the 2021 ALA YMA winners and honorees, many of which can fill more than one spot on the Bingo board.

2021 Hub Reading Challenge Bingo

Let’s begin with those top corners. The Odyssey Award is given each year to excellent audiobooks produced for children or young adults. The 2021 winner was Kent State by Deborah Wiles, which is also a full-cast audiobook, so it would work for either corner. Another award-winning title with a full cast audiobook is Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free, a 2021 Printz honor book.

Continue reading The Hub Reading Challenge – How to Get Started

The 2021 Hub Challenge Has Arrived!

Here it is: The Hub Reading Challenge for 2021!

This year, we encourage readers to get involved at whatever level they prefer. You can aim for traditional BINGO with five in a row, or you can take on one of the bigger goals! From reading with a tissue box to laughing out loud, this year’s challenge covers a lot of ground, and it gives you the chance to read along with our Selected Lists team members. As you read new YA this year, we hope you are discovering titles that would make a great fit on the Amazing Audiobooks, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels, or Quick Picks nomination lists. When you do, we want to hear about it, so grab the field nomination form (available at the bottom of each week’s posts) and make a suggestion! When you do, you’ll be sharing the love AND earning a spot on this year’s BINGO board!

Most of the spots are self-explanatory, but we’ll make sure to highlight a few each time we check in, and if you have questions, there’s a spot for those in the sign-up form.

Click the download button below to get a PDF of the bingo board. Our first check-in will be next month, so get started!

Introducing Your 2022 Amazing Audiobooks Team

Hi! I’m Cathy Outten, and I’m the coordinator of the 2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults blogging team.  I’ve served on several YALSA committees in the past. I’m the Children’s and Young Adult Literature librarian at California State University, Long Beach where I reside over our Children’s Collection.  I live in sunny Southern California with my husband, three teenagers, a dog, and two cats.

The 2022 Amazing Audiobooks blogging team is working towards creating a list of excellent audiobooks that appeal to teens and reflect the diversity of teen readers.  We are listening to fiction, nonfiction, single narrator, and cast recordings in search of books that meet our criteria of effective narration where the audio recording elevates a great story or nonfiction text. 

Eligible titles for this year’s list must have US publication dates between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. You can suggest titles for the committee to review by filling out this form. (Please note: publishers and authors cannot suggest their own books, although they are free to submit titles to the committee for evaluation by emailing cathy.outten@csulb.edu) You can see all the past Amazing Audiobook lists and nominations on The Hub.  

Amazing Audiobooks on the 2021 list

The Amazing Audiobooks team works together via online discussions and meetings to review 100-200 audiobooks per year.  Once two team members agree, an audiobook becomes an official nomination and will be announced on The Hub. Team members write blog posts and annotations, and attend virtual meetings, but mostly there is lots of listening! The whole team listens to our nominations and votes for final inclusion on the full list and for the top ten at the end of the year.

The #AA2022 team is made up of YALSA member volunteers from different places and different types of libraries.  This year’s team includes myself and:

  • Rachel Adams – Seattle, WA
  • Candace Fox – Parma, OH
  • Annie Jansen – Philadelphia, PA
  • Jodeana Kruse – Ridgefield, WA
  • Abigail Lance – Salem, MA
  • Christine Pyles – Euclid, OH
  • Lorrie Roussin – San Antonio, TX
  • Caitlyn Seale – Mississauga, ON
  • Josie Snow – Pagosa Springs, CO

Our committee is already listening hard and ready to start building a fantastic list of titles for the next Amazing Audiobooks list.

-Cathy Outten (she/her)
2022 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Coordinator