2024 Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominees

YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee presents fiction titles published for young adults in the past 16 months that are recommended reading for ages 12 to 18. Click on the title of each book to be taken to the blog post featuring a review, or browse all blog posts here. You can see previous lists on the YALSA website and on the Teen Book Finder app.

Blogging Team

Coordinator, Jodi Kruse; Stephanie Burdic, Kirsta Hutley, Marie LeJeune, Kaitlin Malixi, Melissa Palmer, Allison Riggs, Maryjean Riou, Gia Ruiz, Zoe Smolen, Emily Williams, Matthew Layne, Katie Patterson

Top Ten

  • Becoming a Queen
  • By Dan Clay
  • April 25, 2023
  • Length: 407 p.
  • Roaring Brook Press, $19.99 
  • 9781250843098
  • Grade Level: 8 – 12
  • Mark Davis wore a pretty dress and his boyfriend broke up with him. Now Mark is on his road to a new romance and self-acceptance when tragedy strikes, and he must figure out who he wants to be in order to move on.
  • Dear Medusa
  • By Olivia Cole
  • March 14, 2023
  • Length: 377 p. L
  • Labyrinth Road, $18.99 
  • 9780593485736
  • Grades: 9 – 12
  • After being sexually abused by a popular teacher at her school Alicia feels cut off from the world around her, until one day, she gets a note from another survivor.
  • Divine Rivals
  • By Rebecca Ross
  • April 4, 2023
  • Length: 357 p.
  • Wednesday Books, $18.99 
  • 9781250857439
  • Grades 10 – 12
  • As the war between the gods creeps closer to the city, Iris and Roman fiercely compete to become the new newspaper columnist for the prestigious Oath Gazette. Their lives become further entwined and complicated thanks to the magical letters they unknowingly write to each other.
  • For Lamb
  • By Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • January 10, 2023
  • Length: 304 p.
  • Holiday House, $18.99 
  • 9780823450152
  • Gr. 9-12
  • Lamb’s forbidden friendship with a white girl in 1940s Mississippi has devastating consequences for her and her family.
  • I Kick and I Fly
  • By Ruchira Gupta
  • April 18, 2023
  • Length: 336 p.
  • Scholastic Press, $18.99 
  • 9781338825091
  • Grades: 7 – 12
  • Heera is a girl, told since she was little, that she is destined for a life of prostitution. She is invited into a hostel for endangered girls and is given the chance to learn kung fu and, in the process, learn about how strong she really is.
  • Plan A
  • By Deb Caletti
  • October 3, 2023
  • Length: 404 p.
  • Labyrinth Road, $18.99 
  • 9780593485552
  • Grades: 10 – 12.
  • Ivy and her boyfriend Lorenzo embark on a cross-country road trip from Texas to Oregon so Ivy can legally choose to end an unintended pregnancy.  Along the journey, Ivy finds support through many surprisingly encouraging encounters in this story with a sweetly developed romance, healing, and hope.
  • Promise Boys
  • By Nick Brooks
  • January 31, 2023
  • Length: 294 p.
  • Henry Holt and Co., $19.99 
  • 9781250866974
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • J.B., Ramón, and Trey are students at the prestigious and strict Urban Promise Prep School when their principal is murdered and the three become the prime suspects. 
  • Saints of the Household
  • By Ari Tison
  • March 28, 2023
  • Length: 312 p.
  • Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99 
  • 9780374389499
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • Max and Jay are brothers who have relied on each for everything including protecting their mother from an abusive father. After a violent altercation with a classmate, they begin a journey of healing through an exploration of their Bribri American identity as well as looking outward to others for help.
  • Their Vicious Games
  • By Joelle Wellington
  • July 25, 2023
  • Length: 407 p.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99 
  • 9781665922425
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • Adina struggles after losing her admission to Yale and her potential gleaming future. When the elite Remingtons invite her to participate in the Finish, she has an opportunity to gain it all back and then some. Yet, the price of the competition might be more than she bargained for.
  • Warrior Girl Unearthed
  • By Angeline Boulley
  • May 2, 2023
  • Length: 396 p.
  • Henry Holt and Company, $19.99 
  • 9781250766588
  • Grades: 9 – 12.
  • Perry Firekeeper-Birch finds herself embroiled in a plot to steal the remains of her tribal ancestors before they are turned over to a university museum or sold to private collectors.

Nominees

  • Always the Almost. By Edward Underhill. 2023. 307 p. Wednesday Books, $18.99  (9781250835208). Gr. 9 – 12. Miles makes a New Year’s resolution to win back his ex-boyfriend and defeat his piano rival. When he meets Eric, a kind and thoughtful new kid, and starts practicing with a new piano teacher, Miles begins to learn more about himself and what he really wants.
  • Ander and Santi Were Here. By Jonny Garza Villa. 2023. 355  p. Wednesday Books, $18.99 (9781250843999). Gr. 9 – 12. Nonbinary teen, Ander, is preparing to leave for college but is spending one last year working at their family’s taqueria and painting murals in San Antonio. When they meet the new waiter Santi, everything changes.
  • As You Walk On By. By Julian Winters. 2023. 328 p. Viking, $18.99  (9780593206508). Gr. 9 – 12. Seventeen year-old Theo finds himself hiding in a bedroom during a party following his promposal that goes horribly wrong. As, one by one, Theo’s fellow classmates pop into that bedroom seeking refuge of their own, an unlikely group forms that changes the status quo.
  • *Becoming a Queen. By Dan Clay. 2023. 407 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250843098). Gr. 8 – 12. Mark Davis wore a pretty dress and his boyfriend broke up with him. Now Mark is on his road to a new romance and self-acceptance when tragedy strikes, and he must figure out who he wants to be in order to move on.
  • Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything. By Justine Pucella Winans. 2023. 362 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780358721642). Gr. 9 – 12. Bianca Torre enjoys bird and people from their bedroom window. When they witness the murder of their neighbor, they start a bizarre journey to solve the murder, despite having a long list of fears. Through the process, they also find themselves and valuable relationships. 
  • Bittersweet in the Hollow. By Kate Pearsall. 2023. 373 p. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99  (9780593531020). Gr. 9 – 12. One year after Linden James returns from the woods with no memory of what happened on Summer Solstice, another girl is found murdered in the same woods.  Linden and her sisters use their family’s controversial magic to discover what lurks in the woods before it can strike again.
  • The Buried and the Bound. By Rochelle Hassan. 2023. 375 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250822208). Gr. 9 – 12. When the barrier between her hometown and the adjacent fairyland in the woods starts thinning, Aziza must team up with a cursed high school student and a mysterious necromancer to save the city they call home.  
  • The Chalice of the Gods. By Rick Riordan. 2023. 268 p. Disney-Hyperion, $19.99 (9781368098175). Gr. 5 – Up. Percy Jackson returns with the need to acquire three godly letters of recommendation in order to get into the same college as his girlfriend. 
  • Chaos Theory. By Nic Stone. 2023. 278 p. Crown Books for Young Readers, $18.99  (9780593307700). Gr. 8 – 12. Genius high school senior, Shelbi, meets politician’s son, Andy, on one of his worst days, and reaches out to help. Their unlikely friendship becomes more, but they both have complicated pasts that might end up keeping them apart.
  • City of Nightmares. By Rebecca Schaeffer. 2023. 374 p. Clarion, $18.99  (9780358647300). Gr. 9 – 12. No one dreams in Newham, where pills and treated water keep sleeping people safe from transforming into literal Nightmares. After surviving a ferry bombing, self-described coward Ness works with the other survivor, Cy, a Nightmare, to investigate why they are still being targeted, leading them to uncover a dark conspiracy.
  • Cruel Illusions. By Margie Fuston. 2022. 503 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $21.99  (9781665902106). Gr. 9 – 12. Following her mother’s murder by a vampire, Ava leaves her brother and new foster family to join a mysterious magic troupe that performs impossible illusions. Recognizing her hidden powers, they invite her to compete in a dangerous game to become a magician and join them as vampire hunters.
  • *Dear Medusa. By Olivia Cole. 2023. 377 p. Labyrinth Road, $18.99  (9780593485736). Gr. 9 – 12. After being sexually abused by a popular teacher at her school Alicia feels cut off from the world around her, until one day, she gets a note from another survivor. 
  • Delicious Monsters. By Liselle Sambury. 2023. 504 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $21.99  (9781665903493). Gr. 9 – 12. Two young women’s experiences with a haunted manor in northern Ontario intersect as Brittney researches Daisy’s hotly debated disappearance.
  • *Divine Rivals. By Rebecca Ross. 2023. 357 p. Wednesday Books, $18.99  (9781250857439). Gr. 10 – 12. As the war between the gods creeps closer to the city, Iris and Roman fiercely compete to become the new newspaper columnist for the prestigious Oath Gazette. Their lives become further entwined and complicated thanks to the magical letters they unknowingly write to each other.
  • A Door in the Dark. By Scott Reintgen. 2023. 361 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $19.99  (9781665918688). Gr. 10 – 12. Working class wizard Ren Monroe does her best at Balmerick University to prove her magic prowess so she can be recruited by a major house. When a portal spell malfunctions, she is transported with five other students to dangerous wilderness days from home.
  • The Do-Over. By Lynn Painter. 2022. 291 p. Simon & Schuster, $19.99  (781534478862). Gr. 9 – 12. Emilie Hornby gets stuck in a time loop where she is forced to relive the most dreadful Valentine’s Day over and over again, but she soon discovers that running into her grumpy and cute Chemistry partner may not be the worst thing to ever happen.
  • The Dos and Donuts of Love. By Adiba Jaigirdar. 2023. 321 p. Feiwel and Friends, $19.99  (9781250842114). Gr. 8 – 12. Shireen Malik is determined to win the Junior Irish Baking Show to save her parents’ struggling donut shop, but finds herself partnered with her ex-girlfriend.  Navigating friendships, romantic entanglements, and the competition is enough to challenge any baker.
  • The Fall of Whit Rivera. By Crystal Maldonado. 2023. 342 p. Holiday House, $19.99  (9780823452361). Gr. 9 – 12. Whit Rivera has recently been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and is learning to navigate her new life. Together with her two best friends and her middle school ex-boyfriend, Whit plans the Fall Fest of her dreams and might just find love along the way.
  • *For Lamb. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. 2023. p. Holiday House, $18.99  (9780823450152). Gr. Lamb’s forbidden friendship with a white girl in 1940s Mississippi has devastating consequences for her and her family.
  • Forever Is Now. By Mariama Lockington. 2023. 398 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99  (9780374388881). Gr. 9 – 12. A painful breakup coupled with witnessing police brutality toward another young Black woman triggers Sadie’s agoraphobia and anxiety, effectively ending her summer plans. Sadie works toward a fuller life with the help of her family, friend, and a new neighbor on his own mental health journey.
  • Forget Me Not. By Alyson Derrick. 2023. 308 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665902373). Gr. 9 – 12. After an accident leaves Stevie with a case of amnesia, she no longer remembers her tender romance with Nora nor their plans to flee their conservative home town. Slowly, Stevie must struggle to remember her own full identity and who really matters in her life.
  • Give Me a Sign. By Anna Sortino. 2023. 303 p. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $18.99  (9780593533796). Gr. 7 – 10. Lilah is hard of hearing and uses hearing aids, but she feels like she doesn’t fit in with the hearing world. She learns to embrace her Deaf identity while working as a junior counselor at a summer camp for the deaf and blind, while also making friends and starting a summer romance. 
  • Gloria Buenrostro Is Not My Girlfriend. By Brandon Hoàng. 2023. 293 p. Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.99  (9780374388577). Gr. 8 – 12. Gary Võ’s revelation that he has an “in” with the untouchable Gloria Buenrostro has the potential of lifting him and his best friend, Preston, out of social obscurity–if he is willing to betray Gloria’s trust in the relationship the two of them have built.
  • Going Bicoastal. By Dahlia Adler. 2023. 325 p. Wednesday Books, $20.00  (9781250871640). Gr. 9 – 12. Jewish, bisexual Natalya has to choose between trying something new and scary or making the familiar new again in this light-hearted rom-com, which tells two parallel romance storylines: one where Natalya spends her summer in LA with her estranged mother and one where she stays in NYC with her dad.
  • Gone Wolf. By Amber McBride. 2023. 348 p. Feiwel & Friends, $17.99  (9781250850492). Gr. 4 – 7. Imogen is a “blue” and wants to be free to make her own choices. However, her role is to be “spare parts” for Lark, a white boy.
  • Gorgeous Gruesome Faces. By Linda Cheng. 2023. 311 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250864994). Gr. 9 – 12. After a scandal that ended her popstar career, Sunny finds herself face-to-face with her demons when she enters a K-Pop competition alongside her former bandmate. When contestants start getting injured, Sunny becomes worried that her former bandmate is responsible.
  • Heartbreak Boys. By Simon James Green. 2022. 376 p. Clarion Books, $18.99  (9780358617259). Gr.8 – 12. Jack and Nate used to be best friends, but have not spoken in years. When they find out on prom night that their boyfriends have secretly been seeing each other, they take off on a summer road trip to prove that they are living their best lives and start to remember along the way why they were friends and why now maybe they could be more.
  • Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute. By Talia Hibbert. 2023. 319 p. Joy Revolution, $19.99  (9780593482339). Gr. 9 – 12. Celine and Brad used to be best friends, until Brad ditched Celine for the in-crowd. Now, they’re academic rivals. When they both sign up for a survival course in the woods, with a scholarship as the grand prize, their competition brings up long-buried resentments, but also the possibility of reconciliation. 
  • How To Succeed in Witchcraft. By Aislinn Brophy. 2022. 406 p. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, $18.99  (9780593354520). Gr. 9 – 12. Shay Johnson is one of the top witches at her school To win the coveted Brockton Scholarship, ensuring her admittance to the college of her dreams, Shay must step outside her comfort zone to do the school musical with a teacher who has questionable motives.
  • *I Kick and I Fly. By Ruchira Gupta. 2023. 336 p. Scholastic Press, $18.99  (9781338825091). Gr. 7 – 12. Heera is a girl, told since she was little, that she is destined for a life of prostitution. She is invited into a hostel for endangered girls and is given the chance to learn kung fu and, in the process, learn about how strong she really is.
  • If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come. By Jen St. Jude. 2023. 397 p. Bloomsbury YA, $19.99  (9781547611362). Gr. 10 – 12. Avery is ready to end her life when she receives a call that an asteroid is imminent and  will end the world for everyone. With a handful of days left, she must decide how and with whom to spend the remaining time. 
  • Invisible Son. By Kim Johnson. 2023. 404 p. Random House, $18.99  (9780593482100). Gr. 9 – 12. Andres Jackson just spent two months incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.  A restorative justice program allows him to return to his family home in Northeast Portland but his  plans for returning to school and establishing his innocence are interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Izzy at the End of the World. By K. A. Reynolds. 2023. 330 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780358467779). Gr. 5 – 9. Izzy Wilder is a fourteen-year-old autistic girl who recently lost her mom. Now living with her grandparents, Izzy witnesses a bright light that causes everyone she knows to vanish. With only her beloved dog left of her family, Izzy must try to survive.
  • The Lake House. By Sarah Beth Durst. 2023. 354 p. HarperTeen, $19.99  (9780063214071). Gr. 9 – 12. Three girls arrive at a remote island summer camp to find the lodge burned to the ground and no others around. Even without cell service, they figure rescue will come soon, until they find a dead body in the woods and realize they’re not as alone as they thought.
  • Mascot. By Charles Waters and Traci Sorrell. 2023. 248 p. Charlesbridge, $13.57  (9781623543808). Gr. 5 – 8. Seven middle school English-Honors students must debate the pros and cons of keeping their future high school’s Indigenous mascot.
  • Miles Morales Suspended. By Jason Reynolds. 2023. 303 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665918466). Gr. 7 – 12. Miles Morales, Spider-Man, is stuck serving an undeserved In School Suspension along with his crush Alica Carson and a nefarious library aid.  Miles’s Spidey senses go on full alert when he hears an unnatural sound that results in an epic adventure to save history from being destroyed.
  • The Minus-One Club. By Kekla Magoon. 2023. 360 p. Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), $19.99  (9781250806208). Gr. 9 – 12. After fifteen year-old Kermit loses his older sister in a car accident, he finds a message signed “-1” in his locker, inviting him into an unlikely group of fellow students dealing with grief.
  • Nigeria Jones. By Ibi Zoboi. 2023. 369 p. Balzar + Bray, $17.99  (9780062888846). Gr. 7 – 12. Growing up in a Black Nationalist compound, Nigeria Jones has accepted her father’s philosophies without question. His decision to begin a relationship with a younger woman in the absence of Nigeria’s mother as well as his restrictions prohibiting her from attending the private school her mother wanted her to attend are causing Nigeria not just to question him, but to rebel.
  • *Plan A. By Deb Caletti. 2023. 404 p. Labyrinth Road, $18.99  ( 9780593485552). Gr. 10 – 12. Ivy and her boyfriend Lorenzo embark on a cross-country road trip from Texas to Oregon so Ivy can legally choose to end an unintended pregnancy.  Along the journey, Ivy finds support through many surprisingly encouraging encounters in this story with a sweetly developed romance, healing, and hope.
  • *Promise Boys. By Nick Brooks. 2023. 294 p. Henry Holt and Co., $19.99  (9781250866974). Gr. 9 – 12. J.B., Ramón, and Trey are students at the prestigious and strict Urban Promise Prep School when their principal is murdered and the three become the prime suspects. 
  • The Queens of New York. By E.L. Shen. 2023. 326 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780063237957). Gr. 8 – 11. Summer has just begun when three best friends, Everett, Jia and Ariel head separate ways for a summer of discovery, romance, and most importantly, friendship. That summer will also test their relationship and create opportunities for personal growth.
  • Rain Rising. By Courtne Comrie. 2022. 327 p. Harper, $16.99  (9780063159730). Gr. 5 – 12. Rain is struggling to find out who she is and where she fits in during her eighth grade year of school when her beloved older brother is attacked during a college visit in what appears to be a racially motivated beating. 
  • Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling. By Elise Bryant. 2023. 392 p. Balzer + Bray, $18.99  (9780063212992). Gr. 8 – 11. A New Year’s Eve gig that Delilah can’t get out of and a little peer pressure forcing Reggie to attend a party where Delilah’s band is performing is the beginning of a relationship that neither of them can seem to escape. 
  • Remind Me to Hate You Later. By Lizzy Mason. 2023. 308 p. Bloomsbury YA, $18.99 (9781547609185). Gr. 9 – 12. Reeling from the death of her best friend, Jules, by suicide. Natalie must learn how to move on with her life as she grapples with blaming herself and Jules’s mom, a lifestyle blogger. Told in dual narration between Jules and Natalie.   
  • Rhythm and Muse. By India Hill Brown. 2023. 248 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780063217553). Gr. 8 – 12. Darren is pining for Delia, but is too in his own head to tell her how he feels.  That’s when his best friend sends a song Darren has recorded to Delia as an entry into a contest to find a new intro to her podcast. Now Darren needs to step up and own his music or lose Delia.
  • *Saints of the Household. By Ari Tison. 2023. 312 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99  (9780374389499). Gr. 9 – 12. Max and Jay are brothers who have relied on each for everything including protecting their mother from an abusive father. After a violent altercation with a classmate, they begin a journey of healing through an exploration of their Bribri American identity as well as looking outward to others for help.
  • The Secrets We Keep. By Cassie Gustafson. 2022. 340 p. Simon & Schuster BFYR, $19.99  (9781665906944). Gr.. 9 – 12. Fifteen-year-old Emma’s life is turned upside down when her father is accused of molesting Hannah, her best–and only–friend in this hopeful story of two sexual abuse survivors.
  • The Sharp Edge of Silence. By Cameron Kelly Rosenblum. 2023. 473 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780062932105). Gr. 9 – 12 Quinn, Max, and Charlotte must decide how far they are willing to go to end the tacitly accepted rape culture at their prestigious boarding Lycroft Phelps School.
  • She Is a Haunting. By Trang Thanh Tran. 2023. 341 p. Bloomsbury, $18.99  (9781547610815). Gr. 9 – 12. When Jade Nguyen visits her estranged father in Vietnam, she plans to help him restore his French colonial home, in exchange for the college money he promised. Instead, she finds the house haunted by its past, hungry for visitors, and willing to keep her entire family within its walls forever.
  • A Spark in the Cinders. By Jenny Elder Moke. 2023. 361 p. Disney Hyperion, $18.99  (9781368039918). Gr. 8 – 10. Aralyn finds herself aligned with her former stepsister, Cinderella, on a quest to save the kingdom of Novador from the machinations of the scheming Lady Tremaine who plans to marry off Aralyn’s youngest sister to a rival prince.
  • Spell Bound. By F.T. Lukens. 2023. 323 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $19.99  (9781665916226). Gr. 7 – 12. Rook is a genius who grew up around magic, but isn’t magical. He gets a job working in the office of the famous sorceress Antonia Hex who handles magical emergencies. Rook soon realizes he must break the rules in order to become who he was always meant to be.
  • The Spirit Bares Its Teeth. By Andrew Joseph White. 2023. 381 p. Peachtree Teen, $19.99  (9781682636114). Gr. 10 – 12. Silas, attempting to escape an arranged marriage, is forced to attend a finishing school for “Veil Sickness,” an illness that is claimed to make violet-eyed people go mad. When the ghosts of missing girls speak to him, he struggles to find the truth of their whereabouts and possible deaths. 
  • Star Splitter. By Matthew Kirby. 2023. 305 p. Dutton Books for Young Readers, $18.99  (9780735231665). Gr. 7 – 12. In 2199, space exploration and teleportation are routine and considered safe. However, when 17-year-old Jessica is made to travel via teleportation to be reunited with her parents and assist them with a science expedition, she wakes up confused and alone on a crashed lander.
  • Stateless. By Elizabeth Wein. 2023. 384 p. Little, Brown and Company, $18.99  (9780316591249). Gr. 8 – 12. As the only female pilot in a high stakes aviation race for young people set during pre WW II Europe, Stella North must band together with other young pilots to solve a mystery of why one pilot seemingly purposefully caused the death of another.
  • *Their Vicious Games. By Joelle Wellington. 2023. 407 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665922425). Gr. 9 – 12. Adina struggles after losing her admission to Yale and her potential gleaming future. When the elite Remingtons invite her to participate in the Finish, she has an opportunity to gain it all back and then some. Yet, the price of the competition might be more than she bargained for.
  • This Dark Descent. By Kalyn Josephson. 2023. 387 p. Roaring Brook Press, $20.99  (9781250812360). Gr. 9 – 12. A young woman desperate to save her family, a practitioner of forbidden magic longing for safety, and a crafty nobleman with high ambitions come together to win a deadly enchanted horse race that promises to solve all their problems, if it doesn’t destroy them first.
  • This Delicious Death. By Kayla Cottingham. 2023. 290 p. Sourcebooks Fire, $11.99  (9781728236445). Gr. 9 – 12. A new pathogen requires individuals to eat synthetic human meat to not turn into monsters. All is going well until people start disappearing at a music festival. As users of the synthetic meat, Zoey, Celeste and their friends are determined to solve the mystery before more people get hurt. 
  • This Time It’s Real. By Ann Liang. 2023. 337 p. Scholastic Press, $18.99  (9781338827118). Gr. 9 – 12. When Eliza’s “true” essay about her fake relationship goes viral and she is offered the chance at an internship, she makes a deal with a famous classmate to partake in a mutually beneficial fake romance, but it becomes hard to separate her real feelings and keep up with the lies.
  • Those Pink Mountain Nights. By Jen Ferguson. 2023. 328 p. Heartdrum, $19.99  (9780063086210). Gr. 9 – 12. Berlin is a perfectionist, Cam is a high school dropout, and Jessie is the rich girl. They all work at Pink Mountain Pizza and discover that they just might need each other to find a missing Indigenous girl and prevent the corporate buyout of their favorite pizza place.
  • Unraveller. By Frances Hardinge. 2023. 423 p. Amulet Books, $24.99  (9781419759314). Gr. 6 – 9. In Raddith, a marshy country bordered by the dangerous Wilds, terrible curses are commonplace. Kellen, a young man with the strange power to unravel curses, is hired to unravel a curse that leads him to uncover a conspiracy to create more cursers and use them to target specific people–including him.
  • *Warrior Girl Unearthed. By Angeline Boulley. 2023. 396 p. Henry Holt and Company, $19.99  (9781250766588). Gr. 9 – 12. Perry Firekeeper-Birch finds herself embroiled in a plot to steal the remains of her tribal ancestors before they are turned over to a university museum or sold to private collectors.
  • We Are All So Good at Smiling. By Amber McBride. 2023. 283 p. Feiwel & Friends, $19.99  (9781250780386). Gr. 9 – 12. Whimsy is back in the hospital to treat her ongoing clinical depression. This time proves different and life changing when she meets a boy there named Faerry. Over time she realizes they both share magic, a fear of the forest, and a dark forgotten secret.
  • We Deserve Monuments. By Jas Hammonds. 2022. 375 p. Roaring Brook Publishers, $18.99  (9781250816559). Gr. 9 – 12. Avery is nursing a broken heart when her parents drag her from her Washington, D. C. home to Georgia to care for her crabby grandmother, Mama Letty. New friends, new loves, and the painful mystery of her grandfather’s death at the hands of the sheriff make for an emotional visit.
  • What Happened to Rachel Riley?. By Claire Swinarski. 2023. 343 p. Quill Tree Books, $19.99  (9780063213098). Gr. 5 – 8. When Anna starts eighth grade at a new school, she is immediately drawn to the mystery surrounding Rachel Riley, a former popular student who the entire eighth grade class has shunned. Anna decides to use her fact-finding skills to create a podcast dedicated to figuring out what happened to Rachel Riley.
  • What Stalks Among Us. By Sarah Hollowell. 2023. 385 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780063251816). Gr. 9 – 12. When Sadie and Logan skip school they find themselves in a corn maze. A corn maze that they’ve entered over and over again stuck in a time loop. Can they work together to escape the maze before they’re consumed by it forever.
  • When the Angels Left the Old Country. By Sacha Lamb. 2022. 400 p. Levine Querido, $19.99  (9781646141760). Gr. 9 – 12. A patient angel and a mischievous demon who have been studying Talmud together for centuries in their little Russian shtetl travel to America to perform a mitzvah, locating a young woman who left for the “golden land” to find her fortune but hasn’t been heard from since. 
  • Where You See Yourself. By Claire Forrest. 2023. 306 p. Scholastic Press, $19.99  (9781338813838). Gr. 10 – 12. Effie, a high school senior with cerebral palsy, grapples with advocating for herself, deciding which college to attend, and revealing her feelings to the guy she has had a secret crush on for years. 

10 Questions with Jamie Pacton! (Part Two)

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4) How long does it take you on average to write a novel? 

This really depends on whether the book is under contract or not and where I’m at with my teaching work and life things. Overall, I’d say an average timeline from really digging into an idea, to planning, to drafting, and then revising is a 2-4 month process. With that said, sometimes it’s much quicker and sometimes I linger in a story or end up writing something else along the way. Over the years, I’ve definitely gotten faster with drafting novels and so much of that comes down to the time and detail I put into the planning stages.

5) Have you done any formal or informal training, such as writer’s workshops or creative writing programs? 

I have both a BA and MA in English LIterature, and I teach writing at the college level for my day job, so I have had lots of training as a writer and writing teacher. However, many of the writing workshops I took in college just crushed me. Really, they were brutal. So much of what I’ve learned about writing novels has come from reading widely, including non-fiction books and craft books, taking workshops offered by authors at conferences or online, and just writing and revising my own books. 

6) What advice would you give to a teen that wants to write? 

Go for it! Don’t let fear of failure stop you from writing, just get some words on the page. Then, put some more words on there, and then do it again. You’ll be surprised by how a small amount of consistency in a writing practice– even 20 minutes a day– can build to great things. 

I’d also recommend reading the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, as a wonderful, encouraging guide to a creative life. 

And lastly, I’d say don’t be afraid to plan, outline, write a messy draft, and then revise it extensively. The more time you put into these stages, the more time and heartache you’ll save yourself in drafting and revisions. 

7) There’s been a lot of buzz recently about #booktok’s impact on the publishing industry, especially when it comes to YA. Has #booktok’s influence changed your personal experience with publishing?  Have there been noticeable changes with your new works compared to when Kit was published?

I love BookTok so much! At first I was very intimidated by making videos about my books, but over the last year, it’s really grown to be one of my favorite social media platforms. It offers a fun way to talk about lots of things within my books– I’ve made videos about The Absinthe Underground’s historical inspirations, how its cover came to be, what kinds of cats are in the book, and so much more. There’s such a vibrant, active community of diverse readers on TikTok, and I love being there to not only interact with them about my books, but also to talk about some books I love too. It allows me space to be both a reader and author, which is so nice. 

I’m not sure what impact of BookTok will have on my publishing journey– I’d love to have a book go viral there, but that’s such a longshot thing. I will say that I think a lot more people are hearing about my books from BookTok, as opposed to 2020 when Kit came out. At the time of writing this, more than two weeks away from the launch of The Absinthe Underground, the hashtag #theabsintheunderground has had over 200,000 views, which is incredible and so exciting! 

8) Let’s talk launch parties!  Kit came out in 2020 and you had an at-home launch. Vermilion you had your first in-person launch party at Boswell Books in Milwaukee. Did it feel more real having an in-person launch party? Did it feel real the first time you sold out your advance? Sold foreign language rights? Received a physical, finished copy?  What made you say, “Whoa, I finally made it?”

Hooray for launch parties! I’ve always treated a book launching as an excuse for a party, and I’m so excited for the launch of The Absinthe Underground! With the help of my local indie, A Room of One’s Own in Madison, WI and the Queer Joy Book Club there, we are having quite a party. There will even be a costume contest sponsored by the head of the book club, who’s coming to the event in a green fairy costume like the one on my book cover. 

To the other questions- it doesn’t necessarily feel more real to have an in-person launch, and I’m so grateful I got to celebrate Kit with my family at home in 2020 and do so many virtual events that year. With that said, I am grateful to have had an in-person launch for The Vermilion Emporium and The Absinthe Underground. Although I’m still very Covid cautious, I love meeting readers, answering questions about my books, and generally nerding out about books with like-minded people. 

And I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like I really made it as an author, but I’m just delighted to be on this journey and see what each new book brings. 

9) I get the impression that the writing community is very supportive of each other and I often recognize a lot of the names listed in acknowledgements. How do authors find their cohorts? 

I love my author friends so much, and many of them have become dear friends in all areas of my life, which is such a gift. I met one of my best friends, historical author Noelle Salazar at a conference back in 2013, when I sat down next to her and we bonded over bagels, being new writers, and our nervousness at meeting agents and editors. Many of my other author friends came from the amazing Pitch Wars community that I was a mentee for in 2015 and then a co-mentor with my dear friend MK England in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Beyond that, I currently play D&D with a bunch of other authors, which is so fun. 

To the question about how to find author cohorts:  I think there are many ways to do so including online events, conferences, book events, just chatting with people online who seem bookish and share your writing/author aspirations. We’re so lucky to have online avenues for communication and I think this helps make the author journey so much less lonely. 

10) What’s left on your author bucket list? 

Oh gosh, it’s an ever-moving line, right? I’ve hit so many author bucket list items– some of which I still can’t talk about publicly– but others which have been wildly unexpected, like selling lots of foreign rights in many countries; seeing fan art and costumes from my books; winning awards for my writing; earning out advances; and, getting to write some of the books that I’ve had in my head for a long, long time. 

With that said, these are a few things still on my author bucket list: hitting a bestseller list someday; having a few of my MG books published (fun fact– I started my publishing journey in Pitch Wars 2015 with a MG book that got me my first agent, but ultimately didn’t sell); seeing one of my books made into a TV show or film; and, getting one of my books into one of the big book boxes or Reese’s book club…

But, with all that said, I’m also very delighted by where my career has taken me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds! :-)

10 Questions with Jamie Pacton! (Part One)

Follow Jamie Pacton

We chatted with Wisconsin author, Jamie Pacton, ahead of her latest YA fantasy release, The Absinthe Underground. Jamie’s previous novels include The Vermilion Emporium and two contemporary YA novels, The Life and Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly and Lucky Girl. She has a forthcoming YA romance, Furious, written with Rebecca Podos, due out summer 2024.

1) Jamie, let’s chat about your books as a whole. You’ve written in a few different genres–contemporary, fantasy, romance–which is your favorite? Do you find it difficult to write across genres or do the stories kind of tell themselves?

I feel so lucky to have published across many genres (and there are more new and exciting things in different genres and age ranges in my publishing pipeline!). I don’t find it difficult to write in different genres– a story is a story and characters are characters be they in worlds with dragons or worlds with cell phones– and I think if you keep that in mind, it’s very possible to move among genres as a writer as the stories and your own interest takes you. I love all my books, but fantasy is forever and always my first love. All of the new projects I’m working on are fantasy ones, and I just thrive on creating new worlds, magic systems, and figuring out how it all works together and then plopping characters into those worlds and seeing what happens. 

2) What was your favorite book as a teen? 

I read a lot of very serious adult books as a literary-minded teen– (I remember devouring Anna Karenina by the ocean one summer, for goodness sake, lol.) But I also absolutely loved romance novels and some of the early YA-ish books that were publishing in the late 90s. Things like Homecoming by Cythia Vogit and all of Mercedes Lackey’s fantasy books. My absolute favorite book as a teen was By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey, which is about a fierce, sword-wielding woman in a magical world, and if you’re read my debut, The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweety, you can see why this book was entirely my jam as a teen. 

3) What makes Absinthe Underground so special to you? 

The Absinthe Underground is a story that’s particularly close to my heart. Here are 10 reasons why:

*I carried this story for more than a decade— from when I first got the hint of an idea at an art exhibit in 2012 to now. I carried this story for more than a decade—

*It’s a cozy, tender novel about two best friends who are (secretly) in love with each other and will do anything— even go to Fae— to protect the girl they love. 

*It’s full of cats. Really, there are so many cats! (7 in one apartment alone!)

*It’s a love letter to all the queer people in history who have had to love each other secretly, and it’s a story of hope for queer kids now that’s full of joy and possibility. 

*It’s the “The Were Roommates…” trope writ large with a hearty dose of magic, danger, dragons, Fae queens, and much more. 

*It’s about overcoming fear and the freedom that’s waiting on the other side of that journey. 

*It’s full of Fae magic and a portal fantasy about a lush Fae world!  

*It’s got a decadent, Belle Époque night club like the Moulin Rogue, which is full of artists, writers, and dancers, and many other people drawn from history. 

*It’s also got a green fairy who’s hanging out in our world, who is terrifying and beautiful in equal measure. 

*It’s an absolute romp of a book with poster and museum thefts, a heist in Fae, magical traps, and much more. 

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Different for Boys by Patrick Ness

  • Different for Boys
  • by Patrick Ness
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Release date: May 14, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781536228892

Ant Stevenson has three best friends: Charlie, Josh Smith, and Jack Taylor, and they became best friends all because they were sitting together alphabetically. Anthony “Ant” Stevenson isn’t sure when he stopped being a virgin. Or even if he has. The rules aren’t always very clear when it comes to boys who like boys. It’s different for boys when they do stuff together, like hang out. Or when they try out for soccer or football.
Content Warning: Homophobia

This is a good candidate for QPRR. It has themes of friendship, masculinity, finding oneself, and sexuality. You really feel yourself get into the story with Ant, Charlie, Josh, and Jack. It’s about boys figuring out that they might have changed, and what they want to do with their lives.

For readers who also enjoyed the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman, and Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

– Molly Sprague-Rice

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: March 14, 2023

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.

Great Graphic Novels for Teens: Top Ten Comic Book Companions of 2023!

The votes are in and YALSA’s 2024 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list will be coming to you during Lib Learn X later this month! While you wait, the 2024 GGNT Committee are delighted to share with you our annual, and very important, TOP TEN COMIC BOOK COMPANIONS OF THE YEAR!

1st Place: Two (aka Marumi, aka Meowguin)

Insomniacs After School
 by Makoto Ojiro
VIZ Media

Companion Description: A (stray?) cat who wanders the school and steals lettuce from sandwiches.

Reason for Nomination: While Two comes and goes to various school clubs, he always has time for a cat nap in the astronomy tower with our two protagonists in this slice-of-life manga series.

2nd Place: Opossum

Cursed Princess Club 
by LambCat
Webtoon Unscrolled

Companion Description: This companion attaches to Princess Gwendolyn’s head via chomping. Typically found upon waking in the morning.

Reason for Nomination: While her sisters attract songbirds and cute forest creatures, Princess Gwendolyn can’t seem to shake these creatures of the night… literally; they’re stuck to her head!

3rd Place: Masaru

Dinosaur Sanctuary
by Itaru Kinoshita
Seven Seas Entertainment

Companion Description:  Masaru is a triceratops who is missing one horn. His keepers need to boost his popularity or he may be transferred to another facility!

Reason for Nomination: A dinosaur who sits like a kitty! One committee member claims that she “cares more about Masaru than any other character (human or dino) in the series.”

4th Place: Daisy

Danger and Other Unknown Risks 
by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Penguin Workshop

Companion Description: Daisy is a talking dog!

Reason for Nomination: Daisy is a floofy, steadfast companion to our hero, Marguerite, and is a great source of comic relief in this perilous, wacky adventure from the creators of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

5th Place: El Jefe

Frontera 
by Julio Anta and Jacoby Salcedo
HarperAlley

Companion Description: A solitary jaguar

Reason for Nomination: El Jefe has a connection with teen Mateo and saves him from some truly bad actors. Your heart will break for El Jefe, based on a real jaguar in the Sonoran desert, a victim of the border wall separated from his pack.

6th Place: All the Familiars!

Unfamiliar 
by Haley Newsome
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Companion Description: Winston (a bunny), Marlow (a one-eyed cat), Ari (a bird), and Edgar (???)

Reason for Nomination: This quartet of adorable, opinionated, and sassy familiars will make you want to start practicing witchcraft.

It’s a Tie! 7th-10th place:

Percy

Cosmoknights 
by Hannah Templer
Top Shelf Productions

Companion Description: A fluffy space cat.

Reason for Nomination: Percy is an excellent judge of character when humans are not, and can transform into a giant warrior cat his princess can ride at the sound of a whistle.

Sena

The Infinity Particle 
by Wendy Xu
Quill Tree Books

Companion Description: An AI companion beloved by the MC, Clementine.

Reason for Nomination: SENA is the tiny, sassy AI caretaker every human needs.

Moby

Pearl of the Sea 
by Anthony Silverson,
Raffaella Delle Donne and Willem Samuel
Catalyst Press

Companion Description: Moby is a scrappy one-eyed dog who accompanies Pearl on her adventures

Reason for Nomination: Moby is up for all kinds of adventures and will defend Pearl if needed. He is not afraid to stand in Pearl’s way when she does questionable things… which is often.

Haley (aka Bitewing)

Nightwing
 by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo
DC Comics

Companion Description: Haley, otherwise known as Bitewing, is an adopted puppy with three legs.

Reason for Nomination: This is Bitewing’s second year on the list, and GGNT committee members are fiercely protective of this adorable blue-nosed pitbull puppy.

Stanley

Doughnuts and Doom
 by Balazs Lorinczi
Top Shelf Productions

Companion Description: Stanley is a snake who acts like a dog.

Reason for Nomination: Watch with delight as this steadfast and slinky companion steals doughnuts while humans are distracted.

Members of the 2024 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team are: Kelley Blue (Coordinator); Meg Bowie; Jean Broughton; Jacqueline Bush; M’issa Fleming; Patricia Jimenez; Rachel Johannigmeier; Kaileigh Oldham; Ness Shortley; Mariela Siegert; Scot Smith; Cheyenne Sons; Lee Stokes; Adam Wheeler

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: What Happens After Midnight by K.L. Walther

  • What Happens After Midnight
  • by K.L. Walther
  • Narrated by Tina Wolstencroft
  • Tantor Media, Inc. | Tantor Audio
  • Publication Date: June 27, 2023
  • ISBN: 9798350836394

Lily Hopper is happy to let her senior year of high school end in a boring whimper. However, Lily’s plans change when she gets a mysterious note recruiting her to help plan the school’s senior prank. Lily is excited until she learns the prank’s mastermind is her ex-boyfriend, Taggart. Lily broke up with Tag over a year ago, but never got over him. As Lily and Tag work together, secrets and old hurts resurface while romantic feelings return. 

What Happens After Midnight is a fun rom-com of high school hijinks. The story is equal parts romance and thoughtful exploration of the emotions that surround leaving the familiarity of high school and progressing to the unknown of college. The parallel storylines of the senior year prank and the remembrance of Lily and Tag’s relationship allow the book to straddle the genres of romance and realistic fiction to widen its teen appeal. The book’s fast-paced story of mishaps during the night while they try to pull off the “perfect prank” will appeal to reluctant readers. 

Wolstencroft narration perfectly brings to life the fun overnight escapade of the prank while beautifully expressing Lily’s feelings of loss and confusion. The narrator takes the listener on an emotional roller coaster ride of Lily’s uncertainty of the future, exhilaration of the adventure, and the possibility of romance. Fans of Lynn Painter’s Better Than the Movies and Rachel Lynn Solomon‘s Today, Tonight, Tomorrow will enjoy this page-turner of a rom-com.

–Rebecca Baldwin

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: August 29, 2023
Release Date: June 6, 2023

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: Mascot by Charles Waters and Traci Sorell

  • Mascot
  • by Charles Waters and Traci Sorell
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge
  • Release date: Sept 5, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781623543808

As part of their 8th grade Honors English class, students are asked to consider whether their mascot, an “Indian Brave”, is appropriate and whether it should be changed.  Their assignment: write a research paper and be prepared to debate the topic as partners in class.

Told from the perspectives of the students in the class, their teacher, and community stakeholders, this provides a nuanced discussion of a timely and controversial topic written by #ownvoices authors. Engaging writing with ample white space allows the plot to flow well.  Student voices and perspectives are distinct and realistic, but the language used makes it accessible to teens on the younger end of the age range.
Students who are athletes or are passionate fans, as well as those readers who want to better understand diverse perspectives will connect with this books. Hand this title to young social justice advocates who liked Miles Morales: Suspended by Jason Reynolds or those who want to think deeply about identity and liked Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie.

-Melissa Palmer

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: February 21, 2023
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Release Date: September 12, 2023

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

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh by Rachel Lippencott

  • Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh
  • by Rachel Lippencott
  • Narrated by Natalie Naudus and Shakira Shute
  • Simon & Schuster Audiobooks | Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781797161617

A spin on a regency romance, Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh is a Sapphic time travel story about finding yourself. The main characters, Audrey and Lucy, are brought together when a toss of a coin transports Audrey from 2023 Pittsburgh to 1812 England. Through the course of the story Audrey and Lucy each embark on journeys of personal discovery; Audrey needs to find herself to find her way back home and Lucy needs to find a new place where she can be herself.

The narrators do an excellent job bringing these characters and their emotional journey to life. Natalie Naudus’ rich tone gives voice to Audrey beautifully and Shakira Shute’s expert portrayal of the raw emotion of Lucy’s story makes listening to the audiobook very immersive.

This title is perfect for readers who enjoy Casey McQuiston, Ashley Poston, and Mackenzi Lee. It is also great for fans of Bridgerton and Outlander.

-Haley Shaw

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: April 4, 2023
Release Date: November 7, 2023
Release Date: January 31, 2023
Release Date: May 16, 2023
Release Date: June 13, 2023
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Release Date: January 31, 2023
Release Date: January 17, 2023

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 (#QP2024) Feature Review: Seven Percent of Ro Devereux by Ellen O’Clover

  • Seven Percent of Ro Devereux
  • By Ellen O’Clover  
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • Imprint: Harper Teen
  • Release date: January 17, 2023 
  • ISBN: 9780063255036\

Ro creates an app based on the popular game of MASH (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House) for her senior project. She works with her neighbor, a retired behavorial scientist, to make sure the app works – and it works well. It can predict someone’s future with 93% accuracy. Ro is shocked when she is paired with Miller, her childhood best friend, as her soulmate. They had a falling out years ago. Ro is determined to have her app make it big and Miller reluctantly agrees to play along and pretend to be in love so that they can prove that the app works and get backing from the tech greats. 

This is a fresh spin on the classic “used to be friends, now a love interest” plot. The slow-burn romance between Ro and Miller keeps the reader guessing if they will end up together. The characters are well developed and easy to relate to. Each character had quirks and interests that leave the reader wanting to learn more about them. 

Other authors who write with a similar tone include Jennifer E. Smith, Emma Lord, and Jenny Han.

-Katie Guzan

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: May 14, 2023

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: Stateless by Elizabeth Wein

  • Stateless
  • by Elizabeth Wein
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Release date: March 14, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780316591249

What starts out as an air race between young pilots to promote peace across Europe quickly turns into a murder mystery when one plane seemingly purposefully attacks another.  As the only female pilot in the race, Stella North feels unsure of her place amidst the intrigue and competition, yet she cannot help but be drawn into a search for the truth.

This book had gripping suspense and richly researched historical details.  The dramatic irony comes as the reader realizes that many of these current allies in the novel will soon be pitted against each other as WWII looms ahead. A burgeoning romance between Stella and an arch-rival adds yet another layer as she battles for her right to be taken seriously as a pilot while trying to determine whether he is a ruthless killer.


This book will be well liked by fans of suspenseful historical fiction who enjoyed Wein’s previous work as well as fans of Ruta Sepetys and Monica Hesse.  Readers who loved the high stakes racing scenes of Kalyn Josephson’s This Dark Descent will also find plenty to appreciate in this title.

-Marie LeJeune

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: May 2, 2023

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