Maybelline Chen is a typical teenager and far from the perfect Chinese-Taiwanese daughter her mother expects. Her smart, kind, athletic, Princeton-bound older brother Danny, however, can do no wrong. Unknown to Danny’s family, he has been struggling with severe depression and when he commits suicide, May’s life is shattered. On top of dealing with her own loss and her grieving parents, a local rich, white venture capitalist claims that Danny committed suicide because his parents put too much “pressure” on him and that these extreme expectations from Asian parents are why so many white students are struggling with mental health and academics. May’s parents tell her to keep her head down and ignore the comments. But how can May stay silent? Who gets to say which experiences get told and which are ignored? Soon, May and her friends begin a school campaign to take back their narratives and find justice for Danny’s memory.
This novel in verse follows Sarai, a first generation Puerto Rican growing up in Bushwick with her mother and her sister during the 1990s. Sarai and her family navigate the welfare system, as well as finding housing in a neighborhood with increasing gentrification. Along the way, Sarai asks questions that bring her closer to herself and her own definition of what it means to make it, as she fights all the narratives and opinions that are forced upon her by a society that actively works against her intersectional identities.
Crownchasersby Rebecca Coffindaffer; narrated by Reba Buhr Harper Audio Release date: September 29, 2020 ISBN: 9780063033160
Alyssa Farshot is happy to be removed from the intrigues of the star system empire her Uncle Astar governs. Her adventuring is cut short when his husband, Alyssa’s Uncle Charley, contacts her with the urgent message that the emperor is dying, Rather than naming Alyssa his successor, he initiates a crownchase–a contest that will involve all of the prime families’ named heirs in a interplanetary scavenger hunt with potentially deadly consequences but a payoff of the wealth and political power that comes with being named emperor.
Good Girl, Bad Blood and As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Books 2 and 3)by Holly Jackson; narrated by Bailey Carr, MacLeod Andrews, Donte Bonner, James Fouhey, Neil Hellegers, Cary Hite, Amy Landon, Raymond J. Lee, Keylor Leigh, Maggi-Meg Reed Shezi Sardar and Bailey Carr, Kristen DiMercurio, Robert Fass, Lauren Fortgang, Johnny Heller, Barrett Leddy, Shezi Sardar, Vassilea Terzaki and Megan Tusing Listening Library Publication Date: March 2, 2021 and September 28, 2021 ISBNs: 9780593342398 and 9780593416761
After the revelations of the Andi Bell case, Pippa Fitz-Amobi just wants to leave her investigating days in the past and focus on applying to college and her relationship with her family and boyfriend, Ravi. When her friend’s brother goes missing, and the cops won’t do anything about it, and then when an anonymous stalker starts threatening her via her podcast, Pip is reluctantly dragged back into a world she desperately wishes she could leave behind.
They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman; narrated by Jesse Vilinsky, Phoebe Strole, and Kristen Sieh Listening Library Release Date: July 27, 2021 ISBN: 9780593398012
Track star sisters Ellie and Stella don’t have much in common besides their love of running. Stella is focused on winning back the scholarship she lost last year after an incident with another runner. Ellie is popular and tired of always living in her big sister’s shadow. When a new girl named Mila joins their track team, the sisters start to compete for her attention. Then Mila goes missing and both girls become suspects, threatening their relationship and future dreams.
Six Crimson Cranesby Elizabeth Lim; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller Listening Library Release date: July 6, 2021 ISBN: 9780593398883
Princess Shiori, the impulsive and headstrong daughter of the Emperor, is almost seventeen, and she has a secret. She has magical abilities–in a kingdom where magic is forbidden. Then Shiori discovers that her stepmother is a powerful sorceress. Before she can warn her family, her stepmother casts a spell that transforms each of Shiori’s six brothers into cranes and sends Shiori to the farthest corner of the kingdom, unable to speak and disguised unrecognizably. Shiori must break the curse to save her brothers and the kingdom, but doing so will make her rethink everything she knew to be true.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston; narrated by Natalie Naudus Macmillan Audio Publication Date: June 1, 2021 ISBN: 978-1250803184
August Landry arrives in New York City with all of her possessions in five boxes. She’s 23 years old and her move to New York lets her escape the earlier years of her life which were spent working with her mother, an amateur detective, trying to track down August’s missing uncle. August moves into an apartment with Niko, a psychic, his girlfriend Mya, an artist, and Wes, a tattoo artist. August never had time for friends and fun when she was helping her mom, but she quickly becomes a part of Niko, Mya, and Wes’ chosen LBGTQ+ family. Then, August meets Jane on the Q Train. Jane isn’t like any other girl August has met before. Their relationship is full of the twists and turns of first loves. McQuiston asks the listener to travel along with them on a slightly sci-fi route, because, as August soon discovers, Jane has been stuck on this particular train since the 1970s.
Time Travel for Love and Profitby Sarah Lariviere;Narrated by Kristen Sieh Listening Library Release date: January 26, 2021 ISBN: 9780593294017
Nephele distinctly remembers when her best friend broke up with her. It isn’t surprising, given that Nephele’s peers describe her as “aggressively weird.” After all, Nephele has favorite math formulas and shapes. Couple that with the furry arm hair of her ancestors, and Nephele is an outsider looking in. That’s why the book Time Travel for Love and Profit so captures her imagination and inspires her to create an app that will allow her to go back in time and re-do her disastrous freshman year.
Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell; Narrated by Euan Morton Macmillan Release date: July 6, 2021 ISBN: 9781250803122
Simon and the gang are back in London after their American adventures, and there’s trouble in the world of mages. After Simon’s downfall new ‘Chosen Ones’ keep popping up, Baz’s stepmum is missing, and Penny is dealing with a demon-cursed “normal”. Furthermore, Simon, Baz, Penny, and Agatha need to decide how to move forward in the aftermath of their trauma regarding events of the first two books. Any Way the Wind Blows takes a complicated and honest look at healing and moving forward.
Euan Morton masterfully narrates the many different points of view in Any Way the Wind Blows. He captures Simon’s confusion, Baz’s angst, and Smith’s mania perfectly. His accents are spot on and bring the world of mages alive.
Fans of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston and books by Maggie Stiefvater will enjoy Any Way the Wind Blows.
Other Nominated Titles
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson; narrated by Marcella Cox (September 14, 2021)
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 previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.
The Bitterwine Oathby Hannah West; narrated by Reba Buhr Tantor Media, Inc. Released: February 16, 2021 ISBN: 9781705222904
San Solano, Texas is a quaint little town with a sordid and violent history. That violent history is its greatest appeal. Decades ago twelve men were murdered as they took Holy Communion, and town residents are sure the minister’s daughter, Malachi, was responsible. Fast forward to present day San Solano, and as the anniversary of the massacre approaches, fear grows that another 12 men will meet their gory demise. Nat has assiduously avoided both the hoopla surrounding the anniversary and the Wardens, a cult of women famously connected to the slaughter, in service to a promise she made to her grandmother. That is a promise sorely tested when her father and the boy she falls in love with are marked for death.