Best Fiction for Young Adults #BFYA2025 Quarterly Round-Up

All that Consumes Us. By Erica Waters. 2023. 400 p. HarperTeen, $19.99  (9780063115965). Gr. 9 – 12.

First generation college student Tara struggles to find her place on campus until she’s invited to join an elite society called Magni Viri. However, she soon discovers that the promise of scholarships and career advancement come with a dark, paranormal price tag she may be unable to pay.

The Bad Ones. By Melissa Albert. 2024. 384 p. Flatiron Books, $19.99  (9781250894892). Gr. 9 – 12.

While searching for her missing friend, Nora follows clues leading her to two buried secrets and an infamous goddess.

Breathing Underwater. By Abbey Lee Nash. 2024. 214 p. Holiday House, $18.99  (9780823457410). Gr. 9 – 12.

Seventeen-year-old Tess has been carefully balancing her grades and the swim team until a sudden epilepsy diagnosis upends it all. She’s desperate to hold onto her swim career, but it seems like everyone is standing in her way: her parents, her doctors, and even the cute boy next door.

Bright Red Fruit. By Safia Elhillo. 2024. 368 p. Make Me a World, $19.99  (9780593381229). Gr. 8 – 12.

When sixteen-year-old Samira’s overprotective Sudanese immigrant mother grounds her for the umpteenth time, she  takes refuge in an online poetry community. There she meets Horus, an older poet. When she ignores her friends’ warnings about him, there’s more at risk than her reputation, risks her mom didn’t prepare her for.

Cancelled. By Farrah Penn. 2024. 366 p. Viking Books for Young Readers, $19.99  ( 9780593528303). Gr. 9 – 12.

Senior Brynn Whittaker’s seemingly perfect life crumbles when a scandalous video implicates her at a Halloween party, sparking a battle against misogyny. Determined to clear her name and confront haters, Brynn and her friends begin a “Femolution”.

Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear. By Robin Wasley. 2023. 405 p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $19.99  (9781665914604). Gr. 10 – 12.

Sid has never worried much about living on a fault line, one of the sites where the world’s magic was sealed away because of its dangerous potential. But everything falls apart when someone opens the fault line, bringing magic back to the town along with zombie-like creatures and apocalyptic circumstances.

Dragonfruit. By Makiia Lucier. 2024. 356 p. Clarion Books, $19.99  (9780358272106). Gr. 8 – 11.

As a child, Hanalei and the princess of Tamarind were poisoned. Hanalei’s father stole a rare dragon egg intended to resurrect the princess and fed it to Hanalei, forcing them into exile. Now years later, Hanalei has a chance to find a new dragon egg and right the past.

A Drop of Venom. By Sajni Patel. 2024. 393 p. Hyperion, $18.99  (9781368092685). Gr. 10 – 12.

Separated from her family and in hiding, Manisha finds herself at the mercy of those in power. Manisha thinks she might be close to freedom when she’s violently assaulted and left for dead. When she awakes, she discovers she’s been granted powers that will make sure she’s never attacked again.

Looking for Smoke. By K.A. Cobell. 2024. 402 p. Heartdrum, $19.99  (9780063318670). Gr. 9 – 12.

When a Blackfeet girl is found murdered during a giveaway honoring a missing teen girl, four teens with complicated pasts find themselves named suspects. They have to work together to clear their names. But as time goes on, it looks increasingly likely that one of the four is the murderer.

The No-Girlfriend Rule. By Christen Randall. 2024. 323 p. Atheneum Books, $19.99  (9781665939812). Gr. 9 – 12.

Hollis has always wanted to play Secrets and Sorcery, but her boyfriend and his friends hold strict to their ‘no-girlfriend rule.’ So Hollis finds her own S&S group, joining an all-girl, queer-friendly game. As Hollis spends more time playing, she starts to realize that some things might have to change.

Phoebe’s Diary. By Phoebe Wahl. 2023. 460 p. Little, Brown, $19.99  (9780316363563). Gr. 9 – 12.

It’s 2006 and fifteen-year-old Phoebe is Not Like Other Girls. She loves indie rock, vintage fashion and really wants a boyfriend. (Ok, she actually is just like other girls).

A Place for Vanishing. By Ann Fraistat. 2024. 453 p. Delacorte Press, $19.99  (9780593382219). Gr. 9 – 12.

Libby is feeling fragile from her recent suicide attempt when she moves with her mom and sister to a Victorian mansion with macabre stained glass windows and odd bug-shaped masks. The house has been the source of several disappearances over decades, and before long, Libby begins to uncover its sinister intentions.

The Reappearance of Rachel Price. By Holly Jackson. 2024. 430 p. Delcourt Press, $27.59  (9780593374207). Gr. 9 – 12.

After Bel Price’s mother, Rachel, suddenly reappears after being missing for sixteen years, Bel is sure that Rachel is lying about where she’s been and is determined to uncover the truth about her sudden reappearance.

Rez Ball. By Byron Graves. 2023. 357 p. Heartdrum, $19.99  (9780063160378). Gr. 9 – 12.

Tre Brun is trying to prove he’s a great basketball player, but it’s hard when everyone just compares him to his older brother Jaxon who died in a car accident. When Jaxon played, Red Lake Reservation High School nearly went to state, and Tre is ready to win this time.

Running Past Dark. By Han Nolan. 2023. 324 p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $19.99  (9781665931786). Gr. 9 – 12.

Scottie wants answers about her sister’s death. Why was Cait in the car with the town hero, Coach Jory? Was Cait lying when she accused the popular coach of rape? As she returns to the hostile environment of school, Scottie finds healing through Hellgate–an Ultra Runner’s nightmare.

Snowglobe. By Soyoung Park. 2024. 372 p. Delacorte Press, $20.99  (9780593484975). Gr. 8 – 10.

In a world plunged into eternal winter, only a chosen few get to live in the artificial climate of Snowglobe.  Chobahm’s dream is to be a director in Snowglobe, creating reality TV for those outside, but she’s given a different chance. She’s asked to replace everyone’s favorite star.

A Tempest of Tea. By Hafsah Faizal. 2024. 338 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $20.99  (9780374389406). Gr. 9 – 12.

Criminal mastermind and tearoom/illegal vampire speakeasy proprietor, Arthie Casimir, forges a band of unlikely partners to bring down the corrupt monarchy threatening her tearoom’s existence. But when their inner circle is betrayed, Casimir and her friends find themselves fighting for more than just the tearoom.  A captivating tale of vampires, found family and political intrigue.

That’s Not My Name. By Megan Lally. 2023. 296 p. Sourcebooks Fire, $11.99  (9781728270111). Gr. 9 – 12.

Mary is trying to figure out who she is and why her “father” has forgotten critical details about her health. Drew is the main suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend. His search for Lola leads him to Mary and some unexpected answers.

These Bodies Between us. By Sarah Van Name. 2024. 326 p. Delacorte Press, $19.99  (9780593646175). Gr. 8 – 11.

Callie is looking forward to a typical summer with her friends Cleo, Talia, and Polly, but her plans are quickly turned upside down. Cleo has found forums about girls turning themselves invisible, and she wants them all to try it. Callie’s scepticism turns into amazement when they actually do it.

Thirsty. By Jas Hammonds. 2024. 318 p. Roaring Brook Press, $19.99  (9781250816597). Gr. 9 – 12.

As a biracial girl from a poor background, Blake Brenner has just wanted to feel seen. Now four years into a relationship with her beautiful and rich girlfriend who enables her drinking problem, Blake must navigate the summer before college and pledging a secret sorority for women of color.

This Day Changes Everything. By Edward Underhill. 2024. 280 p. Wednesday Books, $19.25  ( 9781250835222). Gr. 9 – 12.

Abby Akerman, from small town Missouri, plans to confess her love to best friend Kat at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Meanwhile, Leo Brewer, a trans boy from North Carolina, dreads being outed on live TV. They meet by chance in NYC, embarking on a journey that could change everything.

Under This Red Rock. By Mindy McGinnis. 2024. 326 p. Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99  (9780063230415). Gr. 10 – 12.

Neely, still reeling from her brother’s suicide, has been secretly living with schizophrenia. She finds comfort and stability working as a guide in the caverns–until her coworker and crush Mila is found brutally murdered and Neely begins to worry she’s the one responsible.

Wander in the Dark. By Jumata Emill. 2024. 387 p. Delacorte Press, $19.99  (9780593651858). Gr. 9 – 12.

After Amir is arrested for the murder of his classmate, Chloe, it’s up to his half brother Marcel to prove his innocence before Amir is indicted and the real murderer gets away.

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:

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Long Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw 

Long Live the Pumpkin Queen

by Shea Ernshaw

Publisher: Disney Enterprises, Inc

Imprint: Disney Press

Release date: August 2, 2022

ISBN: 9781368069601

Sally finally has her happily ever after; she’s married to her love, Jack Skellington, and crowned Pumpkin Queen of Halloween Town. However, being Pumpkin Queen isn’t as easy as Sally imagined. When she discovers a doorway to one of the ancient realms, Sally inadvertently unleashes the long forgotten Sandman on both the holiday and the human worlds. With the Sandman hunting her across the worlds, Sally must find a way to reverse his sleeping spell on everyone before it’s too late. 

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Long Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw 

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
ISBN: 9781536204957

Twelve year old Sai is assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker. No one knows that she has been harboring a secret; her father is a conman. When they set out on a journey to chart the southern seas, she has no idea that the ship may actually be heading to the fabled Sunderlands, a land thought to be guarded by dragons. As Sai struggles to conceal her identity aboard the ship, she discovers that she is not the only one with a secret. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
ISBN: 9780593309032

Years of foster care have severely damaged Black, bisexual teen Bitter’s ability to trust anyone, but she has come to feel safe at Eucalyptus, a home for vulnerable teen artists. There, she is able to pursue her art and, occasionally, bring it temporarily to life by bringing it into contact with her blood. When Bitter starts to engage with teens from Assata, a social justice group, her fury at the wealthy white people in control of their town, Lucille, results in the creation of a monster that calls itself Vengeance. Horrified at what she has created, Bitter is forced to work through her anxieties in order to find a way to stop a bloodbath.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi