Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix by Kalynn Bayron

  • My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix
  • by Kalynn Bayron
  • Narrated by Clifford Samuel
  • Publisher: Macmillan | Macmillan Young Listeners
  • Publication Date: March 7, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250877239

Part of the Remixed Classics series, this latest work from author Kalynn Bayron updates Robert Louis Stephenson’s classic gothic novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a modern young adult audience. In Bayron’s version, narrator Gabriel Utterson is a young medical student rather than an attorney; however, conflict arises because he is also African American and queer and dealing with the racism and homophobia of late 19th-century London. After he and his best friend, Henry Jekyll, are expelled from the London Medical School amid rumors of their relationship, Henry begins growing increasingly distant from Gabriel about the same time as the mysterious Hyde shows up. Despite Gabriel’s jealousy of Hyde, who seems to live at Henry’s house, he begins to realize something is not quite right and becomes determined to discover what is going on with his friend.

Clifford Samuel does an extraordinary job narrating as his deep voice perfectly suits the dark mood and gothic atmosphere of this story that reveals that monsters aren’t always the ones you think they are, especially in a society where your worth is determined by the color of your skin and whom you choose to love. Fans of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and Self-Made Boys, as well as Bayron’s other works are likely to find appeal in this book.

-Jennifer Balke

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: January 31, 2023
Release Date: February 28, 2023
Release Date: September 13, 2022
Release Date: February 7, 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 Pick for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Nervosa by Haley Gold

  • Nervosa
  • by Hayley Gold
  • Publisher: Street Noise Books
  • Release date: April 4, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781951491246

Hayley Gold gives the inside story of what it is like to suffer from Anorexia Nervosa. She was a teen who was put into a program for her survival. There, she learned tricks to hide weight loss and stave off weight gain, even though counselors were all over her for her own health and safety. A realistic peek at the compulsions someone suffering from Anorexia must battle.

This graphic novel fits the criteria for quick picks because it is easy to read, and the color coordination of the different characters talking, as well as the extreme honesty she writes with, will make this a compelling read for anyone. 

This novel might also appeal to readers who are struggling with body image who might be considering dieting or calorie counting. For read-alikes consider Wintergirls by Laurie Halse-Anderson or Elena Vanishing by Elena Dunkle.

-Michael Fleming

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: December 6, 2022
Release Date: February 28, 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.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

  • We Deserve Monuments
  • by Jas Hammonds
  • Narrated by Tamika Katon-Donegal
  • Recorded Books, LLC | Recorded Books, Inc
  • Publication Date: November 29, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781705069530

Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson planned to spend her senior year with her best friends before following her mother into academia. Her plans derailed when her parents relocated their family from their DC home to Bardell, Georgia to care for her dying grandmother, Mama Letty. As soon as they arrive in Bardell, she encounters systemic racism and homophobia that bi-racial, queer Avery had never experienced in her privileged life in DC. Avery spends her days with Mama Letty, who has grown bitter from age, illness, and the lasting impact of her husband’s unsolved disappearance. As Avery learns more about her family and Bardell, she uncovers a history of racism and secrets about her grandfather’s disappearance that may be more sinister than she could have imagined.

Tamika Katon-Donegal artfully narrates Jas Hammonds’ winner of the John Steptoe Award for New Talent Award. Katon-Donegal breathes life into Avery as she struggles with uncovered secrets. The narration is heartfelt and perfectly expresses Avery’s emotions as she learns her family’s history and develops feelings for a new love interest. Yet, the audiobook’s greatest strength is the atmospheric reading that creates a mood that perfectly expresses the book’s underlying mystery. Fans of Camryn Garrett’s Off the Record, and Jumata Emill’s Black Queen will enjoy this LGBTQ+ slow-burn mystery.

-Rebecca Baldwin

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: February 28, 2023
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Release Date: January 10, 2023
Release Date: January 31, 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 (#GGN2024) Nominees Round Up, Summer Edition

Due to the large number of nominees, not all titles are shown here. See the full list below.

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the officially nominated titles to date. These titles have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple team members, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, each team will choose the final list of nominations and determine the Selected List’s Top Ten from these titles. Since we skipped our March Quarterly Round-Up, this post catches you up on all titles officially nominated since the committee began its work in January 2023. For brevity, we have not included official nominations of subsequent volumes in ongoing series in this round-up, only first volumes and standalone titles. 

–Kelley Blue, GGN Coordinator

83 Days in Mariupol: A War Diary. By Don Brown. Art by the author. 2023. 128p. Clarion Books, hardcover, $22.99 (9780063311565). Gr. 10-12. 947.7086.

This journalistic nonfiction graphic novel focuses on the siege of Mariupol and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A Blanket of Butterflies: The Spirit of Denendeh, vol. 1. By Richard Van Camp. Art by Scott B. Henderson, Donovan Yaciuk and Nickolej Villiger. 2022. 56p. Highwater Press, paper, $21.95 (9781774920404). Gr. 10-12. 741.5971.

A former Yakuza’s search for lost family armor leads him to a Dene community where the armor has ended up mysteriously.

A First Time for Everything. By Dan Santat. Art by the author. 2023. 230p. First Second, paper, $14.99 (9781250851048). Gr. 4-6. B.

The summer before his first year in high school, Dan Santat spent a summer abroad, traveling Europe with his classmates and stepping outside his comfort zone.

Belle of the Ball. By Mari Costa. Art by the author. 2023. 320p. First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781250784124). Gr. 10-12. 741.5973.

Feelings get complicated between mascot Belle, cheerleader Regina, and all-star athlete Chloe in this refreshing take on the high school love triangle.

Blue Box, vol. 1. By Kouji Miura. Art by the author. 2022. 192p. VIZ Media, paper, $9.99 (9781974734627). Gr. 7-9. 741.5952.

In this light sports-romance manga, badminton player Taiki admires basketball star Chinatsu, who inspires him to become a better athlete.

Call the Name of the Night, vol. 1. By Tama Mitsuboshi. Art by the author. 2023. 194p. Yen Press, paper, $13.00 (9781975352004). General Adult. 741.5952.

Is Mira gifted or cursed? With the help of a new mentor and some shadowy spirits, Mira may learn to feel good about her strange powers.

Charisma’s Turn. By Monique Couvson. Art by Amanda Jones. 2023. 128p. The New Press, hardcover, $19.99 (9781620974018). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.

After repeat suspensions for fighting, Charisma is given an alternative way to work out her issues at school: lead the social justice club.

DC vs. Vampires, vol. 1. By James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg. Art by Otto Schmidt. 2022. 160p. DC Comics, hardcover, $24.99 (9781779516794). 741.5973.

A master vampire is turning heroes and villains alike into vampires. The Justice League is compromised. Can Batman save the day?

D&D Dungeon Club, vol. 1: Roll Call. By Molly Knox Ostertag. Art by Xanthe Bouma. 2022. 208p. HarperAlley, hardcover, $19.99 (9780063039247). Gr. 4-6. 741.5973.

Jess and Olivia have a long-running, two-person D&D campaign. When Olivia wants to bring in new players, Jess worries about their friendship.

Dinosaur Sanctuary, vol. 1. By Itaru Kinoshita and Shin-ichi Fujiwara. Art by Itaru Kinoshita. 2022. 194p. Seven Seas Entertainment, paper, $13.99 (9781685793241). Gr. 7-9. 741.5952.

A dinosaur sanctuary in Japan faces financial ruin, but the staff is determined not to close. Yes, the dinosaurs are real!

Doughnuts and Doom. By Balazs Lorinczi. Art by the author. 2022. 136p. Top Shelf Productions, paper, $14.99 (9781603095136). Gr. 7-9. 741.5941.

Magical Margot heads to a local doughnut shop after failing an exam, then accidentally wrecks the shop and curses Elena, who works there. Oops!

DPS Only! By Velinxi. Art by the author. 2022. 432p. Andrew McMeel Publishing, paper, $18.99 (9781524876494). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.

Vicky’s brother is a big-shot esports player, and he has no idea that she’s been secretly playing (and winning) the same game behind his back.

Embrace Your Size: My Own Body Positivity. By hara. Art by the author. 2022. 160p. Yen Press, paper, $17.00 (9781975347291). General Adult. 306.4.

This nonfiction manga contains vignettes about the creator’s personal experiences with body image and how body positivity does/does not exist in society.

Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam. By Thien Pham. Art by the author. 2023. 240p. First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781250809728). Gr. 10-12. 302.

Distinct food memories link the milestones in Thien’s life, from fleeing Vietnam, living in a refugee camp, and coming of age after arriving in America.

Firebird. By Sunmi. Art by the author. 2023. 320p. HarperAlley, paper, $18.99 (9780062981516). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.

Sophomore Caroline begins tutoring senior Kimberly, and the two strike up an increasingly close relationship while navigating family issues, queer identities, and potential romance.

Freestyle. By Gale Galligan. Art by the author. 2022. 240p. Graphix, paper, $12.99 (9781338045802). Gr. 4-6. 741.5973.

Cory navigates the challenges of 8th grade with members of his dance crew and newfound friend, Sunna, with plenty of moves and yo-yo tricks.

Hollow. By Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White. Art by Berenice Nelle. 2022. 176p. Boom Box, paper, $19.99 (9781684158522). Gr. 9-12. 741.5973.

In this standalone retelling, Izzy Crane moves to the town of Sleepy Hollow where “the legend” and the legacy are  all too real.

Hoops. By Matt Tavares. Art by the author. 2023. 215p. Candlewick Press, paper, $12.99 (9781536231953). Gr. 4-6. 741.5973.

Inspired by real players and events, Hoops tells the story of a trailblazing women’s high school basketball team at the dawn of Title IX.

Hungry Ghost. By Victoria Ying. Art by the author. 2023. 198p. First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781250767004). Gr. 10-12. 741.5973.

A significant life event forces high school senior Valerie to realize that her relationships with food, her body, and her mother are toxic and causing her harm.

In Limbo: A Graphic Memoir. By Deb JJ Lee. Art by the author. 2023. 339p. First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781250252661). Gr. 10-12. B.

This graphic memoir explores some of the author’s most poignant and painful memories of growing up as a Korean-American and perpetually feeling ‘in limbo’ with friends, family, and community.

Insomniacs After School, vol. 1. By Makoto Ojiro. Art by the author. 2023. 178p. VIZ Media, paper, $12.99 (9781974736577). General Adult. 741.5952.

Sleepless high school student Ganta Nakami begins napping in his school’s astronomy observatory with a classmate (and fellow insomniac), Isaki Magari.

It Won’t Always Be Like This: A Graphic Memoir. By Malaka Gharib. Art by the author. 2022. 224p. Ten Speed Press, paper, $19.99 (9781984860293). General Adult. B.

Malaka’s parents divorced, and she now spends summers with her dad in Egypt, where she struggles to understand where she fits within family and culture.

Kwändür. By Cole Pauls. Art by the author. 2022. 140p. Conundrum Press, paper, $25.00 (9781772620771). General Adult. 741.5973.

This collection of shorter comics and zines touches on the artist’s family, culture, and experiences living in Haines Junction, Yukon.

Match Point. By Maddie Gallegos. Art by the author. 2023. 256p. First Second, paper, $14.99 (9781250784148). Gr. 4-6. 741.5973.

Rosie Vo hates racquetball, but her dad, a former champion, wants her to play. Can a new teammate turn things around for Rosie?

Maybe an Artist: A Graphic Memoir. By Elizabeth Montague. Art by the author. 2022. 176p. Random House Studio, paper, $17.99 (9780593307823). Gr. 7-9. B.

This graphic memoir follows artist Liz Montague’s life from childhood to the start of her professional career as a Black female cartoonist.

Mermaid Scales and the Town of Sand. By Yoko Komori. Art by the author. 2023. 408p. VIZ Media, paper, $19.99 (9781974734658). General Adult. 741.5952.

Tokiko and her father move from Tokyo to a small seaside town with a strange mystery. Can Tokiko and her new friend Yoskue discover the truth?

Miss Miyazan Would Love to Get Closer to You, vol. 1. By Akitaka. Art by the author. 2022. 146p. Kodansha, paper, $12.95 (9781647291419). General Adult. 741.5952.

Transfer students Miyazen and Matsubayashi are from different worlds but are drawn to each other at their new school. Shyness makes getting closer a lengthy process.

Monkey Meat. By Juni Ba. Art by the author. 2022. 160p. Image Comics, paper, $16.99 (9781534323230). General Adult. 741.5973.

Welcome to a wacky world where the Monkey Meat corporation rules, and their products might give you supernatural powers!

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter: How One Boy Put the Spotlight on Syria. By Muhammad Najem and Nora Neus. Art by Julie Robine. 2022. 320p. Little, Brown Ink, paper, $12.99 (9780759556904). Gr. 4-6. 956.9104.

After losing nearly everything to war, teenager Muhammad gathers the stories of Syrian children and makes a global impact with his reporting.

My Life Among Humans. By Jed McGowan. Art by the author. 2023. 96p. Oni Press, hardcover, $19.99 (9781637151990). General Adult. 741.5973.

An alien is forced to collect data on an Earth family secretly, but observing humans leads him down a path of discovery and revelation.

Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting. By Kindra Neely. Art by the author. 2022. 304p. Little, Brown & Co., paper, $17.99 (9780316462099). Gr. 7-9. 362.88/B.

The author recounts a mass shooting at her college and explores what it is like to be a survivor in an age epidemic of gun violence.

Pardalita. By Joana Estrela. Art by the author. 2023. 224p. Levine Querido, paper, $16.99 (9781646142569). Gr. 7-9. 741.5946.

A coming-of-age story told in poems and panels about 16-year-old Raquel and her developing relationship with alluring drama student Pardalita.

Saving Sunshine. By Saadia Faruqi. Art by Shazleen Khan. 2023. 224p. First Second, paper, $14.99 (9781250793812). Gr. 4-6. 741.5973.

On a family trip to Key West, bickering twins Zara and Zeeshan have their phones confiscated to help them learn to get along.

Sea Serpent’s Heir, bk. 1: Pirates Daughter. By Mairghread Scott. Art by Pablo Tunica. 2022. 160p. Image Comics, paper, $14.99 (9781534321298). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.

Aella’s mom keeps a BIG secret from her: Aella is the reincarnation of the demonic sea serpent Xir, destined to destroy the world.

Show-ha Shoten!, vol. 1. By Akinari Asakura. Art by Takeshi Obata. 2023. 192p. VIZ Media, paper, $9.99 (9781974736829). General Adult. 741.5952.

Introvert Azemichi Shijima and extrovert Taiyo Higashikata share a love of comedy. Can they make it as a standup duo?

Space Trash, vol. 1. By Jenn Woodall. Art by the author. 2022. 96p. Oni Press, hardcover, $21.99 (9781637150405). Gr. 10-12. 741.5973.

Sent to a reformatory high school on the moon, Stab, Yuki, and Una want nothing more than to find a way back to Earth.

Sunshine: How One Camp Taught Me About Life, Death, and Hope. By Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Art by the author. 2023. 240p. Graphix, paper, $14.99 (9781338356311). Gr. 7-9. 302.

In this graphic memoir, Krosoczka recounts his experiences as a teen counselor at Camp Sunshine, a camp for seriously ill children and their families.

Talli, Daughter of the Moon, vol. 1. By Sourya. Art by the author. 2022. 168p. Oni Press, paper, $19.99 (9781637150825). Gr. 7-9. 741.5952.

Talli discovers she is a summoner, a descendent of the moon goddess, forced to live on the run with a ragtag group of allies.

The Infinity Particle. By Wendy Xu. Art by the author. 2023. 272p. Quill Tree Books, paper, $18.99 (9780062955760). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.
From the co-creator of Mooncakes: Young scientist Clementine Change moves to Mars and begins a blossoming romance with a humanoid AI named Kye.

The Keeper. By Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes. Art by Marco Finnegan. 176p. Abrams Comic Arts, hardcover, $24.99 (9781419751554). General Adult. 741.5973.

Aisha’s grandmother promised she would never end up in the foster system. Even when she dies, someone (or something) keeps  her promise to Aisha.

The Keeper: Soccer, Me, and the Law That Changed Women’s Lives. By Kelcey Ervick. Art by the author. 2022. 336p. Avery Publishing Group, paper, $27.00 (9780593539187). General Adult. B.

One athlete’s personal history with Title IX is interspersed with factual details about the fight for equality in women’s sports and the history of women’s soccer.

The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel. By Antonio Iturbe and Salva Rubio. Art by Loreto Aroca. 2023. 144p. Laura Godwin Books, paper, $14.99 (9781250842985). Gr. 10-12. 741.5946.

This graphic adaptation of the YA novel is based on the life of Dita Kraus, who was entrusted with keeping forbidden books safe in Auschwitz.

The Moth Keeper. By K. O’Neill. Art by the author. 2023. 272p. Random House Graphic, paper, $13.99 (9780593182260). Gr. 4-6. 741.5973.

Anya becomes the apprentice Moth Keeper for her nocturnal village, but the job is more difficult than she imagined.

The Tryout: A Graphic Novel. By Christina Soontornvat. Art by Joanna Cacao. 2022. 272p. Graphix, paper, $12.99 (9781338741261). Gr. 4-6. B.

In this graphic memoir, Christina recounts the experience of trying out for cheerleading as the only Asian-American in her Texas middle school.

The Witch’s Throne, vol. 1. By Cedric Caballes. Art by the author. 2022. 320p. Andrews McMeel Publishing, paper, $15.99 (9781524876500). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.

Inspired by the heroic stories of her childhood, young alchemist Agni ventures out to become a Throne Seeker, picking up three companions haphazardly along the way.

The Witches of Silverlake, vol. 1. By Simon Curtis. Art by Stephanie Son. 2023. 200p. Legendary Comics, paper, $19.99 (9781681160849). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.

After a tumultuous year, Elliot enrolls at a new private school where he befriends a group of misfits but soon discovers they are witches.

The World After the Fall, vol. 1. By S-Cynan. Art by Undead Gamja. 2022. 280p. Ize Press, paper, $20.00 (9798400900044). Gr. 7-9. 741.5951.

Jaewhan is the last of the Tower Walkers, an elite group of ‘chosen ones’ selected to climb the levels of dystopian towers filled with monsters.

Tower of God, vol. 1. By S.I.U. Art by the author. 2022. 288p. Webtoon Unscrolled, paper, $18.99 (9781990259906). Gr. 7-9. 741.5951.

Welcome to the Tower. Everyone’s dream is to ascend it. Hundreds will try; few, if any, will rise to its challenges.

Twelfth Grade Night: Arden High, bk. 1. By Molly Horton Booth and Stephanie Kate Strohm. Art by Jamie Green. 2022. 160p. Disney-Hyperion, paper, $14.99 (9781368064651). Gr. 7-9. 741.5973.

Twins Vi and Sebastian start a new year at different schools. Soon Vi is swept up in some Shakespearean-level romantic drama. Literally!

Unfamiliar, vol. 1. By Haley Newsome. Art by the author. 2022. 160p. Andrews McMeel Publishing, paper, $15.99 (9781524876838). Gr. 10-12. 741.5973.

A culinary witch named Planchette gathers help from new friends and familiars to exercise the many ghosts living in her new home.

Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice. By Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes. Art by Dawud Anyabwile. 2022. 208p. Norton Young Readers, paper, $17.95 (9781324052159). Gr. 7-9. B.

Track-and-field gold medalist and civil rights icon Tommie Smith recounts his life leading up to his participation in the 1968 Summer Olympics in this riveting and relevant graphic memoir.

Villains Are Destined to Die, vol. 1. By Gwon Gyeoeul. Art by Suol. 2022. 256p. Ize Press, paper, $20.00 (9798400900006). General Adult. 741.5952.

Ever fall asleep grinding too many hours on a new RPG? Careful! You may wake up inside the game.On hard mode. As the villain.

We Survived the Holocaust: The Bluma and Felix Goldberg Story. By Frank W. Baker. Art by Tim Ogline. 156p. Imagine and Wonder, paper, $19.99 (9781637610206). Gr. 7-9. 900/B.

This graphic biography follows the lives of Bluma and Felix Goldberg from childhood, life inside German concentration camps, and their years together after the war.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat

  • A First Time for Everything
  • by Dan Santat
  • Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication Date: February 28, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9781626724150

A First Time for Everything is the laugh-out-loud funny memoir about the middle school field trip to Europe that changed author Dan Santat’s life. Dan was an awkward kid throughout middle school; he was picked on, he didn’t have many friends, and he was not looking forward to the school trip that his parents insisted he embark on. Once he got there, though, he experienced a series of firsts that taught him that maybe he didn’t need to change who he was – maybe he just needed to let go and live a little.

A First Time for Everything has the engaging and emotive drawing style that is Dan Santat’s standard; the facial expressions alone are so relatable and familiar to anyone who is or has been a teenager. The scenery of Europe is evocative and helps to set the tone of a completely overwhelming and life-altering experience. This book is full of personal growth without being heavy-handed, the antics are genuinely hilarious, and the relationship-building is sweet without a drop of saccharine.

Hand this to any young teen who is looking for more stories about kids who feel invisible and unpopular, like fans of Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson. Readers who loved the independent and slightly reckless vibe of All Summer Long by Hope Larsen will also enjoy this book. Finally, this title will also be an easy what-to-read-next pick for fans of Jerry Craft’s School Trip (2023) who are looking for more stories about kids of color going abroad and learning to let go of their expectations.

—Lee Stokes

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: March 14, 2023
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Release Date: August 29, 2023
Release Date: September 5, 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 (#GGN2024) Featured Review: The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill

  • The Moth Keeper
  • by K. O’Neill
  • Publisher: Random House Graphic
  • Publication Date: March 7, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9780593182260

In The Moth Keeper Anya becomes an apprentice to the Moth Keeper for her nocturnal village. Generations ago, the Moon-Spirit gifted her village with the Moon-Moths that pollinate the Night-Flower which grants them blessings that allow the villagers to thrive. The Moth Keeper’s duty is to watch over the Moon-Moths each night in solitude and guide and protect them. As Anya struggles with the isolation during the cold nights and fulfilling her duty, she grows curious about the sun and what daytime is like. Will Anya be able to keep her vow to protect the Moon-Moths and her village?

The Moth Keeper is a magical coming of age story that beautifully illustrates the pressure of living up to expectations and struggling to carry a burden on your own as well as learning to rely on others. The themes of finding yourself and discovering a sense of belonging within a community is something that many can relate to. The art has an ethereal quality that matches the tone of the story and world building. The color palette includes a wide variety of purples and oranges that express the contrast of the desert setting during the night and daytime beautifully.

The Moth Keeper will appeal to fans of magic and fantasy as well as heartfelt coming-of-age stories. Fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s works such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro will appreciate the whimsical art style and world building of The Moth Keeper. Video game players who enjoy games such as Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Celeste will enjoy Anya’s journey of self-discovery and growth as well as the beautiful illustrations of nature. Readers who enjoy witchy stories such as Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Tidesong by Wendy Xu will likely enjoy The Moth Keeper as well.

—Kaleigh Oldham

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: September 6, 2022
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Release Date: November 8, 2022
Release Date: February 7, 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 (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Embrace You Size: My Own Body Positvity by hara

  • Embrace Your Size: My Own Body Positivity
  • by hara
  • Publisher: Yen Press
  • Publication Date: November 22, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9781975347307

Embrace Your Size follows author, hara’s, journey of self-acceptance as she learns more about the body positivity movement. These graphic essays cover a wide range of subjects, all linked to hara’s attempts to build a positive relationship with her body. Topics include: recovery from an eating disorder, a growing interest in fashion, movie reviews, and interviews with other members of the body positivity community. 

The art style is charming, and Hara’s positive depiction of bodies of all sizes is a refreshing change of pace from the traditionally limited range of manga body types. Very little is prescriptive here, with the emphasis on the uniqueness of each person’s version of body positivity giving the book an inclusive and welcoming feel. Difficult topics such as hara’s eating disorder and body image issues are raised, but the tone remains lighthearted and upbeat throughout. 

Readers who enjoy the fictional adventures of plus-sized characters in novels like Amy Spalding’s The Summer of Jordy Perez or Lyla Lee’s I’ll Be the One will find similar discussions of fashion and beauty standards here. Embrace Your Size will also appeal to readers looking for adorably illustrated fat characters, similar to Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle’s Moonstruck. Fans of other autobiographical manga like The Bride Was a Boy or My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness may also be interested in Hara’s emotional journey and commentary on social expectations. 

—Meg Bowie

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: October 18, 2022
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Release Date: November 11, 2022
Release Date: May 16, 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 Pick for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Spells for Lost Things by Jenna Evans Welch

  • Spells for Lost Things
  • by Jenna Evans Welch
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster BFYR
  • Release Date: September 27, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781534448872

White-coded teenagers Willow and Mason meet during their first days in Salem, MA. Willow is there to help her mother tend to a relative’s death; Mason is there to join a new foster family. When Willow learns that her mother has been hiding details of her past, Mason jumps at the chance to help Willow find answers. In turn, Willow wants to help Mason find his birth mother. The two have instant chemistry, a charming first relationship, and a ton of humor. Weaving Willow and Mason’s mysteries throughout the novel leaves readers rooting for the pair. Dual narration audiobook.

This title is a good candidate for QPRR because many different readers can enjoy this novel given that it is a blend of genres (romance, cultural lore, paranormal, mystery, fairytale). Welch’s class critique that financial stability does not circumvent anyone from feeling neglected by their family is powerful. Set during the summer, the tiny seaside town adds to both the romance and intrigue of the story, and Welch names actual locations in Salem creating a travel guide of the town. Both of the protagonists and many of the secondary characters are developed sufficiently to leave readers wanting more, while the three plot lines contribute to a robust story building. 


The teen reader who would appreciate this title is someone who likes adventures and/ or cozy mysteries. This novel incorporates light fantasy elements perfect for people who enjoy Sabrina the Teenage Witch; Jackpot by Nic Stone (2019); The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2016)

Other Nominated Titles

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2024) Featured Review: For Lamb by Lesa-Cline Ransome

  • For Lamb
  • by Lesa Cline- Ransome
  • Narrated by Tyla Collier, Kevin R. Free, Dion Graham, Rebecca Lee, Jaime Lincoln Smith, and Angel Pean
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC/Dreamscape Media
  • Publication Date: January 10, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781666631708

Lesa Cline-Ransome’s latest, For Lamb, is an intense and tragic story of how an innocent friendship can place a family in mortal danger in 1930’s Mississippi. Lamb is a quiet student in Jackson’s African-American high school; she is bright but naïve, unaware that her mother’s “friend” is a fellow lesbian, for instance. When Marny, a white girl, strikes up a conversation about a book they are both reading, Lamb tries to ignore her as she has been instructed, to the point of rudeness–but the two enter into a defiant and secretive friendship that leads to danger for Lamb, a flight north for her brother and charismatic uncle, a reunion with her estranged father…and a violent lynching scene that is immediate and heart-wrenching. 

The gripping full-cast audio production features Tyla Collier, Kevin R. Free, Dion Graham, Rebecca Lee, Jaime Lincoln Smith, and Angel Pean. Their voices capture the many layers present in every social interaction in the post-Depression Deep South, from Lamb’s naivete to her mother’s cultivated secrecy. It is also evident that the various narrators consulted on each other’s voices as well as crafting their own; each character’s voice is distinctive, no matter who is voicing whom at any given moment. Lesa Cline-Ransome’s “Langston” trilogy earned the author a readership in middle grade audiences; For Lamb assures her a special place in historical fiction for older teens as well.

Those who appreciate Harper’s Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson, and/or Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of Kidnapping Emmett Till by Herb Boyd and Simeon Wright should definitely consider For Lamb.

-Cathy Andronik

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: September 13, 2022
Release Date: November 8, 2022

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.